From forgotten files of the Earhart lunatic fringe: The incredible tale of Ellis Bailey and USS Vega

In Chapter 13 of the second edition of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, titled “Griswold, Henson and Burks,” I present the story of  Capt. Tracy Griswold and Privates Everett Henson Jr. and Billy Burks, the three Marines who excavated what might well have been the remains of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan from a gravesite just outside the Liyang Cemetery, on the outskirts of southern Garapan, in late July or early August 1944.

The original version of the  chapter included the strange account of Ellis Bailey, whose incredible story, if true, would have lent great credibility to the claims of Henson and Burks, who were told by Griswold that they had just excavated the remains of Amelia Earhart. Twenty-one years later, they both separately identified Griswold from photo lineups, while the former Marine Intelligence captain denied ever knowing them or ordering them to excavate skeletal remains on Saipan.

I was reluctant to include Bailey’s story in The Truth at Last, because it did nothing to advance the truth, so I decided to cut his section from the final manuscript. I still feel it’s quite instructive, in that it shows the extreme lengths that some of the Earhart-addled will go to gain attention. The Earhart chase has badly infected some with its own peculiar strain of fever, and those carrying the bug can usually be identified by their ridiculous claims.  The recent History Channel imbroglio, which I have written about at length, is a prime example of this awful malady.  Earhart lore is replete with many other examples, but Bailey’s fantasy, at least for me, was one of the most believable, well-conceived fabrications ever; it certainly caught my attention and spurred me to make a serious effort to confirm it.

USS Vega (AK-17), circa late 1930s. Vega was a Sirius-class cargo ship, laid down July 8, 1918, launched July 18, 1919 and commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on Dec. 21, 1921. She was at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack of Dec. 7, 1941, but was not damaged, and in 1944-1945, Vega supported three major amphibious operations — in the Marianas, the Western Carolines and at Okinawa — carrying supplies and construction materials to assist the “Seabees” in establishing the advance bases necessary to the smooth operation of the Fleet.

For a time, it did appear that a series of amazing letters forwarded to me by Bill Prymak in 2008 might hold the key to unlocking the next stage of the government’s top-secret operation to return the fliers’ bones to the United States in 1944. Below is the unpublished section of Chapter 13 of Truth at Last, “Griswold, Henson, and Burks.” Obviously, this passage will make far more sense to those who have the book, and can place it in the original context.

Between 1991 and 1999, Ellis Bailey, of Middletown, Iowa, wrote seven letters to Prymak, describing a series of remarkable events he witnessed aboard the USS Vega (AK-17), a Capella class cargo ship that carried a crew of 439 and displaced 11,500 tons, during operations off Saipan and in the Marshall Islands during July and August 1944.  Bailey’s recollections of the remarkable incidents remained clear and consistent throughout his letters, and though he offered his own strange ideas about the meaning and the significance of the events, the core of Bailey’s account never changed. He never indicated his Navy rating, or job, in his letters, but a copy of the “Muster Roll of the Crew” of USS Vega for Sept. 30, 1944, shows that Bailey was a storekeeper first class (SK1).

In Bailey’s final letter to Prymak, titled “Amelia Earhart,” he recalled that Vega came to Saipan the “first part of July 1944,” and that after dropping anchor a group of Marines came aboard and informed Bailey and others that someone had just found “Amelia Earhart’s helmet,” somewhere on the island, but they offered no details.

The next day, Bailey “got permission to go ashore,” and “tried to visit Aslito Airfield” but was told it was restricted and off-limits. “While waiting for a ride back to the ship I talked to boat crew members who were discussing an important meeting of top General and Admirals,” he wrote. “One had come in that day. The Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, was there and he probably called the meeting.”  With this, Bailey joined the handful of GIs claiming knowledge of Forrestal’s presence on the island during the invasion – an allegation that has never been officially confirmed, and which further research indicated was not possible.

The scuttlebutt Bailey said he heard about Amelia Earhart, Aslito Airfield, and Forrestal during Vega’s early July stop at Saipan was mere prologue to the astonishing episode he claimed he witnessed when the ship returned to Saipan later that month. The morning after the crew unloaded 61 tons of dynamite, the captain received orders to “take on fuel and supplies, enough to go 1,000 miles to Majuro and to take a government intelligence officer and two boxes of human remains that were two Caucasian flyers lost at sea seven years earlier,” Bailey wrote. “One was a woman.” [Italics mine.] 

The next day, the intelligence officer, who had “no insignia but lots of authority,” came aboard with two boxes, “the remains of the flyers,” according to Bailey. “They were taken to the bridge and put under 24-hour guard,” he wrote, and the captain was ordered to steam to Majuro. Four days later Vega reached the Marshalls capital, Majuro, and while waiting for a “whale boat to be lowered to take him to shore,” the intelligence officer, apparently addressing Bailey, said, “I expect you are wondering why you are here. Seven years ago two Caucasian flyers were lost at sea. One was a woman. I came to see and talk with the two natives that had seen and talked with the flyers.” The agent returned to the ship the next morning, and ordered the captain to set sail for Kwajalein.

Bill Prymak, a veteran pilot with more than 6,500 hours in private aircraft since 1960, corresponded with Ellis Bailey for several years during the 1990s, and even arranged for Bailey to address the Amelia Earhart Society. Prymak called Bailey’s performances “unbelievable, and that is why I never seriously wrote about him in the AES Newsletters.”

Upon arrival at Kwajalein, a small contingent of Marines came aboard and “told us that the day before one of their group was on . . . Roi Namur, [and] found Amelia Earhart’s suitcase of clothes and her diary in a barracks,” Bailey continued. “They had taken it to the man in charge of Kwajalein [Rear Admiral Alva D. Bernhard, who died in 1955].  The government officer with no insignia took the guarded boxes of the remains and left the U.S.S. Vega at once.”  According to Bailey, the agent never mentioned any names in connection to the boxed remains, and Bailey himself didn’t believe the bones were those of Earhart or Noonan. The remains “weren’t the American flyers, they were British, which makes the whole situation so confusing,” Bailey wrote.

The Marines’ story about the discovery of Earhart’s suitcase, clothes, and diary on Roi Namur mirrored W.B. Jackson’s 1964 account to Fred Goerner, but Bailey’s story began to unravel when it became apparent their find did not occur “the day before,” Vega arrived, as Bailey wrote, because Kwajalein was secured in early February 1944, and by April 1, four months before Vega allegedly arrived at Kwajalein, 14,000 thousand Americans occupied the main island, with 6,500 more on Roi-Namur.

Bailey’s repeated references to the “British flyers” lost at sea at the same time as the Earhart flight must have originated with The Earhart Disappearance: The British Connection, by James A. Donahue, among the most bizarre Earhart conspiracy books ever. Contrary to Donahue’s fanciful scenarios, no evidence has ever supported the idea that two British flyers, male and female, were operating anywhere in the Pacific area at that time. Writing to Ron Reuther in 1992, Goerner described The British Connection with Robert Myers’ Stand By To Die as one that “perfectly represents the totally irresponsible weirdo fringe which has been omnipresent in the Earhart matter since 1937.” In The British Connection, Donahue “has used photos and benign basic research and stitched the wildest kind of fiction to them and it is without any proof or ANY reference to source,” Goerner wrote.

“You’ll see that Ellis read too many AE books,” Prymak, who met Bailey in the “very early ‘90s,” wrote in a note attached to Bailey’s original letters. As a researcher who had seen and heard nearly everything during his four-decade investigation into the Earhart mystery, Prymak never put much stock in Bailey’s story. “Ellis spoke at the [August 1993] Flying Lady Symposium in [Morgan Hill] CA and at Atchison [Kansas],” Prymak wrote in a March 2008 email. “Both times he was a very ineffective and poor speaker, losing his thought process as he went along. He became very ‘unbelievable,’ and that is why I never seriously wrote about him in the AES Newsletters.” 

Bailey’s imaginative ramblings reflected a few of the most implausible scenarios found in Earhart literature, but the remote possibility that his story about the intelligence agent and the canisters might be true was too compelling for me to immediately dismiss out of hand. Admittedly, I hoped against hope that Bailey’s story would prove to be true. If it were, another missing piece in the Earhart puzzle — the transport of the fliers’ remains off the island of Saipan — could be placed into the final solution.

This is page 1 of the “Muster Roll of the Crew” of USS Vega for Sept. 30, 1944.  Ellis Orrin Bailey is listed second from the bottom, along with his rating, SK1 (Storekeeper First Class), followed by his date of enlistment and date he reported aboard, Nov. 16, 1942. According to one source, Vega’s normal contingent was 36 officers and 413 enlisted men. Bailey’s affiliation with Vega was about the only thing he was honest about in his letters to Bill Prymak.

My efforts to find any surviving members of the 1944 Vega crew who might have corroborated Bailey’s story were unsuccessful, but Tony Gellepis, of Santa Clara, Calif., a fireman aboard Vega from 1940 to 1942, was skeptical about Bailey’s alleged shore visit at Saipan during early July 1944. “In all my six years experience on various supply ships, shore leave was never granted while the ship was ‘swinging on the hook [anchored in the harbor],’ especially so during war time,” Gellepis, 87, told me in a July 2008 email.  “Shore leave was granted only after the ship was docked and secured, if at all.  And Bailey claims he went ashore the next day while Vega was at anchor!  And this guy was set to go to Aslito Field? Incredible! I consider this to be a stretch, an embellishment.” Gellepis passed away in 2016 at age 96.

Much to my disappointment, a November 2008 trip to the nearby National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Md., to verify Bailey’s affiliation with Vega and its purported movements during the key dates, confirmed that Prymak and Gellepis’ doubts were well founded.

Vega’s deck logs for July and August 1944 reveal the ship was not at Saipan in early July, as Bailey claimed, but anchored at Eniwetok Atoll, in the Marshall Islands, though July 21, when it left for Saipan, arriving July 25. Vega anchored in Tanapag Harbor until July 31, per Bailey’s account, but then departed for Guam – not Majuro – in convoy with the cargo ship USS William Ward Burroughs (AP-7), LST (landing ship tanks) 341, and the destroyers USS Stockham (DD-683) and USS Trisdale (DE-33), reaching Guam Aug. 1.

On Aug. 15, Vega left Guam en route to Eniwetok, its home operating base in the Pacific war zone, arriving Aug. 20.  The muster roll of the Vega for the quarter ending September 1944 does establish that Ellis Orrin Bailey, a storekeeper first class (SK1), was a member of its crew, having joined the ship’s company Nov. 16, 1942.  Otherwise, as Prymak observed, it seems obvious that Bailey, who died in 2004, had indeed read too many Earhart books. And though he didn’t author one himself, Ellis Bailey’s serial letter-writing adventures qualify him to join James A. Donahue, Robert Myers and others who will remain unnamed here among the disreputable ranks of Fred Goerner’s “totally irresponsible weirdo fringe” in the annals of Earhart lore. (End of unpublished Ellis Bailey section.)

Without doubt, the ranks of the Earhart-addled have not been yet filled, as the lure of instant attention and imagined fame is usually sufficient to ensnare these unprincipled characters in its unsavory web. Your humble correspondent will keep a sharp lookout, and if the story is wild or ridiculous enough to merit mention, you’ll see it here.

Martin’s analysis continues to bolster Earhart truth

The brilliant news analyst David Martin (DCDave.com) has been alone among all media operatives large and small in recognizing and supporting the truth from the beginning of the fading media flap that erupted July 5 when NBC News announced that an unclassified Office of Naval Intelligence photo found at the National Archives in College Park, Md., by former federal investigator Les Kinney might be the smoking gun in the Earhart disappearance.

Bringing you up to date, the photo was the centerpiece of the two-hour July 9 History Channel propaganda exercise, Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence.” I lost no time in becoming the first to publicly denounce the false claims made by Kinney and  Morningstar Entertainment operatives who descended upon network airwaves to promote the coming History Channel program. Later July 5, I published July 9 Earhart special to feature bogus photo claims.Two days later, Martin, who shared my pessimism  about a documentary predicated on such a shaky foundation as the ONI Jaluit photo, published “Press Touts Dubious Earhart Photo.Meanwhile, the media had already begun their blanket denunciations of the photo claims, seemingly on cue.

A day after posting my July 12 review of the History Channel special, History’s ‘Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence’: Underhanded attack on the Marshalls-Saipan truth, which included  this report from The Guardian online that claimed the  photograph had been found in a Japanese travel “book” that allegedly was published in Japanese–held Palau on 10 October 1935, Martin published Earhart Photo Story Apparently Debunked.

Now Martin has added his own perspective to my July 28 article that discussed the Marshallese government’s statement that the ONI photo could not have been taken in 1935, as claimed by the Japanese blogger, Marshalls release is latest twist in photo travesty with his “ ‘Earhart Photo’ Debunker Debunked? published on Martin’s website Aug. 2, following forthwith:

“ ‘Earhart Photo Debunker Debunked?”

Perhaps everyone should have been a bit more skeptical when the British Guardian came out with its article with the confident sweeping headline, “Blogger discredits claim Amelia Earhart was taken prisoner by Japan.” (Bold emphasis Campbell’s throughout.) As we noted in our previous article in which we accepted the “discovery” of the photo in a 1935 Japanese travel book as valid, the apparent discrediting of the photo did absolutely nothing to undermine the wealth of evidence that Earhart was, indeed, captured by the Japanese, in spite of The Guardian’s major overselling of the new purported evidence: “But serious doubts now surround the film’s premise after a Tokyo-based blogger unearthed the same photograph in the archives of the National Diet Library, Japan’s national library. (Emphasis added)

A recent photo of news analyst and world traveler David Martin at Jeju (Cheju) Island, South Korea. (Photo courtesy David Martin.)

The Guardian did go to some length to give the discovery quite an appearance of authenticity. They provided links to the travel book including the photo and page numbers. In addition, they gave us these quotes from the blogger himself:

Kota Yamano, a military history blogger who unearthed the Japanese photograph, said it took him just 30 minutes to effectively debunk the documentary’s central claim.

“I have never believed the theory that Earhart was captured by the Japanese military, so I decided to find out for myself,” Yamano told the Guardian. “I was sure that the same photo must be on record in Japan.”

Yamano ran an online search using the keyword “Jaluit atoll” and a decade-long timeframe starting in 1930.

“The photo was the 10th item that came up,” he said. “I was really happy when I saw it. I find it strange that the documentary makers didn’t confirm the date of the photograph or the publication in which it originally appeared. That’s the first thing they should have done.”

The initial impression one gets—the impression that The Guardian clearly wanted us to take with us—is that this Yamano is quite an enterprising researcher. But the impression does not bear close scrutiny well.

Yamano claims that the motivation for his effort was the belief that the Japanese military did not capture Earhart. The main problem of the supposed evidence presented by the photo is that it is not strong enough to convince any skeptical person that it actually shows Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan in the custody of the Japanese. The natural reaction of a predisposed doubter is simply to reject the photo out of hand.

The second paragraph in the Yamano quote, then, amounts to a non sequitur. From the outset, what could conducting a search for a copy of the photograph presented in the History Channel program have to do with anything? It really looks like a waste of time. Did Yamano have some premonition that he might find evidence that would apparently prove that the photograph had been taken well before Earhart’s disappearance? Going in, the endeavor looks like a wild goose chase.

To read the rest of Dave Martin’s analysis, see “Earhart Photo Debunker Debunked?”

For Dave Martin’s reviews on both editions of  The Truth at Last, as well as a summary of that evidence and the press (and Wikipedia) treatment of it, see Hillary Clinton and the Amelia Earhart Cover-up,” Amelia Earhart Truth Versus the Establishment,” and Wikipedia’s Greatest Misses.”

Marshalls release is latest twist in photo travesty

Lest those who might have thought the latest chapter of the continuing Amelia Earhart disinformation campaign had come to a neat and tidy close with the July 11 report from The Guardian online that the photograph of the dock at Jaluit in the Marshall Islands had been found in a Japanese travel book published in 1935, we now have another, not unexpected, loose end. You might recall that The Guardian reported that “The image was part of a Japanese-language travelogue about the South Seas that was published almost two years before Earhart disappeared.”

“Does it get any worse than this?” I wrote in my July 12 review of the latest History Channel propaganda effort, “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence.” “If the report is true, whatever the photo claims that began with NBC’s Wednesday, July 5 promotion barrage, are now entirely destroyed, discredited and defunct.” 

I didn’t need a report from a Japanese blogger to convince me that the claims made by Les Kinney, Morningstar Entertainment and the History Channel, first broadcast nationwide by NBC News on July 5, were false and totally without substance. I was the first to publicly denounce Kinney’s assertions for the delusions (at best) that they were, and I’d known about this shameless plot to grab headlines under false pretenses for many months, since a reader from Pennsylvania procured the same photo from the National Archives in College Park, Md., and sent it to me. 

Now Karen Earnshaw, a journalist who lives in the Marshall Islands and wrote June 26, 2015 and July 9, 2015 stories in the U.K.’s Daily Mail online about Dick Spink’s discoveries at Mili Atoll’s Endriken Islands, has informed me in a July 16 email about a Marshallese government press release she found on Rich Martini’s blog.  Here is the release:

I

It’s not easy to read this rather fuzzy document, so here is its content:

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is following your investigation of the Amelia Earhart mystery with great interest. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, confirms that the photograph found in the US National Archives is the dock at Jabor on Jaluit Atoll.

Jabor Dock was built in 1936. The events of this period are still recalled by our eldest citizens.  The claim that Jabor dock was already built in 1935 does not match the historical record. Therefore, it would not have been possible for any photos to have been taken of the Jabor dock in 1935.  The dock simply did not exist. The elders who confirmed that Amelia and her navigator were brought to Jabor are of the highest standing and reputation in our community.

The ministry hopes this helps the record straight.

It’s interesting to note that there is no Internet site for the Republic of the Marshall Islands; the closest I can find to an online presence is a website for the Embassy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to the United States of America.

The obvious question is, who are the “your” referred to in the first line of the press release? Closely following that, we can ask who besides Rich Martini and TIGHAR, who I’ve been told also has posted it, was this release sent to? Surely they weren’t the only recipients of this highly significant statement from the Marshallese government.  I think it’s perfectly obvious that the Marshalls statement was sent to many, if not every major player in the American media. How Martini and TIGHAR obtained it is irrelevant. What is relevant is that no one else in our media has paid any attention to it.

Joel Freedman, of Canandaigua, N.Y., who writes letters and editorials to newspapers locally and nationally in support of the truth, contacted the Marshalls Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was informed that the press release did originate with the Marshallese government. So at least we know this is a legitimate document.

So what does this latest revelation, which so directly contradicts The Guardian report about the 1935 origin of the photo, really mean? It must be insignificant, based on the complete silence emanating from our esteemed media, and indeed it does mean little. But the media isn’t interested in it for entirely different reasons. They’ve already played their roles with the phony photo claims in advance of the History Channel’s Earhart special. As far as the establishment media is concerned, the Marshalls-Saipan truth has been discredited, and the public is once again flummoxed and confused about all aspects of the Earhart case. Mission accomplished.

This is the photo that began the current furor, with NBC News breathlessly announcing on July 5 that the Earhart mystery may soon by solved, and which was the cornerstone of the July 9 History Channel special, “Amelia Earhart:  The Lost Evidence.” In the program, Les Kinney falsely claimed the photo actually revealed the lost fliers. In the right background is the ship Kinney says is the Japanese survey ship Koshu, with a mass of metal on its stern that could well be a salvaged airplane, possibly the Electra, but impossible to confirm because the definition is lacking.

It’s more than likely that the Republic of the Marshall Islands, an independent nation that doesn’t answer to the United States on all matters related to its Earhart propaganda program, was simply not informed by the appropriate parties that the current operation was over. Some in the Marshallese government might actually have been trying to be helpful and set the record straight about the provenance of the photo in relation to the dock at Jaluit. I’m sure their efforts were not appreciated, judging by the overwhelming media silence that has greeted the press release.

Meanwhile Martini has now joined the vision-challenged Les Kinney in insisting, despite all evidence, that the photo does indeed reflect the presence of Earhart and Noonan, in effect doubling down on the insanity most thought had been put to rest — and seemingly has been, with the exception of these two luminaries. Martini has apparently decided that he has nothing better to do than to team with Kinney on his grave-digging detail to incoherence and irrelevance in the Earhart chase. But is this really a case of the blind leading the blind, or is it something altogether different, something far more sinister than mere incompetence?

On his blog, Martini further muddles the picture by injecting the interesting but complex and unverifiable tale of the “bottle message” found on a beach in France in October 1937 that some have unsuccessfully tried to tie to Earhart by way of French explorer Eric De Bisschop. I decided long ago not to venture into these very murky waters that demand too much speculation to ever be accepted as fact. If you want to be thoroughly confused, I suggest you visit Rich Martini’s blog, where you will come away with far less clarity than you arrived with.

For those who still fail to understand what has recently transpired despite my best efforts to explain this deviously planned disinformation exercise as clearly as possible, I can only suggest that you carefully re-read the previous posts on the History Channel travesty, and to review Dave Martin’s Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression to see how many of them fit nicely into the despicable drama we’ve seen unfold since NBC News kicked it all off with their promotion blitz on July 5. 

The bottom line is that “Earhart Fever,” a condition I’ve seen work its insidious ways on far better than these two, is alive, well and highly contagious. Its victims can be identified by their abject willingness to say or do anything that will bring them a moment’s more attention than they otherwise deserve, which is little or none at all. 

Readers of this blog can continue to trust that this correspondent will always tell them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. My integrity and credibility are all I have, and they are infinitely more valuable to me than a few minutes on a third-rate History Channel Earhart special.

July 24, 2017: Happy Birthday, Amelia!

Dear Amelia,

Just wanted to drop you a short note to let you know a few of us are thinking about you on what would be your 120th birthday, had you not run into a spot of bad luck on your round-the-world flight and were still with us at the fairly advanced age of 120. I’m sure the recent events surrounding the phony claims about the photo of the Jaluit dock have amused you, though some of us down here find it a bit harder to laugh at all the absurdity, which of course is the most appropriate response.

Amelia Earhart in a simpler, happier time, before she found airplanes and G.P. Putnam to complicate her life.

You might be spending the day at the house of your birth in Atchison, Kansas, which is now a museum where nearly everyone hates and denies the truth about your tragic demise.  Some of the more suggestible among them have even convinced themselves that you’re still out there, flying “north and south” in the ether — alive, well and still lost at 120. Most of the others are happy to believe the lies our government and the ever-present “theorists” have been telling about you and Fred Noonan for 80 years — anything to avoid the unpleasant truth that’s been staring them in the face for so long. Talk about elephants in the room!

We know better here, and will continue to honor you by continuing to seek and tell only the truth, exposing the lies and doing our utmost to secure Fred Goerner’s “justice of truth” for you and Fred Noonan. It’s a war I can’t win by myself, but want you to know I’m still here, fighting the good fight, and hope to see you someday in a better place.

Until then, Happy Birthday, Amelia!

Susan Butler’s July 11 Earhart propaganda piece: Used snake oil from a shill without credibility

Now the New York Times and longtime establishment shill and Earhart biographer Susan Butler have joined the growing herd of media vermin in denouncing the truth about Amelia Earhart’s presence in the Marshall Islands and death on Saipan, a scenario they briefly mentioned while selling bogus photo claims made by the History Channel and promoted by NBC News on July 5, setting off several days of media buzz over a photo later found to have existed in a Japanese travelogue two years earlier.

In a July 11 Times Op-Ed piece, Searching for Amelia Earhart,” Butler, who continues to disgrace her avowed  “profession,” again proves she has learned nothing since the publication of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, in which I spend 12 pages (306-318) figuratively taking this woman to the woodshed and exposing the falsehoods and misrepresentations she advanced in her 1997 biography East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart. Few have been more transparently dishonest in their published opposition to the truth than Butler, whose intransigence in this matter, though disturbing, isn’t surprising. In fact, it’s what we’ve come to expect.

Susan Butler, a leading apologist for the provably false establishment line that Amelia Earhart was never on Saipan, or anywhere else, for that matter. Will shameless government shills like Butler, who want to keep Amelia and Fred Noonan in the safe confines of romantic myth, flying into the eternal ether, ever cease their advocacy for the phony Earhart “mystery”?

Butler knows that anything she writes about Earhart in the ultra-liberal Times will be published without any opposing voices, and so she reverts back to the same ridiculous assertions she made in her book. “This theory has popped up from time to time over the years, Butler wrote. “The idea was originally proposed and investigated by Fred Goerner, a CBS radio journalist, who headed several expeditions to the island of Saipan in the 1960s to track down the truth. He was sure Earhart and Noonan had been captured by the Japanese and taken to Saipan. He uncovered no concrete evidence to support his theory but remained convinced that he was right.”

“No concrete evidence”? Murderers are convicted and sent to their deaths on the smallest fraction of the evidence Goerner collected in just his first visit to Saipan, in the summer of 1960. Dr. Manual Aldan, who was a dentist on Saipan in 1937, told Goerner the Japanese officers he treated told him the name of the American woman flier in their custody was “Earharto!”   Many other local Chamorros identified Earhart and Noonan from photo lineups Goerner presented them, and of course we have the well-known account of Josephine Blanco Akiyama, most recently seen in a brief interview presented in the History Channel special, as Josephine, alive and well at 91 in San Mateo, Calif., cast her pearls to swine and agreed to talk to interviewers whose only purpose was to use her as a tool in their disinformation drill. 

Butler’s hatred of Goerner’s findings and his groundbreaking Saipan investigations screams loudly in every word she writes. Just as the producers of the History Channel Earhart special refused to credit anyone for the few new witness accounts they presented, Butler refuses to name Fred Goerner as the author of the 1966 bestseller, The Search for Amelia Earhart, which established the presence and death of the fliers on Saipan, but now comprises only about 5 percent of the knowledge we have that puts them in the Marshalls and  Saipan.

On July 1, 1960, local residents picked up their copies of the San Mateo Times, to see this headline: “Exclusive: Amelia Earhart Mystery Is Solved,” in 100-point capital letters, with the story, “Famed Aviatrix Died on Saipan,” by Linwood Day, stunning the relatively few Americans who learned of it. That story is as true today as it was in 1960.

Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz. commander in chief Pacific Fleet during World War II, is spinning in his grave these days as the lies about the fate of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan continue to surround and overwhelm his famous comment to Fred Goerner that revealed the top-secret truth about the capture of the fliers in the Marshall Islands. 

Retired Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz told Goerner in 1965, “Now that you’re going to Washington, Fred, I want to tell you Earhart and her navigator did go down in the Marshalls and were picked up by the Japanese.” Two other U.S. flag officers, Marine Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, 18th commandant of the Marine Corps, and Marine Gen. Graves Erskine, who was second in command of the V Amphibious Corps during the invasion of Saipan in the summer of 1944, told Goerner and two associates that Amelia Earhart died on Saipan.

Twenty-six former GIs, veterans of the Saipan campaign, told Thomas E. Devine, author of Eyewitness; The Amelia Earhart Incident (1987) their eyewitness accounts that revealed the presence of Earhart’s plane, Lockheed Electra NR 16020, which disappeared on July 2, 1937, as well as their knowledge of the presence and deaths of Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan.  The list goes on, and I don’t need to re-write the chapters of The Truth at Last that overflow with evidence that expose Butler’s pathetic establishment talking points as the stinking smoke of mendacity. “No concrete evidence”?

Readers of this blog and The Truth at Last are familiar with the mountains of evidence that reveal the truth, while the so-called crashed-and-sank and Nikumaroro “theories” are actually glorified lies that lack even the most rudimentary basics required of scientific theories. It’s simply amazing to behold how the American people have been sold such a bill of bad goods for so long. I’m certain, as well, that if the Earhart Electra were actually located beneath the tarmac at Saipan International Airport, or the excavated skeletons of Earhart and Noonan were presented for DNA analysis that confirmed their identities, our establishment media would suppress that information as fully as possible. 

“The claim was again thoroughly investigated in 1981 by the journalist Fukiko Aoki, who concluded it was baseless,” Butler drones on in her Times editorial. “She interviewed a crew member of the Koshu Maru, one of two Japanese ships in the area where Earhart is thought to have crashed. The ship had received orders to search for the plane but found nothing. Aoki also read the ship’s log, which made no mention of Earhart.”

This is the best Butler can offer, which is nothing at all, but the truth-hating Times was glad to help, as always, when called to serve the cause of the leftist establishment agenda on any issue.  In The Truth at Last, I showed that all of Butler’s claims, with the exception of the fact that Aoki was on record as rejecting the idea that Earhart was on Saipan, were provably false. I even interviewed Aoki by phone at her New York home in 2007, and she herself denied words that Butler had put in her mouth about Goerner suggesting scenarios to Saipanese who were only too eager to tell him what he wanted to hear. Here’s what I wrote in The Truth at Last, page 311:

In a September 2007 phone interview, Aoki, who visited Goerner at his home in San Francisco in late June 1982, denied writing that Goerner suggested possible scenarios to native witnesses, and said she thought Butler may have misrepresented or possibly misunderstood what she told the biographer in a 1997 interview. “I would never say that about him,” she told me from her New York home. That’s terrible. I can’t criticize Fred like that; I respected him. He was a really nice person and a good friend of mine.” Aoki said Goerner’s death in 1994 “was kind of devastating,” but she confirmed that Butler had accurately reported her conclusion in Searching For Amelia that in her opinion, Earhart was never on Saipan.

Undated photo of Japanese journalist Fukiko Aoki, who told Fred Goerner she wanted to help him in his Earhart investigations in the early 1980s. As it turned out, Aoki was anything but helpful, at least from Goerner’s point of view.

I contacted Butler by email to ask her about Aoki and her ideas about Saipan. All of this is chronicled in detail in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.  The fact that this book had been blacked out by all major media until this past week, when the Washington Post finally broke through with the Amy Wang and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. July 11 piece,A ‘bogus photo,’ decades of obsession and the endless debate over Amelia Earhart, could not possibly have prevented Butler from knowing about the 12-page section I devoted to her phony claims. Euphemistically titled, “An Earhart Biographer’s Serial Misstatements,”  I would wager that these pages were more than anyone had ever written about her work, in any format, and it is inconceivable that Butler did not know what The Truth at Last revealed about her so-called “research.” But it meant nothing to her, because facts mean nothing to these enemies of the truth, whether it’s the Earhart story or any other focus of their lies.

Here’s how I conclude the lengthy section in The Truth at Last  that exposes and dismantles Butler’s propaganda, line by line:

Susan Butler, an American author of a major Earhart biography, echoes the Japanese government’s policies of deceit and denial, not only in the Earhart case but in its verifiably false claims about Saipan’s military posture several years before Pearl Harbor. While Fukiko Aoki’s motivation in advancing such nonsense is easily discerned, Butler’s is harder to fathom, yet is sadly typical of the American establishment’s hostility to the truth about Japan’s dark history. Whether Butler’s endorsement of Aoki’s findings was rooted in a conscious decision to mislead, simple historical naiveté, or abject incompetence is uncertain, but all are unacceptable in a popular biography of Amelia Earhart, and the result is the same: Readers are badly misinformed. We can justifiably ask whether Susan Butler would have been as casual in advancing her baseless claims against Goerner, who died five years before East to the Dawn was published, if he’d been around to defend himself.

We’ve seen an inordinate level of media activity during the past 10 days, virtually all of it devoted to a phony story about a bogus photo, followed by the subsequent debunking of the false claims made about the photo. When the false claims about the photo were exposed, as planned, anything of value in Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence,” was contaminated. The goal of the whole exercise was solely to further discredit the hated truth about the fate of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.

Nothing will be followed-up by an establishment still protecting the checkered legacy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose refusal to help Amelia when she in Japanese captivity, if officially revealed, would even now be a catastrophe for Democrats who still revere FDR as the New Deal Savior of America. Sadly and as always, too many Americans simply don’t care enough about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart to even question the false talking points offered by Butler and others who are always eager to lead them astray. 

Will shameless government shills like Butler, who want to keep Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan stashed away in the safe confines of romantic myth, flying into the eternal ether, ever cease their absurd advocacy for false solutions to the phony Earhart “mystery”? Not a chance, unless the U.S. government itself finally decides that the time for “full disclosure” in the Earhart case has finally come. Don’t hold your breath.

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