ANCA Capitol Hill Visits Include Convicted Felon and Armenian Terror Leader Topalian

In an apparent motion of condoning a convicted felon who U.S. authorities linked to at least four terrorist attacks, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) included Mourad Topalian prominently in its recent meetings with Members of Congress. According to ANCA press releases and other Armenian web sites, last week Topalian was part of an ANCA-Western Region delegation visit to Capitol Hill.

About Mourad Topalian

In the indictment, Federal authorities connected Topalian to at least four terrorist attacks on U.S. soil: the October 12, 1980 bombing at the U.N. Plaza in New York City; the June 3, 1981 bombing at the Anaheim Convention Center in Los Angeles; the November 20, 1981 bombing of the Turkish Consulate building in Beverly Hills; and the October 22, 1982, attempted assassination of the Turkish Honorary Consul`s office building in Philadelphia.

Topalian was a leader in the Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide (JCAG), the militant wing of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), for which ANCA serves as foreign agent in the United States. According to the indictment, Topalian recruited bombers and assassins from Armenian American youth, and provided weapons demonstrations at Armenian Youth Federation summer camps in Franklin, Massachusetts. He also sent Armenian youth to Beirut to train in weapons and explosive tactics.

U.S. Marshals uncovered Topalian`s unsavory past when they connected him to a storage locker in Bedford, Ohio that hid moldering high explosives as well as machine guns and ammunition. The storage locker was just 250 feet from a children`s day care center and also dangerously close to a gas station, elementary school and public highway. Federal authorities estimated that had the explosives ignited, the explosion would have killed at least 500 people, mostly children and highway drivers.

Topalian eagerly pleaded guilty to a three-year prison sentence and three years of further supervised release -- a plea bargain that would not have been accepted if it had been made after the attacks of September 11, 2001. United States v. Mourad Topalian, Case No. 1:99, CR 358, www.fbi.org. The ATAA appeared at Topalian`s sentencing hearing and submitted a Victim`s Impact Statement with supporting affidavits of victims of Armenian terrorism and hate crimes. The Victims Impact Statement, prepared and delivered by Constitutional Law expert Bruce Fein, and International Law Fulbright Scholar and ATAA President-Elect, Gunay Evinch, is available at www.ataa.org.

About Armenian Terrorism

Since 1974, Armenian terrorists have committed over 230 attacks, killing over 70 and seriously injuring over 550 innocent people, as well as causing hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage worldwide, including in the United States. ANCA apparently feels no remorse for these crimes committed in the name of anti-Turkish hatred. In 1982, ANCA-WR Representative Leon Kirakosian condemned the efforts of the FBI to arrest Armenian terrorists as "dirty work against the Armenian people."

Two main groups compose the Armenian terror network: the Marxist, Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) and the ultranationalist JCAG. Both ASALA and JCAG have claimed responsibility for mentioned attacks.

ANCA Today

In 2000, ANCA presented Mourad Topalian with the "Freedom Award" for his "dedication to advancing the Armenian cause," praising his "unique brand of leadership in driving forward and promoting Armenian history and the cause of the Armenian nation." Unique indeed. ANCA`s adulation of Topalian did not cease after his conviction. ANCA sponsored charity events in honor of his legal defense fund and later welcomed him back into the fold without a word of public censure.

ANCA`s condoning of Topalian`s crimes and Armenian terrorism present a grave concern to American society. The legitimization of violence and hate crimes by some Armenian organizations and by Armenia, who recruits former JCAG and ASALA terrorists to its military and militias in western Azerbaijan, creates a chilling effect on dialogue, and should be carefully monitored by the authorities and policy makers.

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