Last Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian, the WWII O.S.S. radioman who risked his life in Operation Halyard to help rescue more than 500 U.S. pilots who were shot down over Yugoslavia. This was done with brave assistance from the Tuskegee Airmen. The operation was part of the largest WWII rescue from behind enemy lines, and since it couldn’t have happened without the Serbs, the story has been suppressed and remains largely unknown to Americans.
Few people can boast Jibby’s patriotic credentials, yet when our fighting men and women were sent on a mission in 1999 to bomb Serbs, he didn’t shy away from exclaiming, “I love the Serbs!”
In a 2008 mention of Jibby, I attempted to shame America for bombing G.I. Joe when it bombed the Serbs, as the Marine Corps action figure in a series honoring Medal of Honor recipients was based on Mitchell Paige, son of Serbian immigrants. In the Battle of Guadalcanal on the Solomon Islands, Paige had operated four machine guns to single-handedly stop an entire Japanese regiment after the rest of the platoon had been killed or wounded.
But it turns out that not only did the Americans and Brits lead the way to bombing G.I. Joe in the 90s — they also bombed James Bond. Because, as Bond creator Ian Fleming himself told newspapers in the early 60s, James Bond is actuallyDusanPopov.
In this old TV special detailing the parallels between James Bond and real-life spy Dusan Popov, we see Popov on “The Mike Douglas Show” (1961-1982) telling us how he — born in a part of Serbia that belonged to Austro-Hungary, and growing up in Germany — was approached by the Nazis to become a spy. He agreed, and went immediately to the British to become a double agent, ultimately helping implement a key deception called the Doublecross which was decisive in the Allies winning the war. Popov and Fleming knew each other well, because the latter was working at a high level in British Naval Intelligence, with whom Popov was cooperating (making it more likely MI5 than MI6 that he worked for).
Though Popov constantly downplayed the connection, a number of Bond scenarios had their origins in missions performed by Popov who, unlike other spies with inconspicuous covers, was a suave playboy who dated, among others, actress Simone Simon.
What most people don’t know about James Bond — I mean Dusan Popov — is that in 1941 he warned the FBI about an impending attack on Pearl Harbor. His German handler told him that Germany wanted intelligence about Britain’s successful air bombing of the port city of Taranto, Italy, and Popov learned that Japan, not yet in the war, wanted to repeat the success on another seaport base. “I was then asked very urgently to go to Pearl Harbor and find out certain information to pass to the Germans so they would pass it to the Japanese,” Popov told host Mike Douglas.
The Germans had given him a Japanese questionnaire to fill out, asking a series of detailed questions about the nature of the port facilities, supply and fuel dumps, ammo dumps, air fields, ships and where they were berthed at Pearl Harbor. In other words, the questions revealed detailed operational planning.
Popov handed the information to the FBI on August 12, 1941, almost four months before the attack, and flew to America to carry out the mission. But unlike the Brits, who had so much confidence in Popov that he was the only spy allowed to meet with his German handlers, the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover didn’t trust the flashy playboy — and Popov found his apartment bugged.
He was frustrated that his warning about Pearl Harbor wasn’t being taken seriously. Not only did the FBI fail to act on it, it stymied him by refusing him permission to go to Hawaii to build up his legend for the Germans as an agent with access.
This, of course, could have something to do with the increasingly likely possibility that the U.S. government didn’t act on the intelligence precisely because the president was looking for an excuse to bring Americans into a war he had promised not to involve them in.
The fact that James Bond was an ethnic Serb trying to save American lives adds some subtext to this 2009 L.A. Times article:
As Milosevic’s intelligence chief, Jovica Stanisic is accused of setting up genocidal death squads. But as a valuable source for the CIA, an agency veteran says, he also ‘did a whole lot of good.’
By Greg Miller
…It was here in 1992, as the former Yugoslavia was erupting in ethnic violence, that a wary CIA agent made his way toward the park’s gazebo and shook hands with a Serbian intelligence officer.
Jovica Stanisic had a cold gaze and a sinister reputation. He was the intelligence chief for Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, and regarded by many as the brains of a regime that gave the world a chilling new [sic] term: “ethnic cleansing.”
For eight years, Stanisic was the CIA’s main man in Belgrade…he shared details on the inner workings of the Milosevic regime. He provided information on the locations of NATO hostages, aided CIA operatives in their search for grave sites and helped the agency set up a network of secret bases in Bosnia.
At the same time, Stanisic was setting up death squads for Milosevic that carried out a genocidal [sic] campaign…Now facing a trial at The Hague that could send him to prison for life, Stanisic has called in a marker with his American allies. In an exceedingly rare move, the CIA has submitted a classified document to the court that lists Stanisic’s contributions and attests to his helpful role…
Stanisic has pleaded not guilty, and denies any role in creating the squads or even being aware of the crimes they committed. [Probably because there weren’t any such “death squads.”]
In that memo, Stanisic portrays himself as someone who sought to moderate Milosevic, and who worked extensively with the CIA to contain the crisis.
…He wore dark suits and sunglasses, a Balkan James Bond.
That’s funny, since James Bond was a Balkan James Bond.
…Vlado Dragicevic, who served for years as Stanisic’s deputy. “We never committed acts of genocide. On the contrary, we were trying to stop that.”
CIA officers who served in the region said that they had assumed Stanisic was no choirboy, but they never saw evidence that he was involved in war crimes. Instead, they viewed him as a key ally in a situation spinning rapidly out of control.
But Stanisic also drew boundaries. He never took payment from the CIA, worked with the agency on operations or took steps that he would have considered a blatant betrayal of his boss.
…Well after his secret meetings had started, Stanisic persuaded Milosevic to let him open contacts with the CIA as a back channel to the West.
In the letter to The Hague, submitted in 2004, the CIA describes Stanisic’s efforts to defuse some of the most explosive events of the Bosnian war.
In spring 1993, at CIA prodding, Stanisic pressured Ratko Mladic, military commander of the breakaway Serb republic in Bosnia, to briefly stop the shelling of Sarajevo. [Notice here the familiar unwitting admissions that these Serbian monsters aren’t quite monsters.]
By then, the Clinton administration was engaged in an all-out diplomatic push to end the war. Stanisic accompanied Milosevic to Dayton, Ohio, for peace talks, then returned to Serbia to carry out key pieces of the accord.
It was left to Stanisic to get the president of Bosnia’s Serb republic, Radovan Karadzic, to sign a document pledging to leave office. And Stanisic helped the CIA establish a network of bases in Bosnia to monitor the cease-fire.
Asked whether Stanisic was capable of committing war crimes, [CIA Bosnia station chief Doug] Smith replied, “I think he would do as little bad as he could.”
At the time, CIA Director John M. Deutch was trying to clean up the agency’s image by cracking down on contacts with human rights violators. Years later, the “Deutch rules” were cited as a reason the agency hadn’t done better penetrating groups such as Al Qaeda.
But Deutch had no problems with Stanisic. He invited the Serbian to CIA headquarters in 1996, and an itinerary of the visit indicates that Stanisic got a warm welcome.
The Serbian spy chief was taken to hear jazz at the Blues Alley club in Georgetown, Va., and driven to Maryland’s eastern shore for a bird hunt. Deutch even presented Stanisic with a 1937 Parker shotgun, a classic weapon admired by collectors.
When Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic — who had sent Milosevic to The Hague — was assassinated in 2003, Stanisic was arrested and detained for three months. Then, without explanation, he too was sent to The Hague. […]
Back to the ironies, insults and betrayals relevant to James Bond being Serbian. Adding to the irony, as well as insult to injury, Camp Bondsteel occupying Serbian land — the largest U.S. military base on foreign soil since Vietnam and the ex post facto ‘benefit’ of savaging the region and swarming it with jihadists — is named after Sergeant James Bondsteel. (That is, after stealing James Bond’s historic heartland and killing his people, we’ve occupied it with a James Bondsteel base.)
The next ironic insult comes as a factoid I found in a eulogy for Arthur Jibilian, published a few weeks after his passing a year ago this month. Remember the recurring Bond villain “Jaws,” played by Richard Kiel? Well, the same actor was cast as another “villain”: as Serbian “Nazi collaborator” general “Drazak,” based on Draza Mihailovich who helped Jibilian rescue hundreds of U.S. airmen at the price of Germans burning down the Serbian villages under his command. It is to Mihailovich’s public rehabilitation that Jibby dedicated his life. The 1978 film in question, “Force 10 from Navarone,” fits in with the anti-Serb movie motif which I’ve chronicledoccasionally — and which, it’s safe to assume, is influenced by a large number of real WWII Nazis who have planted themselves in Hollywood, also known as Croatians. For good measure, Bond babe Barbara Bach — who rose to fame thanks to Bond/Popov (she was the lead femme in “The Spy Who Loved Me”) — was also cast in “Force 10.” That is, the year after we met her in a Bond film — without, of course, knowing that the whole series is based on Serbian heroism — she was in a film demonizing a Serbian hero.
The Jibilian eulogy from which I gleaned the “Force 10″ information reads as follows:
Well, how do I begin? My father, Bozidar (”Robert”) Subotich was in the U.S. Navy in WWII and always talked about General Mihailovich and the gallant Chetniks. He saved many articles, bought books, and, in general, was always looking for answers as to the truth of what really happened back in his country of birth. He instilled that in me, and there started my lifelong quest for answers.
When the communists took control of Yugoslavia after WWII, their lies never seemed to end. I was mystified. These lies continued on all fronts. One prime example was the 1978 movie “Force 10 from Navarone” starring Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford and Richard Kiel. This movie was based on a book by Alistair MacLean. It showed the “collaborationist Chetniks” as being under German control and led by “General Drazak” (note the “k”) portrayed by Richard Kiel (aka: “Jaws” from the James Bond movies), and this really boiled my blood, as this movie even portrayed Chetniks killing American airmen! How could this lie [and inversion] be allowed?!
The “Freedom of Information Act” and the release of previously classified information regarding General Mihailovich’s Legion of Merit Medal, which was posthumously awarded him in 1948 by President Truman, along with the continued outreach by the rescued airmen of “Operation Halyard”, especially Major Richard L. Felman, whom I was proud to call my friend, fueled and aided my quest. It wasn’t until Aleksandra Rebic and her father had an outstanding event in April 1993, at the Congress Hotel in Chicago to honor the 100th birthday of General Mihailovich, that my quest gained a permanent foothold. This is when I knew it was going to be a lifelong goal to pursue the truth and make it known. Even historians with Masters Degrees are not aware of the “Halyard Mission”, the remarkable event in our history which was the essence of this quest for truth and justice. Since then, I have written hundreds of letters to various groups, politicians, and publications in support of the truth and to inspire the establishment of a monument to General Mihailovich in Washington D.C. as a reflection of American gratitude for all that Mihailovich did for the Allies in WWII. The late Senator Strom Thurmond was one of our Senators who really gave his support to the House Bill which was initiated on behalf of this effort, only to be told “No, we already have too many statues.” Bills were initiated on behalf of this cause in both the House and the Senate, but the effort never came to fruition due to “political considerations”.
It was really in these times that I sought out my heroes such as Major Richard L. Felman, Captain Nick Lalich, local Ravna Gora Chetniks, and especially OSS radio man Arthur “Jibby” Jibilian who lived in nearby Fremont, Ohio. Though Art did not attend the Chicago celebration, I knew that nothing was going to stop me from meeting him and welcoming him to the Serbian community here in America. Arthur had a story to tell, and I was going to make sure it was told. So, in the spring of 1993, Art and I corresponded via letters and telephone calls numerous times, but it wasn’t until we met several times at my sister’s restaurant, “Tommy’s”, in nearby Sylvania, Ohio with his lovely wife Jo, that this smiling, gentle man, and my American hero, would be embedded in my heart forever. Later, I know I was in his heart too, as he presented me with 2 gold coins that he received during his trip to Serbia in 2005 to honor General Mihailovich. It was then that they presented the General’s daughter “Gordana” with the “Legion of Merit” Medal that had been awarded to General Mihailovich posthumously and “secretly” in 1948. Unfortunately, influenced by our State Department, there was little media attention given to this historical event in 2005 as they did not want to compromise the current talks [betrayal] on Kosovo.
My wife Susan, who is Armenian like Arthur, has a grandmother who knew the Jibilians and thinks her sister dated Art. Grandma is 97 years old. It was then that our Serbian-Armenian ties got even stronger, and the man I had called “Jibby” became “Uncle Arthur”…During these “early years” in our friendship, I told Arthur about the Tuskegee Airmen and their contributions to the Halyard Mission Rescue Operation in 1944 Yugoslavia. I also met with one of them, Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, author of “Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free”. As a WWII P-51 pilot, Lt. Col. Jefferson was not even aware of the extent of these escort missions, or their assistance in the massive evacuations conducted by the Serbs loyal to General Mihailovich.
I wrote about Uncle Arthur to both of our church publications and wrote to numerous historical societies, aviation groups and magazines with limited success. Most of the politicians I wrote to responded quite similarly with, “Thank you for your letters, as we are all for helping our Vets.” It was the Serbian community who really supported, and fell in love with Arthur. Our “Jibilian Legions” grew through the years, but I would like to especially thank two of them: Aleksandra Rebic and Mim Bizic, who are relentless and tireless in their efforts to make the truth known.
One of the biggest highs and also the biggest lows for “Me and Jibby” was in July 2005, when I met Lt. Col. Oliver North at the USS Indianapolis (CA35) reunion. I told him all about the Halyard Mission, Uncle Arthur’s photo collection and his documentations. Lt. Col. North not only contacted Arthur but flew him and a couple of other rescued airmen to the FOX studios in New York to film a documentary segment to be aired on his famous TV show: “Oliver North’s War Stories”. Could this be our big break? We got word of the date that the show would air. How exciting! Both “Uncle Arthur” and I told everyone we could think of! Friends, family, historical groups, etc… As we set our recorders and watched with eager excitement and anticipation, nothing about the Halyard Mission was presented. Art was bitterly disappointed. They said it was a “scheduling problem”, and that the Halyard Mission presentation would possibly be shown that fall. It never was. My guess was that Lt. Col. North was just following the State Department’s wishes like a good soldier…
One of my favorite memories of Uncle Arthur was on Flag Day, June 14th, 2008, at Ohio’s Metcalf Field near Toledo. The Toledo chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the Yankee Air Force, (of whom I’m a life member #2151WR), honored our dear Arthur with a fly-in aboard our beautifully restored B-17 bomber called “Yankee Lady”. With honor guards present and 512 American Flags on the ground for each of “Halyard’s” rescued American airmen who were evacuated from Yugoslavia in 1944, a fitting tribute was given to Arthur with speeches and awards…
As letters turned into emails, Uncle Arthur and I continued our mutual fight to honor General Draza Mihailovich. In 2009, in one of the great highlights of his long, incredible life, Arthur Jibilian was nominated for the coveted Congressional Medal of Honor, and we were ecstatic! As Art would often say: “Sam, this is not about me; this is about General Mihailovich and the Serbian people, and if I can get the Congressional Medal of Honor, think of the weight this would bring, although I must admit, I am absolutely thrilled to have even been nominated.” Arthur died on March 21, 2010 with the quest for the medal still pending…
I’m proud of Uncle Arthur for all his efforts and persistence to promote his story and this EPIC adventure called The Halyard Mission. Whether he was speaking at VFW halls, American Legion halls, Air Shows, Reunions, Parades, Radio Shows or the many Veteran events that he participated in, he spoke eloquently, first hand, and always with a smile. I will really miss all his emails informing me of his latest quests, yet, aside from his family and us, his friends, it is the proponents of the Halyard Mission and the Serbian people who will really feel the loss.
I’m going to close with what has been perhaps the most unpleasant learning experience in looking into U.S. behavior and betrayals in the Balkans. Whereas Pearl Harbor was an attack that was allowed to happen, the U.S. has also engaged in the made-famous-by-Muslims art of staged atrocity. Reading the paragraph below, one wonders about potential U.S. involvement in the notorious Sarajevo Breadline Massacre that Muslims and therefore the West blamed on Serbs (like the subsequent marketplacemassacres of 1994 and 1995):
… The CIA also had an expert sniper and trainer of snipers and bombers in Bosnia in 1992, when the war broke out[,] M/Sgt Lawrence Freedman…Do you think he might just have known Sarajevo’s market places and bread queues? Market place bombs and soft civilian targets are a modus operandi of Hezb’ollah’s “War of the Weak”…According to W. Thomas Smith[,] Freedman as a teen-ager was reported to have exhibited sociopathic traits. He is said to have terrified his high school teachers. He is even said, armed with bow and arrow, to have robbed a grocery store. In Somalia [in December 1992] Freedman’s 4×4 ran over a landmine, the official CIA story goes. (At first the Agency denied that Old Sarge was their man.)
Part of a Jan. 1993 Chicago Tribune obituary for Freedman — known to friends, family and cohorts as “Super Jew” — is viewable here.
Of course, we know that Bosnia was repeated in Kosovo, where the CIA helped KLA terrorists stage the Racak “massacre” to trigger a U.S.-led NATO war ultimatum for Serbia, as well as an exodus of refugees. Similarly, we helped put together a media blitz for the Albanian “Freezer Truck Hoax,” and reading a piece titled “CIA Trains Contras to Kill Civilians,” I’m reminded of an item I read last year (but would have to dig to find it again), which surprised me when I read that U.S. minders suggested that the KLA maximize Albanian civilian casualties. The tactic was employed throughout the 1998-99 war, and seemed attempted again during the March 2004 riots when “the Albanians put women and children in front of our barracks as ‘human shields’ so that our vehicles couldn’t get out,” as a former German soldier in Kosovo explained.
In 1964, Ian Fleming died on August 12, the same date that his Serb spy hero warned us of the Japanese invasion 23 years earlier. Ever since Popov tried to save American lives and Mihailovich succeeded in doing so, all we can do in return is take Serbian ones.
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