AYF: Chevron on National Campaign Exposing Profit from Denial

Armenian Youth Federation
Eastern U.S.: 80 Bigelow Ave, Watertown, MA 02472 – [email protected]
Western U.S.: 104 N. Belmont St. Suite 206, Glendale, CA 91206 –
[email protected]


July 23, 2009

Chevron Responds to National Campaign Exposing "Profit from
Genocide Denial" Scheme

SAN RAMON, CA — Chevron Corporation tried to explain away
its opposition to Congressional legislation affirming the Armenian
Genocide, using the standard Turkish and Azerbaijani government
talking points to justify their complicity in denying this crime
against humanity, reported the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF).

"As a major energy producer in the region, we support the integrity
of multiple energy transportation routes and a diplomatic
relationship between Turkey and Armenia," Chevron spokesman Justin
Higgs announced, adding that the genocide resolution, "would have
hurt, not helped, relations between Turkey and Armenia."

"An enduring diplomatic relationship between Turkey and Armenia can
only be based on truth," said AYF San Francisco chapter chairman
Matt Senekeremian, leading the Bay Area protest. "Lobbying against
the Armenian Genocide resolution is a pure and simple case of
profiting from the denial of the murder of 1.5 million men, women
and children – a short-sighted policy which only serves to fuel
greater instability in the region."

Chevron’s comments came as the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF)
joined with Armenian Americans and human rights activists in
kicking off a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about Turkish
Government coercion of the energy giant and some five multinational
corporations currently lobbying against Armenian Genocide
legislation (H.Res.252). The resolution, spearheaded by
Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), George Radanovich (R-CA), and
Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone and Mark
Kirk, has over 125 cosponsors.

Rep. Schiff chastised Chevron and the other corporations for
opposing the Genocide resolution, noting "I don’t think any major
American corporation should be lobbying against the genocide
recognition and become complicit in another country’s genocide
denial," Schiff told the Glendale News-Press. "I don’t think that’s
being a good corporate citizen. It’s certainly putting profits in
front of the public interest."

The protests began on July 22, 2009 at the Chevron headquarters in
San Ramon, California and local stations across the U.S., including
sites in Burbank, La Crescenta, Pasadena, San Fernando Valley,
Orange County, Glendale, Fresno, as well as Bethesda, MD, Orlando,
FL and Philadelphia, PA. An online letter writing campaign to
Chevron CEO Dave O’Reilly was launched in conjunction with the
protests, urging the company to publicly apologize for profiting
from Genocide denial. A copy of the letter was hand delivered to
the Chevron corporate headquarters by protesters in San Ramon.

Concerned about public response to their action, Chevron’s
corporate headquarters had alerted their franchisees about the AYF
led protest prior to the campaign launch. Washington, DC area
protesters also reported that Chevron had sent their own
photographers to the protest.

Protests were covered in local newspapers, including the Orlando
Sentinel, where AYF Keri chapter member Raffi Mekhdjavakian explained
"It’s contradictory of Chevron to have their motto ‘The Chevron
way’ and say that they are responsible and ethical when they are
lobbying against a human rights situation," said Raffi
Mekhdjavakian, an Oviedo resident with the Armenian youth group.
"If [the genocide] is denied it’s as if it never happened."

Mekhdjavakian referrred to statements on Chevron’s website –
— where the corporation
prides itself on running the company the "Chevron Way" –
responsibly, ethically and with respect to human rights. However,
on June 13th, the Associated Press revealed that Chevron and 5 other
multinational energy and defense corporations, including BAE
Systems, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, United Technologies and
Goodrich have filed disclosure forms with the Senate and House
"quietly" lobbying against H.Res.252 the Armenian Genocide
Resolution, among a wide array of legislation. In first quarter of
2009 alone, the six firms have spent some $14 million in
Congressional lobby efforts. This is in addition to the over $3
million spent annually by the Government of Turkey to block U.S.
affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, a cornerstone of their
foreign policy priorities.

"Clearly, Turkey will spare to no expense to cover up its dark
past,"said AYF Western Region Chairman Vache Thomassian. "Coercing
corporations like Chevron to do its dirty deeds is just the latest
tactic – exporting genocide denial to our neighborhoods, one gas
station at a time."

Complete information about Chevron’s lobbying efforts – including
lobby disclosures forms filed with the Senate and House – are
posted at A Facebook group calling
attention to the effort has over 1300 activists.