The late Bill Prymak’s abundant contributions to Earhart research, though ignored and unappreciated everywhere else in our know-nothing media, are gifts that keep on giving to readers of this blog and Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last. Bill, the founder and former president of the Amelia Earhart Society, who passed away in July 2014 at 86, was the central hub and repository of the writings, reports, analyses and speculations of a wide variety of Earhart researchers.
This material’s accuracy, also quite variable, must be carefully sifted to separate the wheat from the chaff, and was compiled in his two-volume Assemblage of Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters, covering Prymak’s AES Newsletters from December 1989 to March 2000.
The following treasure appeared in the January 1997 issue of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters, and concerns a familiar face among the Saipan witnesses, Joaquina M. Cabrera, and a revealing interview she did with Joe Gervais, Capt. Jose Quintanilla, Guam chief of police; and Eddie Camacho, Guam chief of detectives, during their 1960 Guam interviews. (Boldface emphasis mine throughout.)
“THE STRANGE STORY OF INTERVIEW #23”
When Joe Gervais and Joe Klaas presented their manuscript of Amelia Earhart Lives  to McGraw-Hill, it was bulging with some 650 pages of research work. Much good material had to be trimmed to meet the publisher’s mandate not to exceed 275 pages in final form, and it has always bugged Gervais that one of his most profound witnesses had a crucial part of her testimony stricken from the book by the editors. Major Gervais recreates that scene for us, the way it should have been presented in the book:
At Chalan Kanoa, a village on Saipan, the investigators located Mrs. Joaquina M. Cabrera, fifty-one, who during 1937 and 1938 had been employed as a servant in the [Kobayashi Royakan] hotel.
“l used to have to take a list of the persons staying in the hotel to the island governor’s office each day,” Mrs. Cabrera remembered. “One day when I was doing this I saw two Americans in the back of a three-wheeled vehicle. Their hands were bound behind them, and they were blindfolded. One of them was an American woman.”
Gervais showed her a photo of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. “Are these the two you saw?”
She squinted at the photograph. “They look like the same people I saw, and they are dressed the same way.”
“What happened to them?”
“I only saw them once in the three-wheeled truck. I don’t know what happened to them.”
The threesome, Capt. Jose Quintanilla, Guam Chief of Police; Eddie Camacho, Guam Chief of Detectives, and Capt. Gervais, were shocked when, after finishing the above interview, she suddenly came forward to Gervais and deliberately spat on the ground, in front of his feet.
Capt. Gervais regained his composure and asked Capt. Quintanilla
“Why is this woman so enraged at me? I had never met her before?”
Capt. Quintanilla, in a quiet voice, asked Mrs. Cabrera to explain her actions, and after a lengthy exchange of words in Chamorro, Quintanilla turned to Gervais with an ashen face and slowly, deliberately told him what Mrs. Cabrera had said:
“You Americans are two-faced people! What are you doing here in 1960 investigating what happened to Amelia Earhart 23 years ago when all the time you Americans knew she was here and none of you lifted a finger to help her?
“What kind of people are you?” (End Strange Story of Interview #23)
Amelia Earhart Lives author Joe Klaas, who passed away in February 2016 at 95, was a pilot and World War II hero, a POW and a talented writer with 12 books to his credit. But sadly, Klaas fell victim to the insane delusion that Joe Gervais had birthed and spread to other witless sheep over the years, that New Jersey housewife Irene Bolam was actually Amelia Earhart returned from Saipan via the Japanese Imperial Palace in Tokyo, determined to live out her life in obscurity and isolation from her family — something Amelia was incapable of doing.
It was a shame, because the eyewitness interviews conducted by Gervais, Robert Dinger and the detectives on Guam and Saipan in 1960, on the heels of Fred Goerner’s arrival on Saipan, were some of the most compelling ever done. The above incident is another example of important witness testimony that most will never see.
If you’d like to get reacquainted with all the sordid details of the long-debunked, worm-eaten Earhart-as-Bolam myth, I did a four part series on this dark chapter of the Earhart saga, beginning with “Irene Bolam and the Decline of the Amelia Earhart Society: Part I of IV,” on Dec. 29, 2015.
Fred Goerner also interviewed Joaquina at length in 1962, and later wrote in The Search for Amelia Earhart, “Mrs. Joaquina M. Cabrera brought us closer to the woman held at the Kobayashi Royokan [Hotel] than any other witness.” See my April 17, 2018 post, “Revisiting Joaquina Cabrera, Earhart eyewitness“ and pages 101-102 of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last for more on Goerner’s interview with Joaquina.
(Editor’s note: “I was surprised to learn what Joaquina did after she was interviewed,” Marie Castro wrote from Saipan just after this post was published. “But I can also understand Joaquina’s reaction to Gervais, it was out of frustration because of the way Amelia suffered as a detainee. Joaquina noticed the bruises around Amelia’s arm and neck, so did Matilde.)
As if we need more evidence that Smithsonian magazine is among the vanguard in the U.S. government-media complex’s ongoing program of deceit in the Earhart disappearance, the following is submitted for your information. (Boldface and italics emphasis mine throughout.)
On Aug. 2 a reader sent me the link to the Smithsonian’s July 31, 2019 screed, “Why the Much-Publicized Mission to Find Amelia Earhart’s Plane Is Likely to Come Up Empty,” subheaded, “The explorer who discovered the ‘Titanic’ is searching for the lost aviator. A Smithsonian curator doesn’t think he’ll find it.”
Here we have the incompetent advising the accomplished and misguided. Dorothy Cochrane, the Smithsonian’s Air and Space curator, has taken over from Tom Crouch as that institution’s selected mouthpiece about all things Earhart, but this is the same gibberish we heard from Crouch, and will continue to hear from the Smithsonian until Judgment Day. We know that the famed Bob Ballard, who found the Titanic, is out of his depth in the Earhart search, but we certainly don’t need an overpaid PR hack to tell us why.
The author of the current Smithsonian drivel, one Brigit Katz, writes that “Dorothy Cochrane, a curator at the aeronautics department of the Air and Space Museum, doubts that the upcoming expedition to Nikumaroro, will turn up any tangible signs of Earhart’s plane. It’s highly unlikely, she says, that Earhart and Noonan ever ended up on the island.”
Cochrane, who in a better world would be arrested for impersonating an Earhart expert, is right about that, but not for any legitimate or coherent reason. In her government-apologist role, Cochrane remains stuck back in July 1937, connected at the hip to the Navy-Coast Guard verdict that the Earhart Electra “landed on the water within 120 miles of Howland Island” — volumes of evidence to the contrary be damned.
As a trusted, highly placed representative of the U.S. establishment, that’s her story and she’s sticking to it, just as her predecessor so stubbornly did. But does the reality-challenged Cochrane really believe the garbage that she’s forced to disgorge by her masters, given, that is, that she’s ever read anything at all except her marching orders?
The “crashed-and-sank” canard, a natural assumption without a single trace of supporting evidence in 1937, was soon overwhelmed by evidence and events, including the 1944 discovery of the Earhart Electra in a hangar on Saipan, if not long before. “Crashed and sank” became so ludicrous and untenable by the mid-1980s that it forced the Powers That Be to commandeer the current Earhart lie, the only slightly less ridiculous Nikumaroro theory, dressed up as a “hypothesis,” by its TIGHAR proponents.
Unknown to most, the Nikumaroro fiasco is itself a third-hand idea initially conceived by famed inventor Fred Hooven, who presented his research paper, Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight at the Amelia Earhart Symposium at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum in June 1982. Hooven called it the “McKean-Gardner Island landing theory,” but was later convinced by Fred Goerner that Amelia and Fred Noonan could not have possibly landed there. (See Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, pages 56, 303 and 304 for more.)
Note also that unlike the National Geographic story touting Ballard’s upcoming visit to Nikumaroro, which mentioned Saipan in passing, the Smithsonian story assiduously avoids anything that hints at the hated truth.
Though Jerry Adler’s January 2015 Smithsonian cover story,“Will the Search for Amelia Earhart Ever End?,” attacked and attempted to undermine Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last with a flotilla of lies, at least Smithsonian editors referenced the book along with their litany of falsehoods. I responded appropriately, with a 5,000-word rebuttal, Smithsonian mag throws “Truth at Last” a bone: Says, “it’s possible . . . Campbell is on to something,” that I hope you will take the time to read, if you haven’t already.
The below was my second of three attempts to post my comment on Aug. 2, despite being convinced it had no chance for approval:
Why did you delete my below comment, as if I don’t know that you are among the leaders in the campaign to keep the masses ignorant about the truth in the Earhart disappearance. I think I’ll do a blog post about this. If you change your mind, you can delete this paragraph and post the original as sent. Fat chance.
The very idea of the “Earhart Mystery” in itself is one of the most enduring lies of the 20th, and now 21st century. Neither Nikumaroro nor Crashed and Sank have a shred of evidence to support them, while Earhart’s landing at Mili Atoll in the Marshalls and later death on Saipan are supported by mountains of evidence in the forms of eyewitness and witness accounts, letters, documents, and the words of three flag officers — Adm. Chester Nimitz and Generals Graves Erskine and Alexander A. Vandegrift — and much more, attesting to the presence and deaths of Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan.
For more, please see www.EarhartTruth.com
According to my Discus account profile, the above comment was in “Pending” status until about 7 p.m. Saturday night, Aug. 3, when it unceremoniously disappeared without explanation, as did the others. But on the afternoon of the next day, Aug. 4, the comments mysteriously showed again as “Pending.”
Monday, Aug. 5 has now passed and my comment has been pending for four days. Instead of rejecting my comments outright, the Smithsonian magazine editors have chosen to do nothing, a non-action that seems quite appropriate for these unsavory characters. While permanent pending status is the same as deletion or rejection, I do wonder how long they’ll wait before actually deleting it — like cowardly thieves hiding and waiting for the coast to clear. Or could this post shame them into finally approving it? Not if they have no shame, which has pretty well been established. Be sure I will keep you updated.
I’m not a lawyer, but it occurs to me that as a publication of the U.S. government, the Smithsonian magazine’s editors, by not allowing my comment to stand, are in direct violation of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The comment of publisher Doug Westfall, whose Special Books, a vanity press that has historically provided a platform for authors with certifiably crackpot ideas about the Earhart case, was allowed to stand. This isn’t surprising, since Westfall’s statement is an insipid, meaningless aside, promoting another lunatic fringe theory that only serves to militate against anyone taking legitimate research about the Earhart matter seriously. The Smithsonian magazine is quite happy to publish comments such as Westfall’s, as it makes their own propaganda sound less absurd:
I whole-heartedly [sic] agree. “They are looking in the wrong place!” (Salah to Indiana in Raiders of the Lost Arc [sic].) We published William Snavely’s book, Tracking Amelia Earhart — and he shows how she turned back and splash landed off Buka Island — see the map in this article. As well, he found a plane. Smithsonian Magazine published Snavely’s story in the January 2015 issue. Since then there have been two more dives.
So what? People go diving all the time. “He found a plane,” Westfall says, but he doesn’t tell you it wasn’t Earhart’s. Westfall has always been part of the problem, and neither he nor Snavely even bothered to put Tracking Amelia Earhart on Amazon.com, where 30 million books are available in the world’s largest book marketplace — such is their confidence in their unsellable fish wrapper.
Lies and Deceit: Thy names are Legion. Thy names are the American Media.
UPDATE: At about 3 p.m. Aug. 7, I see that my comments, all three, have gone up on the Smithsonian page. A considerate editor would have deleted two of them, because they are all the same with one slight exception, but consideration is the last thing I expect from them. I’ve now changed the headline on this post accordingly.