Oct. 24: Rossella Lorenzi, TIGHAR’s best friend

The establishment’s latest fusillade against the truth in the Earhart disappearance appeared in the Discovery News online news site on Oct. 11, and was soon picked up by other outlets including FOX News.  Ironically filed under the heading “U.S. History,” the story, headlined “Amelia Earhart Plane Search to Resume Next Year,” was an update to the May 29 story, “Amelia Earhart’s Plane Revealed in Sonar,” by Discovery News senior correspondent Rossella Lorenzi, which I discussed in my June 2 post.

Lorenzi, whose enthusiastic shilling for Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR dates back to at least 2009, has penned a wide assortment of propaganda pieces for TIGHAR and become perhaps its leading apologist.  Among her recent stories in support of this farcical Earhart search are such gems as “Earhart’s Final Resting Place Believed Found,” “Amelia Earhart’s Plane? New Sonar Imagery Raises Hopes,” and “Pieces of Amelia Earhart’s plane located?”

Rosella Lorenzi

        Rosella Lorenzi

In her Oct. 11 story, the TIGHAR mouthpiece breathlessly announced, “The search for Amelia Earhart’s long-lost aircraft will resume next year in the waters off Nikumaroro, an uninhabited island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati where the legendary pilot may have died as a castaway. …  Called Niku VIII, the new expedition is expected to cost as much as $3 million. It will rely on two Hawaiian Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) manned submersibles, Pisces IV and Pisces V, each carrying a pilot and two TIGHAR observers.” The effort is planned to span 30 days, beginning in mid-August 2014, Lorenzi added.

Will someone please tell me, after 10 fruitless trips to Nikumaroro and millions of wasted dollars, just precisely WHO in their ever-loving right minds is going to fork over $3 million so that Gillespie can return to Nikumaroro for yet another monumental waste of time and treasure? Is anyone out there really stupid and well heeled enough to invest in this ridiculous project? Did I hear someone whisper, “U.S. government”?

Is Rossella Lorenzi really unaware of the massive and overwhelming evidence that’s been collected since Fred Goerner’s first trip to Saipan in June 1960, and presented in such books as Goerner’s The Search for Amelia Earhart; Vincent V. Loomis’ Amelia Earhart: The Final Story;  Thomas E. Devine’s Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident; and Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last?  We can’t really know, since she never mentions Saipan as even a remotely possible  solution to the apparently irresolvable Earhart conundrum.

I couldn’t take it anymore, and decided to write to this woman, whose name is becoming a familiar piece of TIGHAR’s ongoing Earhart charade, to see if she might respond to a small dose of common sense. Here is my email missive of Oct. 14:

        Dear Rossella,

I just saw your Oct. 14 Discovery News piece promoting TIGHAR’s next installment in their longstanding disinformation campaign in the Amelia Earhart matter. How many times does Gillespie have to return to Nikumororo and find nothing before you will decide to stop writing about this ridiculous charade, or is there no limit to your propaganda efforts? Your constant advocacy of TIGHAR either betrays your total lack of knowledge or your utter dishonesty, in either event the result is the same — your readers are badly misinformed and misled.

If you are truly interested in the truth about the Earhart case, I encourage you to go to my website below and begin your real education, but first read this piece, which continues its run on Veterans News Now as one of its most popular stories ever:                                                                             

The truth in the Earhart “mystery” is a sacred cow

Rossella, there is no excuse for such mendacity in our media, and someday all of us will answer for every false utterance of our lives. The truth about what happened to Amelia on Saipan is obvious to all but the agenda driven and the ignorant, which unfortunately outnumber those of us who can actually read. You have made yourself part of what appears to be a permanent problem in the Earhart search, and I hope you’re satisfied that thanks to you and others of your ilk, the truth about Amelia’s fate is now considered to be an irresolvable historical puzzle. That way people like Gillespie can continue their phony searches and make a nice living along the way. Truth be damned.

Predictably, Lorenzi didn’t reply.  A few days later, after a friend and Earhart enthusiast in Pennsylvania also wrote to her to take a small shot, and incorrectly stated that she worked for FOX News, Lorenzi corrected him and told him she didn’t take his or my attacks personally, copying me on her reply. Of course I couldn’t miss this opportunity to add another log to the fire, which I did Oct. 18:

Dear Rosella,

I never thought you worked for FOX, and my email to you was not meant as a personal attack, but to inform you about the truth in the Earhart case. This truth, easily found and discerned in many books including Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, isn’t a matter of opinion, but has been the subject of a massive government disinformation effort practically since the day she was lost

Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR, whether or not they actually believe the thirdhand, long-debunked ideas they propagate with the help of a compliant media, have been the government-media establishment’s selected agents of disinformation since 1989, when they first began to make their false claims, claims that were accepted as “reasonable” by the majority of a gullible, uninformed American public. 

You must know this, but if you don’t, I ask that you do some homework and READ the information provided to you in the link I sent, and by reading my book as well, which is attached gratis in PDF format that can be easily downloaded into a kindle. The overwhelming evidence that places Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan in the Marshalls and Saipan cannot simply be rejected out of hand as simple “folklore” as Gillespie has so nonchalantly suggested.  For all reasonable people I’ve met, the big picture truth in the Earhart disappearance isn’t even debatable.

Now that she has a PDF copy of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, Rossella has no more excuses, and cannot say she didn’t know any better in her reportage of the Earhart case. The use of lawyerly wriggle words designed to impart an image of objectivity in news stories doesn’t excuse the blatant, incredibly slanted approach to TIGHAR’s 25-year Earhart fundraising campaign taken by Lorenzi and many other so-called journalists in the establishment media. I await Rossella’s response, but not with bated breath.

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19 responses

  1. You know, you just MIGHT get a bit more attention to your opinions if you’d acknowledge them as such, rather than presenting them as unquestionable “truth.” Whatever you believe, they’re not “truth;” they’re more or less substantiated hypotheses. The same, of course, is true of TIGHAR’s hypothesis — which we continue to try to test, rather than trying to bludgeon the world into acceptance. Some people — even, perhaps, people with three million bucks — find our approach preferable and worthy of support.

    Now, I expect that if you respond to this, you’ll just point out that I’m a member of TIGHAR and work on the Earhart project, and therefore, you’re convinced, have been drinking Gillespie’s Cool-Aid. Go to it.

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    1. Tom –
      Please SPARE US all of your Nikumaroro (HOAX) hypotheses. It’s really getting old and so many of us are TRUELY ILL from it!
      You, Ric Gillespie and THE GOVERNMENT cannot face the TRUTH – SHAME on YOU’S!

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      1. Ah, THERE’s a mature, fact-based response.

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  2. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. Testing and documentation are two very different things.

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    1. Well, believable testing requires documentation, but sadly I have to agree with you about why people listen, or don’t.

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  3. It is difficult for me to understand how Dr. King can confuse honorable eye-witness reports such as Admiral Chester Nimitz and the three USMC generals with what he and Mr. Gillespie are doing out on Gardiner Island. Ms Earhart came down in the Marshalls and died on Saipan. That’s the end of the story, and it is not a matter of opinion.

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    1. Frank — You might try reading the paper that some of us wrote, posted on Academia.edu, about the Saipan hypothesis. What I found most interesting in writing it was the extensive psychological literature on the unreliability of eyewitness testimony — NOT because those testifying are dishonorable, and quite unconnected from their military rank, but simply because the brain works in strange ways to fill in gaps in our knowledge, account for things we don’t understand, and respond to questions. But since you’re convinced that your opinion is the end of the story, I don’t suppose there’s any point.

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      1. Dr. King, I have been investigating the Earhart mystery for over thirty years. I am a retired federal agent and have amassed a sizeable amount of data and circumstantial evidence that leads me to believe Earhart met her demise on Saipan. I have recently found one piece of documentary evidence that strongly suggests that Earhart, during her capture stage, was held by the Japanese in the Marshall Islands.

        Mike Campbell, in The Truth At Last, presents an overwhelming amount of material that would lead most critical readers to believe Earhart was captured by the Japanese. If I recall, you critiqued “The Truth At Last,” on Amazon and blithely penned a jocular review that in reality attempted to discredit Campbell’s Saipan thesis.

        Now, the reason so few professional researchers haven’t embraced the Nikumaroro theory revolves around the following: The overwhelming number of witnesses to the Saipan theory and the complete lack of credible evidence unearthed on Nikumaroro; the fact that three open cockpit US aircraft flew at 50 to 500 feet over this sliver on an island for 30 minutes within ten days of Earhart’s disappearance and saw no evidence of castaways. The only possible explanation why Earhart didn’t come out and wave to the pilots was: 1) she was looking for her shoes; 2) she was applying freckle cream to look nice for the pilots.

        TIGHAR has apparently decided the archeological approach is the only method of solving the Earhart mystery. Yet, in your academic thesis of the Saipan hypothesis, which you have cited in this blog, you chose to ignore the one piece of credible archeological information at Saipan – the gravesite unearthed on orders of Captain Tracy Griswold, USMC, by Private’s Henson and Burks. These two Marines positively identified Griswold from a photo lineup that would have been admissible in court. Henson and Burks further corroborated Griswold’s identify from comments made at the gravesite.

        In other words, Dr. King, you have “cherry picked” the worst and least meaningful of “Saipan evidence and then distorted the plausibility of this evidence. In your critique of hard evidence, you mention the grave site dug up by Don Kothera of the Cleveland Group in 1968, and the bone fragments they collected. You go on to state, “Considering the disturbance of such sites during the Japanese development of the island and the presences of 20th century cemeteries that then had experienced considerable bombardment and other disturbances during the 1944 invasion, the presence of human bones almost anywhere is no surprise.”

        That’s true, Dr. King, but you knew from the Kothera and Goerner’s books, the gravesite unearthed by Kothera’s Cleveland Group was not residual ground material but a grave dug to waist level or deeper. If you would have conducted proper research on this grave site, you would have determined, the residual evidence found at this location was topical, i.e. shell casings, eyeglasses – bones fragments were found much deeper. You also would have known Kothera collected only bone fragments and that the larger skeletal remains were missing. You also knew this was the same gravesite discussed by the two Marines Burks and Henson, who in fact had unearthed the major skeletal remains from this grave in July 1944. You also knew the Griswold grave digging episode was the central theme of both the Goerner and Kothera books.

        For an essay that was supposed to represent a scholarly unbiased report on the Saipan theory, you mention none of this. Yet, you expended considerable effort explaining how unreliable human memory can be, citing ad infinitum numerous examples in several hundred words to make your argument. Boy, it’s a shame all those hundreds of witnesses cited in Mike Campbell’s book really didn’t see what they thought they saw.

        Les Kinney

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      2. OK, I should have known better than to get started down this road, but — one more time:

        1. I am not trying to discredit your efforts or Mike Campbell’s — the point of my original post was to suggest that Mike does himself a disservice by presenting his/your hypothesis as “truth,” which automatically turns off people like Rossella, who are exposed to nutty portrayals of “truth” all the time about everything from Bosnian pyramids to alien abductions.

        2. But since you’ve brought these things up….

        a. “The reason so few professional researchers haven’t embraced the Nikumaroro theory…”

        “Professional” researchers meaning those who make a profession of searching for Earhart, I take it? I.e. you, Mike, and your colleagues?

        b. “The overwhelming number of witnesses to the Saipan theory…”

        IF one takes all the witnesses (first, second, and third-hand) at face value, and pays no attention to the factors (discussed in our Saipan paper) that may have influenced them, then yes, they’re pretty overwhelming. But I don’t see any reason to be so uncritical.

        c. “the complete lack of credible evidence unearthed on Nikumaroro…”

        Well, since you state that “lack” as a fact, I guess it must be true. Funny, we who’ve been digging up and studying the evidence find it at last mildly “credible.”

        d. “… three open cockpit US aircraft flew at 50 to 500 feet over this sliver on an island for 30 minutes within ten days of Earhart’s disappearance and saw no evidence of castaways.”

        Have you looked at the “aerial tour of Nikumaroro” on the TIGHAR website? Where the helicopter flies at the same altitude as the search planes and you have to look real closely to see a large man in a white tee shirt on the beach? The same chopper flew over me, jumping up and down and waving my hat, near the Seven Site, and nobody saw me. It’s a hard environment in which to see things on the ground.

        e. “The only possible explanation why Earhart didn’t come out and wave to the pilots was: 1) she was looking for her shoes; 2) she was applying freckle cream to look nice for the pilots.”

        I’m glad you know what “the only possible explanation” is. I can think of several other possibilities, but never mind; it’s all speculation.

        f. “…you chose to ignore the one piece of credible archeological information at Saipan – the gravesite unearthed on orders of Captain Tracy Griswold, USMC, by Private’s Henson and Burks. These two Marines positively identified Griswold from a photo lineup that would have been admissible in court. Henson and Burks further corroborated Griswold’s identify from comments made at the gravesite.”

        Well, I didn’t exactly ignore it; I just couldn’t figure out what to do with it. If I’m recalling the story correctly, Henson and Burks were ordered by Griswold to dig up a grave; and Griswold allegedly spoke the words “Amelia Earhart” to them, but years later Griswold denied it. Does that mean that they were digging up Amelia, or does it mean they were digging up somebody else and Griswold was playing with their heads? Or does it mean something else? I don’t know.

        g. “… you knew from the Kothera and Goerner’s books, the gravesite unearthed by Kothera’s Cleveland Group was not residual ground material but a grave dug to waist level or deeper. If you would have conducted proper research on this grave site, you would have determined, the residual evidence found at this location was topical, i.e. shell casings, eyeglasses – bones fragments were found much deeper.”

        First, I appreciate the fact that you’ve actually read our paper. Thanks for that. Now, I don’t know very much about the stratigraphic relationships among things in Kothera’s excavations because the data aren’t presented in the kind of detail that one usually finds in reports of archaeological excavations, but supposing you’re correct that the bones were found in a grave that was deeper than the stratum of disturbed stuff resulting from the bombardment and leveling of Garapan — OK, so they came from a grave. Does that make it Earhart’s grave? I don’t see why, though maybe it was. Again, what you have is an hypothesis, not “truth.” Having lived on Saipan (where I found human bones in my flower beds) and excavated archaeological sites there, I know that there are lots and lots and lots of graves, marked and unmarked, resulting from thousands of years of human history, all over the island but especially on the leeward side in and around places like Garapan.

        h. “You also would have known Kothera collected only bone fragments and that the larger skeletal remains were missing.”

        I’ve excavated maybe a thousand graves in my career, in Micronesia and on the U.S. mainland, and read hundreds of archaeological site reports. I can assure you that finding only fragmentary remains in a grave is not uncommon, on Saipan or pretty much anyplace else. A lot of things can chew up a grave.

        i. “You also knew this was the same gravesite discussed by the two Marines Burks and Henson, who in fact had unearthed the major skeletal remains from this grave in July 1944.”

        Maybe. See above.

        “You also knew the Griswold grave digging episode was the central theme of both the Goerner and Kothera books.”

        Well, I don’t know about it being THE central theme, particularly of Goerner’s book, but it was certainly A major theme. So does that make it Earhart’s grave? I’m missing your connection.

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  4. Mr. King,

    As Ric Gillespie’s publicity man, I would expect nothing less than the bile you spewed above. Those of you there at TIGHAR must be feeling the heat from the Truth, if you are over here attacking it. You continue to perpetrate your opinions on Amelia’s disappearance on the public, raising obscene amounts of money for yet another trek. And yes, these ARE your opinions, since you have not uncovered one single shred of actual proof of Amelia’s crashing on Gardner Island in all of the many, many trips you have made to the island. All you have “uncovered” are “…this MIGHT be Amelia’s shoe; this MIGHT be a bookcase from Amelia’s plane; this MIGHT be Amelia’s cosmetic jar because she had freckles….” Give me a break! I understand your need to attack Mike and the Truth, but until you can unequivocally come up with undisputed evidence of her crashing on Gardner, please refrain from attacking other more likely alternate scenarios of the real Truth: Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan died on Saipan at the hands of the enemy.

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    1. I have to agree with sonnyauld.

      I’ve re-listened to my interview with Mike and gone back over the book and what is being called “so called evidence” by some horribly misguided people which takes a far more physical form than any other small bits of rubbish found on a beach somewhere.

      In the end, no matter how hard I try to take a pragmatic view of each point of view I keep coming back to the exact same conclusion. Amelia Earhart died on Saipan by the hands of the Japanese. Apparently Mr. King wants us to assume that every single eyewitness from the natives on several different islands to our military personnel all have flawed memories which I find more than absurd.

      What this is all about is perception. A bit of rubbish on a beach or several hundred witnesses. I will put my faith in the witnesses.

      Sorry, Mr. King all you are doing is digging yourself a hole that someone is going to push you into when it’s deep enough. Use the same critical eye as a jurist does. I did.

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  5. Like I said — you have it all figured out, and we’re all just shills for Gillespie. But the accumulation and analysis of “might be’s” is how science works. Hurricane Sandy might have been evidence of global climate change, so might the content of Greenland ice cores, and so on. It’s very rare for a single piece of evidence to be slam-bang definitive, but if that’s the only thing you can accept as evidence, so be it. I don’t “need” to “attack” anyone, and don’t think I did; my suggestion to Mike was that he have a better chance of being attended to by people like Rosella if he’d recognize that he, and you, ARE propounding opinions, not certain, verified “truth.” If that to you is an “attack,” it seems to me you have a mighty big chip on your shoulder. But that’s your problem, not mine, so I’ll happily refrain from bothering you further.

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    1. Junk science, phony academia, smoke and mirrors, a compliant and corrupt media, and an ignorant, apathetic and uninformed public have combined to create one of the most universally accepted false narratives in American culture, rivaled only by the continuing promotion of the absurd Warren Report lies in the JFK hit. No one should have to state that the truth is not a matter of opinion. Conspicuous in her silence is the subject of this discussion, Rossella Lorenzi. Has she stooped to read even a chapter of Truth at Last?

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      1. Well, I wasn’t going to add anything more to this thread, but that’s just too good a set-up. To begin with, “truth is not a matter of opinion?” Supposing that there is an absolute truth, as arguably there is with regard to Earhart’s fate, how can it NOT be a matter of opinion? People obviously have opinions about it; someone is presumably right (or no one is), but until there’s unequivocal proof, it’s a matter of opinion. And though I share some of your skepticism about the Warren report, just calling it “absurd” doesn’t make it so. Nor does calling what I do “junk science” make it so. As for phony academia — well, hell, you’ve caught me; I didn’t really go to college all those years and get those degrees and publish all that stuff; I’ve just made it all up and conned everyone but you; damn, you’re GOOD!

        Point is, when to make your hypothesis believable you have to posit that those otherwise inclined are engaging in junk science, trading in phony academia, puffing smoke and waving mirrors with the complicity of a corrupted media — well, that simply puts several points against you in the credibility department.

        As for Rossella — this was my original point: for someone like Rossella, who deals day in and day out with crazy stories about stuff from the past and must sort wheat from chaff based, often, on little but gut instinct, I can guarantee that a title like “The Truth” is something she’ll shy away from, because she knows all too well how slippery “truth” is.

        Look, I think that some of you guys have done some good research, and I think it deserves attention. My initial post was about how you might increase the likelihood that those not already of your persuasion would pay such attention, and your reaction, expectably I suppose, has been to kill the messenger. OK, I’m dead; enjoy yourselves.

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  6. Dr. King, I noticed you a posted a rebuttal to my post on Mike Campbell’s blog in the everlasting debate on the Earhart mystery. I also have noted you posted a link to this discussion on the TIGHAR web site.

    I believe it is necessary to respond to your comments, for no other reason than to set the record straight concerning my research into the disappearance of Earhart. There is much more to understanding the Earhart mystery than relying on TIGHAR information or simply skim reading a few poorly written books on the Earhart mystery. I think what gets Mike Campbell so incensed is the failure of critics not to include the preponderance of evidence pointing to Earhart’s capture by the Japanese.

    Instead of acknowledging and accepting the statements made by veterans, citizens of Saipan, and the Marshall Islands, you have chosen to discredit their testimony. Coming up with the claim these witnesses were inflicted with a strange bout of memory creation is quite creative.

    With that brief introduction, let me respond to your previous posted comments.

    Dr. King says: ” Professional” researchers meaning those who make a profession of searching for Earhart, I take it? I.e. you, Mike, and your colleagues?

    Response: Dr. King, you might have well have placed a (lol) phrase next to those remarks. In other words, how could I claim to be a professional researcher? The definition of a researcher according to Webster: Studious inquiry or examination; especially: investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts.

    For your information, my three decade plus federal law enforcement career speaks for itself. I was a senior manager for a federal law enforcement agency. I consider myself a professional researcher. I have investigated, (researched,) and reported on various international “issues” analogous to the Earhart matter hundreds of times over. I have spent months on single investigations where research was paramount in seeking a satisfactory conclusion. Discounting publicity, most issues were far more important than finding the answer to the Earhart mystery. I have testified in various courts dozens of times, whereby the title “expert witness” was accepted by the court. I have partaken in many crime scene searches not to dissimilar from archeological digs. I believe I am entitled to the term “professional researcher.”

    Dr. King says: “If one takes all the witnesses (first, second, and third-hand) at face value, and pays no attention to the factors (discussed in our Saipan paper) that may have influenced them, then yes, they’re pretty overwhelming. But I don’t see any reason to be so uncritical.”

    Response: Dr. King, if I understand your “false memory creation” argument, I believe there would be no convictions in any court of law which relied on eye witness, direct testimony, or secondary evidence, based on witness’s recollection of events. By your standards, all of these witnesses would be impeached. Using your logic, I would guess there are several million wrongful judicial decisions around the country needing immediate appeal. Those tainted witnesses must be suffering from “false memory creation.”

    Let’s take your argument a step further. From Mike Campbell’s book, you chose to chastise Duda’s appeal to Marines for his November 1993 posting in Leatherneck Magazine and say: “We mean no criticism of Mr. Duda for publishing this notice, but was it not a leading question? It amounts to: “Did you experience anything during the invasion of Saipan that you would connect with Earhart, Noonan, and/or their airplane – which was found in a Japanese hangar at Aslito Field?” This sort of questioning pervades the record of eyewitness testimony elicitation on which the Earhart-in-the-Marianas stories are largely based. To judge from the psychological literature, it would seem almost made to order for the inadvertent creation of false memories.”

    Response: Dr. King, do you believe that logic? Let’s take a look at the typical law enforcement bulletin posted at post offices, various public buildings, along highway billboards, and for that matter on the six o’clock local news. This one is quite mild:

    “On June 18th, at approximately 9 pm., the Sumner City High School was extensively vandalized. Any citizens who may have seen the perpetrators, witnessed the vandalism, or have information, especially all those who might have been in the vicinity of the school that evening, please contact police.”

    Dr. King, according to your argument, no witnesses that come forward as a result of such publicity should be trusted or used in a court of law. Here is how you regaled the Duda appeal: “This sort of questioning pervades the record of eyewitness testimony elicitation on which these stories are largely based. To judge from the psychological literature, it would seem almost made to order for the inadvertent creation of false memories.”

    Using your argument, we should never solicit the truth from witnesses in a court of law since they are suffering from false memories – or is it only those witnesses associated with the Earhart mystery inflicted with “false memory syndrome?

    Dr. King, you state: “If one takes all the witnesses (first, second, and third-hand) at face value, and pays no attention to the factors (discussed in our Saipan paper) that may have influenced them, then yes, they’re pretty overwhelming. But I don’t see any reason to be so uncritical.”

    Response: Dr. King, the “factors,” you have described in your paper ‘cherry pick’ conflicting accounts of witnesses. No doubt parts of their stories were based on hearsay accounts. But remember, whether the getaway car was red or yellow, or whether one of the bandits pointed a gun or a knife, does not discredit the fact a robbery of the bank occurred.

    By focusing on a minor remark of a witness made in good faith and based upon hearsay, you have decided the witness’s entire statement must be impeached. When an Earhart witness said they heard a white woman was beheaded, and a another said she heard the white woman was shot, or that a third said the white woman died of disease, those collective statements still don’t dispute the fact they all saw a white man and woman on Saipan fitting Earhart and Noonan’s description prior to the war. Several of these witnesses said the white woman had a burn on her face. Except for one witness, Anna Magofna, none witnessed an execution, except for Mrs. Nieves Blas, who I don’t believe was a credible witness.

    In further corroboration of the Saipan theory, educated Catholic missionary priests from the United States who witnessed the native testimony all said the same thing: Saipan natives would not lie in front of a priest.

    A point needs to be said about the Marine witnesses on Saipan. Many did tell their loved ones and family members of their Earhart involvement long ago – they just didn’t tell the press.

    As you are aware, Fred Goerner documented statements from three high ranking officers who were on Saipan and the Marshall Islands: Marine Generals Graves B. Erskine, General Alexander Vandergrift (who won the Congressional Medal of Honor) and of course Admiral Chester Nimitz, who led the war in the Pacific.

    All three of these distinguished men, told Goerner that Earhart was on Saipan. Vandergrift and Erskine wrote books about their time in the war. There have been several accounts and biographies written of Nimitz’s life.

    According to your logic, Generals’ Erskine, Vandergrift, and Admiral Nimitz must have suffered from false memory creation. Since you state, “It would seem almost made to order for the inadvertent creation of false memories.” Don’t you think you should pen a review of their books on Amazon and make the public aware of that possibility? Or, do you believe these honorable men lied to Goerner?

    Dr. King says: “the complete lack of credible evidence unearthed on Nikumaroro…” ..”Well, since you state that “lack” as a fact, I guess it must be true. Funny, we who’ve been digging up and studying the evidence find it at last mildly “credible.”

    Response: Dr. King, please tell me the credible evidence unearthed on Nikumaroro. I am sincerely interested.

    Dr. King quotes me: “… three open cockpit US aircraft flew at 50 to 500 feet over this sliver on an island for 30 minutes within ten days of Earhart’s disappearance and saw no evidence of castaways.” Dr. King says, “Have you looked at the “aerial tour of Nikumaroro” on the TIGHAR website? Where the helicopter flies at the same altitude as the search planes and you have to look real closely to see a large man in a white tee shirt on the beach? The same chopper flew over me, jumping up and down and waving my hat, near the Seven Site, and nobody saw me. It’s a hard environment in which to see things on the ground.

    Response: Dr. King, for some time, I was Special Agent in Charge of a large federal law enforcement field office in Honolulu. Our area of jurisdiction covered all of the South Pacific. During my tenure in Hawaii, we initiated a program what I would describe as a “Coastal Watch.” We called it the “Cook Project.” In conjunction with the Coast Guard, we supplied South and Central Pacific island governments with radios and if available, early satellite telephones. This equipment was used to track and identify marine motherships which were so common at that time. Many of these smuggling ships would anchor at these small islands to replenish, refuel, or just plain hide out.

    With that said, I have been on most all of the islands that were part of the Japanese Mandated Islands. I have spent time in American Samoa, Western Samoa. I opened a Resident Agent (RA) office on Guam and have been on Saipan maybe a dozen times conducting various investigations. I knew all of the law enforcement officials and several of the leaders of the Government of the Northern Marianas. I island hopped on small planes to many an atoll in the South Pacific including the Marshall Islands.

    I disagree with your comment that you could not see a large man hopping around on the beach. In fact, on some of these atolls, flying at 500 hundred feet, depending on the sun, you easily could pick out a fisherman 500 yards away throwing nets into the surf. I can only presume if you were jumping and waving at the crew in a helicopter they weren’t actively looking for you.

    A pilot and crew chief searching for Earhart in the summer of 1937 said this to Fred Goerner in the 1980’s. (I paraphrase) “We flew at 500 hundred feet. We were alert and could have seen a handkerchief or a piece of paper floating in the water.”

    Dr. King says: “I can think of several other possibilities, but never mind; it’s all speculation.”

    Dr. King, even TIGHAR agrees Earhart transmitted post loss radio transmissions for up to three days following her disappearance. (I do too) You said there were several possibilities why Earhart might not have come out and waved to the three pilots of the Colorado, who flew numerous passes over Gardner Island for a half hour at 500 feet and even lower. Could you speculate why she decided not to make herself known to the pilots?

    I have conducted several amateur audio tests and have concluded you can begin hearing a single engine aircraft in that environment under normal conditions from four miles away. I can only assume the sound of three aircraft would be much louder. Given that three planes cruised that four mile long thread of an island, for a half hour, specifically looking for Earhart and Noonan, I find it inconceivable they would not have been seen on Gardner Island.

    Dr. King says regarding Griswold, Burks and Henson: “Well, I didn’t exactly ignore it; I just couldn’t figure out what to do with it. If I’m recalling the story correctly, Henson and Burks were ordered by Griswold to dig up a grave; and Griswold allegedly spoke the words “Amelia Earhart” to them, but years later Griswold denied it. Does that mean that they were digging up Amelia, or does it mean they were digging up somebody else and Griswold was playing with their heads? Or does it mean something else? I don’t know.”

    Response: Dr. King, you need to do some serious research on this topic – it’s that important! Griswold ordered the two Marines to dig up a grave. When asked who are we digging up? Griswold responded, “Have you ever heard of Amelia Earhart. Griswold said after that they answered in the affirmative, “Enough said.”

    Looking for Earhart was not a whimsical statement made in jest by command officers in the Pacific. ( I am not referring to Griswold) I have testimony from four veterans who stated prior to their landing on various atolls in the Pacific; they were briefed by command officers to be alert for evidence of Amelia Earhart. I doubt command officers made those statements in the field based upon seeing the movie, “Flight for Freedom.”

    According to Henson and Burks testimony to Fred Goerner, Griswold wasn’t joking. If you listen to the original 1968 audio tapes of Henson and Burks recorded by the Kothera group, which I have done, you will quickly determine the two Marines did not believe Griswold was joking.

    I am not positive the grave dug up by Burks and Henson in 1944 and later the Kothera group in 1968 is that of Earhart and or Noonan, but the evidence strongly suggests that to be the case.

    According to government records, which I possess, there were three graves dug up by the Army and Marines authorities in the summer of 1944 on Saipan. Those graves were dug up as a result of interviews with natives. The native information was accurate and the remains of three aviators lost over Saipan prior to the invasion were found. (no false memory creation noted)

    I have found no records of the grave digging mission under the direction of Marine Captain Tracy Griswold. In fact, the Marines have officially denied Griswold dug up a grave in the summer of 1944.

    In 1968, Griswold met with the Kothera group twice. During these two meetings Griswold denied being part of this grave digging episode, yet his language clearly suggests otherwise. He kept repeating, “I’m not denying what you are saying but I have to go on record that I can’t recall.”

    Griswold was identified from a legitimate photo spread viewed independently by Burks and Henson. These two Marine veterans gave witness statements to what they saw and heard. Their conversation was recorded. Burks and Henson recollection of events were near identical, although they were interviewed at different times, and neither had seen the other since 1945. They recalled Griswold was associated with the Griswold manufacturing family, (Griswold’s grandfather started the company) Burks and Henson’s story, identification of the cemetery, and location of the grave site were essentially the same.

    If you read the intimidating and leading letter sent to Griswold from the U.S. Marine Corps in the mid-1960’s regarding this grave digging episode, you would think the letter might have been written by a mafia boss.

    Dr. King said: “First, I appreciate the fact that you’ve actually read our paper. Thanks for that. Now, I don’t know very much about the stratigraphic relationships among things in Kothera’s excavations because the data aren’t presented in the kind of detail that one usually finds in reports of archaeological excavations, but supposing you’re correct that the bones were found in a grave that was deeper than the stratum of disturbed stuff resulting from the bombardment and leveling of Garapan — OK, so they came from a grave. Does that make it Earhart’s grave? I don’t see why, though maybe it was. Again, what you have is an hypothesis, not “truth.” Having lived on Saipan (where I found human bones in my flower beds) and excavated archaeological sites there, I know that there are lots and lots and lots of graves, marked and unmarked, resulting from thousands of years of human history, all over the island but especially on the leeward side in and around places like Garapan. … I can assure you that finding only fragmentary remains in a grave is not uncommon, on Saipan or pretty much anyplace else. A lot of things can chew up a grave.”

    Response: Dr. King, I would describe your answer as inadequate and flippant. Burks/Henson and later the Kothera group didn’t randomly dig up a piece of earth on Saipan. The grave location was known to be a few feet outside a known cemetery complete with fence and headstones. The site had been mapped and identified. Neither of these two grave digging episodes was conducted in a random haphazard manner. Neither digs were initiated by wandering around Saipan looking for a likely place to dig as you have suggested.

    In both digs, maps were used to identify the location. The nearby markers used for reference by the Kothera group were supplemented by Anna Magofna’s knowledge of the execution site. A location she walked by daily on her way to school before the war.

    According to the later interviews of Burks and Henson, by the Kothera group, Anna Magofna led the Kothera group to the same spot they dug up in 1944. The location was a few feet outside the cemetery and near the markers previously described by Burks and Henson. I have the original film, picture shoots, and audio tapes of the Kothera dig.

    The Kothera group included an amateur archeologist who had been involved in professional digs in the past. It also included a seasoned police lieutenant who was completely familiar with crime scene sites. The film shot at this dig would convince you the dig was professional.

    Dr. King you mentioned a lot of things could have “chewed up” this particular grave to cause the larger skeletal remains to become missing. Could you explain what they might be?

    The Kothera group found a few dozen pieces of small bones and a gold dental bridge in the 1968 dig but no skeletal remains. Could it be the skeletal remains unearthed by Burks and Henson in their rudimentary dig of 1944 was the reason only bone fragments were left at this grave site in 1968?

    I don’t mind you posting this response on your web blog or linking it to the TIGHAR web page as you did with my previous response.

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  7. Thanks, Les. I’ll post it on my blog for whoever may be interested. Again, I don’t begrudge you your opinions and interpretations of the evidence; I just wish you and your colleagues would acknowledge them as such, instead of pronouncing them to be “the Truth.” The psychological studies I cited, by the way, have mostly been stimulated by academic and judicial concern precisely about the likelihood that justice was being ill served by too-ready acceptance of eyewitness testimony.

    Oh — you asked about what could “chew up” a grave. I’ve known graves literally to be chewed up by burrowing rodents and such; on Saipan the more likely burrowers would probably be crabs. But I was using the term a bit more loosely; graves can be disturbed by tree roots and their uprooting, by erosion, by construction, trenching, and landscaping activities, by insects and worms, and so on; the ground is not nearly as stable and unchanging as we who lumber around on its surface may tend to think. There’s also bacterial and chemical action. I once dealt with a cemetery in Yap in which virtually all the bodies, buried over a period of centuries but some dating to the 20th century, had disappeared but for teeth and a very few remnants — simply because of the chemical and microbial condition of the soil.

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  8. My grandfather found her grave and brought her back to the USA to a museum and then it disapeared. Stop your fussing about the subject. Whoever disputes my grandfather Don Kothera is probally paid to dispute the truth with all those millions provided to find the body that will never be found…..idiots. Julie Kothera Hurd. Ohio!!!

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    1. Julie,

      Clearly you have not read Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, in either edition. You have been misinformed about what Donald Kothera and his Cleveland Group actually did. From p. 245 to p. 251 in the second edition, I chronicle his great contributions to the Earhart saga. However, the evidence that he “brought her back to the USA,” as you say, was not so clear. The 180 or so very small bone fragments that he recovered from the gravesite he excavated under the direction of a native eyewitness, Anna Diaz Magofna, did disappear shortly after the death of anthropologist Raymond Baby in 1982. Some, including myself, believe these fragments might have been taken by the feds. Basically, that is the status of the possible evidence to this day. DNA analysis could have nailed the case shut years ago.

      Don Kothera came so very close to “bringing her back,” but those of us who have devoted so much of their lives to the Earhart truth need far more than missing bone fragments before we claim “Case Closed.”

      Thanks for your interest.
      Mike

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  9. Julie, with all due respect for you and your grandfather, I’m not paid to “dispute the truth,” and I don’t know what “millions” you’re talking about. I may BE an idiot, though; others have said so. Anyhow, as best as I’ve been able to determine, Mike’s right about the disappearance of the bones after Dr. Baby’s death, but as one who’s not much impressed by the Japanese Capture/Conspiracy hypothesis, and who IS sadly familiar with the often slipshod ways of anthropology labs, I think it’s most likely they just got tossed. Which is reprehensible, but for what it’s worth, I don’t think there’s much reason to think they were Earhart’s (or Noonan’s) bones.

    While I’m opening myself up to attack for my idiocy, membership in the establishment, money-grubbing and efforts to conceal The Truth, let me mention that we’re taking a tour group to visit Nikumaroro next year, and I’d welcome people who think the Nikumaroro hypothesis is a crock. But though I wish it didn’t, it does cost money. See http://www.niku2017.com for details.

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