Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Wiesenthal Center Denounces Plaque With Ustasha Slogan in Town of Jasenovac, Site of Mass Murder by Ustasha / "Simon Wiesenthal Center" Dec. 6, 2016

Simon Wiesenthal Center
December 6, 2016



Wiesenthal Center Denounces Plaque With Ustasha Slogan in Town of Jasenovac, Site of Mass Murder by Ustasha

Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today denounced the use of an Ustasha (Croatian fascist) slogan on a memorial plaque to Croatian soldiers who fell in the 90s, in the village of Jasenovac, site of the largest concentration camp in the Balkans, where close to 100,000 Serbs, Jews, Roma, and anti-fascist Croatians were murdered by the Ustasha.

In a statement issued here today by its director for Eastern European affairs, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted that the use of slogans which incite to violence is forbidden by Croatian law, and that Za dom spremni (for the Homeland, ready) was an integral part of the propaganda accompanying the Ustasha genocidal campaigns against Serbs, Jews and Roma.

According to Zuroff:

"It is hard to believe that an incendiary slogan like Za dom spremni can be publicly displayed in a country which is a member of the European Union. Such slogans are an insult to the survivors of the Ustasha terror and part of an attempt to distort the history of World War II and the Holocaust, turning perpetrators into heroes."




For additional information please contact the Israel Office of the Wiesenthal Center, 972-2-563-1274 or 972-50-721-4156,  join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal or @EZuroff for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.


The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).


http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=4441467&ct=14966995


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If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

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PRO-NAZI SLOGAN AT CROATIA DEATH CAMP [Jasenovac] CONDEMNED / "AFP" December 6, 2016

AFP
December 6, 2016

PRO-NAZI SLOGAN AT CROATIA DEATH CAMP [Jasenovac] CONDEMNED

People lay flower wreaths at the Jasenovac camp, known as "Croatia's Auschwitz", situated about 100 kilometres southeast of Zagreb (AFP Photo/)

Zagreb (AFP) - The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre on Tuesday condemned a pro-Nazi slogan on a memorial plaque in a small Croatian town that housed a notorious World War II death camp.
 
Former paramilitaries placed the plaque in central Jasenovac to honour 11 fellow fighters killed in the area at the start of Croatia's 1990s independence war.
 
It carries the official emblem of the HOS paramilitary forces, which includes the slogan used by the country's WWII Ustasha regime.
 
"It is hard to believe that an incendiary slogan like 'Za dom spremni' ('For the Homeland ready') can be publicly displayed in a country which is a member of the European Union," the centre's top Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff said in a statement.
 
"Such slogans ... are part of an attempt to distort the history of WWII and the Holocaust, turning perpetrators into heroes."
 
The existence of the plaque -- put in place by HOS veterans in November -- has only just emerged via local media.
 
Conservative Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said it was "certainly delicate that such a memorial was put in Jasenovac".
 
But, he added that it was an emblem of an officially registered association.
 
The issue "shows that we did not set up an adequate legal framework ... regarding totalitarian regimes," Plenkovic said, pledging to seek for a "legal solution."
 
The Ustasha regime persecuted and killed hundreds of thousands of ethnic Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascist Croatians.
 
The Jasenovac camp, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) southeast of the capital Zagreb, was known as "Croatia's Auschwitz".
 
The total number of people killed at the camp remains disputed, varying from tens of thousands to 700,000, according to Serbian figures.
 
Croatia's previous centre-right government, which fell in June, was accused by critics of turning a blind eye to a far-right surge in the country, including nostalgia for a pro-Nazi past.
 
 
 
 
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If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
 
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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

6. децембра. 1941. године, јединице 342. дивизије надиру ка Равној Гори, а Струганик је први на удару. Ту се, у Мишићевој кући, налазио и пуковник Дража Михаиловић са штабом.


 Србадија
 na Facebook
 
 

6. децембра. 1941. године, јединице 342. дивизије надиру ка Равној Гори, а Струганик је први на удару. Ту се, у Мишићевој кући, налазио и пуковник Дража Михаиловић са штабом.

У рану зору нико није приметио опкољавање, све док није било касно. Кад су четници приметили Немце, ови су већ били на стотинак метара од куће. Пуковник Михаиловић је са људством искочио кроз прозор куће и повлачио се ка шуми. Као тежак срчани болесник, Александар Мишић је почео да заостаје, да би после неколико стотина метара посустао. И поред Дражиног бодрења, није могао даље. С њим је остао и мајор Иван Фрегл, који није могао да се одвоји од свог команданта. Како би бар некако заштитили Дражу и обезбедили му мало времена за бекство, изашли су пред Немце у униформама. Александар Мишић се представио као пуковник Дража Михаиловић, Немци су због црвених официрских ревера на капуту поверовали, па су накратко обуставили гоњење. То је Дражи и његовим људима дало времена да измакну и спасу се.

Након хапшења немци су покушали да врбују Александра да ради за немачку обавештајну службу “Абвер“, убеђујући га да је он по мајци Немац и да у њему тече пола немачке крви.

На то им је Александар одговорио: “Ту половину ваше крви сте ми источили на Колубари“, пише у својој књизи пуковник Живојиновић и додаје да је после тог неуспелог врбовања Александар Мишић, као и мајор Иван Фрегл, стрељан 18. децембра 1941. године.

Занимљиво је додати, да је у тренутку стрељања, Мишић скинуо чизму и гађао стрељачки вод, а мајор Фергл је командовао стрељачким водом по сопственој жељи!

Образ нема цену, слава херојима!


https://www.facebook.com/Srbadija1/photos/a.739312342866163.1073741828.738360092961388/941606609303401/?type=3&theater


*****

If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

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VIDEO / U.S. House Unanimously Passes Legislation to Honor OSS Veterans with Congressional Gold Medal! Passage applauded by legislation authors, Congressman Latta, Senator Blunt, and Senator Warner / Press Release Nov. 30, 2016

Aleksandra's Note: I sure wish OSS veterans George "Guv" Musulin, Arthur "Jibby" Jibilian, Nick Lalich and others were alive to see this!

A great step forward in "official recognition" of rescue operations such as the HALYARD MISSION in WWII Yugoslavia which was made possible by General Draza Mihailovich, his Chetniks, and the Serbian people loyal to them.

Bravo!

Sincerely,
Aleksandra Rebic

*****

Press Release:
Washington, November 30, 2016 | Drew Griffin

House Passes Legislation to Honor OSS Veterans with Congressional Gold Medal

Passage applauded by legislation authors, Congressman Latta, Senator Blunt, and Senator Warner

Legislation to honor veterans of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) with a Congressional Gold Medal passed the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously in a vote this evening. The bill, S. 2234, recognizes the members of the intelligence agency for their “superior service and major contributions during World War II.” Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) introduced companion legislation, H.R. 3929, in the House earlier this Congress. The Senate bill was introduced by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Mark Warner (D-VA).
 
Congressman Latta with OSS Veterans and their families
 
The OSS, the predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency, conducted critical operations during the war including establishing intelligence networks, training resistance organizations throughout Europe and Asia, and carrying out “mercy missions” at the end of the WWII to save the lives of thousands of Allied prisoners of war. Since the legislation previously passed the Senate, the bill will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“Honoring veterans of the OSS with a Congressional Gold Medal will ensure that their heroic actions during one of our country’s most trying times will not be forgotten,” said Congressman Latta. “The clandestine nature of the OSS often meant members had to operate behind enemy lines in situations calling for unquestionable bravery and unparalleled skill. Their actions played an important role in winning the war and saved countless American lives in the process.”

“The members of the OSS saved thousands of lives during World War II. From establishing intelligence networks deep behind enemy lines to bolstering resistance organizations throughout Europe and Asia, these intelligence officers played a critical role in securing the Allied victory,” said Senator Blunt. "I urge the president to sign this bill so we can move forward in officially recognizing the heroic efforts of the OSS members with the Congressional Gold Medal.”

“For many years, the heroic contributions of the OSS – which included some of the most daring covert operations of World War II — remained shrouded in secrecy, their impact largely unknown to the American public. Today, Congress is able to publicly recognize the members of the OSS for their remarkable heroism and many sacrifices,” said Senator Warner. “As the predecessor to the modern CIA, other elements of the U.S. intelligence community, and U.S. special operations forces, the OSS once boasted nearly 13,000 members, but more than 70 years after they won the war, fewer than 100 are still with us. I know how much it means to the veterans of the OSS, as well as their families, that this legislation is finally making its way to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Today, Congress has ensured that their courage of spirit and their love of country will long live on in our nation’s memory.”

The OSS was created in 1942 under the leadership of General William J. Donovan to better coordinate and oversee American intelligence operations. At it’s peak, 13,000 members served in the OSS including notable names such as Julia Child, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., John Ford, and James Donovan, who was depicted in the 2015 movie, Bridge of Spies. OSS veterans and their family members were present in the House gallery when the legislation was approved.

Congressman Latta spoke in favor of the bill on the House floor.

VIDEO:

Latta: Honor OSS Veterans with Congressional Gold Medal

Posted on You Tube by: "CongressmanBobLatta"
Published on Nov 30, 2016
Congressman Bob Latta speaks on the House floor in favor of legislation he authored to honor veterans of the Office of Strategic Services with a Congressional Gold Medal. The bill passed unanimously.




https://youtu.be/i-mPlYtoQfE


http://latta.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398294



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If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

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Sunday, December 04, 2016

ПОЗИВАМО ВАС ДА МЕДИСКИ ПРОПРАТИТЕ СЛЕДЕЋИ ДОГАЂАЈ УПРИЛИЧЕН ПОВОДОМ ГОДИШЊИЦЕ РОЂЕЊА И СМРТИ АКАДЕМИКА СЛОБОДАНА ЈОВАНОВИЋА / Промоција књиге Слободана Јовановића, "Социологија религије" 05.12.2016. године у 12 сати

Слободан Јовановић
 

 У понедељак, 5. децембра у 12 сати у УКС

ће бити одржана промоција књиге

Слободана Јовановића:

"Социологија религије"
 

у УДРУЖЕЊУ КЊИЖЕВНИКА СРБИЈЕ

Француска 7, Београд.

 
О књизи говоре:
 
Проф. др Миро Ломпар
 
Славољуб Качаревић
 
публициста Никола Мирков.
 
Присутнима ће се обратити и ауторка књиге:
 
„Деца у концентрационим логорима у НДХ“
 
мр Даница Каћа Чоловић
 
 
Александар Недић, уредник
СРПСКИ ЛИБЕРАЛНИ САВЕТ

 
 
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please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
 
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Friday, December 02, 2016

"THANK YOU" from an American Serb. / By Aleksandra Rebic December 2016

Aleksandra Rebic / November 2016


In this season of paying extra special attention to one's blessings and being grateful for them, I'm sending out this personal note from the heart.
 
I have very few virtues, but the one I'm most proud of is my ability to recognize the blessings God has bestowed upon me and my life, and the desire and willingness to express and communicate my gratitude without hesitation, throughout the entire year, because "Thankfulness" should never be relegated to a day or a season in time.
 
As an American Serb, born in Chicago, Illinois to Serbian immigrants, I've been especially blessed and have felt that way even through the most trying times, when all of us Serbs in the Diaspora, both immigrants and native born, have had to endure demonization and systematic propaganda campaigns aimed at vilifying or diminishing us as a people. I know very well who we really are, the endurance, perseverance, and heroism we are capable of, and how generous and good our hearts can be.
 
These are some of the things I'm most thankful for:
 
I was born in America, raised in America, and have lived in America all of my life. As a huge bonus, I grew up being raised with Serbian Orthodox traditions and enlightenment about the vast and magnificent history of the Serbian people. I grew up being raised by people who were fiercely patriotic Americans, who assimilated beautifully and elegantly, but who NEVER forgot where they came from and the journey all along the way. They survived WWII in their homeland, and I was fortunate to have been able to hear the stories firsthand, stories I never, ever get tired of, that for me read like a great movie that I want to see over and over again.
 
I was raised with understanding and appreciating from early childhood who General Draza Mihailovich and his Chetniks were and are, and this has only been magnified with the passage of time and my involvement with educating others and inspiring them to share in my understanding and appreciation of these true heroes of the 20th Century. Getting to meet and spend time with the Chetnik immigrants that I met and came to know over the years has been a GIFT. So many have passed over the years, and I miss their company and just being around them. Making sure their legacy continues into perpetuity is an obligation that I very gladly and willingly want to fulfill to the end of my days. It matters, because THEY mattered.
 
I'm so grateful for the Internet and Social Media and their capacity to make fulfilling this obligation possible. I've met people, reached people, and been in contact with people I may never have had the pleasure of crossing paths with because of the enormous capabilities that technology affords us. People who have passed on continue to LIVE on, in large part due these capabilities, and that is one of the reasons that for me, the Internet and Social Media will always be "A Wonderful Thing".
 
In this season of Giving and Gratitude, may your season be full of blessings and joy, and let me say THANK YOU to all of you who have in one way or another touched my life and helped me or made me a better person. Please know, that I am grateful to you in every season, ALWAYS.
 
 
Sincerely,
Aleksandra Rebic
December 2016
 


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If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Obeležavanje godišnjice operacije Halijard / HLEB, SO I RAKIJA ZA SKATA U PRANJANIMA To je za film! Srbi su ovde spasli 500 američkih pilota / "Kurir" Nov. 18, 2016

Kurir
November 18, 2016

ČAČAK - Ambasador SAD u Srbij Kajl Skat rekao je danas u Čačku da su, po njegovoj oceni, najvažniji događaji u Srbiji u 2016, izbori i formiranje nove vlade i ekonomski rast.

Foto: Aleksandar Jovanović 

"U Srbiji se već vidi put ka boljoj budućnosti i Srbija je postala sidro stabilnosti ovog regiona, ali i motor rasta u regionu, što je važna stvar. Ekonomski optimizam je sve veći u Srbiji", rekao je Skat, na pitanje novinara koji dogadjaji su po njegovoj oceni obeležili ovu godinu u Srbiji.

On je istakao da je za deset meseci koliko je ambasador u Srbiji puno putovao po unutrašnjosti i da je primetio da je infrastrukura svakoga dana sve bolja. Dodao je da je izgradnja deonice autoputa od Ljiga do Preljine, kojom je danas putovao, "veoma važan korak napred".

Skot je još rekao da će kasnije danas prisustvovati obeležavanju godišnjice operacije Halijard u Pranjanima kod Gornjeg Milanovca, gde su za vreme Drugog svetskog rata meštani spasili 500 američkih vazduhoplovaca. Skot je ocenio da je to važan događaj koji govori o junaštvu Srba koji su spasili američke vojnike, čuvali ih, hranili dok nisu evakuisani nazad u Ameriku.

"To je znak prijateljstva između Amerike i Srbije koji je dugoročan. Mi smo bili saveznici u dva svetska rata i 134 godina našeg prijateljstva ima samo jedan kretak prekid, za vreme Miloševića kada smo se našli na različitim stranama.

Ali, ja gledam u budućnost, mi smo tu da pomognemo Srbiji u ekonomskoj reformi. Američka preduzeća su zaintereovana za ovaj region i ono što im je važno je da ovaj region bude stabilan, da bude u ekonomskom rastu", rekao je Skot.

Skot je ocenio da se u američkoj javnosti ne zna mnogo o operaciji Halijard i da bi trebalo više da se govori o tome."To je priča za jedan veliki film, priča o junaštvu i srpskom i američkom", rekao je Skot.Na pitanje novinara da li sluša ovogodišenjg dobitnika Nobelove nagrade za knjiženost američkog muzičara Boba Dilana, odgovorio je "slušam, naravno, ko ne sluša Dilana".

Foto: Aleksandar Jovanović
 
Foto: Aleksandar Jovanović
 
Foto: Aleksandar Jovanović
 
Foto: Aleksandar Jovanović
 
Foto: Aleksandar Jovanović
 
Foto: Aleksandar Jovanović
 
Foto: Aleksandar Jovanović
 
Foto: Aleksandar Jovanović
 
 
 
 
 
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If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra,
please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
 
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VIDEO / Srbi su pre 72 godine spasili 520 američkih pilota / "B92" Nov. 18, 2016

B92
November 18, 2016

Polaganjem venaca u Pranjanima kod Gornjeg Milanovca obeležena je 72. godišnjica misije "Halijard".



Tokom te misije u Drugom svetskom ratu, meštani gornjomilanovačkog kraja spasili 520 američkih pilota.

Operacija poznata i kao Vazdušni most, bila je najveća akcija spasavanja savezničkih snaga iza neprijateljskih linija.

Opširnije u videoprilogu:

http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2016&mm=11&dd=18&nav_category=12&nav_id=1200996




*****

If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

*****

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

U.S. commemorates Serbian support during WWII [HALYARD MISSION] / "U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa" Nov. 21, 2016

U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa
By Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane / Public Affairs
November 21, 2016

Operation Halyard Commemoration in Serbia / The U.S. and Serbian flags are displayed together at an historic marker, detailing a part of Operation Halyard at a ranch in Pranjani, Serbia, Nov. 17, 2016. The U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force and Serbian Armed Forces were in attendance to commemorate the event and the heroic actions of the Serbian people. Operation Halyard was the rescue mission to save more than 500 Allied Airmen who were shot down over Serbia during WWII. The local Serbians housed and fed the downed Airmen, while also keeping their presence a secret from the German forces searching for them. The operation was, and still is, the largest rescue of downed Americans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)
 
PRANJANI, Serbia -- The sky was black with the billowing smoke of the downed B-17 bombers and the canopies of Allied Airmen parachuting to an unknown fate behind Nazi lines in German-occupied Serbia.

This is the sight the villagers of Pranjani remember from the late summer of 1944.

Operation Halyard was an Office of Strategic Services mission to rescue more than 500 Allied Airmen who were scattered around a mountainous region in Serbia after their bombers were shot down by the Germans in WWII. It remains the largest rescue operation of American Airmen in history.
 
The U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force, Serbian armed forces, and local government officials attended a commemoration event in the town of Pranjani, Serbia Nov. 18, which honored the villagers who welcomed the downed Airmen with open arms.

“As an Airman myself, I can only imagine the fear they felt as they escaped from a mortally wounded bomber and parachuted into a land they knew nothing about,” Brig. Gen. Randy Huston, 3rd Air Force mobilization assistant, said during a speech where he addressed an audience at the historic makeshift airfield.

After parachuting in, they were greeted by the villagers with food and a local brandy drink called rakija.

“People who barely had enough food for their families shared all that they had with these Airmen,” Huston said.

A local hospital was set up to help treat the wounded Airmen and nurse them back to health.

“They cared for the injured Airmen, and every injured Airmen who was taken care of, lived,” Huston said. “It was pretty amazing what these common people did to take care of people they didn’t even know.”

Kyle Scott, the U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, echoed the general’s sentiments toward the Serbians. Switching between English and Serbian, he explained the importance of the villager’s heroic actions.

“Local villagers willingly placed their lives and the lives of their families at risk,” Scott said. “This event commemorates the incredibly strong friendship between our two nations. Through the course of two world wars, we have stood shoulder to shoulder.”

During the event, the Halyard committee unveiled seven markers that help tell the story of the Halyard Operation, as well as identify important locations filled with history from the time.

Delegations from the U.S., RAF and Serbia placed wreaths at the base of a monument that commemorates the bravery of the villagers and the organizations involved in the operation.

The monument is permanently displayed on a hilltop field in Pranjani where the OSS and Serbian military arranged for C-47 transport aircraft to evacuate the Airmen.

“With their bare hands, Americans and Serbs worked side by side on this landing field that would help those planes take them off to their rescue,” Scott explained.

Despite this being a military style operation, it wasn’t just the military officials who made the rescue possible.

“Everyone in the village turned out to level the airfield and expand it to make the airlift possible,” Huston said. “Due to the courage and self-sacrifices of the Serbian people of this region, these Airmen survived.”

Like walking in the footsteps of the downed Airmen, the group toured various sites throughout the region, getting a glimpse into the hospitality and treatment they received from the Serbians.

One marker tells the story of an Airman who happened to parachute onto a family’s hilltop ranch. He stayed with them for two months, taking care of their small child while the family went out to tend to their ranch. The Airman and family remained in contact throughout their lifetimes.

The event was fortunate enough to host the last surviving member of the Chetnik force, who assisted with the airlift of the Airmen. The story of the operation has been preserved by the family members of those involved, and the Serbian people as a whole regard this as one of their proudest moments of U.S. and Serbian relations.

The ambassador closed the event by thanking the villagers and thanking the Serbian people for their heroism.

“Some of our bombers had the fortune to parachute down on Serbian soil, because these men and women risked everything to save them,” Scott said. “The people of this region are the real heroes of this operation. They gave from their meager tables the last crumbs they had to save our soldiers and keep them alive. They risked everything. And for that, America will be forever, forever grateful.”
 
Operation Halyard Commemoration in Serbia / Kyle Scott, U.S Ambassador to Serbia (right), Lt. Col. Todd Andrewsen (center), and Brig. Gen. Randy Huston (left) preset a wreath at the Operation Halyard memorial in Pranjani, Serbia, Nov. 17, 2016. The U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force and Serbian Armed Forces were in attendance to commemorate the event and the heroic actions of the Serbian people. Operation Halyard was the rescue mission to save more than 500 Allied Airmen who were shot down over Serbia during WWII. The local Serbians housed and fed the downed Airmen, while also keeping their presence a secret from the German forces searching for them. The operation was, and still is, the largest rescue of downed Americans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)
 
Operation Halyard Commemoration in Serbia / Brig. Gen. Randy Huston, 3rd Air Force mobilization assistant, speaks to an audience of Serbians at the Operation Halyard memorial in Pranjani, Serbia, Nov. 17, 2016. The U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force and Serbian Armed Forces were in attendance to commemorate the event and the heroic actions of the Serbian people. Operation Halyard was the rescue mission to save more than 500 Allied Airmen who were shot down over Serbia during WWII. The local Serbians housed and fed the downed Airmen, while also keeping their presence a secret from the German forces searching for them. The operation was, and still is, the largest rescue of downed Americans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)
 
Operation Halyard Commemoration in Serbia / Kyle Scott, U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, speaks to an audience of local Serbians at the Operation Halyard memorial in Pranjani, Serbia, Nov. 17, 2016. The U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force and Serbian Armed Forces were in attendance to commemorate the event and the heroic actions of the Serbian people. Operation Halyard was the rescue mission to save more than 500 Allied Airmen who were shot down over Serbia during WWII. The local Serbians housed and fed the downed Airmen, while also keeping their presence a secret from the German forces searching for them. The operation was, and still is, the largest rescue of downed Americans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)
 
Operation Halyard Commemoration in Serbia / A Serbian man, who was a child when his family cared for downed WWII Airmen, recounts the day in 1944 when the Airmen were shot down behind enemy lines at the Operation Halyard memorial in Pranjani, Serbia, Nov. 17, 2016. The U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force and Serbian Armed Forces were in attendance to commemorate the event and the heroic actions of the Serbian people. Operation Halyard was the rescue mission to save more than 500 Allied Airmen who were shot down over Serbia during WWII. The local Serbians housed and fed the downed Airmen, while also keeping their presence a secret from the German forces searching for them. The operation was, and still is, the largest rescue of downed Americans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)
 
Operation Halyard Commemoration in Serbia / Brig. Gen. Randy Huston, 3rd Air Force mobilization assistant, speaks to his Serbian Armed Forces counterpart at the Operation Halyard memorial in Pranjani, Serbia, Nov. 17, 2016. The U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force and Serbian Armed Forces were in attendance to commemorate the event and the heroic actions of the Serbian people. Operation Halyard was the rescue mission to save more than 500 Allied Airmen who were shot down over Serbia during WWII. The local Serbians housed and fed the downed Airmen, while also keeping their presence a secret from the German forces searching for them. The operation was, and still is, the largest rescue of downed Americans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)
 
Operation Halyard Commemoration in Serbia / The first color photograph taken in Serbia was of the Operation Halyard rescue mission, and the photo adorns the wall of an historic building in Pranjani, Serbia, Nov. 17, 2016. A ceremony was held in the town to commemorate the operation. The U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force and Serbian Armed Forces were in attendance to commemorate the event and the heroic actions of the Serbian people. Operation Halyard was the rescue mission to save more than 500 Allied Airmen who were shot down over Serbia during WWII. The local Serbians housed and fed the downed Airmen, while also keeping their presence a secret from the German forces searching for them. The operation was, and still is, the largest rescue of downed Americans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)
 
Operation Halyard Commemoration in Serbia / Americans, Brits and Serbians visit a hospital in Pranjani, Serbia, Nov. 17, 2016, that was used to treat wounded Airmen during Operation Halyard. The U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force and Serbian Armed Forces were in attendance to commemorate the event and the heroic actions of the Serbian people. Operation Halyard was the rescue mission to save more than 500 Allied Airmen who were shot down over Serbia during WWII. The local Serbians housed and fed the downed Airmen, while also keeping their presence a secret from the German forces searching for them. The operation was, and still is, the largest rescue of downed Americans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)
 
Operation Halyard Commemoration in Serbia / A local man displays a picture of the doctor who treated the wounded Airmen in Pranjani, Serbia, when they were shot down in WWII. The U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force and Serbian Armed Forces were in attendance to commemorate the event and the heroic actions of the Serbian people. Operation Halyard was the rescue mission to save more than 500 Allied Airmen who were shot down over Serbia during WWII. The local Serbians housed and fed the downed Airmen, while also keeping their presence a secret from the German forces searching for them. The operation was, and still is, the largest rescue of downed Americans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)
 
Operation Halyard Commemoration in Serbia / The Operation Halyard memorial is located in the field where downed Allied Airmen were rescued from behind enemy lines in Pranjani, Serbia. A wreath laying and commemoration ceremony took place Nov. 17, 2016. The U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force and Serbian Armed Forces were in attendance to commemorate the event and the heroic actions of the Serbian people. Operation Halyard was the rescue mission to save more than 500 Allied Airmen who were shot down over Serbia during WWII. The local Serbians housed and fed the downed Airmen, while also keeping their presence a secret from the German forces searching for them. The operation was, and still is, the largest rescue of downed Americans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)
 
Operation Halyard Commemoration in Serbia / The U.S. and Serbian flags are displayed together at an historic marker, detailing a part of Operation Halyard at a ranch in Pranjani, Serbia, Nov. 17, 2016. The U.S. State Department, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force and Serbian Armed Forces were in attendance to commemorate the event and the heroic actions of the Serbian people. Operation Halyard was the rescue mission to save more than 500 Allied Airmen who were shot down over Serbia during WWII. The local Serbians housed and fed the downed Airmen, while also keeping their presence a secret from the German forces searching for them. The operation was, and still is, the largest rescue of downed Americans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane)
 
 
 
 
 
*****
 
If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra,
please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com
 
*****
 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Decision 2016: The Untold Story of the Role an Old Grudge and Serbian-Americans Played in the Election of Donald Trump / "Serbian National Defense" Nov. 20, 2016

Serbian National Defense Council of America (SND)
By Dan Ciric, Editorial Board
With reporting from many Serbian communities throughout Pennsylvania State
November 20, 2016

Decision 2016: The Untold Story of the Role an Old Grudge and Serbian-Americans Played in the Election of Donald Trump.

Donald Trump, President-Elect of the United States of America

It is very possible that the seeds of Hillary Clinton’s defeat by Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election were sown on April 4, 1999, a crisp sunny afternoon and Palm Sunday on the Orthodox Church calendar, in front of the White House itself.

Eleven days earlier, President Bill Clinton, at the strong urging of his wife, First Lady Hillary Clinton, and desperately needing a distraction from his recent sex scandal and subsequent impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice, had begun bombing Serbia, a Christian nation and staunch U.S. ally in both World Wars, for fighting to put down an Islamist insurgency in its Province of Kosovo, the heartland of Serbian religion and culture – its Jerusalem.

In response to a plea from former U.S. Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley (R-MD), the first Serbian-American ever to serve in the U.S. Congress, beginning early on Palm Sunday morning, Serbs together with their allies in the Greek-American and other Orthodox communities, began to pour into Washington, DC. At first by the hundreds, and within a few hours by the thousands, they gathered to protest the bombing of Serbia in Lafayette Park in front of the White House.

Bentley’s former chief aide and surrogate son, Greek-American attorney Michael Kosmas, remembers her anger at what the Clintons were doing to her beloved Serbia. While speaking to a group of Orthodox bishops in front of the White House gate, he recalls Helen telling them that she knew God would repay the Clintons for this evil deed, but that she would be very happy to help him. As it would turn out, sixteen years later she would get her wish.

The Clintons bombed Serbia for 78 days, not pausing for Orthodox Holy Week or Easter, in a move universally condemned by the global Orthodox Church. The result has been the de facto independence of the rump state of Kosovo, unrecognized by the United Nations, which has rapidly descended into chaos and lawlessness, becoming a global center for money laundering and drug running, and most concerning, a hotbed of Islamist activity funded by “charitable donations” from Saudi Arabia.

For all of these reasons, by the time the 2016 presidential election season approached, the media was already calling the Clintons the most hated couple in Serbia, and the same was true among Serbian-Americans. The writing was already on the wall that Hillary Clinton, President Obama’s first Secretary of State and no friend to Serbs or the Orthodox world, was the overwhelming frontrunner to secure the Democrat Party nomination for the White House. And it was no coincidence that so many Islamist monarchs and dictators had poured so many millions of dollars into the Clinton Foundation. The Serbian-American community knew that Hillary Clinton must be blocked from ever returning to power.

But it was a different event between 1999 and the 2016 election cycle that would ensure that the Trump candidacy would be brought to the center of Serbian-American political power. After Bentley’s retirement from Congress, Kosmas, her aide, left Capitol Hill and politics for a private law practice focusing on hotel and resort development. It was a path that would lead right to the Trump’s doorstep. In 2006 Kosmas met Trump’s adult children when he was hired by a prominent businessman to negotiate a hotel deal with The Trump Organization. The following year, the Trump Organization hired Kosmas as its own outside counsel for hotel development.

Kosmas recalls when Bentley summoned him to her bedside on Thanksgiving weekend in 2015. Although at age 92 her body was frail, her mind was as sharp as ever. How are we going to defeat Hillary Clinton, she wanted to know. Having already become a strong supporter of the candidacy of his famous client Donald Trump, Kosmas shared with her his experiences working for the Trump family for the past several years, noting that he was very strong on the issues about which she was passionate during her service in the Congress – fair trade, manufacturing, steel, the industrial base and jobs for American workers. He asked her to publicly endorse Trump and to campaign for him in Maryland, the state which she represented in Congress for a decade, but more importantly in the national Serbian-American community. She agreed.

Those who know Bentley know that she does not easily accept the mistreatment of her friends, and by February she was already very bothered by the treatment Trump was receiving from the Republican establishment. On Saturday, March 4, 2016, the Washington Post devoted the top half of its Op Ed page to Bentley’s opinion article “Why Blocking Trump’s Nomination Would Be Unfair.” It was both a strong endorsement of Trump’s populist message and a broad attack on party insiders seeking to organize the process in a way that would make his nomination less likely. It was one of the first major pieces to appear in print in a national newspaper supporting Trump.

Bentley distributed her article to the Serbian-American community around the country, and asked them to join her in coalescing behind Trump. She knew early on that it was going to take Trump, the ultimate outsider, to beat Clinton, the ultimate insider.

As Spring turned in to Summer, and with her health fading, Bentley know that she had little time to organize her efforts for Trump. She again summoned Kosmas and two longtime friends and leaders in the Serbian-American community in Western Pennsylvania to aide her . . . Dr. Nenad Janicijevic, a prominent Serbian-American physician and the son of a Serbian-Orthodox priest in former Yugoslavia, and Milana “Mim” Bizic, a nationally award winning retired public school teacher who had a long history of activism in Pittsburgh politics. As an emergency room physician, Dr. Janicijevic was particularly vexed by the Clinton’s indiscriminate bombing of Serbia, and the killing or wounding of thousands of innocent civilians, among them being many children.

Although the Serbian-American population is estimated at approximately 1.5 million, with much of that populations being concentrated in battleground states such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, Bentley and her team knew that time was short and that it would be impossible to build a national organization. The group decided to focus its efforts in Pennsylvania. On one hand, Pennsylvania seemed to be on the verge of losing its position as battleground state. A Republican had not carried the state in a Presidential election since Bush’s 1988 election, and the last time a Clinton was on the ballot for President, the state went for Bill Clinton by a whopping 9% margin.

But Pennsylvania also had one of the largest Serbian-Americans populations in the country, with an estimated 200,000 people. Pennsylvania was one of the first states to receive large numbers of Serbian immigrants nearly a century before, and its dozens of Serbian cathedrals, churches, clubs, camps, choirs, fraternal societies and other institutions also made it one of the most active and organized Serbian-American communities in the United States. It was also the home of the Serbian National Federation, the oldest Serbian fraternal society in the United States. While Trump had possible paths to victory without winning Pennsylvania, if he carried Pennsylvania it would be hard for him to lose.

Before long the plan to boost the Trump campaign in Pennsylvania was underway. It was a multifaceted plan geared at boosting Trump’s already strong levels of support in the Serbian-American community and making certain that turnout in the community would reach record breaking levels. It also included organizing Serbs to participate together in large numbers in Trump rallies and working every possible angle of social media to support Trump, from Facebook to the many blog sites geared towards all Orthodox Christians but especially popular with Greeks and Serbs. Pictures of the destruction the Clintons wrought in bombing Serbia were posted everywhere so that even the youngest generation of Serbian-Americans, not old enough to remember this crime, could understand the need for solidarity.

While Bizic and Janicijevic and their team were organizing the Serbs in rallies and door knocking and sign waving in Western Pennsylvania, many more Pennsylvania Serbs were quickly brought into the fold. Among the dozen or so interviewed for this article, a few stories stand out.

Bob Vucenovic and his wife were among the many helping to organize the Serbs throughout Central Pennsylvania. According to Vucenovic, Pennsylvania’s Serbs have always been fairly evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. But this year was different. This year the Serbs were almost to a one behind Trump. Even Serb families that for decades had been heavily involved in Pennsylvania’s Democrat Party politics turned to support Trump over the woman who had played such a key role in bombing Serbia. Vucenovic recalls that when the crowds at Trump rallies broke into a favorite chant of “Lock Her Up,” the many Serbs present would launch into a chant of their own, “Pay Her Back.”

With the wave of Serbian-American activism in Western and Central Pennsylvania going into full swing, the Serbs in Eastern Pennsylvania were determined not to be left out. Nick Loncar, President of the Tesla Science Foundation based out of Philadelphia and organized to remember the legacy of one of Serbia’s greatest sons, began to organize the Serbs in his region in many ways. Beginning with promotion of Trump’s candidacy on a myriad of regional Serbian-American media and social media outlets, his group’s efforts soon turned to organizing activity for Trump in the strong Serbian-American communities of suburban Philadelphia.

Loncar told his volunteers that Philadelphia was Clinton’s only strong spot in the entire state, and if her margin could be held down there then the state could be flipped to Trump. Loncar also noted what he called the “Clinton” effect on Democrat-leaning Serbs in suburban Philadelphia. Almost to a one, they put aside what was often two or three generations of party loyalty to cross over to the Trump camp.

Not wanting his fellow Greek-Americans to be left out of flipping Pennsylvania to Trump, Kosmas reached out to friends in Pennsylvania’s large Greek-American community. He reminded his fellow Greeks of the “glory days” when Bentley’s congressional district stretched from suburban Baltimore to the Pennsylvania line, where it met the congressional district held by Greek-American George Gekas for twenty years. He reminded them of Bentley’s constant friendship to the Greek people on issues ranging from the reunification of Cyprus to the protection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He asked them to stand with Bentley one last time by coming into the fold for Trump.

At the beginning of August, Serbian-Americans suffered a great loss with Bentley’s passing. Like the Prophet Moses, she had led her people to the promised land of defeating the Clintons, but would not see it for herself. One of Bentley’s last acts was to pen a letter to the editor castigating Hillary Clinton for putting the nation’s secrets at risk through her email practices, which was published in the Baltimore Sun two weeks before her death. But rather than dampen the enthusiasm of Serbian-Americans, her passing only inspired them to work harder for Trump and to ensure that her wish of repaying the Clintons for the bombing of Serbia would be granted.

While the “Serbs for Trump” activities across Pennsylvania reached a feverish pitch by mid-September, they made a brief pause for Bentley’s 40 day Memorial Service in late September, then resumed without stop, placing signs and banners, making phone calls, knocking on doors and flooding Trump rallies right up until the polls closed in Pennsylvania at 8:00 pm ET on November 8.

Then an anxious, nervous and excited Serbian-American community, like the rest of the nation, gathered in front of televisions to see what would happen. The rest, as they say, is history. One by one states, many unexpectedly, fell into the Trump column. These included many battleground states with large Serbian-American communities such as Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Florida.

But to Kosmas, Janicijevic and Bizic, no win was sweeter than in Pennsylvania, where Serbian-Americans poured their hearts and souls into defeating Clinton and electing Trump – ultimately by a margin of 68,236 votes, or less than 1% of the total cast. While the Serbian-American community was elated, many of its most prominent members were not surprised. Attorney Lou Milicich, Co-Chair of the Chicago-Belgrade Sister Cities Committee and former long time the first Vice president of the Serbian National Defense Council of America, observed, “No one should ever underestimate what the Serbs did for Trump in these swing states.”

Bizic, the former teacher, says she too was not surprised. Armed with a long pad of notes and numbers, she explained with the precision of a political science professor what had happened in her state. According to Bizic, “We knew there were about 200,000 Serbs among Pennsylvania’s population of 12,800,000. We also knew that Serbs were incredibly motivated anti-Clinton, pro-Trump voters. So if we could boost Serb turn-out by about 10%, and improve Trump’s performance over historical Republican performance by about 10%, we knew we could move about 70,000 net votes to Mr. Trump.” After many months of hard work, and with Trump’s win by 68,236 votes, the effort seems to have been just enough!

Janicijevic, the physician and priest’s son, took a more philosophic approach to the Trump win. “Evil cannot long triumph over good. And we did not think that God would allow the Clinton’s back into power in the White House. But God also helps those that help themselves, and that is what we did.”

Kosmas thought one final time of that crisp morning in April 1999, standing next to the great Helen Delich Bentley at the White House gate, protesting the bombing of Serbia. “Dear Helen, rest in peace. Your great and proud Serbian-American people have indeed paid Clinton back. Now let us lift up and bless Donald Trump, and help him to make America great again!”


http://www.snd-us.com/en/35-news/snd-news/1764-decision-2016-the-untold-story-of-the-role-an-old-grudge-and-serbian-americans-played-in-the-election-of-donald-trump-2.html


*****

If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at ravnagora@hotmail.com

*****