Smithsonian mag throws “Truth at Last” a bone: Says, “it’s possible . . . Campbell is on to something”

In early November 2014, a contributing writer to Smithsonian magazine named Jerry Adler contacted me via email, asking if I’d talk to him for a story about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart he was working on. Adler said the magazine’s editors’ interest in doing the story had stemmed from “Ric Gillespie’s announcement last week of evidence in support of his Nikumaroro theory” [the worst excuse for writing a major piece on the Earhart matter I’ve ever heard], but his piece would “cover the gamut of explanations, including your own.”

Though pleased that someone at Smithsonian, though clearly not this writer, had read Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last and found it worthwhile, I was also quite skeptical.  I told Adler, “I couldn’t have been more surprised than to hear from a writer for Smithsonian,” whose sister publications, American Heritage and Invention and Technology Magazine have recently featured the erroneous ideas of Tom Crouch, the Air and Space Museum’s senior curator, and TIGHAR’s Ric Gillespie, while the truth has taken severe beatings on the rare occasions it’s not ignored entirely.

Few if any will be writing reviews of Adler’s story, Will the Search for Amelia Earhart Ever End?,” but even if it drew plenty of media attention, I’d still feel compelled to go on the record about it. After all, where is it written that Jerry Adler and the Smithsonian editors are the ultimate authorities on what you should think about the Earhart disappearance?

Smithsonian Cover

Has Adler or the magazine’s staff made the impossible battle to establish the truth among the top priorities of their lives, studied this matter for the better part of 30 years and been rejected by thousands as a “paranoid conspiracy theorist” by the ignorant and clueless? Do they really care about the U.S. government’s position and the media’s failure to do its job in exposing the truth? Not a chance.

According to its own boilerplate content statementSmithsonian “looks at the topics and subject matters researched, studied and exhibited by the Smithsonian Institution – science, history, art, popular culture and innovation – and chronicles them for its diverse readership.” This trendy descriptor says nothing about the role that truth and the facts should play as it strives to serve its “diverse readership,” code words that reflect the myriad political, cultural and even religious readerships that publications such as Smithsonian, American Heritage and others of their ilk seek to please.

Unlike Smithsonian, where truth is dispensed only in small dollops for the edification of the most discerning readers — on the subject of Amelia Earhart, at least – readers familiar with this blog know that my observations and conclusions are always tied to known facts, and when speculation is offered, it’s labeled as such. This writer, as do we all now or later, answers to a higher authority than the Smithsonian board of directors, and I try to proceed accordingly.

“The Smithsonian’s Straight Skinny” (Part II)

For those who may not be familiar with recent articles published by highbrow magazines, in 2007, Tom Crouch, Ph.D., the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum senior curator, wrote a piece titled Searching for Amelia Earhartfor Invention and Technology Magazine. You can read it in its entirely, above, but here’s the statement from Crouch that tells us how he feels about the Marshalls and Saipan scenarios:

… what are we to make of all the eyewitness testimony placing Earhart and Noonan in Japanese hands? Mustn’t there be at least a small flame of truth flickering beneath all that smoke? Sorry. You don’t have to follow many criminal cases to realize just how fallible witness memories can be. How much less trustworthy are the recollections of events that occurred more than two decades before, gathered from witnesses who speak a different language by interviewers who know what they want to hear?

In a quarter-century of looking, no researcher has produced a shred of hard evidence to suggest that Earhart and Noonan were either spies or victims of the Japanese.

Tom Crouch, Ph.D., senior curator of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C., and a prominent advocate of the absurd Amelia Earhart crashed-and-sank theory.

Tom Crouch, Ph.D., senior curator of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C., and a prominent advocate of the long-discredited Amelia Earhart crashed-and-sank theory.

I had serious problems with Crouch’s illogical analysis, and dissected his weak argument line-by-line in Truth at Last, in a section titled “The Smithsonian’s Straight Skinny” (see pages 376-382). “Crouch’s article, instead of offering readers a possible glimpse of the truth,” I wrote, “actually served as a platform for the latest government-approved talking points in the Earhart matter, masquerading as informed historical narrative from an unimpeachable authority. . . . Since no ‘archival evidence’ of Earhart’s captivity and death has yet to be produced, none must exist, Crouch asserted, which may be true; files can be destroyed or hidden beyond recovery.

“But even the moderately informed could see through Crouch’s flimsy argumentation against Saipan,”  I continued, “and the patronizing arrogance that flavored his comments clearly signaled his loyalty to the falsehoods that are orthodoxy in the establishment he serves.”

Five years later, in the summer of 2012, Crouch was back, this time in American Heritage magazine, with Amelia Found? On this occasion, the 75th anniversary of Amelia’s loss, the senior curator didn’t bother to even briefly trace the history of the “Japanese capture theory,” as he’d done in  Searching for Amelia Earhart,” but he simply trashed it as quickly as possible:

What are we to make of all the conspiracy theories? Is there a small flame of truth flickering somewhere beneath all that smoke? Most likely not. In three-quarters of a century of looking, no researcher has produced a shred of hard evidence to suggest that Earhart and Noonan were either spies or prisoners of the Japanese.

Crouch’s contempt for the truth was evident in every word he wrote in this travesty, and again I had to respond.  I wrote Crouch and the American Heritage editors a letter I knew would never see print, except on my own blog, where American Heritage, Crouch do it again appeared on Oct. 17, 2012.

American Heritage needs to be reminded that their readership is not totally populated by morons and lemmings,” I wrote in conclusion, “so I hope this brief letter will at least accomplish that modest goal. I also know that American Heritage does not possess the integrity or intellectual honesty to publish this letter, but I’ll make sure I inform as many as I can about the continuing Earhart travesty and your role in perpetuating it.”

Does anyone out there seriously believe that Crouch would retain his job as senior curator and chief Air and Space Museum spokesmouth if he were to change his views on the Earhart disappearance and insist that the government release its top-secret files and come clean after nearly eight decades of denial and obfuscation? Please.

Can you blame me for thinking that the Smithsonian, with government apologist Crouch at the helm of the Air and Space Museum, has been among the most truth-averse organizations in the nation when it comes to the Earhart story? Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think Crouch is ignorant or uninformed. On the contrary, he has a doctorate in history from Ohio State on his distinguished Air and Space Museum resume, and is the “author or editor of a number of books and many articles for both popular magazines and scholarly journals.” But when it comes to Amelia Earhart, what are we to conclude? Is it that Crouch just can’t seem to grasp the research that so clearly reveals the truth, or is there something a bit more sinister afoot?

So I asked myself, why would this magazine bother to ask me about my views? Did they think that including a few small snippets about the hated “Japanese capture theory” advanced only by a few addled “conspiracy theorists” would convince readers of their tolerance and dedication to “diversity”? Perhaps, but I figured it would be better to play the game with Adler than to insult him and guarantee no mention at all, so I fully cooperated with him.

Adler told me he had “no preconceptions” going into this story, a typical disclaimer offered by all writers at this level, and one that usually means quite the opposite is true. If Adler – or the editors who direct his work — really had no opinions about the Earhart disappearance before he began researching this story, why did it so strongly resemble every other treatment of this subject we’ve seen for nearly three decades?

Nikumaroro, or Gardner Island, is part of the Phoenix Islands, Kiribati, in the western Pacific Ocean. It is a remote, elongated, triangular coral atoll with profuse vegetation and a large central marine lagoon. It's approximately 4.7 miles long by 1.6 miles wide and has gained international notoriety as the "most probable" landing place of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. No real evidence has ever been presented to support this false idea.

Nikumaroro, or Gardner Island, is part of the Phoenix Islands, Kiribati, in the western Pacific Ocean. It is a remote, elongated, triangular coral atoll with profuse vegetation and a large central marine lagoon. It’s approximately 4.7 miles long by 1.6 miles wide and has gained international notoriety as the “most probable” landing place of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. No real evidence has ever been presented to support this false idea.

These puff-pieces almost always emphasize the latest drippings from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) an impressive title for an organization that is consistently unimpressive, has yet recover a single aircraft, and whose ethically challenged director has yet to establish a single probative link between Earhart or Fred Noonan and the scads of trash he brings back from his bi-annual boondoggles to Nikumaroro.

But before I proceed with more on the odious Gillespie, his Nikumaroro cash cow and the Smithsonian’s gentle treatment of perhaps the most effective enemies the truth in the Earhart disappearance has ever faced — with the exception of the U.S. government – readers should be enlightened about one important principle.

The Big Lie: The “Great Aviation Mystery”

This PRINCIPLE, which has become one of my constant memes, is that the very idea that the disappearance of Amelia Earhart is a “great aviation mystery” is among the biggest lies in American history. So effective has the U.S. government been in inculcating and maintaining this idea into the official historical narrative that it has become a normal piece of our cultural furniture, accepted without question by all but the few who care to closely examine this longtime canard, this straw man our establishment created so long ago to protect its own interests.

Thus, when the Earhart disappearance is analyzed or examined by people we would normally consider intelligent, like Tom Crouch,  all the established, traditional rules of investigation, including objective evaluation of evidence, logic and the scientific approach become virtually nonexistent and non-applicable.

Any discerning individual who closely looks at the prevailing Earhart “theories” will discover that not a shred of alleged evidence for either crash-and-sank or Nikumaroro exists that doesn’t completely break down under mere moderate scrutiny, leaving absolutely nothing but smoke and babble. Simple logic will lead any objective investigator to the truth; the problem is that few modern-day “investigators” are either objective or logical.

Both these falsehoods are based upon assumptions made upon more assumptions, yet in polite circles they are considered far superior to the truth, supported by volumes of eyewitness accounts from citizens of the Marshalls and Saipan, four U.S. flag officers and over two-dozen former veterans of the Battle of Saipan, among others. Clearly, the desire to follow all these signposts that lead to the truth does not exist in the establishment media, nor virtually anywhere else, for that matter. In the Earhart case, the Big Lie  has completely replaced the truth.

Knowledgeable observers recognize this, and know that TIGHAR’s Earhart operation, from its inception, has been little more than a well-oiled confidence game with two major goals – to separate the unwary from their money and provide Gillespie with a fat yearly salary. Fred Goerner recognized this early on, wasting his time in an August 1992 letter advising Gillespie not to paint himself into a corner by making claims he couldn’t substantiate.  A few of Goerner’s uncanny predictions about Gillespie’s plots are presented on page 420 of Truth at Last. 

Truth at Last presents an overwhelming, undeniable case for the Marshalls and Saipan presence of our fliers. Simple logic, something sorely missing in most Earhart discussions, tells us that if actually went down in the Pacific or landed and died on Nikumaroro, such a book, like those that preceded it, with its many hundreds of separate threads of evidence and testimony, would simply have been impossible.

Among the few true Earhart researchers active today, none has ever been accused of such craven, mercenary motivations as Gillespie. To my knowledge, the two researchers currently doing the most important work are Dick Spink, who says he’s $50,000 in the hole after four trips to the Marshall Islands, and Les Kinney, who’s never quoted a figure, but is also well in the red after numerous trips around the country in search of many pieces of major new evidence he’ll someday reveal in the book he’s writing. 

Paul Briand Jr., circa 1959, who 1960 book, Daughter of the Sky, presented the eyewitness account of Josephine Blanco Akiyama and initiated the modern-day search for Amelia Earhart.

Paul Briand Jr., circa 1959, as a captain at the U.S. Air Force Academy, whose 1960 book, Daughter of the Sky, presented the eyewitness account of Josephine Blanco Akiyama for the first time, and initiated the modern-day search for Amelia Earhart.

These good men tread honorably on the narrow trail blazed by Paul Briand Jr., Fred Goerner, Vincent V. Loomis, Oliver Knaggs, Don Kothera, Thomas E. Devine and Bill Prymak, their overriding motivation only to lay this false “mystery” that is the Earhart travesty to rest. Sadly, the real and continuing tragedy of the Earhart saga is that nothing short of the discovery of the Earhart Electra or Amelia herself returning from the grave would put an end to the status quo that 77 years of propaganda has created.

The last time Smithsonian engaged the Earhart story was about three years ago, when it published a shameless promotion of then Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s public support for Gillespie’s 10th trip to Nikumaroro, in a March 20, 2012 piece by one K. Annabelle Smith titled, The Search for Amelia Earhart Resurfaces, 75 Years Later. Even for Smithsonian, this story reached new lows, which might explain why its editors finally deigned to include a brief mention of the hated Marshalls and Saipan scenarios for its January 2015 issue.

Here’s a sample of the insipid pabulum Smithsonian offered its readers in 2012:

And while new interest in Amelia Earhart’s disappearance has resurfaced as of late, Dorothy Cochrane, a curator at the National Air and Space Museum says “Lady Lindy’s” legacy has always held a place in the Smithsonian Institution.  “Everybody has a theory, some more serious than others, but it’s still the greatest mystery of the 20th century,” she says, “and looks like it’s heading into the 21st century.”

Note the clueless Dorothy Cochrane’s insufferable insistence that the Earhart disappearance remains not only the greatest “aviation mystery,” but the “greatest mystery of the 20th century,” period. It rarely gets worse than this.

The Smithsonian’s  Cover Story

Adler’s Earhart piece is the cover story for Smithsonian’s January 2015 issue. In the cover photo of Amelia, she is particularly striking as she glances at us across 80 years, goggles raised over her brow, impeccably geared up for takeoff  in elegant white aviator’s togs.  Set against a black background, the photo seems almost perfect, unlike the story itself.

“New Clues, New Controversy,” punctuate Amelia’s photo in bright red headlines, by when  even moderately knowledgeable students of the Earhart case open the magazine and start reading Will the Search for Amelia Earhart Ever End?they will immediately realize they’ve been taken for another ride on the Earhart disinformation express.

To begin, the lead in Adler’s story is, quite frankly, incredible, as he travels to Gillespie’s “Pennsylvania farmhouse” to fawn over a piece of scrap aluminum that’s long been exposed as worthless junk, breathlessly telling us, “If he’s right, this is one of the great historical artifacts of the 20th century, a piece of the airplane in which Amelia Earhart made her famous last flight over the Pacific Ocean in July 1937.” This is news?

Adler’s story presents no “new clues” whatever.  These “new clues, which Adler was told were this story’s very raison d’être, are nothing more than recently debunked, false interpretations of the provenance of a piece of aluminum scrap that’s been one of the centerpieces of the TIGHAR scam since its earliest days. I fail to see why Adler or one of the many researchers on staff at Smithsonian couldn’t have easily found two current newspaper stories that present the real “new evidence,” which emphatically exposes Gillespie’s aluminum claims as pure rubbish, or just asked somebody who doesn’t subscribe to TIGHAR’s latest talking points. But after 25 years of failed trips to Nikumaroro, Gillespie not only gets a pass, he still gets top billing from a magazine believed to represent enlightened thought by many.

This is he piece of aluminum Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR found on Nikumaroro during their 1991 trip to the island. Why did they wait till 2014 to say it came from Amelia Earhart's lost Electra?

This piece of aluminum, found by Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR on Nikumaroro during their 1991 trip to the island, is presented in a full-page layout by Smithsonian magazine in its January 2015 cover story, as if it has some great significance.  But for at least the second time, Gillespie’s claims that the sheet came from the Earhart Electra have been fully exposed as false, but not before Gillespie’s delusion was enthusiastically embraced by a clueless media, including Smithsonian.

Amelia Earhart Society (AES) researcher and pilot Gary LaPook talked to reporters Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald and Bruce Burns of the Kansas City Star about the aluminum sheet, which Smithsonian editors displayed on a full page, as if readers would somehow be more impressed by the importance of the sheet of scrap aluminum if it was blown up into such a huge photo – talk about overkill. Garvin’s Oct. 30 story, Investigators search for Amelia Earhart’s ghost in old Miami Herald,” was the second he’d done on Gillespie’s new claims, and he saved the most important fact – the “money quote,” so to speak, for the end of the story:

The most important evidence, however, is the linkage of Gillespie’s scrap to Earhart’s plane through study of the photo. And it’s on that point that LaPook and other his other critics insist most adamantly he’s wrong. They says [sic] telltale evidence on Gillespie’s scrap of wreckage prove it wasn’t manufactured until several years after Earhart crashed. The scrap bears a visible stamp of an A and a letter D — probably part of the label 24ST Alclad, the type of aluminum its [sic] made from.

But, LaPook says, Alcoa Inc., the company that manufactured the aluminum, didn’t start stamping it with the 24ST Alclad designation until 1941. Before that, it used the abbreviation ALC. “There are hundreds of photos of aluminum pieces stamped ALC,” LaPook said. “It’s just beyond doubt.”

Brian Burns’ story, Has the key to Amelia Earhart’s disappearance in the Pacific been found in Kansas? was a more unbiased treatment of Gillespie’s phony claims than the Miami Herald ran. Besides presenting LaPook’s information in a way that laymen could easily understand, Burns interviewed Louise Foudray, curator of the Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison, Kan., who was very kind to Gillespie. But Burns also asked for my opinion, and unlike the politically correct Foudray, I was in no mood for vaporous platitudes.  I also wrote my own story, LaPook destroys Gillespie’s latest false Earhart claim,” and posted it on my Truth at Last blog on Nov. 2, just a day before Adler contacted me.

“He tells me he’s ‘98 percent’ sure the piece came from Earhart’s plane,” Adler writes of Gillespie’s absurd estimation of the chances his Nikumaroro flotsam is connected to Amelia or the Electra and will bring him unanimous worldwide acclaim as the man who solved the Holy Grail of Aviation mysteries. Adler squanders nearly a third of his 3,500 word essay on Gillespie’s drivel, but at least he comes away quite dubious, as he should be.  He closes his section on Gillespie by quoting one of the few intelligent sentences Tom Crouch has ever uttered in the Earhart discussion: “I think if Ric proved anything, it’s that [Earhart and Noonan] never were close to that island.”

Mercifully, Adler foregoes another episode of Tom Crouch’s crashed-and-sank advocacy, otherwise known in enlightened circles as “defending the indefensible,” but he does direct readers to Elgen and Marie Long’s discredited polemic, Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved. This book “remains the simplest explanation,” Adler writes, “but for that very reason, has attracted derision from those who prefer their history complicated.”  He’s wrong, of course. Crashed-and-sank wasn’t dismissed by coherent researchers long ago for the very reason of its simplicity, but because it’s simply flat wrong, and there’s never been a sliver of evidence to support it. 

In fact, I’m convinced that it was because of the absurd nature of the crashed-and-sank theory that the establishment selected TIGHAR’s not-quite-so-ridiculous Nikumaroro “hypothesis” as its preferred avenue of disinformation in 1989, with Elgin and Marie Long’s defunct Navy and Coast Guard verdict relegated to backup status as a secondary diversion for the confused. Goats2

For some unknown reason far beyond my ken, someone at the magazine also decided to include the ideas of one Bill Snavely, who, up until his mention in this story has been a total unknown  in Earhart circles. Do a google search, combining his name with “Earhart,” and you will find absolutely nothing.

I’d never heard of Bill Snavely and his Bouganville claims, nor has any other Earhart researcher I’ve asked, but the fact that Travel Channel featured his crackpot ideas, along with Australian David Billings and his New Britain theory, and Gillespie, of course, in a two-hour documentary Jan. 8 was simply further confirmation that the establishment has no room for the truth, but will happily put any kind of nonsense  out there to distract and misinform the public.

“This was a complete waste of a serious Earhart enthusiast’s time,” an AES member wrote in its online forum. “It compares to Geraldo Riviera’s search for Capone’s artifacts in Chicago many years ago. Can you imagine searching for downed aircraft in the jungles of New Britain with flash lights at night? Gillespie’s comment of 100 percent got me all shocked up.”

A Crack in the Door

From the beginning of our correspondence, I felt that Adler planned to include some discussion of Truth at Last only because he was told to do so.  Sure, the former Newsweek reporter names Truth at Last in his piece, but he has little good say about it, other than admit I present “a mountain of testimony from American servicemen and Pacific Islanders to show that an American man and woman landed in the Marshalls in 1937 and were taken to Saipan, although apparently they never introduced themselves by name (italics mine).”

Adler also does well when he introduces the history of Saipan research by spending more than a paragraph on Thomas E. Devine’s eyewitness account presented in his 1987 classic, Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident, and he calls Devine’s story “riveting.” A pretty good start, I thought, but one that failed to deliver on its promise.

As our email conversations proceeded (we never actually spoke on the phone), Adler said he had “skimmed” Truth at Last “for my own purposes” in researching his story, and wrote that he found its argumentation “persuasive.” He also asked a few intelligent questions that indicated he’d spent at least a few minutes thinking about what he’d read. But in his story, the best he could manage was to write, “it’s possible to come away thinking Campbell is on to something.” Thus do Adler and Smithsonian magazine engage in the literary equivalent of throwing a bare bone to the poor, starving dog in the back yard that was abandoned by its owners when they moved.  I exaggerate only slightly. 

Adler did grant my request to include my statement, ”FDR could never have survived public knowledge that he failed to help America’s No. 1 aviatrix of the Golden Age of Aviation,” a pleasant surprise. Editors also displayed the four Amelia Earhart 50th Anniversary Commemorative stamps issued in 1987 by the Republic of the Marshall Islands, thereby proving at least one solid fact about the Earhart case – that Amelia’s landing at Mili and pickup by the Japanese is accepted as fact by the people of that free country.  The few Westerners who will ever visit these remote islands can be sure they won’t be subjected to any local media shilling for the latest phony discoveries in the “Earhart Mystery.” The Marshallese people don’t wonder about what happened to Amelia; they already know.

Otherwise, Adler finds ways  —  all questionable or flatly illegitimate — to deprecate nearly everything about Truth at Last he thinks he can get away with.  He also strongly suggests, by his tone, that he considers its author to be among “a group that includes serious historians as well as wild-eyed obsessives, who pile up scraps of evidence into conspiracies reaching right up to the White House” – and it’s clear it’s not among “serious historians” where he thinks anyone should be looking for me.

A close examination of the paragraph that ends with Adler’s grudging admission that I might be “on to something” could easily lead readers to wonder why he even bothers, as he cherry picks what he sees as the easiest targets and attempts to discredit them. First of all, I fail to see how he can write that Truth at Last “is filled with mysterious disappearances, cryptic warnings from sinister strangers and suspicious deaths,” without providing a single example or even explaining the significance of this baseless observation. 

Gen. Graves B. Erskine, deputy commander of the V Amphibious Corps during the Battle of Saipan in 1944, told two prominent CBS radio people in 1966, "It was established that Earhart was on Saipan." Yet Graves' revealing statement wasn't mentioned in the Smithsonian article, and a similar statement to Fred Goerner by the great Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, the number one man in the Pacific Fleet for most of the war, was deprecated because Goerner was the "only source" for the admiral's revelation.

Gen. Graves B. Erskine, deputy commander of the V Amphibious Corps during the Battle of Saipan in 1944, told two prominent CBS radio people in 1966, “It was established that Earhart was on Saipan.” Yet Graves’ revealing statement wasn’t mentioned in the Smithsonian article, and a similar statement to Fred Goerner by the great Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, the number one man in the Pacific Fleet for most of the war, was deprecated because Goerner was the “only source” for the admiral’s revelation.

He casts a negative pall on Adm. Chester Nimitz’s statement to Fred Goerner – never denied or disputed by Nimitz after Goerner presented it in his 1966 bestseller, The Search for Amelia Earhart – because it was in a phone conversation and Goerner was the “only source,” but he overlooks the statement of Gen. Graves Erskine, former V Amphibious Corps second in command during the Saipan invasion, to CBC West Coast President Jules Dundes and KCBS reporter Dave McElhatton: “It was established that Earhart was on Saipan.”

Adler asserts that much of the evidence in the book is “second- or third-hand,” as if such testimony is unworthy of our consideration.  But he conveniently ignores the many direct eyewitness accounts from unimpeachable native witnesses such as Josephine Blanco Akiyama, Anna Diaz Mogofna, Bilimon Amaron, Dr. Manual Aldan, Louis Igitol and John Tobeke, among others, as well as Americans including Erskine, Jim Golden, Robert E. Wallack, Erskine Nabers, Jerrell H. Chatham, Arhur Nash, Henry Duda and many others.

He also fails to mention that the 1960 Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) Report has been thoroughly ignored by the entire media since its declassification in 1967; instead he focuses on a single hearsay statement that was included in this report. Citing Devine’s extensive argumentation from Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident, I rebutted this revealing yet still unknown document’s findings at length in Truth at Last, which Adler also decided wasn’t worth mentioning.

Nathanial Hawthorne’s infamous scarlet “A” long ago ceased to be a symbol of shame in American, as adultery became a mainstream pastime; now it’s the “C” word, for the despised “conspiracy theorist” that so cruelly taints those smeared by it, fairly or unfairly.  It’s a tool of Adler’s trade, but not once throughout our 11-day email discussion did I use this word to describe anything about the Earhart story – most of which he was hearing, or more accurately, reading for the first time.  

But in his story, he uses the “C” word not once, but twice in references to me, an undeserved cheap shot by which he signals his readers how they should regard my work. This postmodern aversion to the word is itself absurd, as if no conspiracies have ever existed, and anyone who believes differently is to be assiduously avoided.

Adler cites not a single instance in Truth at Last where I engage in any speculation resembling that of the “wild-eyed obsessives” he describes in the opening of his story.  When I quote Fred Goerner’s ideas about why President Franklin D. Roosevelt likely prevented release of the truth about the Japanese capture of Earhart and Noonan in a subsection titled “Roots of the Cover-Up”  (pages 353-358), or quote from numerous sources about their knowledge of secret files and a concerted government effort to conceal the truth, does this make me a conspiracy theorist?

Apparently so, but virtually everything I present is labeled appropriately, and the reader understands that this information isn’t about what I think, but about what many of this story’s key characters knew, found and believed through the years that strongly suggested and even sometimes clearly illustrated active government participation in suppressing the truth about what happened to Amelia Earhart. 

This use of the “C” word is just another way Adler tried to undermine my work, but it also tells discerning readers that the truth has once again received short shrift, this time from the trusted Smithsonian magazine.  If he was really trying to “fairly represent” my work, as he stated during our correspondence, he failed miserably.

“In Earhart’s fate,” Adler writes in conclusion, “we see a reflection of our own deepest fears – the laughing, carefree young woman taking off on a grand adventure, and never coming back.” Perhaps, but anyone with eyes and without an agenda can also see, on regular display, the mendacious work of sophists and propagandists such as Gillespie, Crouch and Long, aided and enabled by writers such as Adler, many lesser talents and the rest of the dubious cast of characters who populate this sordid drama.

The condescension and pervasive relativism that characterize this piece, and which are especially pronounced at its close, are emblematic of the zeitgeist that rules today’s Earhart media coverage. Adler doubtless believes he’s been fair to me and the conspiracy theorists, and he’s now onto his next assignment, all thoughts of the Earhart story behind him. He knows he’s done his job, to maintain the status quo, and keep the myth, the template, the narrative, the conventional wisdom and the Big Lie about the “Earhart Mystery” alive and well, and he’s led readers to as few of the facts as possible while retaining a semblance of credibility in the eyes of the uninformed.

The aging elephant in the room, the Marshall Islands-Saipan Truth, has again been effectively marginalized  while not being completely ignored, but the far more respectable and acceptable Earhart “theories” continue to rule the day.  All is well; move along, sheeple, there’s nothing to see here.

A few friends have offered congratulations on my work finally being recognized in such a prestigious publication. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, and being included is far better than being ignored.  Adler’s narrative on aspects of the Marshall Islands-Saipan scenario, slanted though it is, is still more than Smithsonian or any of its elite relatives have recently managed, at least to my knowledge.  But though Adler named Truth at Last, putting it on the map, so to speak, he didn’t recommend it or describe it in such  a way that any but a precious few will to seek it out.  I remain curious about who at the magazine decided that Truth at Last should be included in this story. It clearly wasn’t Adler, so if anyone should be thanked, it would be this person, likely the story’s chief editor.

Finally, I think the most unfortunate aspect of the Smithsonian article lies in a profound cynicism that prevented Jerry Adler from understanding and appreciating Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last. 

This longtime veteran of the information wars is apparently unable to recognize and appreciate the many years of dedication, hard work and a love and respect for the truth that went into the creation of this book, and he missed a real opportunity to make a difference.  Either that, or he did see these things in whole or in part, and was able to overlook them, in compliant duty to the establishment he serves. 

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14 responses

  1. Your reaction here to the Smithsonian article is a great summary of items otherwise lying unrelated in several sources. One thing that seems odd to me about Adler’s article is that I cannot discern a purpose to it. Why even write it and then publish it? What did it achieve? Was it just another assignment? It does not compare the reasonableness of various “theories”, and it even tosses into ring for consideration at least a couple of proposals that to me appear to be ridiculous (i.e., Amelia living under an assumed identity in the US for decades, or the jungle-covered wreck in PNG, which was a two-strut and not a single-strut landing format, therefore disqualified).

    Another thing about Adler’s work that annoys me is that he really does not seem to have read much at all of your book and, therefore, must have minimal familiarity with your bases. In fact, he seems only cursorily aware of any of the bases for any of the “theories.” When I listen to hosts dialoging with guests but their questions and comments indicate only a “buzz-word” level of understanding, I am dismayed. Not only is the guest and the work dissed, but the listeners gain almost nothing from investing the time to hear the interview. The words that come to mind are “glib”, “arrogant”, “incredulous.”

    Maybe one of the reasons so many interviewers and op-ed writers on this topic have said so very little of substance, once the interview is over or the article read, is because most or even all of them really could not care less about the topic. In the famous words of Hilary Clinton, “who cares?” It was a long time ago. The world went on and continues to turn even now. What difference would it make in today’s world if we knew exactly what happened? So, if the host or writer has little or no true interest in the truth about the issue, the listeners and reader will learn nothing and also have little or no interest after the fact.

    A sad state of affairs indeed.

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    1. Wolfy,
      Thanks as always for your astute observations. You must have missed the end of the piece, however, as I think your question is answered there.
      Have copied for your convenience.
      All the best.
      Mike C.

      He knows he’s done his job, to maintain the status quo, and keep the myth, the template, the narrative, the conventional wisdom and the Big Lie about the “Earhart Mystery” alive and well, and he’s led readers to as few of the facts as possible while retaining a semblance of credibility in the eyes of the uninformed.

      The aging elephant in the room, the Marshall Islands-Saipan Truth, has again been effectively marginalized while not being completely ignored, but the far more respectable and acceptable Earhart “theories” continue to rule the day. All is well; move along, sheeple, there’s nothing to see here.

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      1. Not much of a job, if you ask me. That’s my point.

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  2. Something more sinister is afoot with our media & government not addressing the *truth of Amelia Earhart’s death on Saipan by the murderous Japanese. Lets start with FDR’s anger towards Amelia’s accidental landing in Japanese territory. His avoidance & lack of concern for her safety, once he knew she was in their captivity.
    His almost careless notion, well she got herself into that mess, let’s she how she gets herself out? By ’44 when the Marines discover the Lockheed Electra on Saipan; his disgust in not wanting to deal with her plane nor what actually happened to her. It seems most evident that FDR wanted her forgotten and for good. Maybe we should treat FDR in the same manner. As for the Japanese government, they have some explaining to do and owe a Amelia Earhart & Fred Noonan a marble memorial.
    Shame on FDR, shame on Japan, shame on our media and shame on those who support their interests.
    Doug

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  3. WOW!!! It still amazes me, Mike. Where are the Ben Bradllees,Woodward & Bernsteins when we need them? I’d like to think they would have had the courageto deal with this. I go way back,on this, & my advice to ANYONE with a brain is : Go back to Goerner,& when you pick your jaw up off the floor, come forward & find all the verifications. These people are witless wonder’s & I want their job. I at least would use my brain-
    Sorry, Mike, it just frustrates me, the utter stupidity.

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    1. Donna,
      You think you’re frustrated? You should try a day on this end, when even some that you think you can trust turn around and ignore you! This has never been about stupidity. This is about the longtime LIE and their cowardly refusal to do the right thing. Woodward and Bernstein were Democrats too busy taking down a Republican president to care about the Earhart cover-up. And when they were finished, they didn’t lift a finger to help Fred Goerner, did they? FDR was their political god, and untouchable even by the “great Washington Post.”

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  4. Hello Mike, Enjoyed reading what you had to say in your latest posting. It has become very apparent to me that Roosevelt (FDR) initiated the cover-up as to what happened to Amelia Earhart, and he somehow issued an executive order preventing classified documents about her from being released, or at least, some sort of orders to not allow the truth to be known – either for decades, or maybe for forever.

    It is just unconscionable to me that he abandoned her and Fred Noonan to be executed by the Japanese, and that he never wanted the truth to be known. And then the government and media cover up that have gone on with the Big Lie for all these decades, along with their approval of people looking in all the wrong places (keeps them away from the truth), just boggles the mind. This part you wrote below, which I copied, really hits the nail on the head! It’s like there’s only political correctness to be accepted in regard to what happened to Amelia, and the politically correct viewpoint will only allow for the crashed and sank/disappeared theory. If anyone thinks otherwise, even with ample proof and ample witnesses, that person is a “conspiracy theorist.” Once that terminology is used, it’s like a red flag to warn everybody that those who are labeled “conspiracy theorists” are just nutcases trying to explain mysteries that the sophisticated and elite KNOW just don’t need to be explained. Those so-called “mysteries” have already been explained in their ultra-wise eyes.

    As below, the Scarlet A is not a symbol of shame, something to be avoided or repented of, and now the Conspiracy Theorist is the one to be avoided! Nathanial Hawthorne’s infamous scarlet “A” long ago ceased to be a symbol of shame in American, as adultery became a mainstream pastime; now it’s the “C” word, for the despised “conspiracy theorist” that so cruelly taints those smeared by it, fairly or unfairly. It’s a tool of Adler’s trade, but not once throughout our 11-day email discussion did I use this word to describe anything about the Earhart story – most of which he was hearing, or more accurately, reading for the first time. But in his story, he uses the “C” word not once, but twice in references to me…

    Kathy

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    1. Hi Kathy,
      Nice to hear from you, glad you liked this post. You get it completely, and I only wish more were as smart as you!
      All the best to you and your husband for a great 2015.

      Mike

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  5. Has it ever occurred to anyone that during clean up after the war, AE might have been found, debriefed, and dispatched via our own, and not the Japanese at all?

    What if a rogue officer on Saipan hid her on the island and she survived until liberation? Wonder where those documents would be found?

    Just a thought.

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  6. Mike,
    If you have not seen this already, I’m sure you’ll find it interesting.

    “Requiem for Amelia”

    http://www.broadcovemedia.com/Requiem_For_Amelia.pdf

    “Requiem for Amelia” was written in 1966 as a follow-up to Paul L. Briand Jr.’s 1960 Amelia Earhart biography, “Daughter of the Sky.” It was written as Briand was about to retire as a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel. He was allowed to view the official Navy file on Earhart provided that this manuscript be reviewed for military security, which it was in February 1967. Briand died in 1986, still in pursuit of the truth behind Earhart’s disappearance.”

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    1. Dear Mr. Fly,
      Of course I’ve seen “Requiem” before! It was just about all Briand managed to write after his book was published. He fell off the earth as researcher after that. I never had a chance to find out why. But thanks for sending, others can see it and I might post it someday.
      Mike

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      1. Maybe Mr. Briand’s son can provide more information. He can be contacted here-

        http://www.broadcovemedia.com

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      2. I don’t think I want to bother him, Fly. Briand died in 1986, after all. We’ve learned plenty since then. BTW, I was recently contacted by the son of Vincent V. Loomis, Clayton Loomis, who seems like a real good guy. He’s told me, “You and my father are right,” which is certainly true. I look forward to talking to him soon.
        Thanks,
        Mike

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