Search Results for 'Mihailovich'


*****SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM*****

Last Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian, the WWII O.S.S. radioman who risked his life in Operation Halyard to help rescue more than 500 U.S. pilots who were shot down over Yugoslavia. This was done with brave assistance from the Tuskegee Airmen. The operation was part of the largest WWII rescue from behind enemy lines, and since it couldn’t have happened without the Serbs, the story has been suppressed and remains largely unknown to Americans.

Few people can boast Jibby’s patriotic credentials, yet when our fighting men and women were sent on a mission in 1999 to bomb Serbs, he didn’t shy away from exclaiming, “I love the Serbs!”

In a 2008 mention of Jibby, I attempted to shame America for bombing G.I. Joe when it bombed the Serbs, as the Marine Corps action figure in a series honoring Medal of Honor recipients was based on Mitchell Paige, son of Serbian immigrants. In the Battle of Guadalcanal on the Solomon Islands, Paige had operated four machine guns to single-handedly stop an entire Japanese regiment after the rest of the platoon had been killed or wounded.

But it turns out that not only did the Americans and Brits lead the way to bombing G.I. Joe in the 90s — they also bombed James Bond. Because, as Bond creator Ian Fleming himself told newspapers in the early 60s, James Bond is actually Dusan Popov.

In this old TV special detailing the parallels between James Bond and real-life spy Dusan Popov, we see Popov on “The Mike Douglas Show” (1961-1982) telling us how he — born in a part of Serbia that belonged to Austro-Hungary, and growing up in Germany — was approached by the Nazis to become a spy. He agreed, and went immediately to the British to become a double agent, ultimately helping implement a key deception called the Doublecross which was decisive in the Allies winning the war. Popov and Fleming knew each other well, because the latter was working at a high level in British Naval Intelligence, with whom Popov was cooperating (making it more likely MI5 than MI6 that he worked for).

Though Popov constantly downplayed the connection, a number of Bond scenarios had their origins in missions performed by Popov who, unlike other spies with inconspicuous covers, was a suave playboy who dated, among others, actress Simone Simon.

What most people don’t know about James Bond — I mean Dusan Popov — is that in 1941 he warned the FBI about an impending attack on Pearl Harbor. His German handler told him that Germany wanted intelligence about Britain’s successful air bombing of the port city of Taranto, Italy, and Popov learned that Japan, not yet in the war, wanted to repeat the success on another seaport base. “I was then asked very urgently to go to Pearl Harbor and find out certain information to pass to the Germans so they would pass it to the Japanese,” Popov told host Mike Douglas.

The Germans had given him a Japanese questionnaire to fill out, asking a series of detailed questions about the nature of the port facilities, supply and fuel dumps, ammo dumps, air fields, ships and where they were berthed at Pearl Harbor. In other words, the questions revealed detailed operational planning.

Popov handed the information to the FBI on August 12, 1941, almost four months before the attack, and flew to America to carry out the mission. But unlike the Brits, who had so much confidence in Popov that he was the only spy allowed to meet with his German handlers, the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover didn’t trust the flashy playboy — and Popov found his apartment bugged.

He was frustrated that his warning about Pearl Harbor wasn’t being taken seriously. Not only did the FBI fail to act on it, it stymied him by refusing him permission to go to Hawaii to build up his legend for the Germans as an agent with access.

This, of course, could have something to do with the increasingly likely possibility that the U.S. government didn’t act on the intelligence precisely because the president was looking for an excuse to bring Americans into a war he had promised not to involve them in.

The fact that James Bond was an ethnic Serb trying to save American lives adds some subtext to this 2009 L.A. Times article:

Serbian spy’s trial lifts cloak on his CIA alliance March 1, 2009

As Milosevic’s intelligence chief, Jovica Stanisic is accused of setting up genocidal death squads. But as a valuable source for the CIA, an agency veteran says, he also ‘did a whole lot of good.’

By Greg Miller

…It was here in 1992, as the former Yugoslavia was erupting in ethnic violence, that a wary CIA agent made his way toward the park’s gazebo and shook hands with a Serbian intelligence officer.

Jovica Stanisic had a cold gaze and a sinister reputation. He was the intelligence chief for Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, and regarded by many as the brains of a regime that gave the world a chilling new [sic] term: “ethnic cleansing.”

For eight years, Stanisic was the CIA’s main man in Belgrade…he shared details on the inner workings of the Milosevic regime. He provided information on the locations of NATO hostages, aided CIA operatives in their search for grave sites and helped the agency set up a network of secret bases in Bosnia.

At the same time, Stanisic was setting up death squads for Milosevic that carried out a genocidal [sic] campaign…Now facing a trial at The Hague that could send him to prison for life, Stanisic has called in a marker with his American allies. In an exceedingly rare move, the CIA has submitted a classified document to the court that lists Stanisic’s contributions and attests to his helpful role…

Stanisic has pleaded not guilty, and denies any role in creating the squads or even being aware of the crimes they committed. [Probably because there weren’t any such “death squads.”]

In that memo, Stanisic portrays himself as someone who sought to moderate Milosevic, and who worked extensively with the CIA to contain the crisis.

…He wore dark suits and sunglasses, a Balkan James Bond.

That’s funny, since James Bond was a Balkan James Bond.

…Vlado Dragicevic, who served for years as Stanisic’s deputy. “We never committed acts of genocide. On the contrary, we were trying to stop that.”

CIA officers who served in the region said that they had assumed Stanisic was no choirboy, but they never saw evidence that he was involved in war crimes. Instead, they viewed him as a key ally in a situation spinning rapidly out of control.

But Stanisic also drew boundaries. He never took payment from the CIA, worked with the agency on operations or took steps that he would have considered a blatant betrayal of his boss.

…Well after his secret meetings had started, Stanisic persuaded Milosevic to let him open contacts with the CIA as a back channel to the West.

In the letter to The Hague, submitted in 2004, the CIA describes Stanisic’s efforts to defuse some of the most explosive events of the Bosnian war.

In spring 1993, at CIA prodding, Stanisic pressured Ratko Mladic, military commander of the breakaway Serb republic in Bosnia, to briefly stop the shelling of Sarajevo. [Notice here the familiar unwitting admissions that these Serbian monsters aren’t quite monsters.]

By then, the Clinton administration was engaged in an all-out diplomatic push to end the war. Stanisic accompanied Milosevic to Dayton, Ohio, for peace talks, then returned to Serbia to carry out key pieces of the accord.

It was left to Stanisic to get the president of Bosnia’s Serb republic, Radovan Karadzic, to sign a document pledging to leave office. And Stanisic helped the CIA establish a network of bases in Bosnia to monitor the cease-fire.

Asked whether Stanisic was capable of committing war crimes, [CIA Bosnia station chief Doug] Smith replied, “I think he would do as little bad as he could.”

At the time, CIA Director John M. Deutch was trying to clean up the agency’s image by cracking down on contacts with human rights violators. Years later, the “Deutch rules” were cited as a reason the agency hadn’t done better penetrating groups such as Al Qaeda.

But Deutch had no problems with Stanisic. He invited the Serbian to CIA headquarters in 1996, and an itinerary of the visit indicates that Stanisic got a warm welcome.

The Serbian spy chief was taken to hear jazz at the Blues Alley club in Georgetown, Va., and driven to Maryland’s eastern shore for a bird hunt. Deutch even presented Stanisic with a 1937 Parker shotgun, a classic weapon admired by collectors.

When Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic — who had sent Milosevic to The Hague — was assassinated in 2003, Stanisic was arrested and detained for three months. Then, without explanation, he too was sent to The Hague. […]

Back to the ironies, insults and betrayals relevant to James Bond being Serbian. Adding to the irony, as well as insult to injury, Camp Bondsteel occupying Serbian land — the largest U.S. military base on foreign soil since Vietnam and the ex post facto ‘benefit’ of savaging the region and swarming it with jihadists — is named after Sergeant James Bondsteel. (That is, after stealing James Bond’s historic heartland and killing his people, we’ve occupied it with a James Bondsteel base.)

The next ironic insult comes as a factoid I found in a eulogy for Arthur Jibilian, published a few weeks after his passing a year ago this month. Remember the recurring Bond villain “Jaws,” played by Richard Kiel? Well, the same actor was cast as another “villain”: as Serbian “Nazi collaborator” general “Drazak,” based on Draza Mihailovich who helped Jibilian rescue hundreds of U.S. airmen at the price of Germans burning down the Serbian villages under his command. It is to Mihailovich’s public rehabilitation that Jibby dedicated his life. The 1978 film in question, “Force 10 from Navarone,” fits in with the anti-Serb movie motif which I’ve chronicled occasionally — and which, it’s safe to assume, is influenced by a large number of real WWII Nazis who have planted themselves in Hollywood, also known as Croatians. For good measure, Bond babe Barbara Bach — who rose to fame thanks to Bond/Popov (she was the lead femme in “The Spy Who Loved Me”) — was also cast in “Force 10.” That is, the year after we met her in a Bond film — without, of course, knowing that the whole series is based on Serbian heroism — she was in a film demonizing a Serbian hero.

The Jibilian eulogy from which I gleaned the “Force 10″ information reads as follows:

“ME AND JIBBY” by Sam Subotich

Well, how do I begin? My father, Bozidar (”Robert”) Subotich was in the U.S. Navy in WWII and always talked about General Mihailovich and the gallant Chetniks. He saved many articles, bought books, and, in general, was always looking for answers as to the truth of what really happened back in his country of birth. He instilled that in me, and there started my lifelong quest for answers.

When the communists took control of Yugoslavia after WWII, their lies never seemed to end. I was mystified. These lies continued on all fronts. One prime example was the 1978 movie “Force 10 from Navarone” starring Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford and Richard Kiel. This movie was based on a book by Alistair MacLean. It showed the “collaborationist Chetniks” as being under German control and led by “General Drazak” (note the “k”) portrayed by Richard Kiel (aka: “Jaws” from the James Bond movies), and this really boiled my blood, as this movie even portrayed Chetniks killing American airmen! How could this lie [and inversion] be allowed?!

The “Freedom of Information Act” and the release of previously classified information regarding General Mihailovich’s Legion of Merit Medal, which was posthumously awarded him in 1948 by President Truman, along with the continued outreach by the rescued airmen of “Operation Halyard”, especially Major Richard L. Felman, whom I was proud to call my friend, fueled and aided my quest. It wasn’t until Aleksandra Rebic and her father had an outstanding event in April 1993, at the Congress Hotel in Chicago to honor the 100th birthday of General Mihailovich, that my quest gained a permanent foothold. This is when I knew it was going to be a lifelong goal to pursue the truth and make it known. Even historians with Masters Degrees are not aware of the “Halyard Mission”, the remarkable event in our history which was the essence of this quest for truth and justice. Since then, I have written hundreds of letters to various groups, politicians, and publications in support of the truth and to inspire the establishment of a monument to General Mihailovich in Washington D.C. as a reflection of American gratitude for all that Mihailovich did for the Allies in WWII. The late Senator Strom Thurmond was one of our Senators who really gave his support to the House Bill which was initiated on behalf of this effort, only to be told “No, we already have too many statues.” Bills were initiated on behalf of this cause in both the House and the Senate, but the effort never came to fruition due to “political considerations”.

It was really in these times that I sought out my heroes such as Major Richard L. Felman, Captain Nick Lalich, local Ravna Gora Chetniks, and especially OSS radio man Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian who lived in nearby Fremont, Ohio. Though Art did not attend the Chicago celebration, I knew that nothing was going to stop me from meeting him and welcoming him to the Serbian community here in America. Arthur had a story to tell, and I was going to make sure it was told. So, in the spring of 1993, Art and I corresponded via letters and telephone calls numerous times, but it wasn’t until we met several times at my sister’s restaurant, “Tommy’s”, in nearby Sylvania, Ohio with his lovely wife Jo, that this smiling, gentle man, and my American hero, would be embedded in my heart forever. Later, I know I was in his heart too, as he presented me with 2 gold coins that he received during his trip to Serbia in 2005 to honor General Mihailovich. It was then that they presented the General’s daughter “Gordana” with the “Legion of Merit” Medal that had been awarded to General Mihailovich posthumously and “secretly” in 1948. Unfortunately, influenced by our State Department, there was little media attention given to this historical event in 2005 as they did not want to compromise the current talks [betrayal] on Kosovo.

My wife Susan, who is Armenian like Arthur, has a grandmother who knew the Jibilians and thinks her sister dated Art. Grandma is 97 years old. It was then that our Serbian-Armenian ties got even stronger, and the man I had called “Jibby” became “Uncle Arthur”…During these “early years” in our friendship, I told Arthur about the Tuskegee Airmen and their contributions to the Halyard Mission Rescue Operation in 1944 Yugoslavia. I also met with one of them, Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, author of “Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free”. As a WWII P-51 pilot, Lt. Col. Jefferson was not even aware of the extent of these escort missions, or their assistance in the massive evacuations conducted by the Serbs loyal to General Mihailovich.

I wrote about Uncle Arthur to both of our church publications and wrote to numerous historical societies, aviation groups and magazines with limited success. Most of the politicians I wrote to responded quite similarly with, “Thank you for your letters, as we are all for helping our Vets.” It was the Serbian community who really supported, and fell in love with Arthur. Our “Jibilian Legions” grew through the years, but I would like to especially thank two of them: Aleksandra Rebic and Mim Bizic, who are relentless and tireless in their efforts to make the truth known.

One of the biggest highs and also the biggest lows for “Me and Jibby” was in July 2005, when I met Lt. Col. Oliver North at the USS Indianapolis (CA35) reunion. I told him all about the Halyard Mission, Uncle Arthur’s photo collection and his documentations. Lt. Col. North not only contacted Arthur but flew him and a couple of other rescued airmen to the FOX studios in New York to film a documentary segment to be aired on his famous TV show: “Oliver North’s War Stories”. Could this be our big break? We got word of the date that the show would air. How exciting! Both “Uncle Arthur” and I told everyone we could think of! Friends, family, historical groups, etc… As we set our recorders and watched with eager excitement and anticipation, nothing about the Halyard Mission was presented. Art was bitterly disappointed. They said it was a “scheduling problem”, and that the Halyard Mission presentation would possibly be shown that fall. It never was. My guess was that Lt. Col. North was just following the State Department’s wishes like a good soldier…

One of my favorite memories of Uncle Arthur was on Flag Day, June 14th, 2008, at Ohio’s Metcalf Field near Toledo. The Toledo chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the Yankee Air Force, (of whom I’m a life member #2151WR), honored our dear Arthur with a fly-in aboard our beautifully restored B-17 bomber called “Yankee Lady”. With honor guards present and 512 American Flags on the ground for each of “Halyard’s” rescued American airmen who were evacuated from Yugoslavia in 1944, a fitting tribute was given to Arthur with speeches and awards…

As letters turned into emails, Uncle Arthur and I continued our mutual fight to honor General Draza Mihailovich. In 2009, in one of the great highlights of his long, incredible life, Arthur Jibilian was nominated for the coveted Congressional Medal of Honor, and we were ecstatic! As Art would often say: “Sam, this is not about me; this is about General Mihailovich and the Serbian people, and if I can get the Congressional Medal of Honor, think of the weight this would bring, although I must admit, I am absolutely thrilled to have even been nominated.” Arthur died on March 21, 2010 with the quest for the medal still pending…

I’m proud of Uncle Arthur for all his efforts and persistence to promote his story and this EPIC adventure called The Halyard Mission. Whether he was speaking at VFW halls, American Legion halls, Air Shows, Reunions, Parades, Radio Shows or the many Veteran events that he participated in, he spoke eloquently, first hand, and always with a smile. I will really miss all his emails informing me of his latest quests, yet, aside from his family and us, his friends, it is the proponents of the Halyard Mission and the Serbian people who will really feel the loss.

I’m going to close with what has been perhaps the most unpleasant learning experience in looking into U.S. behavior and betrayals in the Balkans. Whereas Pearl Harbor was an attack that was allowed to happen, the U.S. has also engaged in the made-famous-by-Muslims art of staged atrocity. Reading the paragraph below, one wonders about potential U.S. involvement in the notorious Sarajevo Breadline Massacre that Muslims and therefore the West blamed on Serbs (like the subsequent marketplace massacres of 1994 and 1995):

Posted Sept. 17, 2010: Alpha Bravo Delta Guide to American Airborne Forces (foreword by Colonel Jeffery Bearor) - NY, Alpha-Penguin, 2004

… The CIA also had an expert sniper and trainer of snipers and bombers in Bosnia in 1992, when the war broke out[,] M/Sgt Lawrence Freedman…Do you think he might just have known Sarajevo’s market places and bread queues? Market place bombs and soft civilian targets are a modus operandi of Hezb’ollah’s “War of the Weak”…According to W. Thomas Smith[,] Freedman as a teen-ager was reported to have exhibited sociopathic traits. He is said to have terrified his high school teachers. He is even said, armed with bow and arrow, to have robbed a grocery store. In Somalia [in December 1992] Freedman’s 4×4 ran over a landmine, the official CIA story goes. (At first the Agency denied that Old Sarge was their man.)

Part of a Jan. 1993 Chicago Tribune obituary for Freedman — known to friends, family and cohorts as “Super Jew” — is viewable here.

Of course, we know that Bosnia was repeated in Kosovo, where the CIA helped KLA terrorists stage the Racak “massacre” to trigger a U.S.-led NATO war ultimatum for Serbia, as well as an exodus of refugees. Similarly, we helped put together a media blitz for the Albanian “Freezer Truck Hoax,” and reading a piece titled “CIA Trains Contras to Kill Civilians,” I’m reminded of an item I read last year (but would have to dig to find it again), which surprised me when I read that U.S. minders suggested that the KLA maximize Albanian civilian casualties. The tactic was employed throughout the 1998-99 war, and seemed attempted again during the March 2004 riots when “the Albanians put women and children in front of our barracks as ‘human shields’ so that our vehicles couldn’t get out,” as a former German soldier in Kosovo explained.

British spy agency MI6, meanwhile, joined German and American intelligence agencies in assisting the KLA, in the mid-90s even sending Muslim terrorist operatives to engage in protests and terrorism in Bosnia and Kosovo. In other words, MI6 betrayed 007.

In 1964, Ian Fleming died on August 12, the same date that his Serb spy hero warned us of the Japanese invasion 23 years earlier. Ever since Popov tried to save American lives and Mihailovich succeeded in doing so, all we can do in return is take Serbian ones.

*******UPDATE*******

A few more details about Force 10 From Navarone, and more. I stumbled upon a June 2009 email from a young reader named Justin, which I’d forgotten about when writing this blog:

The 1978 movie Force 10 from Navarone, starring, ironically, Harrison Ford, Carl Weathers, (Apollo Creed from the Rocky movie series) and Robert Shaw, depicts the Chetniks as racists and Nazi collaborators. The Captain Drazak character in the film, (played by Richard Kiel) is depicted as a “racist” in the movie. He uses a racist term against the black soldier. It wasn’t the n word of course. He says to the black soldier, “Hello blackie.” Then the black character punches him in the face, has a fight with him and wins. This quickly earns him respect among the “partisans.” Then the “partisan” soldier, Drazak, pulls on his hat insignia and reveals his Chetnik insignia while trying to hide his partisan red star communist insignia then says, “We are Chetniks, not stinking Partisans! The Germans, they are our friends!” while speaking in a psuedo-Serbian accent.

The main characters were Allied commandos who were parachuted over Yugoslavia and went on a commando mission to destroy a bridge in Yugoslavia. The movie ends when the dam a few hundred yards down the river is blown up by the Allied commandos. There was also a scene, were a boy wearing a Chetnik subara hat thumbs his nose at the Allied commandos. It was an awful potrayal of the Serb Chetniks, but I assume the producers had to do that in order for the film to be filmed in Yugoslavia at that time…The armed forces were segregated at the time, so I wonder how a black man could be in a commando team, while being in the Medical Corps, which was a rear area behind the lines, logistics job…I mean just look at Ustasha, for example. In reality, they were everything the movie said about the Chetniks and more…

Behind Enemy Lines was awful to say the least. It was another negative Hollywood potrayal of the Serbs. It depicts them as genocidal Nazi-like maniacs with concentration camps like in World War II and arbitrarily murdering Bosnian Muslims because they were Muslims. I am ashamed to say that, until I found out about Muslim atrocities against Serbs, that I thought that it was a great movie. [In the movie,] Miroslav Lokar and his men herded Bosnian Muslims by the side of the road and massacred them all and buried them in mass graves. It was awful, I had seen…Bosnian Muslims doing the same to the Serbs, with Naser Oric having a beheading video in which he beheaded many civilians and talking about it as if on a hunting trip. This was from the Toronto Star newspaper. I saw a video clip where a Serb soldier was herded into the woods, murdered, shot in the back of the head, I assume, and beheaded. I heard of Muslims who beheaded people in droves and they have photos all over the intenet of them doing it, with one taking place around, ironically, Jasenovac, in Croatia. The victims’s name was Blagoje Blagojevic. The photograph depicted a Bosnian Mujahideen fighter from Saudi Arabia holding his severed head like a hunting trophy with him smiling for the camera. It was just plain awful.

The potrayals of Serbs I got from TV and movies were negative, awful, and stereotypical. I saw them frequently when I was a kid. It wasn’t until I found your blog and many others, like Srpska Mreza, and Francisco Gil-White, and others that I realized that Serbs were victims and not “aggressors.” They had lived there in Bosnia for 1,400 years and were called “aggressors” by the media, ironically at a time when The Prophet Mohammed was starting to implement Islam, the very religion that would drive them off their land….They were depicted as being “aggressors” for defending Kosovo, too, which is land they own and is part of their territory. So, how they be called aggressors?

Well Julia, this is what I know about the Balkans and depictions of the Serbs and Chetniks in popular culture from what I’ve seen in the TV and movies. All of it’s mostly negative of course. How Hollywood loves Islam and bashes Christianity, including the Serbs. This very attitude of our politicians and media was thrust upon them and was the reason, main reason, I believe the Serbs were bombed twice by Democrat and European politicians who hate Christianity and love Islam. The left has an insatiable and sickening love of Islam and of course they were going to bomb the Serbs. Of course, they’d bomb Israel if they could get away with it….

World War II hero Arthur Jibilian, the sailor who stepped up to risk his life as an OSS radioman in the rescue of hundreds of downed U.S. pilots from behind enemy lines, passed away yesterday, Sunday March 21, 2010.

Soon after, he was partying so hard with his beloved friends, Serbian general Dragoljub Mihailovic and U.S. Major Richard Felman, that I could hear them as I tried to fall asleep last night — all the way from Paradise’s highest plane, commonly known as Heaven.

No doubt Jibby will continue his fight to let the world know the meaning of the name Draza Mihailovic, with even greater effectiveness, from where he is now.

Aleksandra Rebic, a writer and daughter of a Serbian-American military veteran, gave Art a nice tribute on her blog, including these pictures of what I believe to be physically the most adorable man I’ve ever seen:


Arthur and Aleksandra

Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian: April 30, 1923 - March 21, 2010

The New Haven Register in Connecticut, along with Congregation Mishkan Israel, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, and the Southern Connecticut State University’s Ethnic Heritage Center were the latest victims to fall for the WWII-Albania-Saving-Jews PR that’s been on a big push since 2005. While I’ve explained before what the problem is with this approach (the end goal is to get Israel on board with Kosovo independence), there were a couple points I neglected to make. First, let’s remember that far more Germans saved Jews than did Albanians, so Albanian Jew-saves don’t say anything about the Albanians as a people. Second, the propaganda has the reader assuming that the individual Albanian efforts on Jews’ behalf was somehow unique to the region. A contrast to Serbia and Serbs is assumed. Retired Air Force Colonel George Jatras injected the following monkey wrench into this “contrast.” It’s from a July 7, 1997 letter in the Washington Times, in response to a letter by a typical Croatian. Mr. Jatras reveals what the Serbs went through to save not only Jews, but Americans. In return we bombed them on behalf of those who not only declared war on America, but who also turned Americans and Jews in to the Nazis.

…Rather than collaborating with the Nazis as claimed by Mr. Udbinac, Serbian forces under Gen. Mihailovich were loyal to the Allies in WW II and rescued over 500 downed American pilots while at the same time Croats and Muslims were turning our airmen over to the Nazis. Due to disgracefull politics (we did not want to offend our Communist friend, Josef Tito — himself a Croat), our State Department denied the efforts by American pilots to have a monument erected to honor those brave Serbians who sacrificed their lives to rescue them. In his account of the rescue, Major Richard Felman, an American Jew from Tucson, Arizona, recalls, “I watched in horror with binoculars as the Germans executed the entire village of Serbians who refused to disclose my hideaway with Draza Mihailovich’s forces.”

On June 9, 1994, The Times carried an open letter to President Clinton from Major Felman and his fellow survivors deploring the bombing in Bosnia where Americans were killing “ the very Serbian people who saved our lives while at the same time helping some of the people who were shooting at us and turning us over to the Germans.”

Mr. Udbinac’s accusation of Serbian anti-Semitism is even more egregious considering Serbian families took in Jewish children as their own in order to protect them from the horrors of Croatia’s death camps. Upon being discovered protecting these children, entire Serbian families were executed.

John Ranz, Chairman of the Survivors of Buchenwald, USA writes, “In the Serbian mountains Jews were welcomed by the Serbian partisans with open arms, and the 5,000 that survived in Yugoslavia survived among the partisans. The Serbs protected them until the end of the war at the risk of endangering their own lives.” […]

Reader Frank Zavisca, of Shreveport, Louisiana, has his own problems with the Albanian approach:

I am always suspect when people bring up past atrocities, or past good deeds, to support an agenda.

There are MANY stories (mostly untold) about Europeans of all nations risking their life to save those targeted by the Nazis, with great risk to themselves. I am certain Albanians did this — why would a few not? Not everyone lost their moral courage under gunfire.

Aside from sentimental value, it has no value in the present. Most of the “players” have long since gone, and those living there presently have no virtue passed on from past good deeds. It is not relevant. It’s just “spin.”

When people still love the past, there isn’t much future. Likely many of the old farts in Kosovo would feel the same about the “good old days” when the Nazis were in charge.

Indeed.

In January 2009, the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle became the latest of the Jewish sucker press to swallow and print the propaganda:

…Although there were not too many Jews living in Albania at the time, many Jews fled to Albania in search of safety. During World War II, there were only two countries in Europe “that actively refused to cooperate with the Nazis: Denmark and Albania,” said Gershman…[O]ne Albanian told him earnestly, ‘“I would sooner have my son killed than break my besa.’ It’s more than strong.” …The honor of helping someone in need is so prized, Gershman explained, the Albanian people actually fought over who would take the Jews in. [Indeed, they probably had shootouts over it, resulting in blood feuds, which are linked to besa.] And, Gershman continued, there is no evidence of any Jew ever being turned over to the Nazis by an Albanian.

Actually, 10-12 Jews were turned over in Albania itself, and several hundred were rounded up and turned over by Albanians in Kosovo. So that last sentence, along with the claim that Albania was one of only two European countries that actively refused to cooperate with the Nazis, ignores the enthusiasm with which Albania greeted the Italian-fascist invasion as opposed to any kind of resistance — because in return for cooperating Albania was promised Kosovo and western Macedonia. Albanians were so grateful that they created the SS Skanderbeg Division for the Germans. Also being brushed under the rug is the Albanian participation in the invasion of Greece and the Fascist organization that exists in Kosovo to this day, Balli Kombetar, which ran the north while the Communists ran the south. Many of the northern Albanians switched sides when they saw that the Fascists weren’t going to win. Historian Carl Savich described one of the roles of the Balli Kombetar in WWII:

Christopher Simpson, in Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and its Effects on the Cold War, noted that relatively few [Albanian] Jews were captured and killed but “not for lack of trying by the Balli Kombetar organization and the Albanian SS” which had orchestrated “a series of anti-Semitic purges that rounded up about 800 people, the majority of whom were deported and murdered.”

In closing, it’s worth pointing out that all these newspapers writing about the beauty of the Albanian honor code “Besa” are irresponsibly omitting the fact that Besa is actually this: “[A] murderer must request security from the victim’s family — in the form of a word of honour known as “besa” — that he will not be shot if he steps outside his home.” That is to say, Besa is linked to the violent blood code that accounts for there being thousands of children in Albania and Kosovo who are confined to their fort-like houses, unable to go outside for either school or play, because the relative of someone whom their relative killed is waiting for an opportunity to take a life in return, as per the Besa-dictated revenge.

I didn’t have a chance last month to mark the passing of a great American, and great Serb. Alexander Dragnich, whom I had the honor of interviewing for a story in 1999, passed away on August 10th at the age of 97. Below is the obituary his family submitted to the Washington Post:

Alex N. Dragnich, 97, a retired professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, died August 10 at the Collington Episcopal retirement community in Bowie, MD.

A specialist in Slavic studies, and an authority on the multinational state known as Yugoslavia from its origins in 1918 to its demise in 2003, Prof. Dragnich was a prolific author. He published his last article, on relations between Serbia and Montenegro, just a few months before he died.

Prof. Dragnich joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in Nashville in 1950, retiring in 1978 after having served as chairman of the political science department from 1964-69. Reflecting his multiple elections to Vanderbilt’s Faculty Council and University Senate, he received the Thomas Jefferson Award in 1970 for “distinguished service to Vanderbilt through extraordinary contributions as a member of the faculty in the councils and government of the university.” He also served as President of the Southern Political Science Association, and Vice-President of the American Political Science Association, during the 1960s. He held the Chester Nimitz Chair at the Naval War College in Newport, RI from 1959-60, and afterwards remained a consultant to the Department of Defense.

He was a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California from 1978-81. He was a Distinguished Lecturer at Washington & Lee University (Lexington, VA) in 1982. Following a brief retirement in Spokane, WA, he settled in Charlottesville, VA where he continued scholarly research and writing. In 1988, he and his late wife became charter residents of the Collington Episcopal retirement community in Bowie, MD. From there, he continued to author books, journal articles, Op-Eds, and a steady stream of letters to the editor. Among his eleven books, Prof. Dragnich is probably best known as the original author of the textbook, Major European Governments (1961), which added more authors and is still in print, and used worldwide, forty-eight years and nine editions later.

Prof. Dragnich became an expert on Yugoslavia during World War II while serving in Washington as a foreign affairs analyst for the Department of Justice and the Office of Strategic Services. Following the war’s end in 1945, he taught at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio until joining the US Foreign Service in 1947. From then until he returned to academia in 1950, he was Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. That experience spawned his first book, a scathing critique of the new communist regime, Tito’s Promised Land, in 1954.

He continued to write on Yugoslavia and Serbia for the rest of his life, including a short monograph written in 1992 for general readership, Serbs and Croats: The Struggle in Yugoslavia, that went through multiple printings. A frequent panelist at Washington policy gatherings, Prof. Dragnich made guest appearances on the then MacNeil/Leher News Hour as the Balkans erupted into conflict. Prof. Dragnich was critical of US foreign policy in the region, believing that the Dayton Accords of 1995 would not have been necessary had the US played a more constructive role in the early stages of Yugolavia’s disintegration. The Serbian Government awarded him the “Yugoslav Star, First Class” in 2002 in recognition of his efforts to foster a positive image of Yugoslavia and Serbia in the United States.

The son of Serbian immigrants from Montenegro, Prof. Dragnich was born in 1912 on his parents’ homestead outside Republic, Washington. When he was nine, the Ferry County truant officer found their log cabin in the mountains and informed his father that education was compulsory in America. He and two siblings entered a rural, one-room schoolhouse not knowing a word of English, the first of their kin to ever sit in a classroom. Although his education was frequently interrupted by Depression-era poverty, including an entire year spent cutting logs and building roads during college, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1938, and completed work on his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley in 1942 (wartime service delayed his Ph.D. until 1945).

A keen gardener whose belief in homegrown vegetables reflected his farming roots, Prof. Dragnich left the growing of flowers to his wife, Adele Jonas Dragnich, who died in 2000.

Survivors include a daughter, Alix Lombardo of New York City, and a son, George Dragnich of Geneva, Switzerland, and three grandchildren, Marisa, Paul, and Alexander. A son, Paul Dragnich, predeceased him.

Aleksandra Rebic also posted the obit on her site, in far more timely fashion than I have, and she closes with a recommendation:

A must read, especially now in the 21st century, is The Saga of Kosovo by Alex Dragnich and Slavko Todorovich, Columbia University Press, New York, 1984. A remarkable book, especially in light of future [subsequent] events.

Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) has introduced a Bill to award the Congressional Medal of Honor to Arthur Jibilian for risking his life to rescue downed U.S. airmen in German-occupied Serbia in 1944.

As usual, only the local TV station WTOL in Ohio has carried this story of national and international proportion.

However, about a week ago there was a huge breakthrough when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran the most extensive bit of history to ever see mainstream print on this subject. I reproduce it in full, since the revelations are stunning, including that Winston Churchill himself said that his biggest mistake in WWII was the way he handled Yugoslavia. We also learn from this article just how much of an “ally” England was to us. And we are introduced to the role here of the Tuskegee Airmen, “the pioneering squadron of black fighter pilots” without whose assistance the rescue would not have been possible. Finally, we learn of an Arab-American colonel named Lynn Farish, thanks to whose insistence on American-run radio operations in Yugoslavia we found out what the Serbs were trying to tell us but the Brits were obstructing: American pilots were alive in enemy territory.

Trying to right a wrong

WWII airmen honored for role in rescue operation
Friday, July 31, 2009
By Jack Kelly, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

OSHKOSH, Wis. — Art Jibilian hoped his presence here at the largest private air show in the world would, in a small way, help right a terrible wrong that had been done so long ago.

Mr. Jibilian, of Fremont Ohio, and surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the pioneering squadron of black fighter pilots, were honored here yesterday at AirVenture 2009 for their roles in Operation Halyard, the greatest rescue of downed American airmen in World War II.

Two former Western Pennsylvania men also played prominent roles in planning and executing that 1944 mission in the former Yugoslavia.

Mr. Jibilian recounted that rescue yesterday to members of the Experimental Aviation Association at the suggestion of Brian McMahon, a Toledo real estate developer and EAA member. He also presented a plaque honoring the black airmen who flew cover while C-47 transport planes landed and took off from a runway hacked out of a mountain by hand.

“This means so much, not for me but for General Mihailovich,” Mr. Jibilian said yesterday, referring to the guerilla leader whose involvement in the rescue was largely suppressed until recent years.

Mr. McMahon said he was fascinated to learn about the former Toledo man’s prominent role in Operation Halyard after picking up a copy of “The Forgotten 500,” a 2007 book by Gregory A. Freeman about the mission.

Mr. McMahon previously arranged for the University of Toledo, from which Mr. Jibilian was graduated in 1951, to honor him. His next target is Hollywood.

“This story would make a heck of a movie,” Mr. McMahon said.

Bold mission

Between Aug. 9 and Dec. 27, 1944, rescuers spirited 512 airmen, most of them Americans, out of the former Yugoslavia under the noses of the Nazis. To accomplish the daring mission, members of the Office of Strategic Services — the forerunner to the CIA — had to fight not just the Germans, but the British, who tried to sabotage their efforts.

Many of the American fliers had been shot down while striking at oilfields in Ploesti, Romania, the principal source of oil for the Nazi war machine.

As the radio operator on the OSS team, Mr. Jibilian, then 21, was crucial to the success of the mission. Even more critical was the involvement of former Western Pennsylvanians George Vujnovich and the late George Musulin.

An Ambridge native who later became an executive with Pan American World Airways, Mr. Vujnovich ran OSS covert operations in Yugoslavia from the 15th Air Force base in Bari, Italy during the war. Mr. Vujnovich wanted to lead the rescue mission himself, but was forbidden to do so.

So he turned to Mr. Musulin, a giant of a man who played tackle for Pitt’s Rose Bowl team in 1936 and later played for the Pittsburgh Steelers before joining the OSS from the Office of Naval Intelligence. After the war, the native of Franklin, Cambria County, joined the CIA, from which he retired in 1974. He died in 1987.

The biggest hero of Operation Halyard, however, was Gen. Draza Mihailovich, the leader of Chetnik guerrillas in Yugoslavia. It was mostly Gen. Mihailovich’s men who assisted American fliers who parachuted from crippled airplanes, and fed and hid them from the Nazis at great risk to themselves. They also helped the fliers and OSS men construct a makeshift runway near Gen. Mihailovich’s headquarters in Pranjane from which they were airlifted to Italy.

But it was Allied policy to deny Gen. Mihailovich and his Chetniks support, or even credit for their contributions to the Allied cause. That’s why the British tried to stymie the mission, and why — after it succeeded — the British and the U.S. State Department insisted it be hushed up.

That policy was chiefly the work of James Klugmann, a Communist mole in the Special Operations Executive, the British counterpart of the OSS.

As an intelligence officer for the Yugoslav section of the SOE, Mr. Klugmann was in a position to invent triumphs for the Communist Partisans, to attribute to the Partisans victories over the Nazis that were actually won by Gen. Mihailovich’s Chetniks, and to fabricate “evidence” of Chetnik collaboration with the Nazis.

“Every time a message came in from Musulin about some success Draza Mihailovich had, (Klugmann) assigned it to the Communists,” Mr. Vujnovich, now 93 and living in New York, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The next day it would be on the BBC.”

Mr. Klugmann was able to censor messages from OSS operatives in Yugoslavia because the OSS relied on British radio operators in the early days of the war. The British had much better radios for clandestine communication and the OSS had few radio operators in the region.

That was why Mr. Jibilian’s arrival was so important to the success of Operation Halyard.

Ideological stew

For Americans, World War II was a fight against Germany, Italy and Japan. In Yugoslavia, things were more complicated.

Yugoslavia was cobbled together from parts of the Austro-Hungarian empire after its collapse at the end of World War I. Its largest population was Serbs, but it also had Croats, Slovenians, Bosnians and Montenegrins, many of whom disliked being in a kingdom ruled by Serbs.

When Germany invaded Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941, the Serbs opposed the invaders. But the Nazis received a friendlier welcome in other parts of Yugoslavia. Although the Royal Yugoslav Army was quickly crushed and surrendered unconditionally on April 17, 1941, Draza Mihailovich, then a colonel, kept on fighting.

Also opposing the Nazis were Communist Partisans under Josip Broz — a Croat [and Slovene] better known by his nom de guerre, Tito — although they didn’t join the fight until after Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Tito wanted to rule a Communist Yugoslavia after beating the Nazis. Gen. Mihailovich, a royalist inclined towards the West, stood in the way.

In November, 1941, the Partisans attacked the Chetniks. From that point, the two guerrilla armies fought each other more than they fought the Germans.

In addition, Gen. Mihailovich found himself in a four-sided civil war. This was the stew of ideological and ethnic hatreds into which Art Jibilian parachuted on March 15, 1944.

“Jibby” had been drafted into the Navy in March, 1943. He was at the Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago learning to be a radio operator, when an OSS recruiter came to visit.

The OSS desperately needed radio operators, the recruiter said. Was he willing to volunteer for hazardous duty behind enemy lines? He was.

While waiting in Cairo, Egypt, for his first assignment, Mr. Jibilian volunteered again when he heard Col. Lynn Farish was looking for a radio operator for a team he was taking into Yugoslavia. After being forced to rely on British radio operators to get out reports during an earlier mission, Col. Farish insisted upon an American radio operator this time, even a rookie.

The mission, into territory controlled by the Partisans, went badly after the Germans located the OSS position through direction-finding equipment.

Dodging bombs and bullets, the three-man OSS team fled higher into the mountains, running so fast they had to jettison their equipment, including the radio. After six nights of cold and hunger, they evaded their German pursuers.

As they made their way back down the mountain, peasants told them about American airmen hiding from the Germans. They found a dozen, and were able to contact their base in Cairo. On June 16, the airmen and the OSS team were rescued.

Airmen await help

George Vujnovich learned from his Serbian-born wife, Mirjana, who’d escaped from Yugoslavia earlier in the war, that many more downed airmen were hiding in Yugoslavia. Gen. Mihailovich had been sending radio messages about the airmen for months, but the British ignored them.

One of those messages was intercepted by an American listening post in Algiers, which passed it on to the Yugoslav embassy in Washington, D.C., where Mirjana was working.

“She wrote me a letter with the names of the airmen and asked me what we could do about it,” Mr. Vujnovich told the Post-Gazette.

After graduating from Ambridge High School in 1934, George Vujnovich went to Yugoslavia, from which his parents had emigrated to America in 1912, to attend medical school. He and his wife-to-be were in Belgrade when the Germans attacked.

Because America wasn’t yet in the war, Mr. Vujnovich could leave the country. Despite their hasty marriage, it was dicier for his wife. The Gestapo was looking for Yugoslavs with connections to the Americans or the British, and she was on their list.

After a risky, roundabout trip through Bulgaria, Turkey, Egypt and West Africa that took more than a year, Mirjana made it to Washington, D.C., and George joined the OSS.

When he proposed the rescue mission, the British and U.S. State Department opposed it. But Gen. Nathan Twining, commander of the 15th Air Force, wanted to get “his boys” back, and OSS chief Bill Donovan lent crucial support. Still, President Roosevelt agreed to a demand from Prime Minister Winston Churchill that Mr. Vujnovich not be permitted to lead the expedition. Though few in the OSS knew Yugoslavia better, George Vujnovich was too fond of Gen. Mihailovich, too suspicious of Tito for British tastes.

“I was [angry],” Mr. Vujnovich said. “But I couldn’t do anything as a soldier, because I was under orders.”

In addition to Mr. Musulin, who had spent months with Gen. Mihailovich the year before, the OSS team also included Mr. Jibilian, who volunteered to go back despite his harrowing experience weeks before.

They almost didn’t make it. The team relied on British air support, but four attempts to drop them were aborted. The British pilots, apparently deliberately, twice flew to the wrong coordinates. On the fifth attempt, the British tried to drop the team into an ongoing battle.

“They were hoping we would just drop into the battle and just disappear,” Mr. Jibilian recalled. “They obviously didn’t want us to go in there.”

A furious George Musulin insisted upon an American plane with American pilots. On their sixth attempt, on Aug. 2, 1944, the OSS team landed successfully.

Extraordinary feat

In Pranjane, just 30 miles from a German garrison, 200 airmen and 300 Chetniks built, with their bare hands, a 700-foot dirt airstrip on a plateau just 50 yards wide halfway up a mountain. That was the absolute minimum length needed to land the C-47s that were to carry the airmen to safety. The plateau was surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges just two miles away.

Four C-47s made it in on the night of Aug. 9 and carried several dozen airmen to safety, barely clearing the woods at the end of the runway. But the night operations were dangerous, and took so much time that Mr. Musulin worried the Nazis would notice. He decided to gamble all on a daylight rescue.

At dawn on Aug. 10, six C-47s and an escort of about 30 fighters, most of them P-51s flown by the Tuskegee airmen, arrived. The fighters bombed and strafed German positions within 50 miles while the C-47s circled for landing. No sooner were they airborne than another six C-47s appeared. A total of 272 airmen were rescued without a casualty.

“This was an extraordinary feat of airmanship,” said Jeff Underwood, the historian for the National Museum of the Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton.

For the airliner version of the C-47 (the DC-3), the minimum distance required for takeoff was 900 feet, and 1,600 feet to land, Mr. Underwood said.

Mr. Musulin was ordered out of Yugoslavia after the rescue. He also was threatened with court martial for disobeying an order to offer no aid to Gen. Mihailovich because he arranged for shoes to be brought in for mostly barefoot peasants in the area.

Mr. Jibilian remained behind. The rescue scenario was repeated several times until the last of the airmen under Gen. Mihailovich’s protection — 512 in all — were evacuated on Dec. 27.

“We asked Mihailovich to come out with us,” Mr. Jibilian said. “In fact, we begged him. He said no. ‘I’m a soldier, this is my country,’ he said.”

Posthumous award

Gen. Mihailovich was captured by the Partisans and accused of collaboration with the Nazis. After a show trial, he was executed on July 17, 1946.

The airmen he’d rescued and members of the OSS vigorously protested the arrest, demanding the right to testify at his trial. But Tito refused, and the State Department offered no help.

Art Jibilian was one of the few OSS members to work with both the Partisans and the Chetniks.

“Having spent two months with the forces of Marshal Tito, and six months with Mihailovich, the contrast was amazing,” he said. “The Partisans shadowed us, never leaving us alone with the villagers. They were always tense, and the villagers seemed ill at ease in their presence.

“On a few occasions we were able to shake our guard and talk to the people,” he said. “One question they always asked us is ‘Why are the Americans backing the Partisans?’ “

“It was night and day between the two,” Mr. Jibilian said. “When we were in Mihailovich territory, we were free to go wherever we wanted, talk to anyone we wanted. It was clear the villagers loved Mihailovich.”

The official silence about Gen. Mihailovich continued because the State Department was trying to woo Tito from allegiance to the Soviet bloc. Mr. Churchill later told a Belgian newspaper his handling of Yugoslavia was his biggest mistake during the war.

At the insistence of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, President Harry S. Truman in 1948 awarded the Legion of Merit, the highest award the United States can give to a foreigner, to Gen. Mihailovich posthumously. But the award remained secret until 1967, when former U.S. Rep. Edward Derwinski of Illinois demanded it be made public.

In 2005, a delegation including Mr. Jibilian and Mr. Vujnovich went to Belgrade to present the Legion of Merit to Gen. Mihailovich’s daughter, Gordana.

Originally scheduled as a public event with media coverage, the medal presentation was changed to a small affair in a private home, attended by no representatives from the U.S. embassy in Belgrade.

“Embassy personnel told us they couldn’t do anything because the State Department wouldn’t allow them,” Mr. Vujnovich said.

But the historical record was corrected two years ago with the publication of Mr. Freeman’s book.

“I first became aware of this during the conflict in Bosnia,” Mr. Freeman told the Post-Gazette.

“The story was amazing, and so was the fact that it had hardly been told, But I didn’t want to tell it in the context of the violence that was going on then, so I put the project off for five years.”

Jack Kelly can be reached at jkelly@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1476.

I haven’t prepared anything for March 24th on this 10th anniversary of America’s greatest shame. But as regular readers know, around here every day is March 24, 1999. So I’m going to just post most of an article that appeared last week in a northern San Diego paper — from which I learned that March 24, 1999 had been foreshadowed by March 24, 1946.

For those who have already found and read the article on their own, I’ve injected two of my own comments, midway and at the end, which might be of interest.

******

Recounted with rare and appropriate indignation by Lyle E. Davis, the story of The Forgotten 500 made it onto the cover of a local San Diego paper called The Paper. There are a lot of powerful people living in San Diego, so let’s see if this story finally — after half a century — gets some legs:

I’m about to tell you a story that, after you’ve read it, if your blood isn’t boiling…well, you maybe ought to book an appointment with your favorite mortician.

Armchair Generals in the Pentagon during WWII and their civilian counterparts and bosses in the US State Department should have been taken out and given, at a minimum, a sound caning or horse-whipping…and at the worst, faced a firing squad.

Their absolute ineptitude and politicking almost cost the lives of 513 Allied airmen and, ultimately, ruined the reputation and resulted in the firing squad execution of a national hero and patriot who cared for our troops as though they were his own sons.

Sadly, these idiots who ran the Pentagon are all gone now. We cannot give them the thrashing they so richly earned and deserved. Bumbling incompetents who were more suited to fighting a war on the Washington cocktail circuit than out in the boonies with the troops, they were pledged to supply, defend, and look after their interests. Instead, they survived the war in comfort while others, many others, suffered.

Here’s what happened:

This was the time when our aircrews were flying incredibly dangerous bombing missions over the Ploesti Oilfields in Romania. The Nazis surrounded these critically important oilfields with major defensive barriers . . . massive amounts of ack-ack (anti-aircraft artillery) that filled the air with flak, trying to bring down our bombers. And, too often, they were successful. If the bombers were not shot out of the sky they would limp along as far as they could before the air crew had to bail out. Often, this was over the hills of Yugoslavia.

Upon landing, Serbian villagers would soon find them and rush to embrace the downed airman. Area Serb farmers and their heavy set wives, with their babushkas, and rough peasant clothing, would take them into their small villages and hide them from the patrolling Germans. They would feed the airmen stale bread and goats milk . . . sharing with the airmen the meager food supplies they had.

This is a magnificent story of heroism, sacrifice, planning, execution, and accomplishment that remained a secret for over 50 years. It was kept a secret until 1997 because those same Armchair Generals and lily-livered bureaucrats at the State Department wanted it kept secret. Details of what happened might embarrass somebody…an ally, a former enemy, a present enemy, or, heaven forbid, themselves.

Only recently has the story been totally declassified and that, in itself, is an absolute injustice and borders on being criminal.

Bureaucrats showed what cowards they were, what treacherous administrators they were that had no regard for 500+ airmen who had been hiding under Nazi noses for months. Instead, they chose to play politics…and politics, when it involves our military and their lives, is despicable.

Sometimes I think if we could just get rid of the bureaucrats we’d get something done and win some wars.

A reader of The Paper, and a nieghbor, brought me a copy of “The Forgotten 500,” by Gregory A. Freeman. It tells the story of Operation Halyard in August 1944. (suppressed for almost 53 years). Five American agents from the OSS, the precursor of the CIA, worked with a Serbian guerilla, General Draja Mihailovich, to carry out the huge, ultra-secret rescue mission from the hills of Yugoslavia.

Americans would send in a fleet of C-47 cargo planes to land in the hills of Yugoslavia, behind enemy lines, to pluck out hundreds of airmen. In this remarkable mission, more than 500 Allied airmen, mostly Americans, were rescued from the hills of Yugoslavia.

At the time, the area was controlled by the Nazis who were hunting for the American airmen daily. The story also involves a national hero who died needlessly, because our government did not support him…even though he took our downed airmen under his wing, protected them, saw to it they got fed, saw to it, eventually, that they were successfully evacuated from Yugoslavia and returned to their families.

These brave Serbian villagers hid the Americans, even though they faced death if they were caught. It wasn’t a simple task. Not by a long shot. The number of downed airmen was enormous. First, a hundred, then 150, then 200, ultimately, there were over 500 airmen who were being hidden in the Yugoslavian hills by these poor Serbian villagers.

Some sad stories came about as the Serbs sought to comfort our airmen. On more than one occasion our airmen would be given stale bread and goats milk to eat…and they would wolf it down…only to then learn that the food they just ate had been meant for the airmen and the entire family. The family went without eating that night.

On another occasion, a newly arrived airman awoke in the morning and complained about how hard his bed was Another airman who had been in the village for awhile took him by the collar and went outside and pointed at the villagers who had given up their bed for the comfort of the airman. They had slept outside, on the ground. The airman felt about an inch tall, but he also learned just how much these Serbian villagers were sacrificing to aid in the comfort of these airmen.

That’s the nuts and bolts of what happened. But the Devil, as they say, — is in the details. There is much, much more to the story that complicates it all.

From author Gregory Freeman:

“I was drawn to the idea that not only was this an amazing tale of intrigue and bravery, but it had been purposely hidden from the American people for decades. A dramatic story is one thing; a dramatic story that has been kept secret is even more intriguing. The story of “Operation Halyard” is one of the last great stories of World War II and it is high time that the American people learn about the heroic sacrifice of Draza Mihailovich and the Serbian people.”

From a review by Aleksandra Rebic - “that these heroic acts that he had discovered had not only been virtually ignored, but were actually deliberately suppressed as if they never happened, (demanded that the book be written.) “His research led him to painful discoveries that he could not help but include in this story of heroism, and the light that he sheds on the dark side of ‘Operation Halyard’ makes “The Forgotten 500” not only a valuable book, but an essential one. Just as he reminds us of the great things that men in the worst situations are capable of, he also exposes the lengths taken to cover up acts that should have been widely heralded as triumphant examples of the human spirit but instead were sacrificed to the manipulations of political expediency. We owe both the dead and the living to move, once and for all, ‘Operation Halyard’, possibly the greatest rescue of American lives from behind enemy lines in the history of warfare, from being a mere footnote in history to being a shining example of what men of integrity are capable of. Mr. Freeman, with “The Forgotten 500,” is paying the long overdue debt.”

Gen. Draja Mihailovich is one of the primary focal points of this story. He was the leader of the Chetniks, the Yugoslav guerilla fighters that challenged the Nazis. When the Allied airmen landed in the hills and forests of Serbia, they were now among freedom fighters, loyal above all else, to the democratic Allies, though the airmen did not know it as they fell from the sky onto Yugoslavian soil. Among the hundreds who fell, most were Americans.

The other military and heavily political element in Yugoslavia was headed by Josef Broz Tito. He organized the anti-fascist resistance movement known as the People’s Liberation Movement led by Yugoslav Partisans. Ostensibly, both organizations, Mihailovich’s Chetniks and Tito’s Partisans were fighting the same war, to defeat the Germans. But, in fact there was a war within a war going on. Tito was heavily supplied by Russia, was an avowed and avid Communist and was determined to turn Yugoslavia into a Communist state once the war was over. He worked closedly with British “moles” (spies who worked for Britain’s MI5 but who were secretly working for the Russians and the Communist Cause.). Mihailovich, on the other hand, sought a democratic Yugoslavia.

In the end, Tito prevailed and achieved his goal of converting Yugoslavia to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1945 until his death in 1980.

General Mihailovich fell seventeen months after the so-called “liberation” of Yugoslavia. Reports from Belgrade on March 24th, 1946, announced his capture under puzzling circumstances on March 13th, 1946. His trial before a Communist military court began on June 10th, 1946. He was “sentenced” to death on July 15th, 1946, and murdered on July 17th, 1946.

So word of the Allies’ betrayal of Mihailovich — and with him, all of Yugoslavia — was first publicized on March 24th. The events that the announcement referred to may have happened before March 24th, but we know that a date becomes famous even if it is merely the day on which the public finds out about an event. (American independence was actually declared over the two days preceding July 4, 1776, but the public found out on the 4th and so that’s the day we celebrate. Likewise, Bill Clinton’s NATO attack on Yugoslavia actually launched on March 23, but he only let us know about it on March 24th.) Back to the article:

General Mihailovich is no more. He has departed this world convinced that he was abandoned by the Allies. The voices that were raised abroad in his defense were not allowed to reach him and he died without the satisfaction of knowing that in the opinion of many he died an innocent man and a great soldier. The legends of his heroic deeds, however, are becoming more and more well known, certainly in Yugoslavia, and, finally, now in the western world. It is safe to say that he, Mihailovich, lives in the hearts of the Serbs of Yugoslavia.

Ultimately, General Mihailovich and his forces would prove just how profound ‘doing the right thing no matter what’ is. Mihailovich, together with the Serbian people, had rescued, fed, clothed, protected and risked their lives on behalf of the Americans. These shot down airmen were “funneled” to the Halyard Mission which set up airfields for airlifting the fliers back to Italy.

Those 513 rescued airmen have been pleading, shouting, and using any means at their disposal to right a terrible wrong. Mihailovich was labeled a traitor and collaborator and they have been, collectivly, trying for over 60 years to clear his name. Now, with the publication of The Forgotten 500, perhaps Mihailovich will receive his rightful, though posthumous, recognition for the good that he did, for his nation, and for our Allied airmen.

The frustrating issue in this story is that in the name of political expediency, enforced by both the Yugoslav postwar regime and the British, the Americans stayed silent about this chapter of the great heroism of their own sons and the selfless sacrifices of their rescuers. Not only did they stay silent, they kept it silent. Classified.

This story has never been appropriately publicized in the western world because it has not been “politically correct” to do so. It has remained a taboo theme in many political and publishing circles which has dismayed and frustrated so many rescued airmen, and their rescuers, for decades. Many of the veterans of ‘Operation Halyard,’ both the rescued and their rescuers, spent the duration of their postwar years striving to right this wrong. Many have since passed away without ever experiencing the contentment of seeing justice done and a debt repaid.

Freeman’s talent for telling a great true story as it deserves to be told and for his attention to detail makes this story come alive on the pages:

“Not until 1997 would the world understand that the switch of allegiance was orchestrated largely by a Soviet operative who convinced the British that Mihailovich could not be trusted… Communist moles had infiltrated both the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) and the SOE (Special Operations Executive), (both were the “spook” or intelligence agencies) working to besmirch the name of Mihailovich to promote the postwar Communization of Yugoslavia under Tito…Klugmann, who was closely associated with the infamous British traitors known as the Cambridge Five…was principally responsible for sabotaging the Mihailovich supply operation and for keeping from London information about how much Mihailovich forces were fighting the Germans and how much success they were having.”

James Klugmann, a devout communist and ultimately a traitor to his country of Great Britain, is among the many collateral players in the Mihailovich story and Freeman doesn’t shy away from exposing his role in influencing the misguided British policy that would have tragic consequences for General Mihailovich and ultimately the fate of Serbia itself. Freeman writes: “The recently declassified files reveal that, for instance, Klugmann had great influence over Colonel Sir William Deakin, the senior intelligence officer in Yugoslavia…”

It was Deakin who was mainly responsible for convincing Churchill to switch sides from Mihailovich to Tito. Freeman competently weaves politics and the story on the ground together in such a way as to give the reader the big picture. Freeman, unlike many historians, is able to see the forest, not just the trees.

He understood, too, the significance of Mihailovich’s integrity in rising above and beyond the betrayal perpetrated upon him and his people. In the summer of 1944, because of destructive but successful British political manipulations, it was no longer ‘politically correct’ for the Allies, including the Americans who deferred to the British in policy relating to the Balkan sphere, to deal with Mihailovich in any way. This means no supplies, food, ammuntion, or medical supplies. Yet, there were now hundreds of downed Allied fliers, most of them Americans, who were being protected by Mihailovich and his men and had to be evacuated. This presented quite a political dilemma. Thanks to the efforts of American officers such as George Vujnovich and George Musulin, an ACRU organization (Air Crew Rescue Unit) was created and it was decided to send Musulin to the hills of Serbia, accompanied by Mike Rajachich and OSS radio operator Arthur Jubilian, to run the evacuation operation that would come to be known as the ‘Halyard Mission’.

It was going to be a rescue attempt unlike any ever attempted by the OSS or anyone else, and indeed that’s exactly what it turned out to be. Over the course of several months in 1944, hundreds of Allied airmen would be evacuated and not one would be sacrificed. All, without exception, would make it back to their homes and their families alive.

Not one American would be turned over to the Nazis, even though the Germans were offering substantial rewards to the local natives to give them up. Though the Allies had turned their back on General Mihailovich, he refused to turn his back on them.

The drama of ‘Operation Halyard’ would end in December of 1944, and due to the perseverance of men with the names of Vujnovich, Musulin, Petrovich, Rajachich, Lalich, Jibilian and others, it would end as a virtually perfect success story in the face of almost insurmountable odds.

Every downed airman survived.

General Mihailovich, however, would not share their fate. The airmen whom he had saved were left to their tears, devastated by the news, and many would dedicate the rest of their years to vindicating Mihailovich, his Serbian people, and to seeking justice for the man to whom they felt they owed their very lives. Many in the Allied world who were following the capture, trial, and execution of Mihailovich, were left to wonder “how it could have been allowed to happen.” […]

Even conservatives and patriots haven’t shown the decency to bring this story to light, much less demonstrated the volition to delve into the history of a place so that we might quit repeating that history over and over with our policies there. This, despite the fact that it was their favorite president, Ronald Reagan, who pointed out that Mihailovich had to do what no one else had to — fight Nazism and Communism at the same time:

The ultimate tragedy of Draza Mihailovich cannot erase the memory of his heroic and often lonely struggle against the twin tyrannies that afflicted his people, Nazism and Communism. He knew that totalitarianism, whatever name it might take, is the death of freedom.

The West’s abandonment of Mihailovich and the real Yugoslavia ensured communism’s foothold there. We would later point to that communism as an excuse to violently dismantle Yugoslavia.

It is the Serbian fate to be punished by the West for the West’s own mistakes. Today, even after several of the architects of NATO’s 1999 war on Belgrade have privately admitted here and there that the action was a mistake, we continue in the same direction in order to hide and bury that mistake, now deliberately buttressing Islamic elements in the region after having originally done so unintentionally in the 90s.

From Midstream magazine, December 1992 by author Paul Ginieweski: “The Palestinian-Bosnian Connection”

In several respects, two contemporary conflicts, the Serbo-Bosnian War in former Yugoslavia, and the Arab-Israeli struggle, are intertwined. Their linkage should be explained.

First, a well known fact, documented in detail in specialized literature, is largely ignored by the general public and neglected by the media all over the world: a number of present-day Palestinians, who consider themselves and qualify or pose as “Arabs,” are recent descendants of Muslim immigrants from European lands, from Bosnia-Herzegovina in particular.

When the Ottoman Empire lost Bosnia to Austria in 1878, huge numbers of Bosnians were resettled in the Middle East, in the framework of a general policy of Muslim colonization of Turkey’s troubled areas. Quoting from various former studies, the historian Bat Ye’or explains how Ottoman law granted lands in Palestine to the Muslim colonists, with a 12-year exemption from taxes and military service. In the Carmel region, Galilee and the plain of Sharon and Caesarea, lands were distributed to the Muslim Slavs from Bosnia and Herzegovina; Georgians were settled around Kuneitra on the Golan Heights and Moroccans in lower Galilee.

At the same time, measures were taken against non-Muslim immigrants. In the same year 1887, a law was passed forbidding Jews to immigrate to Palestine, to reside there, to buy land, to restore houses, or to live in Jerusalem. It applied only to Jews….

In the course of the 19th century and well into the 20th, the Turkish authorities settled over two million Muslim colonists from the Balkans and Crimea in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Armenia and Anatolia, in order to Islamize these countries and to undermine the national aspirations of the indigenous populations…

The pretense of the Palestinian “Arabs” to be the only natives in a country where Jews are deemed newcomers and intruders, is a myth. Great numbers of Palestinian “Arabs” are Arab in name only, and immigrants of more recent date than many Jews, whose presence in the land of Israel goes back 3,500 years. Many “Palestinians” immigrated even after the mainwaves of Zionist Jews: they came to the land of Israel in the thirties of the 20th century, attracted by the economic prosperity engendered by the Zionists.

Other facts ignored in good faith by some, or concealed and fabricated, belong to the history of a recent Palestinian-Bosnian partnership in war crimes.

In 1942, during World War II, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin El-Husseini, leader of the Palestinian Arab activists, settled in Berlin in order to add to the German war effort and to pour fuel on the flames of the Shoah. (He was later listed as a war criminal by the Western democracies.) The mufti met Eichmann, Himmler and Hitler and visited the extermination camps. Many relevant written documents have survived about the mufti’s role, including exhortations to speed up the deportation of the Jews and to prevent their escape. In 1943, the mufti created a legion of Waffen-SS, the “Legion Handjar [alternate spelling: Handzar; Hanschar],” recruited among Muslims from Bosnia. These 19,000 murderers were…abundantly utilized in the Nazi media and the propaganda war. A number of photographs depict the Muslim German-clad muftis and mullahs. The military value of the legion appears to have been close to nil. But the Muslim SS committed various atrocities against the Resistance and the Jewish population in Yugoslavia. They participated in the guard of the railway link between Auschwitz and the Balkans…

It happened half a century ago. But the Palestinian Arabs have neither forgotten nor forfeited their link with their Muslim brothers in Bosnia. During the summer of 1992, a delegation of Arab Israelis visited former Yugoslavia, pledging to establish a camp for Bosnian children in the Jewish State.

The Muslim Bosnians are strongly connected with the Arab-Muslim world. They supported Saddam Hussein during the Kuwait crisis and the Gulf War. [Recall that Yasser Arafat did the same, briefly becoming a pariah in the Muslim world.] Libya is assisting them militarily.

From this past May in the San Francisco Sentinel, by Seth J. Frantzman, a doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, whose MA thesis was on the Christian Arabs in the 1948 war: Fascist Muslim Group Expected to Loot Tel Aviv in 1948

On a pleasant Thursday in December 1948, Emilio Traubner, a correspondent for The Palestine Post, found himself near Abu Kabir, not far from Jaffa. Trenches and expended cartridges were strewn about, reminders of the fighting between units of the Irgun and local Arab forces that had taken place there seven months previously. There was a large Arab villa from where Traubner recovered a diary. It turned out to be the daily record of Yusuf Begovic of Pale, a town near Sarajevo in modern-day Bosnia-Herzegovina. In it Begovic had described his activities as a cook for the “Arab Army of Liberation.”

Traubner described who Begovic had been serving: “35 Yugoslav Muslims who had a good reason to expect to be among the first to occupy and loot Tel Aviv, were part of a group of some thousands who came to the Middle East to join the jihad against Israel.”

What were Yugoslav Muslims doing in Jaffa in 1948? How had they managed to get themselves all the way to the Holy Land? What had motivated them? Who had recruited them? What was the Bosnian or Albanian connection to the Palestinians, if there was one?

There was a Bosnian connection: Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem, had been in Bosnia in the 1940s. Had he recruited these men? What had become of them?

It turned out that in 2005 a Bosnian had given an interview in Lebanon to a Croatian newspaper and claimed to have fought in the 1948 war. The story began to crystallize.

The Long Shadow of Haj Amin

In October 1937, Haj Amin al-Husseini, mufti of Jerusalem and leader of the Arab Higher Committee, was hiding from the British authorities in the Haram al-Sharif, the holy sanctuary atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. On October 13, disguised as a Beduin, he fled to Lebanon via Jaffa. In Lebanon he received sanctuary from the French mandatory authorities but he fled again with the outbreak of war in 1939. This time he made his way to Baghdad disguised as a woman. In Baghdad in 1940 and 1941 he increased his contacts with Germany, offering to aid the Nazis in return for their help in gaining independence for the Arab states. The Italians helped him enter Turkey, and then he made his way to Rome on October 11. He met with Mussolini and then with Hitler on November 28. After the failure of various schemes to create an Arab military unit he eventually settled for recruiting Muslim volunteers to aid the Nazis from the Balkans, Bosnia and eventually Kosovo.

In speaking to potential recruits, Husseini stressed the connections they had to the Muslim nation fighting the British throughout the world: “The hearts of all Muslims must today go out to our Islamic brothers in Bosnia, who are forced to endure a tragic fate. They are being persecuted by the Serbian and communist bandits, who receive support from England and the Soviet Union… They are being murdered, their possessions are robbed and their villages are burned. England and its allies bear a great accountability before history for mishandling and murdering Europe’s Muslims, just as they have done in the Arabic lands and in India.”

Three divisions of Muslim soldiers were recruited: The Waffen SS 13th Handschar (”Knife”) and the 23rd Kama (”Dagger”) and the 21st Skenderbeg. The Skenderbeg was an Albanian unit of around 4,000 men, and the Kama was composed of Muslims from Bosnia, containing 3,793 men at its peak. The Handschar was the largest unit, around 20,000 Bosnian Muslim volunteers. According to the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, “These Muslim volunteer units, called Handschar, were put in Waffen SS units, fought Yugoslav partisans in Bosnia and carried out police and security duties in Hungary. They participated in the massacre of civilians in Bosnia and volunteered to join in the hunt for Jews in Croatia.” Part of the division also escorted Hungarian Jews from the forced labor in mine in Bor on their way back to Hungary. The division was also employed against Serbs, who as Orthodox Christians were seen by the Bosnian Muslims as enemies.

The Handschar division surrendered to the British army on May 8, 1945. As many as 70,000 Bosnian Muslim POWs and their families were moved by the British army to Taranto in Italy. The creation of Marshal Tito’s Yugoslavia at the end of the war meant that former Bosnian Muslim volunteers in the German SS units could not return home for fear of prosecution or internment. George Lepre, a scholar on the history of the Handschar and author of Himmler’s Bosnian Division: The Waffen-SS Handschar Division 1943-1945 describes their fate: “Those Bosnians who elected to remain in the camps eventually found asylum in countries throughout the Western and Arab worlds. Many of those who settled in the Middle East later fought in Palestine against the new Israeli state.”

But first they had to get to the Middle East.

The formation of the Bosnian unit in 1947

The Bosnian Muslims, usually referred to as “Yugoslavs” in period newspaper accounts as well as in intelligence reports, remained in DP camps in Italy until 1947, when it was reported in The Palestine Post on April 18 that there was a “request from the Syrian government for the transfer of 8,000 Bosnian Moslem refugees at present in Italy. Yugoslav quarters here say that the Arab League has written to all Arab states, urging them to assist these Moslem DPs, and that some financial help has already been received. Yugoslav officials say that they too want these 8,000 Moslems back, as they are the Handschar Division of the German Wehrmacht which surrendered to the British… The Yugoslavs state that they view with the gravest concern the possibility of the transfer of this group to the Middle East.”

By December 1947 a nucleus of former Handschar officers had made their way to Syria and were beginning to reconstitute their unit in Damascus. A report by Israel Baer in the Post noted that “the latest recruits to the Syrian army are members of the Bosnian Waffen SS… It is reported that they are directing a school for commando tactics for the Syrian Army.”

No doubt the fledgling Syrian army which had been born in 1946 was in need of officers and trainers with experience. Emilio Traubner, writing on December 3, 1947, noted that the International Refugee Organization (IRO) was even convinced to fund the travel of Bosnian Muslims from Italy to the Middle East so that they could find homes since they refused to be repatriated to Yugoslavia.

In January 1948 Arab agents were working to recruit Bosnians for the fight in Palestine. On February 2, it was reported that 25 Bosnian Muslims had arrived in Beirut and were moving to Damascus to join 40 other Bosnians already there. A report by Jon Kimche on February 4 further noted that up to 3,500 were being transferred to Syria to fight alongside Fawzi Kaukji’s Arab Liberation Army (ALA) in its invasion of Palestine. On March 14 a party of 67 Albanians, 20 Yugoslavs and 21 Croats led by an Albanian named Derwish Bashaco arrived by boat in Beirut from Italy. They were hosted by the Palestine Arab Bureau and made their way to Damascus to join the ALA. In the first week of April another 200 Bosnians arrived in Beirut.

A lengthy report by Claire Neikind on March 2 described the procedure by which Arab agents were recruiting volunteers among the DPs in Italy. Men between 22 and 32 were sought and in return they would receive free passage to Beirut and their families would receive maintenance. According to Neikind, 300 men had already arrived and 90 Croatian Ustashi were also making there way. Fifty-seven were sent to Amman. Between December 1 and February 20 a total of 106 were sent to Syria. Neikind noted that “as soon as their families are settled, they enter Arab military service.”

If one accepts merely the low totals from newspaper accounts it appears that there were at least 520 Bosnians, 67 Albanians and 111 Croatians in Syria or Beirut, as well as 135 Bosnians on their way to Egypt and 57 Bosnians in Jordan. Thus 890 volunteers from Yugoslavia and Albania were in the Middle East by April 1948, before Israel’s declaration of independence on May 15, 1948.

Upon arrival the volunteers found their way to a camp at Katana, a military base west of Damascus that the Syrian army had provided for use by the Arab Liberation Army being assembled to invade Palestine. Here they met their commander, Fawzi Kaukji for the first time. Kaukji, 58, was a former Ottoman soldier who had fought in the Arab Revolt. Hagana intelligence estimated as many as 4,000 volunteers had joined his army.

In December of 2005, Hassan Haidar Diab, a journalist in Bosnia, was able to locate Kemal Rustomovic, a Bosnian who had served with the Yugoslav volunteers. He claimed to have been a member of the Arab Salvation Army where 150 of his fellow Bosnians served under a Bosnian officer named Fuad Sefkobegovic.

The Role of the Bosnians in the War of Independence

Since the fall of 1947 Arab forces under Abdel Khader Husseini and other locals had harassed Jewish traffic and supplies moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. A mixed Bosnian-Arab unit of the ALA had been dispatched to aid in the siege of Jerusalem and this unit found itself embroiled in the battle for Castel between April 3 and 8, 1948. This battle was part of the Hagana’s Operation Nahshon which was intended to relieve the siege of Jerusalem. It is not clear what became of the Bosnians who fought at Castel. Some may have retired to Ramallah, where it was reported on April 16 that Muslim foreigners including Yugoslavs had taken over the best hotels and “molested” the local population.

The next battle that the Bosnian units participated in was at Jaffa between April 25 and May 5. Jaffa had been allotted to the Arab state in the UN partition plan, but it was surrounded by territory allotted to the Jewish state. The battle began when the Irgun launched an attack on the city. According to the Hagana, there were 400 “Yugoslavs” and 200 Iraqis defending Jaffa. On April 28, Michel Issa, the Christian Arab commander of the Ajnadin Battalion, received orders from Kaukji to move from the Jerusalem foothills to relieve the siege of Jaffa. On the same day, Hagana intelligence noted that there were 60 “Yugoslavs” among the defenders of Jaffa. Issa arrived in Jaffa on April 29 ; the commander of Jaffa, Maj. Adil Najmuddin, deserted the city on May 1, leaving Issa and his Yugoslavs. According to Issa’s telegram to Kaukji, “Adil left [the] city by sea with all [the] Iraqis and Yugoslavs.” Prior to their departure the Yugoslavs had been billeted at local homes and their unit even included a cook.

Kemal Rustomovic recalled in his interview that he had first been at Nablus, then Jaffa and finally at Jenin. Between the evacuation of the Yugoslavs by sea from Jaffa and their reunion with the ALA, the State of Israel was born on May 15, 1948. On the same day five Arab armies invaded Israel and the war became much wider.

The ALA became a disorganized and largely spent force by the time it saw fighting again around Nazareth again in July. During the fighting in the North, Kaukji’s army of 2,500 men was reduced to only 800 and it was driven from Nazareth into northern Galilee. Rustomovic was one of these men according to his interview. The Post reported that the ALA still included “Yugoslavs.” On July 18 the Post reported that the British government’s intelligence had acted to “systematically sabotage [the] Palestine partition scheme” and provided as evidence the fact that England was aware of the presence of Bosnian volunteers in Syria. [This briefly mentions how the Brits helped terrorize both Jews and Serbs.]

During the fighting in October the IDF conquered the entire Galilee and parts of Southern Lebanon. A report on November 1, detailing the capture of the Galilee, noted that some “Yugoslavs” had been captured during the fighting that had driven the ALA and the Lebanese army from Palestine and actually found the IDF in Lebanon.

The Bosnians and the 1948 war, strange bedfellows?

It is not known what became of the Bosnians who served with the Arab forces in the 1948 war. Rustomovic, who was born in the village of Kuti in central Bosnia in 1928, joined the Lebanese army in 1950. He served his adopted country for 30 years, married a local woman and had seven daughters and five sons with her. He was granted Lebanese citizenship, unlike the Palestine refugees who fled to Lebanon, and retired from the army in 1980. According to him, none of the Bosnians who had served in the SS ever returned to Yugoslavia. Some ended up in the US, Australia and Canada. It is assumed that some also settled in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East. Today many would be in their 80s and 90s and it is doubtful that many of them survive.

In the 1990s during the Balkan wars, Arabs would journey to the Balkans to participate in war between Bosnians and Serbs. In a strange twist they would be repaying the debt incurred when 900 or more Bosnian Muslims gave up their homes and past to come to the Middle East to serve the Muslim Arab cause. The involvement of these Bosnians may be seen as an early version of the linkage of Muslim conflicts throughout the world. This has gained increased exposure lately due to the involvement of foreign Muslim volunteers in the Algerian, Lebanese, Kashmiri, Sudanese and Afghani conflicts among others.

From “The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism by Chuck Morse:

The mufti was also a mentor to Yasser Arafat, who is believed to be Husseini’s nephew. Overlooked in the history books is the fact that about 100,000 European Muslims fought on the Nazi side in World War II. They included two Bosnian Muslim Waffen SS Divisions, an Albanian Waffen SS Division in Kosovo and Western Macedonia, the Waffengruppe der-SS Krim, formations consisting of Chechen Muslims from Chechnya, and other Muslim formations in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Bosnian Muslims, who were in the Croatian pro-Nazi Ustasha, were especially brutal toward the Christian Serbs. In 1943, a report on Ustasha activities stated:

“The Ustasha terror began in Mostar. The Ustashi, the majority of them local Mohammedans, are arresting, looking, and shipping off Serbs or killing them and throwing the bodies in the Neretva River. They are throwing Serbs alive into chasms and are burning whole families in their homes. Outside of Zagreb the strongest Ustasha hotbed is Sarajevo. The Muslims committed unbelievable barbarities for they murdered women and children even with scissors.”

As to the Bosnian wartime leader whom the U.S. threw its support behind, and for whom organized American Jewry lobbied for, here is a snippet about him from Srdja Trifkovic’s recent piece “Karadzic’s Arrest: Bosnian Myths Rehashed“:

Already as a young man during World War II, Izetbegovic was a member of the Young Muslims organization (Mladi Muslimani). His was a radical Islamic political organization inspired by the teaching of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Al Husseini, who toured the German-occupied Europe preaching that the Third Reich and the Muslim world had a natural community of interests that demanded personal commitment of every able-bodied Muslim. Izetbegovic’s ideas subsequently matured into a comprehensive, programmatic statement in the Islamic Declaration (1970), the document that led to his imprisonment by the communist authorities in 1983.

The Declaration became Izetbegovic’s de facto political platform. Reprinted in Sarajevo at a key moment in 1990, it startled the public. In the language familiar to the students of militant jihad everywhere, it called for Islamic moral and religious regeneration, and for the strengthening of different types of Islamic unity—up to, and including, armed struggle for the creation of an Islamic polity in countries where Muslims represent the majority of the population.

And from Andrew Bostom:

Mr. Izetbegovic was a youthful recruiter for Himmler’s Nazi Bosnian Muslim Handschar Division….Here are some of Izetbegovic’s “moderate” views, including his wish to destroy Israel (“occupied Palestine”), as expressed in this 1970 Islamic Declaration… “under the leadership of Zionists, started an action in Palestine which is not only inhumane and ruthless but also shortsighted and adventuresome. This politics takes in account only temporary ratio of power and forgets about overall ratio of power between Jews and Muslims in the world. This politics in Palestine is a provocation to all Muslims of the world. Jerusalem is not only a question of Palestinians, neither is it a question of Arabs only. It is a question of all the Muslim nations. To keep Jerusalem, the Jews would have to defeat Islam and the Muslims, and that — thank God — is outside their power.”

On the subject of the aforementioned Albanians, meanwhile, here is a short but interesting excerpt from the liberal Hamburg-based weekly “Die Zeit” by Theo Sommer, as translated for World Press Review in May, 1996: “A Balkan Intifada? The struggle for Serbia’s ‘Jerusalem’”

Literary historian Rexhep Qosja has emerged as a spokesman for the impatient. “This peaceful strategy is getting nowhere. It has achieved nothing. We have lost six years. The intifada, on the other hand, did get the Palestinians someplace.”

An intifada. That would be it, an answer to the view in Belgrade that Kosovo is “the Jerusalem of the Balkans.” Qosja explicitly rejects terrorism. But anyone speaking of an intifada cannot ignore Hamas.

Quid pro quo:

Similarly, for Bosnia we had:

Islamic Jihad official threatens to fight in Bosnia “again” (Excerpt from report by Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA)

Sarajevo, 19 March [2007]: A senior Islamic Jihad official, Ali Abu-Shahin, has said that members of this Palestinian militant organization will, if necessary, fight in Bosnia-Hercegovina [B-H] again.

In an interview for the Bosnian edition of Vecernji list, Abu-Shahin admitted that Islamic Jihad was directly involved in helping “our brothers Muslims in that country” since the start of the war in B-H.

“Apart from the financial help and weapons, we sent them fighters who with their lives gave the greatest contribution to that struggle. This is our pride, and if something like this is necessary again, we shall be available,” Abu-Shahin said. Vecernji list writes that he is in hiding and has strong security because he fears Israel’s revenge.

Abu-Shahin says this Palestinian faction is not surprised by the ruling of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which absolved Serbia of guilt for genocide in Srebrenica.

“Even during the war, our brothers who fought in B-H met Alija Izetbegovic [Bosnian Muslim war-time leader] and told him that these were not conflicts with Chetniks [derogatory name for Serbs], as it was said then, but that behind this was the international community which wanted to eradicate Muslims in Bosnia,” Abu-Shahin said.

He said that Islamic Jihad fears that the new pope, Benedict XVI, “sided with the oppressors whose only aim is to destroy Islam”.

Here is just one hint about Bosnia’s current course, and how Jews are regarded today. Here is another: Balkan Islamists Sponsored the Act of Terrorism in Israel. Related: Bosnian hospital treating injured Palestinian fighters and Bosnian-Palestinian Friendship Society

None of this, of course, stops Jewish newspapers from continuing to provide a platform for Bosnian (and Albanian) Muslims, as The Forward did in May when it gave space to former Bosnian foreign minister and UN ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey so he could persuade the readership that there were no mujahedeen in Bosnia.

But thinking people know better. In case they don’t, there is this Sky News video, as well as a documentary titled “Martyrs of Bosnia.” There is also this report about the mujahedeen that “weren’t” in Bosnia, as well as this former al Qaeda officer expressing his frustrations that Bosnian officials — much like the one the Forward gave space to — disagree when he tells them he was a terrorist and committed many crimes during the war. The mujahedeen who helped fight for Bosnian independence stayed on and were rewarded with their own towns once the towns were cleansed of Serbs. A more forthcoming Bosnian official here: News Flash: Bosnia Admits al Qaeda is in the House.

A post script on the Forward’s hackneyed history of anti-Serb bias, making it just another American Jewish newspaper that succumbed to Nazi-Croatian/Bosnian propaganda. From the letters page on June 10, 1994:

“Wrong Assessment of the Chetniks”

I read with interest “The Muse of Serbia” by Elizabeth Rubin, which was published in the Forward on March 11. I have found it very disturbing to realize that Ms. Rubin is not very well informed concerning the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is also terribly wrong in her assessment of the Chetniks as “bearded thugs…Nazi collaborators, rapists, looters and killers.” For your information:

1. The Serbian Chetnik guerrillas were the first resistance fighters in Europe in World War II against Nazi Germany.
2. The Chetniks rescued more than 500 American airmen shot down by Nazis and their friends, Croatians and Muslims.
3. The Chetnik leader, General Mihailovich, was awarded the Legion of Merit by President Truman and the American Congress on March 29, 1948 […] — Dejan Petkovich, Bayside, N.Y.

“Reviewing the Experience of the Serbs”

I look forward to the day when you shall give a few moments of critical review to the experiences of the Serbian people. In a piece by Elizabeth Rubin in the Spring Books section, the Forward, in glowing style, has all but labeled the Serbs and their nation as “Nazis”….How odd that a people who for centuries has had to endure oppression and annihilation has come to be the perpeterators of such crimes. How odd that the anthology that Ms. Rubin reviews, “Why Bosnia: Writings on the Balkan War,” reads more like a piece of propaganda from Goebbels than from actual accounts of the war in the former Yugoslavia. Indeed it is strange that the anthology, edited by Rabia Ali and Lawrence Lifshultz, depicts no dead, no mutilated, no displaced, no missing or hungry Serbs. How amazing that an entire nation of people do nothing but murder and “cleanse” all day! Are those of us who know the Serb victims merely dreaming? Are we imagining that our families have disappeared or suffered greatly? Or is that just what you want us to believe?

If, indeed, this course of “historical” writing shall one day replace what we have come to expect from “scholarly,” objective accounts of the human experience, then I dread what we shall one day read about Jewish history, as told by our most dreaded enemies! I believe this is what we have come to label as “revisionism.” […] — Betsy Lalich, President, Jewish-Serbian Friendship Society of America, Chicago Chapter

Finally, a July 3, 1992 letter to the Forward, also by Ms. Lalich, reveals that the Forward had published a Croatian-American Judenrat:

It is with great sadness that I noted the Forward’s recent publication, in editorial-size form, of the letter from Margaret Casman-Vuko (May 1) and the letters from Katarina Mijatovic and Jason Feer (April 3). Ms. Casman-Vuko, described as “an American who has been a member of the Jewish community of Croatia for the past 20 years,” sounds to me to be a “good Croatian” indeed. She dismisses facts from numerous Jewish and non-Jewish sources and refers to “Serb-backed Yugoslavia” and “Serbian expansionist designs.” She exploits the sensitivity of Jewish readers in particular by citing the existence of “Serbian concentration camps” presently in operation and states that the Serbian people were partners with the Nazis in the Holocaust! She defends Croatia’s Franjo Tudjman, who, in his recent book “Wastelands of Historical Reality,” diminishes and condones genocide, and even blames its victims for their fate! Finally, Ms. Casman-Vuko accuses the remaining Serbian enclaves, survivors of the Holocaust, of “aggression upon sovereign states.” She does not mention that several sources have accused these sovereign states of embarking upon their goal by first attempting to rid their population of “foreign” elements, i.e., Serbs. When the Jewish community first noted the neo-fascist character of Croatia and its allies, they blew the whistle. Croatia and its allies, specifically Germany, know they must never again tread upon Jewish lives or sensibilities. Because of this, they have sought to distort history and prey upon our good will. We are not so dumb.

Equally disturbing are letters from Ms. Mijatovic and Mr. Feer. Ms. Mijatovic accuses the Serbian people, citing obscure sources, of being “one of the most anti-Jewish” in the world. She freely refers to “Serbo-communists” and suggests that Serbs, not Croats, ran the death camps [of WWII]. She does not refer to Croatia’s foreign minister, Zvonimir Separovic, who has attributed the current Serbian-Croatian war to a “Jewish-Serbian conspiracy” (source: The Wiesenthal Center). Nor does she address other disturbing facts that the Wiesenthal Center has cited over the past year.

Mr. Feer, who has been reporting from Croatia, is doing an excellent job of presenting Croatian aspiration and know-how. We should all be pleased that “no evidence” of anti-Semitism is “widespread” in Croatia. And we should not wonder about the motivations of pouring “2 million German marks” into the Croatian-Jewish community.

Unfortunately, the American community, and to a lesser extent the Jewish community, has been unaware or in denial of the facts about Yugoslavia and its history, both Jewish and non-Jewish. It should not be distorted or forgotten. Remembrance does not mean war, unless peace is distorted and one-sided. One should examine the evidence detailed extensively from Jewish sources before judging the Serbs, who historically have been allies, both politically and culturally, of the Jewish people.

I started to blog somewhat on former secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger — ever since he woke up to the reality of the logical conclusion of the anti-Serb policies he helped promote, and started writing (a decade late) against Kosovo independence. Below are just two additional damning things I recently stumbled across.

First, I’m in the process of reading a memoir written by Nick Petrovich, one of Draza Mihailovich’s anti-Nazi guerillas who helped rescue 513 American airmen between 1943 and 1944 as part of Operation Halyard, the greatest airlift of downed American troops in WWII. He writes:

Finally, after constant pressure by the National Committee of Airmen Resued by General Mihailovich, Inc., led by a dear friend of mine, Major Richard l. Felman, and Major General Donald J. Smith, and supported by many decent and patriotic U.S. Senators and Congressmen, on recommendation of General Eisenhower on March 29, 1948 President Truman finally awarded posthumously Mihailovich The Legion of Merit Chief Commander which reads:

“General Dragoljub Mihailovich distinguished himself in an outstanding manner as Commander-in-Chief of the Yugoslavian Army Forces and later as Minister of War by organizing and leading important resistance forces against the enemy which occupied Yugoslavia from December 1941 to December 1944. Through the undaunted efforts of his troops, many United States airmen were rescued and returned safely to friendly control. General Mihailovich and his forces, although lacking adequate supplies and fighting under extreme hardship, contributed materially to the Allied cause, and were instrumental in obtaining a final Allied victory.”

– Harry S Truman

Strangely, this award was kept secret until it was uncovered and made public years later by The Honorable Edward J. Derwinski while serving as Secretary of Veteran Affairs.

Although the rescued airmen vindicated themselves by obtaining the official recognition and finally fulfilling their pledge to Mihailovich for saving their lives, their efforts to erect a memorial to Mihailovich in Washington failed because of the combined objections of the communist government of Yugoslavia, and the U.S. Department of State. A bizarre alliance indeed! Lawrence S. Eagleburger, then U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia, in a letter dated October 4, 1978 urged the Congress not to support the construction of a monument to General Mihailovich because of the sensitive geographic and political situation of Yugoslavia.

On September 8, 1979 [Governor] Ronald Reagan sent a letter to the Committee to Commemorate General Mihailovich in which he said: “The fate of General Mihailovich is not simply of historic significance; it teaches something today, as well. No Western nation, including the United States, can hope to win its own battle for freedom and survival by sacrificing brave comrades to the politics of international expediency.”

After the Red Army marched into Belgrade in October of 1944 and put Tito in control of Yugoslavia, the U.S. offered Mihailovich an escape, but he refused flatly, saying “under no circumstances will I leave my country and my people.” He was captured by the communists on March 24, 1946, and on July 15 sentenced to death. Two days later a firing squad carried out his sentence in a swamp near Belgrade.

Please note that Balkans history is replete with bizarre historically parallel dates. In this case, Mihailovich was captured on March 24, 1946, after Churchill and the Allies abandoned him in favor of the Communist Tito. On March 24, 1999, Bill Clinton’s America bombed the Serbs, once again “sacrificing brave comrades to the politics of international expediency.” This time we were appeasing not the Communists, but the Muslims. Today, we continue to not heed Reagan’s warning, intent on taking our policy of betrayal to its utmost conclusion, which will be our own.

The second item I came across mentioning Eagleburger was in an open letter last year by author William Dorich to the chair of the Philosophy department at Kent State University when the school had scheduled an appearance by Arizona State University philosophy professor Peter French, whose flier for a program about the ethics of war included the following sentence, apparently about a 13th century battle: “Serbian men described themselves as compelled to rape and murder Kosovar women & children. This provoked necessity was felt and sustained by collective memories nurtured in Serbs for seven centuries.” Professor French, who said the quote was taken out of context, canceled the appearance after criticism such as Mr. Dorich’s letter, excerpted below:

An Open Letter to Kent State University

Mr. David W. Odelle-Scott, Chair Philosophy Department

Dear Mr. Odelle-Scott:

I am writing with reference to your invited guest speaker, Peter French [whose] presentation will no doubt be like those of many journalists who found an audience and a quick buck to be made in demonizing the Serbs with collective guilt.

During the entire decade of the 1990s the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times never published one single article written by a Serbian author, scholar or political leader. Dr. Alex Dragnich, recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award for Outstanding Scholarship at Vanderbilt University is the author of 10 books on Balkan history and politics. He submitted 42 OpEd articles to the NYT and not a single one was published. This same ugly muzzling of Serbian views was matched by Glenn Campbell, president of the Hoover Institute that said at a major Hoover dinner party. “All Serbs are Nazis…It was too bad if the Croats killed the Jews, but they should have exterminated the Serbs, so that they would have no trouble with them today.” Hoover never apologized for this racist remark by their president.

Richard Holbrooke called Serbs “Murderous Assholes.” Morton Kondracke called Serbs “Bastards” on national television. Lawrence Eagleberger said “Serbs are stupid.” This was after he left the State Department and became a board member of the Communist Bank of Yugoslavia and a board member of Yugo Cars where he earned millions of dollars.

Senator Joseph Biden, who seems to have hoof and mouth disease, called the Serbs “Illiterates, degenerates, rapists, guerillas, butchers, cowards, baby killers, murderers, thugs, aggressors, invaders, terrorists and fascists.” Imagine, Serbs were accused of invading their own country and imagine, too, that this hideous display of hate speech by an American Senator spilled from his lips in just one interview on CNN - August 1, 1993.

There is apparently no shame and no depth to which some people will stoop to demonize the Serbs. Shame on Kent State University for allowing its institution to be sucked into this immoral behavior under the guise of scholarship. […]

William Dorich
Los Angeles, CA

In a follow-up email after I asked for details about Eagleberger’s comment that “Serbs are stupid,” Dorich replied that Eagleburger made the remark on TV when he “left Yugoslavia to return to the State Department at the end of the Bush #1 administration. It was also at that same time frame that he called Milosevich “The Butcher of the Balkans.” This of course was after he was on the board of Yugo Bank, a Communist bank, and Yugo Cars, a Communist company, and had stuffed his pockets with millions of dollars as well as stuffing his face with good Serbian food.”

Just a post-script on the Hoover Institute’s abysmal record on the Balkans, by way of explaining the comment by its late president Glenn Campbell. Dorich wrote the following letter (only excerpted below) to the Institute last year after it published an Albanian propaganda screed in its prestigious Policy Review:

Mr. John Rasian, Director
Hoover Institute
434 Galvez Mall
Stanford, CA 94305

Dear Mr. Rasian:
I write in response to The End of Balkan History by Fatos Tarifa and Peter Lucas featured in the Policy Review of the Hoover Institution — an astonishing attempt to rewrite Balkan history by two Albanians which should have no place in an institution of higher education. But this comes as no surprise as Hoover and Stanford have demonstrated an ugly and biased assault on the Serbian people for many years.

During the Bosnian Civil War when hundreds of Bosnian Forums were organized on university campuses across the country, Serbs were always denied participation. At such a forum at Stanford, Provost Condoleezza Rice was contacted by this writer to offer my participation in the forum along with a number of prominent Serbian scholars including Dr. Alex Dragnich, recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award for Outstanding Scholarship at Vanderbilt University, and author of ten books on Balkan history and politics.

Ms. Rice ignored our telephone calls and correspondence. Instead, she made the opening statements for this student-sponsored Bosnian Forum in which Serbs were denied a right to participate.

At a Stanford University dinner party in 1992, the former president of the Hoover Institute Glenn Campbell (died 2001) said publicly: “All Serbs are Nazis…….It was too bad if the Croats killed the Jews, but they should have exterminated the Serbs, so that they would have no trouble with them today.”

The Hoover Institution never made a public apology to the Serbian community for this immoral and outrageous outburst. I personally took great exception to this unbridled racism since I lost 17 of my relatives during the Holocaust who were burned to death in a Serbian Orthodox church in the village of Vojnic in 1942 by Croatians and their Nazi Catholic priests. I lost the last 5 relatives of my name during Operation Storm in August of 1995 when 200,000 Serbs were “ethnically cleansed” from Croatia. My relatives were too old and too sick to flee. They were found a month later with their throats slit. The insults, bigotry, slander and lies leveled at the Serbian people in this country — and which led to US support of that war and those massacres were led by morons from your institution.

Serbs came to this country before the turn of the century settled in the gold country of California where they built the first Serbian Orthodox Church 1896 (a church still in use) and have built a dozen churches throughout California since. The first woman (a Serb) elected to the California State Legislature, Roseanne Vuich, was from Fresno, California - a freeway is named in her memory. The Balkan Chair at your teaching institute is sponsored by the Rados Family of Southern California who have contributed handsomely to Stanford for decades. And yet Serbs have been so vilified with collective guilt that the Hoover Institution reveals that no level of conscience or restraint is necessary in attacking us. The editor of this diatribe should be fired for the contempt shown for Balkan history and for the eagerness with which this publication allow Albanians to rewrite history.

We now know that Operation Storm was aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence with cover from the US Airforce who turned off the radar system to allow Croatia to violate the “No-Fly Zone”. The Croats bombed and strafed fleeing Serbs, a war crime by every definition.

Operation Storm was led by Agim Ceku, a convicted Albanian war criminal who massacred Serbs in Croatia in 1992 and 1995 and went on to massacre entire Serbian villages in Kosovo. (This is well documented by the Dutch whose troops were on the ground and by Canadians…) How immoral that the Hoover Institute now pays tribute to Ceku, a convicted criminal who anointed himself Prime Minister over Kosovo before any statehood had been internationally considered or granted.

What is shocking about the two writers of this ugly assault on the Serbs is the skill with which they rewrite history with impunity and how it seems to have the blessing of the Hoover Institute.

Is the Hoover Institution really this naive to not face the fact that Albanian ambitions point directly to a Greater Albania? The comment “Nobody wants to cohabit with Belgrade,” is disgusting and insulting, considering the Serbs were the majority of Kosovo for a thousand years until the Holocaust when over 10,000 Serbs were liquidated and more than 150,000 were ethnically cleansed from Kosovo. (And considering that Albanians were in the Milosevic Government!) Tito forbade their return, giving Serbian land to Nazi collaborators. When Tito granted “autonomy” to Albanians in 1974 without a single vote of the Serbian people, Albanians began their assault on the remaining Serbs by banning the use of the Serbian language.

The Albanian authorities removed over 2 million books on Serbian religion, history and music from Kosovo schools and libraries and burned them. From 1974 to 1989 more than 125,000 Serbs were forced from Kosovo by the rape of Serbian nuns and Serbian girls which your writers cleverly ignore.

I would think that Stanford University and the Hoover Institute would be appalled at such anti-intellectual behavior but apparently there is no depth to which you will not stoop to further demonize the Serbs who were our allies in two World Wars as you defend Albanians, the majority of whom were Nazi collaborators and would not know a democratic principle if it smacked them in the face.

Striving for an ethnically pure Albanian Kosovo state in the heart of Europe is repugnant especially when a major American teaching institution provides the means to achieve such a goal through unbridled propaganda and hate speech.

Shame on you Mr. Rasian and shame on the Hoover Institution.

As people weigh in on the South Ossetia showdown now that a Balkans-rooted crisis finally has their attention, they are starting the clock, and their observations, from this incident as if it were isolated from that which precipitated it. For example, you get posts like the one from Political Maven Monica Crowley yesterday, drawing a Munich analogy well after the real Munich-style appeasement was done in Kosovo when she wasn’t looking — at her country’s hands. Crowley writes:

When Nazi Germany seized control of Czechoslovakia in 1938, appeaser extraordinaire Neville Chamberlain referred to it as “a faraway country of which we know little.”

The Nazi invasion was based on the simple and reasonable enough-sounding pretext that ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland wanted to be annexed to the Fatherland. Hitler’s invasion of that small, seemingly insignificant country led, of course, to total war in Europe and a global conflict that cost 100 million lives. All because the Western democracies didn’t see—or didn’t want to see—the unsatiable appetites of an expansionist power led by a coldly calculating mass murderer.

The insatiable appetites of an expansionist power are those of an expansionist Islam, which early on set its sights on the Balkans. And the West has been helping secure that prize for it. The “faraway country of which we know little” was Yugoslavia, and the Munich analogy culminated in a faraway province of which we know little, called Kosovo. In Kosovo, the Albanian-wrought NATO invasion was based on the simple and reasonable enough-sounding pretext that ethnic Albanians in Kosovo wanted to be annexed to the Fatherland (something that Albanians have made no secret of despite our leaders’ denials and decoy reasons for our support of a policy driven by the threat of violence).

The much more solid Kosovo-Munich parallels abound, including from the author of the book Munich and from former Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Jiří Dienstbier, who pointed out that the Czech Republic’s reluctant decision to recognize Kosovo in June took place on the territory of the former Sudetenland. For God’s sake, John McCain’s statement calling on the U.S. and EU to recognize the illegal Muslim land grab in Kosovo as independence was prepared for a February security conference in Munich!

The current Russia-Georgia crisis is the “total war in Europe and a global conflict costing millions of lives” of which Crowley speaks. It is part of the chaos stemming from the U.S.-led NATO “invasion of that small, seemingly insignificant country,” in which we did the Muslim Albanians’ bidding — first downplaying their Muslimness, then proudly announcing that we were doing it to buy Islamic good will. Of course, one would have to have been paying attention to the fallout from Bill Clinton’s congressionally unapproved war to have a clue.

Crowley continues:

Russia has used the pretext that ethnic Russians living in a part of the independent republic of Georgia want to be folded into Russia. The Georgians, they say, are doing “ethnic cleansing” of the Russians there, requiring Russia to intervene to defend them.

Of course, this requires Russian tanks, fighter jets, and now ground troops to sweep into Georgia proper, killing thousands while they begin to occupy the country.

Where is Crowley’s cynicism about the “ethnic cleansing” claims that continue to be used to justify wresting Kosovo from sovereign Serbian land even nine years after those claims were debunked the very year of our invasion by every major newspaper after we all moved on — including by the late Daniel Pearl? An invasion in which we didn’t have even the minimal interest and kinship that the Russians can use for their much more solid pretext. An invasion which “of course required [NATO] tanks, fighter jets, and” — if Wesley Clark, John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and even George W. Bush had their way — “ground troops to sweep into [Serbia] proper, killing thousands while they begin to occupy the country.”

Crowley continues:

Before ordering the bombs to fall and the tanks to roll, [Putin] didn’t rush to the UN seeking international approval. He didn’t seek sanctions or resolutions. He just marched in with a full-on invasion. (If the United States had done this, holy hell would be breaking loose in the hallowed halls of the UN. We wouldn’t be able to count the official condemnations of “America’s reckless, unauthorized breach of international law.” With the Russians, we get a big yawn and a shrug of powerlessness.)

Excuse me. The United States did do this. But where were the official condemnations of U.S.-led NATO’s reckless, unauthorized breach of international law? Instead, we got big yawns and a shrug. Back to Crowley:

Georgia is a pro-Western, fragile new democracy. It has had 2000 troops in Iraq, making it the third biggest contributor to coalition forces there after the United States and Great Britain. It is struggling to establish its democratic, free market independence in Russia’s long shadow.

Serbia also offered troops for Iraq and Afghanistan, even after we attacked it and destroyed its economy and infrastructure under false pretenses. Being under Russia’s wing today was not where that country saw itself 17 years ago, but we made damn sure it had nowhere else to go. For the State Department bureaucrats and Clintonistas working behind the scenes to push through the Kosovo policy and institutionalize it as “U.S. policy”, blaming Russia (and Serbia) when the fiasco we created started to fall apart was the plan all along. It’s worked magnificently, as we get the unanimous condemnations from Left and Right media — a unique phenomenon that emerges in all things Balkans-related.

As I wrote in October:

As the self-tasked police of mainstream media, the bloggers are in a big way responsible for what has been happening in the region for the better part of the past decade. The modern-day Munich giveaway that is Kosovo continues surreptitiously along, in the dark of night, unhampered. The bloggers will wake up only when it’s time to blame Serbia and Russia for the violence that results from America’s betrayal of the free world.

Ironically, Georgia helped us with troops in Iraq and Kosovo while ultimately rejecting our policy in the latter when it didn’t recognize Kosovo independence — precisely because of what it would mean for South Ossetia. And yet it’s the first to pay the price for the policy it rejected.

Crowley asks:

The western democracies need to show a backbone. What would Reagan do? What would Thatcher do? For heaven’s sake, what would George H. W. Bush do?

In fact, both Thatcher and the elder Bush turned into appeasers when it came to Islam in the Balkans. Appeasing Muslims was the underpinning of Bush Sr.’s Bosnia policy. Only Ronald Reagan’s hands remain clean in that region, for only he had a proper sense of history in the Balkans. Back to Crowley:

This is one of those moments when we will wonder why the good guys were paralyzed while the bad guys marched. It’s one of those moments on which the future of freedom hangs. It’s one of those moments when the bad guys test the good guys. And so far, the good guys are contemplating their navels while the bad guys scorch the ground of liberty.

Yet still few ask why we march with the bad guys in the Balkans where, away from the cameras, they’ve been testing us for the past nine years as liberty is turned on its head in Kosovo — where the darkest, most un-American kind of lawlessness reigns and is hailed as “American”.

As Crowley writes, “Nor do we much care: we’ve got Michael Phelps to cheer on and summer barbeques to attend to.”

Welcome to my still lonelier world, Monica. But please get the cause-and-effect straight. We opened this Pandora’s Box.

The day’s events — and those of many tomorrows — are a direct consequence of our policies, but they are also karmic punishment for our unending, tireless betrayal of the Serbian nation, and it’s only the beginning. Rather, it’s a continuation, given that last year nine families in Salt Lake City paid for our siding with Muslims against the Serbs and resettling the designated Bosnian “victims” here — so that one of them could shoot nine Americans in time for the infidel Valentine’s Day in Trolley Square, killing five. Not three months later, a single Circuit City clerk kept a slew of soldiers at Ft. Dix from also paying a price when six jihadists were arrested for a planned massacre at that base, four of them Albanians. These incidents occurring the year before the Kosovo status “deadline” — together with the fact that four of the 9/11 hijackers were veterans of the Bosnian war — were clues to not sell Serbia out to completion.

Now we can watch the world realign in a way it would not have done, had the U.S. not sided with — and aggressively promoted — evil. As we look for bad guys to point our patriotic finger at, we won’t be able to do it fast enough as the reverberations of our Balkans policy echo across the globe with ever greater velocity.

We are all Georgians,” Mr. McCain? No, we are all Serbians now — thanks to the handiwork of you and your ilk.

World War II Navy vet Arthur Jibilian, whom I have profiled somewhat and who spent the greater part of his life trying to clear the good name of Draza Mihailovic and extract gratitude rather than war-making from our nation for the Serbian nation is dying of Leukemia. His doctor has given him a maximum of six months, which he will be spending with his family, seemingly confident that his beloved America will one day get back on the right foot with the nation it has so wronged, Serbia. Below are his two most recent letters to me:

Dear Julia,

If you do not know, there is no easy way to tell you, so here it is: I have been diagnosed with acute leukemia. The doctor has given me a maximum of 6 months. That is why you have not heard from me.

You have done an awesome job presenting my, and the 513 rescued airmen’s, feelings about Mihailovich and the Serbs. We owe them! Now, we have it in black and white (THE FORGOTTEN 500); we have it on video, we have it in papers throughout this great land of ours; we have made people aware.

I am certain that a movie will come out shortly — it is just too good a story to remain hidden. Rumor has it that there is already one in process.

For all that you have done for the Serbs, and for me, I thank you.

Take care and God bless,

Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian
Halyard Mission

Thank you for your very nice letter, Julia. I have no problem with sharing my illness with anyone….no one gets out of this world alive. I have been blessed as I am in my beloved country, with friends and family who are taking loving care of me.

Acute leukemia (mine) is a disease where I have no platelets, and red and white blood cells are extremely low and the body can not reproduce them as it normally does. As a result, the patient becomes weaker and weaker, bones get frailer and frailer, joints hurt, appetite fails etc.

I won’t inflict the details of what I went through, but we have decided that I have lived 85 wonderful years and are not going to subject my body to chemo, radiation and other “heroic measures” just to live a few extra weeks, months, or years. Hospice and my family will make me comfortable and as pain-free as possible for whatever time I have left.

As of the moment, I am relatively pain-free and hope to remain so with the medication provided. I will keep you updated on my condition and, if I am unable, will instruct my daughter, Debi, to do so…I treasure our relationship and if you have any questions, please let me know.

Big hug,

Arthur