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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.

It’s no coincidence that on Fran Drescher’s State Department-sponsored international cancer-awareness tour, the obscure territory of Kosovo made it onto her list of stops. Celebrities are high-profile and as they go about promoting their various causes they are very useful in helping to legitimize Kosovo as a “country” in the world’s psyche. I’d say that at least this actress — unlike Nicole Kidman during her UN-sponsored “good will” tour in 2006 — met with Serb women in the non-country. However, that too is all part of the State Department’s PR effort. As our NATO peacekeepers may know, it must be a pretty futile feeling trying to “help” a population that your own government has marked for extinction.

US actress visits Kosovo to raise awareness of women’s cancer

Women need to take responsibility for their own health and fight cancer, said US actress Fran Drescher on a two-day visit to Kosovo last week.

“Kosovo, as a new country, must be focused on raising the awareness of women regarding this disease, because it’s easier and cheaper to treat a cancer caught early,” said Drescher, who spent October 7th through 9th in Kosovo as an envoy of the US State Department for women’s health issues.

She was also representing the Balkans Breast Cancer Initiative, a partnership founded late last year 2007 by the then-US Office in Pristina and Kosovo healthcare institutions and leaders.

“I am seriously concerned about women’s rights … Women need to take control of their health,” she said following a meeting with members of the Women of Kosovo’s Parliamentary Group, whom she asked to do more in the war on cancer.

Drescher herself overcame uterine cancer. “I needed two years and eight different doctors to treat the cancer right,” she said, urging women to undergo screening in order to ensure early detection of any malignancies.

Best known for starring in the US TV comedy series The Nanny, Drescher had a busy itinerary during her short visit to the fledgling country. She interviewed with ten media outlets, including several serving the Kosovo Serb market, and taped an introduction to a documentary on women’s health that aired on Kosovo TV on October 8th. She met with the Women’s Caucus of the Kosovo Assembly and with young Serb women in north Mitrovica. […]

The subject of celebrities and Kosovo gives me an opportunity to follow up on rumors, based on Serbian media reports in January, that George Clooney along with Sharon Stone (who grew up near Pittsburgh, PA with many Serbian friends) would mobilize Hollywood against Kosovo independence. I had blogged at the time that Clooney was opposed to the land theft and said so to the Frankfurt-based Serbian daily “Vesti.” Most likely he did, but we’ll never know for sure — at least from his people — since the damage-control kicked in after he was swamped with emails related to the statement, with his publicist denying that Clooney said anything of the sort.

How it went down:

During his humanitarian campaign in Darfur in Sudan, the Hollywood actor George Clooney expressed his disagreement with George Bush’s idea of unilateral declaration of Kosovo independence. However, UN soon exerted pressure on the actor, who has recently been named a Messenger of Peace of this world organization. This accounts for the statement of Stan Rosenfield, Clooney’s publicist, which appeared on “Clooney Studio” site, that George “neither made those statements nor did he authorize anyone to make it on his behalf.”

Hollywood actors are currently working on an interesting and important project directly related to Kosovo and Serbia. Numerous famous names from the American film industry, who do not agree with Washington’s policy in the Balkans, are incorporated in the project, according to “Blic” interlocutor from the centre of world film industry. However, he could not confirm whether Clooney will take part in the project due to the pressure from UN.

When asked to explain the stance of Sharon Stone concerning the Kosovo issue, PR agency “Momentum” gave a brief comment that there is no truth in the newspaper articles, not clarifying the issue at all. In an interview for the weekly “Europe”, Stone expressed her attitude against the unjust situation related to Kosovo seeking independence.

One hopes that the rumored project is the one that has been speculated upon, but which is taboo to talk about unless one wants to have it killed before it even gets to theaters: a historical tribute to the WWII hero whom the Allies betrayed: Draza Mihailovic and his Chetniks.

On a more recent celebrity-related note, Robert De Niro — whose nannies and other household help consist of Serbian immigrants — tried to explain his bizarrely unaffected-by-official-truth affinity for Serbs by speculating, “Maybe I’m part Serb.” Here he is a couple weeks ago meeting with Serbian president Boris Tadic:


(Thanks to de-construct.net.)

Finally, Richard Gere comes to mind here as well. After sticking his nose into Kosovo in 1999, visiting Albanian “refugees” in Macedonian refugee camps (Macedonia promptly then becoming the next target of Albanian aggression), Gere ultimately got the (correct) impression that the truth of the situation wasn’t as black-and-white as it was sold to us, saying, “We had been told it was a totally black and white situation and in my estimation it’s not black and white. Obviously the violence is horrific, but it’s horrific on all sides.” Though it didn’t occur to him to apply the same skepticism to Bosnia, about which he made the deserved flop “The Hunting Party.”

[Thanks to SerbBlog’s Melana Pejakovich for the Drescher tip.]

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

On July 4th, local Toledo news channel WTOL aired a five-minute interview with four of the Halyard Mission airmen and rescuers. This was a breakthrough broadcast by Toledo reporter Jennifer Boresz, viewable here, as the Serbs are mentioned in the context of the debt we owe them, the selflessness of the poorest peasants among them, and the veil of silence surrounding the mission even after the men were home safe. The betrayal by the Allies of General Draza Mihailovich is also mentioned, as well as the communists who penetrated Churchill’s government to convince him to favor Tito’s communist Partisans over the Serbian general by branding him a traitor and Nazi collaborator — a canard that, laughably, is repeated to this day. Here is an excerpt from the video’s accompanying text, but it’s all in the video:

…”Those people had it pretty dog gone rough, and didn’t have much to give. But they gave,” Carl Walpusk of Moon Twp., Pennsylvania says.

Those Serbians kept the U.S. airmen safe for weeks until the U.S. government got word of the 50 downed soldiers in Yugoslavia. The United States sent in OSS agents on a daring rescue mission known as Operation Halyard.

Fremont’s Jibby was one of those men who risked his life. “They asked if I would go as a radioman,” he explains, “There wasn’t even a heartbeat, and I said certainly.”

When he got there, he found not 50 airmen but 250. And the number was growing. “We stayed. What started to be a ten-day mission… we were there for almost six months and brought 500 airmen in.”

One-by-one C47s landed on a makeshift runway that the Americans and Serbs built by hand.

But when [the airmen] returned to America, the government said they couldn’t share their incredible story. “We weren’t supposed to tell them how we got out. I think they wanted to keep that a secret,” Walpusk says.

These veterans feel the U.S. didn’t give General Mihailovich credit for helping them. By the time the rescue happened, the U.S. and Britain had abandoned Mihailovich as an ally. They say false information was given that he was a traitor and collaborating with the Germans. The U.S. and Britain began siding with communist leader General Josip Tito instead.

Jibby explains, “I don’t know why the state department will not admit they made a mistake, that they abandoned Mihailovich. He was voted Man of the Year in 1941 in Time Magazine and hailed as a hero. Then they turned around and called him a collaborator simply to justify favoring Tito.”

When the war ended they say Tito put Mihailovich on trial, quickly found him guilty and executed him by firing squad.

The hundreds of rescued airmen were devastated that they couldn’t testify at the trial.

“The only thing we ever wanted was to acknowledge that he did help us,” Jibby says, “That the Serbian peopled helped us. That he was not a traitor. That we made a mistake in backing Tito. We backed the wrong man.”

An shorter video on the web page shows a two-minute, one-on-one interview with rescued airman Carl Walpusk. (”The Serbs’ Contribution to the Airmen”) In it, Walpusk says the following:

[Mihailovich] was asking us basically to go back and try to get the government to support him…I still believe we sold them down the drain, the Chetniks. When I say ‘we’ I’m talking about the Allies. I think we were led by the British, and they supposedly had communists [among] their foreign relations people. Like I said, we sold them down then, and I think we’re selling them wrong in Kosovo.

God bless the America that was, as embodied in veteran Arthur Jibilian, the last surviving member of Operation Halyard, the biggest airlift rescue of World War II. It is also the most suppressed rescue mission, given that it was made possible by Serbs.

This past June 15th — the day the U.S. was committing yet another act of war against this nation of rescuers (by enacting the next phase of the land seizure — the Kosovo constitution), the Toledo Blade newspaper ran the following:

Fremont veteran saluted for saving lives of 500 U.S. fliers: Former Toledoan operated behind enemy lines

With more than 500 tiny American flags flapping in the breeze — each one symbolizing a life saved during World War II — a crowd at Metcalf Airport yesterday saluted Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian.

Mr. Jibilian, 85, who grew up in Toledo and now lives in Fremont, was a member of the Office of Strategic Services, a U.S. intelligence agency that was the predecessor of the CIA.

Mr. Jibilian parachuted behind enemy lines to take part in Operation Halyard, a 1944 mission to save the lives of downed American airmen in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia.

The mission, which lasted several months, was successful, with more than 500 men rescued to return safely to their homes and families.

Mr. Jibilian is a key character in a book that was written about the operation, The Forgotten 500.

Yesterday, recalling the events of more than 60 years ago, Mr. Jibilian explained how, as a wireless operator, he used Morse code to relay his location to Allied forces and bring in planes to evacuate the airmen.

While doing that, he and others had to move constantly to avoid detection by Nazis. They were aided by Serbian villagers. “They protected [the airmen] at the risk of their lives,” he said.

The ceremony kicked off just as a restored World War II-era B-17 bomber carrying Mr. Jibilian made a low pass over the airport, while the crowd below waved and cheered.

After the plane landed and Mr. Jibilian disembarked, he was given a proclamation [and honorary degree] from the University of Toledo….Mr. Jibilian was attending the university when the war broke out and he joined the Navy.

Yesterday, he thanked the Serbian people and the late Gen. Draza Mihailovich for the aid they gave him and other Americans during World War II. General Mihailovic was executed after the war by Yugoslavia’s Communist government. […]


“A restored World War II-era B-17 bomber carrying Arthur Jibilian made a low pass over Metcalf Airport before landing.” ( THE BLADE/LORI KING )

Local Toledo news channel WTOL also covered the event, which included a gun salute and singing of the Star Spangled Banner:

…Jibilian is the last survivor of Operation Halyard. That mission returned more than 500 American airmen home to their families.

“I get goose bumps just thinking. It’s unforgettable. This episode brings back a whole bunch of memories,” says Jibilian…”When you’re 19, 20, years-old, death is not a thought… You’re indestructible,” Jibilian says.

As a radioman, Jibilian was key to Operation Halyard, known as the largest airlift operation behind enemy lines…”It’s a story that’s not known, that I think should be known. We owe them a debt and there aren’t that many people that the American’s owe a debt to,” Jibilian says.

The proclamation by the University of Toledo read:

Arthur Jibilian

…WHEREAS you completed training as a radio operator whose primary purpose was to deliver valuable intelligence, often from behind enemy lines; and

WHEREAS your selfless patriotism led you to a mission in Yugoslavia in August 1944, when you parachuted into territory occupied by German troops to liberate Allied airmen; and

WHEREAS you eluded the Germans’ repeated efforts to capture you and collaborated with Gen. Dragoljub Draza Mihailovich and the Serbian resistance, who risked their own safety to feed and shelter the airmen; and

WHEREAS you remained behind enemy lines for six months during Operation Halyard to liberate more than 500 Allied airmen; and

WHEREAS after honorable discharge from the Navy in September 1945, you learned that Gen. Mihailovich had been accused of war crimes; and

WHEREAS you joined a “Mission to Save Mihailovich” from unjust crimes against the Allies and campaigned tirelessly on his behalf for more than six decades, long after his 1946 death; and

WHEREAS you returned to the old Yugoslavia—now Serbia—in 2004 to honor Gen. Mihailovich and the Serbian citizens who risked their lives to assist Allied troops; and

WHEREAS you were instrumental in presenting a Legion of Merit Award to Gordana Mihailovich, daughter of Gen. Mihailovich, in 2005; and

WHEREAS you have drawn attention, pride and awe as one of “The Forgotten 500” heroes of World War II, and are the lone survivor of Operation Halyard; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT PROCLAIMED that The University of Toledo Board of Trustees, administrators, faculty, staff and students express their gratitude and the indebtedness of the entire campus community to you for a lifetime of exemplary bravery, service and leadership.

BE IT FURTHER PROCLAIMED that The University is immensely proud to proclaim that you are an accomplished alumni of our institution.

A press release from the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Toledo chapter read: “Father’s Day is a perfect time to honor Jibilian. If not for Jibilian and the other members of Operation Halyard, those men would have perished and never had the opportunity to raise a family.”

As former Mihailovich guerrilla Nick Petrovich, a Serbian-American now living in Mexico City, said:

Finally! Cheers for a great American-Armenian who “collaborated” with the Serbs in rescuing more than 500 US airmen, the fact that was hidden for years in the dungeons of the State Department in order not to offend Tito’s Communist regime!!!

I’m posting below an email exchange from last summer between Petrovich and Jibilian, who re-connected only last year, more than 60 years after their collaborative mission:

Dear Art,
Here is a Chetnik brigade that kept the enemies away [while] you were loading the DC-3s, and I was there with my Mauser rifle, a couple of hand grenades, a piece of corn bread and 20 bullets in the bag, and a lot of pride to be in this historic act!

All the best,
Nick Petrovich

******

[Nick,]
Hey, you might appreciate this photo of the “gathering of the chutes”…It is from my first mission… I have the distinction of having been with both the forces of Tito and Mihailovich.

…When I was with the Partisans, our every move was watched. People were in obvious fear of the Partisans. They would not speak to us when Partisans were present, but, whenever we had a moment when we could, they would ask, “Why are the Americans backing Tito?” I could not answer the question and asked [fellow Halyard member] Eli Popovich what or how I could respond. He said, “simply say ’samo Bog zna’ (only God knows). (Forgive my spelling, please)

While with the Chetniks, when we entered a village, peasants came out dancing, strewing flowers in Chica Draja’s path. It was a time for great rejoicing and celebrating. People were smiling, laughing and hugging each other.

Regards,
Arthur

******

Yes, you are unique…After having been captured sick and almost dying of dysentery by Tito’s Partizans in Bosnia, I spent four months in a communist correction camp—brainwashing, forced labor, Marxist theory every night, and a few robust beatings to say the least.

When the war came to an end in May 1945, I was inducted in Tito’s army and my division was sent to Bitoli, Macedonia. Then, in October 1945 when my unit was assigned a task at the Greek border, one night I deserted to Greece with my two ex-Chetnik buddies [Mihailovic-aligned fighters] who went through the same ordeal and from there on it is history.

So we got something in common!

Best regards,
Nick

******

Nick, what I went through pales in comparison to your suffering!!!! To see your country invaded by the Germans and then feel the pain of a civil war while still attempting to fight the Germans, to be betrayed by the British and America (your “allies”?); to witness the atrocities committed by “Yugoslavians” against each other; and then to be captured, tortured and brainwashed just to mention a few. I cannot begin to comprehend the pain and suffering you and your people went through, even though I was there and saw a part of it for myself. I was not a Serb, did not have family members involved, and it was not my country. You and the Serbs have my deepest admiration and that is why the story of Mihailovich, the rescue of 500 American airmen, and the sacrifice the Serbs made on their behalf MUST be told to the whole world and especially the American public. Mihailovich’s name must, and will, be cleared.
Arthur

******

Well Art,
I still cannot figure it out what it was — sheer luck, divine providence, or some other strange thing, that helped me survive the terrible chain of events of which you are well aware. For some inexplicable reason I never thought for a second that the end is near, at least not for me. There was almost an obsession for survival and a drive to see my Serbia free again. My grand fathers on both sides fought the bloody Turks, and my father and two uncles fought in WWI against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, retreated through Albania in the Winter of 1916 while being fired upon by the savage Albanian tribes. They were rehabilitated on the Corfu island and in 1918 stuck their bayonets in the backs of retreating Austrians and victoriously marched into Serbia.

I heard their stories many times and I believe that this was the ingredient that played a vital role in my survival. The only difference is that they were hailed as heroes by their allies, and President Wilson on July 28, 1918 ordered that the Serbian flag be raised over the White House and all public buildings and he said, “The gallant people of Serbia were called upon by the war declaration of Austria-Hungary to defend their territory and their homes against an enemy bent on their destruction. Nobly did they respond.” Well, my generation was called upon to fight not only against the invading Nazi hordes, but also against their cutthroat collaborators Croatian fascists and Bosnian Muslims whose SS Waffen divisions [slaughtered] Serbs , and while doing this we were stabbed in the back by Tito’s Communists, and betrayed and sold down the river by our beloved Allies.

You know the rest of the story better than anybody else. But Art, we are lucky to still be here and talk about it.

Warmest regards,
Nick

From Petrovich to Jibilian in a separate exchange:

Dear Art,
You are discovering a terrible truth — the anti-Serbian mindset.

As you well know, over 1,000,000 Serbs died during WWII at the hands of Germans and their ferocious collaborators, Croats, Bosnian Muslims, and Kosovo Albanians. And who torpedoed the Pact with Germany on March 27, 1941? Of course, the crazy Serbs, provoking the biggest power in Europe — the Nazi Germany and paying the price. All these savages worked together to destroy Serbia and its people, culture, thought, creativity and talent to no avail. But paradoxically some sick, perverse souls in America are still at it big time. You can find them in the media, government and academia trying to prove that they are cured of racism and are opening America’s gates to millions of Muslims who bring stupidity, racial intolerance and extremism, crime, and openly plan the murder and destruction of their American hosts. These miserable creatures are consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others. When Yugoslavia fell apart, the Serbs in Bosnia refused to live under the Muslims who served as Hitler’s executioners, but the Arab world sold them to Washington as moderate-secular people, and Washington sided with them and turned a blind eye on Iranian arms shipments to Tuzla airport and infiltration of the Jihadists in the Bosnian army who are now killing our troops in Iraq.

Of course, those in America who sponsored the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo against Christian Serbs and received fat lobbying fees from the Arabs will never permit the truth to be told because their crimes would be exposed.

And a general email sent out by Petrovich:

Hi Kids,
I provided [Forgotten 500 author Greg] Freeman with some valuable information regarding the Halyard Mission… and you will most probably find my picture in it. My guerrilla unit provided the cover to ensure that the Germans could not interfere or abort this mission. The US government never mentioned this incredible mission in order not to offend Tito’s Communist government, and after Tito’s death Washington sided with the Muslims of Bosnia and the Neo-Nazi Croats against the Serbs, their allies in two World Wars.

How perverse!! This sellout was done to please the Arabs…and now we are paying through the nose! Many Al Qaeda members were trained in Bosnia 1992-96, and Osama was issued a Bosnian passport at that time.
President Truman awarded posthumously [a] Legion of Merit to Gen. Mihailovich for his great contribution in defeating the Nazis during the WWII and for rescuing 500 American airmen who were shot down by the Nazis, but this was concealed by the cowardly State Department for 20 years until the rescued airmen dug it out…

Regards,
Nick D. Petrovich

Petrovich guarded the airfield in the village of Pranjane during the evacuations of the airmen. He joined Mihailovich’s guerrillas on Zlatibor Mountain at the age of 16. After the war and after deserting the Communist army, Petrovich — barely 18 — joined the Greek army to fight the Communist guerrillas trained by Tito. He wrote me an abridged autobiography about the rest:

Then played soccer and studied at the University of Athens. From there to Italy to play soccer in Rome, and work in the “Quo Vadis” movie (Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr). In 1948 I became a DP (Displaced Person) and given the UN International Refugee Organization protection (food and shelter). In December of 1950 with several hundreds of other refugees from various communist countries I arrived to New York on a Liberty ship, and in 1956 was naturalized in Hammond, Ind. ..Landed a job with Monsanto Chemical Company - International division - and worked in Spain Belgium, Argentina and Japan. Finally wound up in Mexico — a Spanish wife — three kids in the US…

Saludos,
From your crazy Serb in Mexico


A teenage Serbian guerrilla: 16 year-old Chetnik Nick Petrovich guards access to the Pranjani air field

Petrovich today:


Arthur Jibilian in 1945


Some rescuees and rescuers, November 1944 (Mihailovich stands in the center behind Jibilian, who is kneeling in the center.)


At the 2004 dedication of the Pranjani airfield both the Serbian and American national anthems were played.

After Jibilian sent Petrovich a photo labeled “Last Day in Yugoslavia,” referring to the Halyard Mission members’ final day of the rescues, Petrovich wrote:

But for the Chetniks from this day on was a tragedy. Abandoned by the Allies, the Soviet army advancing into Serbia from the East, Tito’s proletarian brigades returning to Serbia from Bosnia where they were kept for three years. No alternative but to continue fighting. A large contingent embarked on a tragic journey through Bosnia toward Italy with a hope of meeting the advancing Allied armies. An estimated seventy thousand died from typhus, hunger and Ustashi bullets from one side and Bosnian Muslims from the other. As you well know, Draza refused your offer to be airlifted out of the country, and stayed with his people fighting until March 1946. How many leaders would have done this? Perhaps Patton but not powdered and perfumed Gen. [Wesley] Clark!!

Warmest regards,
Nick Petrovich

Related, from The News-Messenger in Fremont, OH, October 2007:

TRUTH FINALLY COMES OUT
U.S. Vet Says Book Reveals True Story of Ww2 Rescue

We just happened to be the three that were lucky enough to bring this thing to fruition. But it was Mihailovich and the Serbs who did the brunt of the work.


Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian by Charlie Longton/News-Messenger

More than 60 years ago, a handful of U.S. soldiers parachuted behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia to save 50 airmen whose planes were shot down while trying to bomb German oil fields in Romania.

Art Jibilian, one of the original soldiers who spent six months on the mission, has waited all these years for the true story of the mission to be told. But it’s not because of personal glory. Instead, it’s to clear the name of Gen. Draza Mihailovich, a Yugoslavian leader who protected the airmen and made the rescue possible.

Jibilian and his mission are the subject of “The Forgotten 500,” a recently published book by Gregory Freeman. For the first time, Jibilian said, the true story of the operation has been published, including Mihailovich’s key role in the rescue.

“It’s a story the American people should know,” said Jibilian, who now lives in Fremont.

Although Mihailovich and his soldiers provided information and support for the mission and located and protected the downed airmen, Jibilian said he was betrayed by the U.S. and British governments, who said he collaborated with the Germans. Mihailovich was eventually captured by a rival general and executed.

Jibilian said the details of the operation were kept quiet over the years because of politics, and he simply wants the Serbian people and Mihailovich to get the credit they deserve. Now that the book is out, he said he wants to live long enough to see it turned into a movie in order to reach a wider audience.

“We just happened to be the three that were lucky enough to bring this thing to fruition,” Jibilian said. “But it was Mihailovich and the Serbs who did the brunt of the work.”

The Halyard Mission was a top-secret mission executed by the Office of Strategic Services, which later developed into the Central Intelligence Agency. Jibilian, then a radio operator, as well as two others parachuted into Yugoslavia in order to locate about 50 airmen who were shot down while trying to bomb the oil fields at Ploesti in Romania. The team met up with Mihailovich, and their goal was to locate the airmen, set up an airfield, and evacuate the troops, all without the Germans knowing.

But when they arrived, they discovered there weren’t just 50 soldiers hiding throughout the country. There were more than 500. Mihailovich’s soldiers hid the airmen and funneled them toward Jibilian and the OSS.

“What started out as a 10-day mission stretched out into six months during which time we brought out 500 American airmen,” Jibilian said.

The mission was often dangerous and difficult. The airfield set up to evacuate the airmen was a short distance from a German garrison, and American fighter planes dive-bombed the post as a distraction.

In addition, many of the downed airmen were injured. Jibilian still has shoulder problems after lifting wooden ox-carts over large stones to avoid jarring the wounded soldiers inside. Little food was available, but Jibilian said Mihailovich and his men sometimes went hungry to make sure the airmen had something to eat.

When they left Yugoslavia, the airmen returned the favor by giving up their shoes to the Serbs, an item that was difficult to find at the time.


(Halyard members dumping their shoes)

After returning to the United States, Jibilian and the other members of the rescue mission were disturbed by how Mihailovich and his men were abandoned by the allies.

Even today, he said few know the true story. Now, he said, he’s hoping to get word out about the book in order to clear Mihailovich’s name.

“All we wanted really, was to have this story be told, that Mihailovich be given credit for it and the airmen to be able to say ‘Thank you,’” Jibilian said.

Throughout the 1990s — right up to the turn of the century — we were bombing the Serbs. This year the unending betrayal is renewed as we declare war on the Serbs yet again, lumping them with Russia so that our illegal position seems to make some kind of sense. The anti-Serb propaganda, meanwhile, is being recycled ad nauseum. Perhaps the most perverse aspect to all this is that when we bombed the Serbs, we bombed G.I. Joe:

Mitchell Paige (August 31, 1918–November 15, 2003) was a recipient of the Medal of Honor from World War II…for his actions at the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands on October 26, 1942, where, after all of the other Marines in his platoon were killed or wounded, he operated four machine guns, singlehandedly stopping an entire Japanese regiment.

Mitchell was born in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. His parents were Serb immigrants who arrived in the USA from the Military Frontier, their last name being Pejić. His mother kept him and his brother in touch with their roots, reminding them of the Battle of Kosovo, but also told them to be proud Americans…[He] served as the model for a G.I. Joe action figure — the Marine Corps figure in a series honoring Medal of Honor recipients from each branch of the U.S. military.

The Wikipedia entry above also notes that Paige received a belated Eagle Scout award from Boy Scouts of America on March 24, 2003 (coincidentally the four-year anniversary of our bombing the birthplace of his people), making him one of only six known Eagle Scouts to receive the Medal of Honor.

From an article in the Serbian-American newspaper American Srbobran, titled “Who are these ‘Despicable’ Serbs?”, by author William Dorich:

There are maritime treaties between Serbia and the US more than 115 years old. Serbs were our allies in two World Wars and lost 34% of their population fighting and dying for freedom. American Serbs have proven time and again their dedication and commitment to the United States. Serbs proudly served in the American Civil War, the Spanish-American Wars, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. The Dokman family of Kansas City, MO, and the Grbich family of Reno had seven sons in the military service at the same time during WWII. A building at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs is named for Lance Sijan, a Serb, for his bravery in Vietnam. He died in his prison cell shared with Senator John McCain [who would later accept Albanian money to push for arming the KLA, bombing the Serbs and even sending in ground troops, which Bill Clinton declined to do].

In 1905, Rade Grba, a young Serbian-American from the south side of Chicago was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by the US for his heroic actions in the Navy. There are 8 Serbian Congressional Medals of Honor recipients. The first person in history to receive 2 Congressional Medals, Lou Cukelja, was a Serb who also received the highest decoration given by France, Belgium and Serbia. There are thousands of Serbian Purple Heart recipients. Serbian-Americans can be proud of the youngest Two-Star general in the American army, Rudy Ostovich III and Two-Star General Mel Vojvodich. Ed Radkovich headed Air Force Intelligence in Europe and Brigadier General George Karamarkovic the US Marine Corp. The U.S. military also included Admiral Stevan Mandarich and Col. Mitchell Pa[i]ge.

The NASA space program is replete with Serbian engineers and scientists. Vern Pupich was the test pilot of the DC3 before WWII…Thirteen top executives in the Apollo space program are Serbs. After the Apollo disaster, the new escape hatch was redesigned by Danilo Bojic. Mike Vucelic received the Freedom Award from President Johnson for his work in the Apollo program.

Sending American sons and daughters to Kosovo to defend terrorists who have succeeded in reducing the Serbian population of Kosovo from 21% ten years ago to less than 3% today is a mockery of our belief in democracy and freedom. Amputating 15% of Serbia’s territory because it has been invaded by Albanians is illegal and violates the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and numerous international laws.

People often ask me what my “thing for the Serbs” is — why do I care so much. The answer is that the United States of America is engaged in a continual and repeated betrayal. We picked every savage over our rescuers and allies. First in Croatia, then in Bosnia, and now in Kosovo. Well done, America. Well done.

The shame and immorality of today’s America is made manifest in the pride and morality of yesterday’s, as represented by Americans such as Art Jibilian. (See his original letter last July 4th in response to my article in American Legion magazine.)

Mihailovich cover of TIME magazine, May 1942: “The Eagle of Yugoslavia

Mihailovich in prison after England and America’s betrayal:

This July 4th weekend, it’s not God Bless America, but May God have Mercy on America’s Soul.

And what a perverse Father’s Day this year, as the U.S. proudly gave birth to its Muslim demon child on Serbian land, after nine years gestation in the jackal’s belly.

In a New York Times series which closed out 2007 and which outlined the lives and careers of the presidential contenders, one section on the Hillary page was titled “Know Your Enemy” and opened with:

Mrs. Clinton has disagreed with Mr. Obama’s support for presidential-level talks with leaders of nations like Iran and North Korea, but she said that the Balkans had taught her another lesson: know your enemy.

The reference is to Slobodan Milosevic as leader of the Serbs, who had never killed any Americans and historically have behaved as the opposite of what one would consider an enemy. In contrast, those whom we allied ourselves with during the Clinton years — namely the Albanians, Bosnians and Croats — have all committed and/or planned terrorist acts against Americans.

So there you have it — the Clintonian definition of “enemy” is 1) someone who has never killed Americans; 2) someone who has sheltered and organized a rescue of Americans during a war (e.g. Draza Mihailovic’s anti-Nazi guerrillas). In contrast, a “friend” or “ally” is someone who does commit or intend to commit terrorism against Americans.

It’s a good thing the Clintons are finally openly admitting their level of regard for America. In honor of these revelations, we have some new Clintonisms:

After Supporting Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence (following Bill Clinton’s Congressionally Unauthorized Unilateral Bombing paving the way for Unilateral Declaration)…

I want to send a very clear message to the rest of the world that the era of unilateralism, preemption and arrogance of the Bush administration is over.

– Hillary Clinton, Austin Democratic Debate, Feb. 21, 2008

And Still it was in Better Condition than She Left the White House

You know, just this week…we have had our embassy set on fire in Serbia.

– Hillary Clinton, Austin Democratic Debate, Feb. 21, 2008

And What International Law Provides for Amputating Territory from Other Countries (e.g. Serbia)?

I would be moving very aggressively to hold the Serbian government responsible with their security forces to protect our embassy. Under international law they should be doing that.

– Hillary Clinton, Austin Democratic Debate, Feb. 21, 2008

She’s “Moved Aggressively” Before

Clinton doesn’t bring this one up now, but in a 1999 interview published in Talk magazine, the first lady was quoted as saying that she…called the president on March 21, 1999, from her travels in North Africa. “I urged him to bomb…What do we have NATO for if not to defend our way of life?” NATO airstrikes began March 24.

AP, March 8, 2008

Translation: What do we have NATO for if not to Defend our Perverted Way of Life?

Hillary Clinton biographer Gail Sheehy tells NBC’S DATELINE…that after the Monica Lewinsky affair was revealed, Hillary Clinton refused to speak to the President for eight months. According to Sheehy, the standoff did not end until one day in March, 1999 when Hillary called the president telling him to begin bombing Kosovo. Sheehy tells DATELINE’S Stone Phillips: “The day after she said that, he [Bill Clinton] announced that he was informing his NATO allies that he was recommending a bombing campaign.”

– Matt Drudge, November 24, 1999, regarding a November 29th broadcast of “Dateline”

At Least The Clintons didn’t Alienate Europe…They Bombed It

We act to prevent a wider war…Let a fire burn here in this area and the flames will spread. Eventually, key U.S. allies could be drawn into a wider conflict, a war we would be forced to confront later — only at far greater risk and greater cost.

– Bill Clinton, March 25, 1999 Statement to the American People explaining why NATO is bombing European Christians

The Contained Conflict…Spreads

[D]espite the presence of U.S. and NATO peacekeepers, once Yugoslav forces left Kosovo the KLA began a…campaign of ethnic cleansing…Meanwhile, across the border from Kosovo in Serbia proper, the KLA — as part of its effort to carve out a greater Albania — is waging guerrilla war in the Presevo Valley region…

– Christopher Layne and Benjamin Schwarz, Washington Post, March 26, 2000

…and Spreads

Nato troops could be sucked into combating the ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia…The border has grown increasingly tense amid warnings from Macedonia that ethnic Albanians pose a threat to the stability of the entire Balkans region.

– BBC, March 7, 2001

Thanks a Lot!

Melanne Verveer, a Clinton aide who accompanied the first lady on the trip to Macedonia, said…Clinton was forceful in urging the leaders to keep the border open, and in assuring the Macedonians that the U.S. would support them in coping with the influx of [Albanian] refugees.

– AP, March 2008

Support

Macedonia took in over 400,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees. However, when the country was no longer needed for Clinton’s military adventures, it was forgotten, and the long-term consequences of Kosovo — an emboldened pan-Albanian Balkan insurgency — were ignored…[America] began secretly supporting the NLA [(Albanian) National Liberation Army] from its Kosovo base, Camp Bondsteel, through logistical and communications support as well as secret arms airdrops to Albanian-held mountain villages in northwestern Macedonia.

For Macedonians, the nadir was reached in June [2001, post-Clinton], during a three-day battle at the Skopje-area village of Aracinovo, where NATO ordered the Macedonian Army to stop its operations and then spirited the heavily armed Albanian fighters off to freedom…[T]he public was shocked when it was reported that Islamic fighters and 17 American military contractors from the Virginia-based Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI) had been found amongst the NLA’s ranks…From that moment, the humiliated and disappointed Macedonian public’s worst suspicions seemed to have been confirmed: America and NATO were in full favor of the Albanian guerrillas.

– Chris Deliso, The Coming Balkan Caliphate

Mission Accomplished

I can report to the American people that we have achieved a victory for a safer world, for our democratic values and for a stronger America.

– Bill Clinton, address to the nation at the end of the bombing, June 10, 1999

Pay no Attention to the Men Behind the Rocket-Propelled Grenade

[F]ederal authorities busted the so-called Fort Dix Six before the alleged Muslim terrorists launched their murderous attack on the military installation. Four of the six are ethnic Albanians. Three of the four are brothers [from Macedonia]. And the fourth, according to authorities, was a sniper in Kosovo.

– John David Powell, EtherZone.com, May 14, 2007

Clinton Lied, People Died

In fact, the death toll from NATO bombings — estimated at more than 6,000 — exceeded 2,108 confirmed killed in the fighting, a total that includes Serbian combatants. This was a far cry from the 100,000 dead Albanians Clinton warned of in the run-up to war.

– Christopher A. Roach, Orlando Sentinel, March 3, 2008

Wild Horses — or B-52 Bombers — Couldn’t Keep him Away

Mr. President, have some respect for the men and women risking their lives to follow your orders. I ask you to have the decency to suspend your relentless foraging for campaign cash while our troops are in harm’s way.

– Jim Nicholson, then chairman of the Republican National Committee, in reference to Clinton’s attendance of two Democratic fund-raisers the day that airstrikes began, March 24, 1999

Lay off! Bill Clinton is not our Moral Compass!

On the day the [Juanita] Broaddrick story broke in the Journal, the most interesting, and appalling, item on the evening news broadcast was a report by David Martin, the CBS Pentagon correspondent. The White House, he said, wanted to bomb Serbia, even though our NATO allies opposed it. It is to think the unthinkable that the proposed bombing had anything to do with diverting attention from Juanita Broaddrick, of course. The thought is too overwhelming. But it is also unthinkable that we have a rapist in the White House. Who could possibly believe that, either?

– John Corry, American Spectator, April 1999

The Other Socks: Sandy “Socks” Berger, the Cat Burglar

Mr. Berger… folded documents in his clothes, snuck them out of the Archives building, and stashed them under a construction trailer nearby until he could return, retrieve them, and later cut them up…What could have been important enough for a lawyer of his distinction to risk disgrace, disbarment, and prison? At President Clinton’s request, he reviewed highly confidential material… Mr. Berger’s willingness to risk everything to suppress the information goes well beyond ordinary concerns against excessive disclosure.

– Ronald A. Cass, RealClearPolitics.com, January 15, 2007

Kosovo Docs in Berger’s Socks?

WABC’s John Batchelor’s regular guest, John Loftus has just reported this evening that the documents stolen by Berger would have revealed that Bill Clinton and the Clinton administration hired al-Qaeda terrorists to fight for the Muslims in Kosovo. Loftus stated the Clinton administration provided documents and facilitated travel for the al-Qaeda terrorists from Afghanistan to Kosovo to help the Islamists fighting for a foothold back into Europe.

– Mary Mostert, LibertyPost.com, July 20, 2004

BONUS CLINTONISMS (for getting through the Kosovo Clintonisms):

Or My Husband’s

Well, I think that if your candidacy is going to be about words, then they should be your own words.

– Hillary Clinton on Barack Obama’s “borrowed” recent speech, Austin Democratic Debate, Feb. 21, 2008

Bill Clinton, January 20, 1993 Inauguration Speech:

There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.

Hillary Clinton, April 2007, Premature Inauguration Speech:

There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what is right about America.

If I can’t Suppress the Press, have a Command Economy, or put my Political Enemies in Jail, No One Can!

This gives the Cuban government, under Raul Castro, a chance to change direction from the one that was set for 50 years by his brother. I’m going to be looking for some of those changes: releasing political prisoners, ending some of the oppressive practices on the press, opening up the economy.

– Hillary Clinton, Feb. 21, 2008, Democratic Debate in Austin, TX

People, There are Cheaper Ways to Get Rid of a Dog; I did it Twice

We’re also going to put much tougher standards in place so that people cannot import toys with lead paint [or] contaminated pet food…into our market.

– Austin Democratic Debate, Feb. 21, 2008

Probably Because you Forgot to Tip Her Again

Everywhere I go, I meet people who either have been or are about to lose their home — 85,000 homes in foreclosure in Texas, 90,000 in Ohio. I’ve met the families: the hairdresser, the single mom who’s going to lose her home…

– Austin Democratic Debate, Feb. 21, 2008

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