Thursday, June 14, 2007

“Internet Slanderer's Identity Revealed by Favorite Victim”

June 11, 2007
Hetq Online, Armenia
By Ruben Izmailyan

According to the recent discovery by Taner Akcam, the author of perhaps the most vicious anti-Armenian website on the web is an accomplished Turkish-American cartoonist. Hiding under the pseudonym of “Holdwater” was Murad Gumen who for several years has run the infamous website (TAT). Besides spreading anti-Armenian rhetoric and at times comparing Armenians to rodents, while bitterly denying the notion of an Armenian Genocide, the site is also famous for belittling and vilifying some of the most notable scholars and individuals that have spoken or written about it. Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel, historians Richard Hovhanissian, Vahakn Dadrian, genocide scholar Israel Charny and many others have been subject to accusations of bias, incompetence, bribery, promoting “Armenian propaganda” and other similar misdeeds.

But one of the biggest recipients of Holdwater's finger pointing is Taner Akcam himself, a renown human rights activist and Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, who has authored numerous prominent works on the Armenian Genocide and is considered to be one of the top experts on the Genocide. On Holdwater's website Mr. Akcam is called a convicted terrorist, and referred to as a “Turkish Turncoat” along with other Turks who recognize the Genocide or significantly deviate from the Turkish Government's position of unconditional denial. Labeling Akcam a “former terrorist leader” and an enemy of America “responsible for the deaths of American citizens,” Mr. Gumen attempts to discredit and disrepute Akcam and others who refuse the official position of Ankara. Doing so behind a veil of anonymity, until recently, allowed Gumen to indiscriminately and shamefully slander dozens of other individuals including various historians, academics, politicians, activists, ambassadors and students.

According to Holdwater, the purpose of the site is to “provide The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide ” and that TAT, unlike other Turkish sites, attempts to offer information from “impartial Westerners” and Armenian sources as well as Turkish ones. Paradoxically these “impartial” Western individuals include such “scholars” as the late Samuel Weems, a disbarred Arkansas judge best known for his book Armenia: The Secrets of a Christian Terrorist State . His unique survey of Armenia makes such claims, as “The number one export of Armenia is terrorism.” Considering that Mr. Weems is one of Holdwater's favorite “scholars” it is easy to see the substance behind Tall Armenian Tale . Using Mr. Weems' radically anti-Armenian views, Holdwater attacks virtually every credible person and publication that speaks of the destruction of the Ottoman Armenians. Tall Armenian Tale contains an astounding amount of information from scholars in the mold of Mr. Weems and is considered to be the most comprehensive site of its kind, as it gathers many of the most virulent and preposterous arguments for Genocide denial into one site, while ridiculing virtually every credible source on the matter. Quotes from this site are used habitually on anti-Armenian websites, forums and groups, giving Mr. Holdwater and his site a cult-like following among those actively denying the Armenian Genocide.

In one of his articles Holdwater, otherwise notoriously discreet and careful to not reveal his true identity, made reference to correspondence with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He did so without realizing that the personal communication contained in that file was in the public domain. Thus Taner Akcam was able to trace the identity of the man who anonymously headed a massive smear campaign against Akcam and many others.

Mr. Akcam's discovery represents a victory not because Murad Gumen will likely never be allowed to make another Mickey Mouse comic, but because Mr. Akcam's quest for the truth has brought Holdwater and Akcam onto an even playing field.

Thus since Holdwater is no longer anonymous he can not spread unfounded lies and harass people any more . He has since removed the webpage where the ill-advised reference to public correspondence was made. Perhaps Mr. Gumen is trying to cover his tracks , but it is far too late to cover up all the dishonesty, sleaziness and hateful rhetoric that made him a favorite tool of anti-Armenian elements and deniers of the Genocide.

Apparently Mr. Gumen is guided by the very principles that he tried to defend – the favorite of Turkey's government – the practice of deleting incriminating evidence and distorting reality. Like Turkey's government, he hopes that everyone will move on and forget what happened, instead of honorably facing the truth and its consequences.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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