Author Archive: earharttruth

Goerner’s December 1961 letter to Leo Bellarts: “Earhart and Noonan were on Saipan”

Today we return to the early 1960s correspondence between KCBS radio newsman Fred Goerner and retired Coast Guard Lt. Leo Bellarts, who as the chief radioman aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Itasca, was on hand to hear Amelia Earhart’s last official messages on the morning of July 2, 1937, concluding with her last transmission at 8:43 a.m. Howland Island time.  For Bellarts’ Nov. 28, 1961 letter to Goerner, posted Feb. 6, 2017, as well as the author’s reply, please click hereBellarts Dec. 15, 1961 response to Goerner, posted April 24, 2017, can be seen here.

Many of Goerner’s questions are still relevant today, especially since the American public has been fed a steady diet of disinformation for many decades by a U.S. media that hasn’t shown the slightest interest in learning the facts since Time magazine panned The Search for Amelia Earhart as a book that “barely hangs together” in its 1966 review that signaled the establishment’s aversion to the truth the KCBS newsman found on SaipanGoerner died in 1994 at age 69, Bellarts in May 1974 at 66.  (Boldface mine throughout.)

KCBS
CBS Radio – A Division of Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc.
SHERATON – PALACE, SAN FRANCISCO 5, CALIFORNIA – YUKON 2-7000
                                                                                                               December 20, 1961

Mr. Leo G. Bellarts
1920 State Street
Everett, Washington

Dear Mr. Bellarts,

Thank you very much for your letter with enclosures of the 15th.  It was received with a good deal of interest by all of us who have been working on the Earhart story.

I’m sorry if I took on the proportions of a “quizmaster” to you.  I think it must be the reportorial instinct. I learned long ago that if you don’t ask the questions, you very seldom get the answers.

First, let me answer several of your questions.  As far as I know, there is absolutely no connection between CBS and Mrs. Studer; in fact, I have never met her, and I found the article you mentioned slightly on the irritating side.  That article was the first time I was even aware of her existence.

Yet another look at Fred Goerner during his mid-1960s heydays at KCBS Radio in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of Merla Zellerbach.)

Yet another look at Fred Goerner during his mid-1960s heyday at KCBS Radio in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of Merla Zellerbach.)

As to George Palmer Putnam, I never had the opportunity to meet him.  He died in January, 1950.

The only members of Amelia’s family I know personally are her mother and sister who live in West Medford, Massachusetts.  The mother [Amy Otis Earhart] is now in her nineties, and her sister [Muriel Earhart Morrissey] teaches high school in West Medford.

I was glad to receive the information that Galten was a bona fide member of the Itasca’s crew; however, it leaves me even more at a loss to explain his remarks to the press to the effect that the Earhart [plane] was incapable was transmitting radio signals more than 50 to 75 miles, and that the seas were eight feet with fifteen feet between crests the day of the disappearance.  The Itasca Log indicates as you have that the sea was calm and smooth.

You might be interested in Galten’s address: 50 Solano Street, Brisbane, California.  

Galten has also stated that he actually copies the message, “30 minutes of gas remaining”; yet, your record of the messages and the July 5 transcript sent by the Itasca to ComFranDiv, San Francisco, indicates “but running low on gas.”

As you probably well know, there is a vast difference between 30 minutes of gas remaining and gas running low.  Every pilot who has flown the Pacific Area will tell you if you are unsure of your position, are having difficulty in contacting your homing station and are down to four or five hours of gas — the gas indeed is “running low.”

We know as a positive fact that the Lockheed had sufficient gas for twenty-four to twenty-six hours aloft.  The take-off time from Lae, New Guinea, was 10:30 a.m. at Lae, 12:30 p.m. at Howland.  It was possible for the plane to have stayed aloft until 2:30 p.m. Howland time the following day.  The July 2 transmission from the Itasca to San Francisco estimates 1200 maximum time [i.e. noon local time] aloft.

Why then the supposition that Earhart “went in” right after her last message at 0843?

It just isn’t true that Earhart and Noonan began their flight from Lae to Howland with just enough fuel to reach Howland and no more.  They were fully aware of the navigational hazards of the flight. The planning for that 2,556-mile flight is contained in Amelia’s notes which were shipped back to the United States from Lae.  She planned her ETA at Howland just after daybreak.  Daylight was absolutely necessary to locate that tiny speck.  She had figured her fuel consumption to give her at least six additional hours to make a landfall if Noonan’s navigational abilities did not bring the plane dead center to Howland.

The Lockheed Electra 10E, an all-metal, twin-engine, low-wing monoplane with retract-able landing gear, designed as a small, medium-range airliner, and powered by twin Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp S3H1, 600-horsepower engines. The plane was 38 feet, seven inches long with a wingspan of fifty-five feet and a height of about ten feet. The Electra had an empty weight of 7,100 pounds, with a total fuel capacity of 1,151 gallons in ten tanks in the wings and fuselage.

The Lockheed Electra 10E, an all-metal (aluminum), twin-engine, low-wing monoplane with retract-able landing gear, designed as a small, medium-range airliner, and powered by twin Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp S3H1, 600-horsepower engines. The plane was 38 feet, seven inches long with a wingspan of 55 feet and a height of about ten feet. The Electra had an empty weight of 7,100 pounds, with a total fuel capacity of 1,151 gallons in ten tanks in the wings and fuselage.

Is the supposition based on the fact that her voice sounded frantic when she radioed the last message, “We are 157-337, running north and south.  Wait listening on 6210”?  If she were “going in” at that time, why would she ask the ITASCA to wait on 6210? (Caps Goerner’s throughout.)

Your comment that she simply forgot to include the reference point in the final message seems to be negated by the fact the she included “running north and south.”  If Noonan had been able to give her a reference point, there would have been no reason for running north and south courses.  They would have known their exact position and in which direction to fly.

The variance in the two groups of messages sent to San Francisco by the ITASCA is not the result of “faulty press reports.” I’m going to have my copies of the Coast Guard Log photostated and sent along to you.  The amazing discrepancies are clear and incontestable.

Your quotes from TIME magazine are “faulty press reports.”  TIME is wrong that no position reports were received after Earhart’s departure from Lae. The Coast Guard Log indicated a check-in 785 miles out from Lae with a full position report.  TIME was also mistaken in the number of messages received by the ITASCA from the plane.  It varies from your own list.

Yes, I was aware that the COLORADO refueled the ITASCA.  This is indicated in the Navy’s official report of the search.  The Navy report indicates that the COLORADO, on a naval training cruise in the Honolulu vicinity with a group of reservists and University Presidents [sic] in observance when it was ordered to assist in the search and refuel [of] the ITASCA and the SWAN.

I’m afraid I’m going to have to resort to another list of questions.  There is so much that appears to be unanswered in this entire vacation.  I think you are as interested in this as I am, or I wouldn’t bother you.

Was the signal strength of Earhart A3 S5 on all the messages from the 0615 “About two hundred miles out” to the final 0843 message? In your list A3 S5 is not listed for 0615,0645, 0742 and 0800.

Many radio operators have told us that in the South Pacific, particularly near the equator, a voice signal will come in from any distance so strongly that the person appears to be in the next room, then, a few minutes later, it cannot be raised at all even when the transmission station is only a few miles away.  Was this your experience while in the South Pacific?

Amelia’s official flight route from Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island totaled 2,556 statute miles and had never been attempted before.  (Map courtesy Thomas E. Devine.)

Did the ITASCA make any contact with Lae, New Guinea to set up radio frequencies before her final take-off?

Did the ITASCA contact Lae to determine the actual time of the take-off?

Was the ITASCA aware of the gas capacity and range of the plane?

If the ITASCA arranged frequencies with Earhart at Lae, or at least firmed them up, why didn’t the ITASCA know that Noonan could not use cw [sic, i.e., Morse Code] on 500 kcs because of a lack of a trailing antenna?

The “Organization of Radio Personnel” Photostat indicates that in the event of a casualty the ITASCA was to block out any other station attempting to communicate information.  What other station was near the ITASCA that might transmit information contrary to fact?  When the plane was lost, did the ITASCA block out any other transmission of information?

Do you know of the whereabouts of [RM2 Frank] Ciprianti [sic, Cipriani is correct], [RM3 Thomas] O’Hare, [RM3 Gilbert E.] Thompson, Lt. Cmdr. F.T. Kenner, Lt. (j.g.) W.I. Stanston or Ensign R.L. Mellen?

This is aside from the Earhart matter, but is certainly of interest.  What was the eventual fate of the ITASCA, ONTARIO, and SWAN?

In closing, Mr. Bellarts, let me say that we sincerely appreciate the opportunity the [sic] with you.  Let me assure you that we will keep your confidence, and will in no way quote you without your permission.

I, personally, have been working on this investigation for nearly two years.  It has nothing to do with any stamp that might be issued with her image, or some nebulous entry into a hall of fame.  This is a news story, and we intend to pursue every possible lead until a satisfactory conclusion is reached.  I [sic] happy to say we have the blessings of both Amelia’s mother and sister.  They have suspected for many years that the disappearance was not as cut and dried as portions of our military have indicated, but no one, including that military, has ever put together a concerted effort to tie together the loose ends.

I believe with all my heart that Earhart and Noonan were on Saipan.  I saw the testimony gathered by the Monsignor and the Fathers.  I know the witnesses were telling the truth.  There was no reason for them to lie, and such a story could never have been invented by simple natives without the appearance of serious discrepancies.

However, I believe with you that Earhart and Noonan never flew their plane to Saipan.  They must have been brought to the island by the Japanese.

The search for Earhart has been a joke for years.  I think that’s because the military has dogmatically maintained that the pair went down close to Howland; yet, that contention appears to be based solely on the belief that the strength of signals before the last received transmission indicated the ship was probably within two hundred miles of the ITASCA.  Where did they fly on the four to five hours of gas we know remained?

A view of Howland Island that Amelia Earhart never enjoyed. The island, a property of the United States, remains uninhabited, but is quite poplar among various wildlife that nests and forages there.

A view of Howland Island that Amelia Earhart never enjoyed. The island, a property of the United States, remains uninhabited, but is popular among various wildlife that nest and forage there, especially goony birds and terns.  Note the outline of the original airstrip that was cleared in anticipation of Amelia’s landing.

Mr. Bellarts, if you know anything that has not been made public that will shed more light on this enigma, please give us the information. If not to CBS, to Amelia’s sister:

Mrs. Albert Morrissey
1 Vernon Street
West Medford. Mass.

No one, certainly not CBS, has the idea of castigating individuals, the Coast Guard, the Navy or the Air Force or even Japan for something that happened so long ago.  The important thing is to settle this matter once and for all, and bring a modicum of peace to the individuals involved.

Earhart and Noonan fought their battle against the elements.  If they later lost their lives to the aggrandizing philosophy of a nation bent on the conquest of the Pacific, the great victory is still theirs.  Their story should be told, and they should receive their nation’s gratitude and a decent burial.

Would you ask less for your own?

Best wishes for a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

I’ll be looking forward to your next communication.

Sincerely,

Fred Goerner
CBS News
KCBS RADIO
San Francisco 5,
California (End of Goerner letter.)

I have more of the fascinating correspondence between Fred Goerner and Leo Bellarts, two of the most interesting people in the entire Earhart saga, and will post more at a future date.

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Revisiting Joaquina Cabrera, Earhart eyewitness

In our most recent post, we met Matidle F. Arriola, later known as Mrs. Matilde Shoda San Nicholas, a native Saipanese eyewitness who shared her fascinating personal encounter with Marie S.C. Castro on at least two occasions, and whose later interviews by researchers Joe Gervais, Robert Dinger and Fred Goerner are presented on pages 102-103 of Truth at Last.  Needless to say, Matilde is among the most important of the Saipan eyewitnesses, her story well known to Earhart enthusiasts. 

Closely associated with Matilde’s reports are those of Joaquina M. Cabrera, because both eyewitnesses encountered Amelia Earhart in or in close proximity to Saipan’s Kobayashi Royokan Hotel, where other Chamorros also saw her in the months following her July 2 disappearance.

Joaquina, who was born on October 4, 1911 and died July 22, 2004 according to recent information from Marie Castro, told researcher Joe Gervais in 1960 that she worked in the hotel in 1937 and ’38, and that each day she had to take a list of the people staying at the hotel to the island governor’s office.  “One day when I was doing this I saw two Americans in the back of a three-wheeled vehicle,” she said.  Their hands were bound behind them, and they were blindfolded. One of them was an American woman.”  Cabrera said a photo of Earhart and Noonan that Gervais displayed “look like the same people I saw, and they are dressed the same way,” adding that she saw the Americans only once, and didn’t know what happened to them.

Undated photo of Earhart eyewitness Mrs. Joaquina Cabrera, who passed away in 2004 at 92.  (Courtesy Marie Castro.)

Contrast this with her account to Goerner in 1962, when he 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.”  At the Cabrera home in Chalan Kanoa, Goerner and several others including Fathers Arnold Bendowske and Sylvan Conover, and Ross Game, editor of the Napa (California) Register and longtime Goerner confidant “crowded into the front room . . . and listened to her halting recital.”  Cabrera said nothing about delivering daily lists of people staying at the hotel, describing her job as that of a laundress for the Japanese guests and prisoners kept there:

One day when I came to work, they were there . . . a white lady and man. The police never left them. The lady wore a man’s clothes when she first came.  I was given her clothes to clean. I remember pants and a jacket. It was leather or heavy cloth, so I did not wash it.

I rubbed it clean.  The man I saw only once.  I did not wash his clothes.  His head was hurt and covered with a bandage, and he sometimes needed help to move.  The police took him to another place and he did not come back. The lady was thin and very tired.

Every day more Japanese came to talk with her.  She never smiled to them but did to me.  She did not speak our language, but I know she thanked me.  She was a sweet, gentle lady.  I think the police sometimes hurt her.  She had bruises and one time her arm was hurt. . . . Then, one day . . . police said she was dead of disease.

Joaquina said the woman was kept at the hotel for “many months. Perhaps a year.”  She heard the man had also died, though she didn’t know the cause of his demise, and she thought the woman was buried in the cemetery near Garapan, long since reclaimed by the jungle.  Though Joaquina offered two different stories, both may have been true.  Her testimony to Goerner seems more credible, however, considering the presence of the priests and the rich details in her recollection, than the brief, rather stiff account she rendered Gervais.  Joaquina passed away in July 2004 at 92.

Without a penny in my Pocket: My Bittersweet Memories Before and After World War II, Marie Castro’s moving 2013 autobiography.  In a 2014 review for the Saipan Tribune,  William Stewart wrote, “Today’s youth would be well-advised to learn from the experiences of the author and her family and friends, of the heartbreak and suffering the people of Saipan endured and the faith they all exhibited to overcome such adversity. . . . She is an inspiration for all who aspire to make a contribution by helping others through education and good deeds.”

Along with Marie’s recollections of Matilde F. Arriola, she also wrote briefly of Joaquina Cabrera in Without a Penny:

In 1937 Joaquina M. Cabrera, a young woman, worked in the laundry at the Kobayashi Royokan Hotel.  Joaquina was our neighbor and a relative.  One day a number of years later, Joaquina, accompanying her mother  on a regular visit to our house, mentioned a leather jacket that had turned up in the laundry to be washed.  Suddenly she remembered seeing the lady pilot wearing the jacket.  Joaquina handled the leather jacket with care.  In Saipan’s warm climate Amelia wouldn’t be wearing it.  So what happened to her jacket?  No one ever knew!

The puzzle that remains unsolved regarding the location of Amelia Earhart’s final resting place should focus on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands.  I believe that — based upon the fact that during her exile as a political detainee of the invaders, Saipan is the island where she was known to have last lived — by taking advantage of today’s sophisticated technology, it should be possible to finally uncover the place of her mysterious burial, unknown to the world for the past 75 years.

Is it possible that after all these years the solution of one of the most vexing mysteries of the last century will finally be solved?  We can only wait and see. 

Once again, I ask everyone who cares about the truth to donate whatever you can to the planned Amelia Earhart Memorial on Saipan (see March 16 story, Saipan architect unveils planned Earhart Memorial.”  Please make your tax-deductible check payable to: Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument, Inc., and send to AEMMI, c/o Marie S. Castro, P.O. Box 500213, Saipan MP 96950.  

The monument’s success is 100 percent dependent on private donations, and everyone who gives will receive a letter of appreciation, like the one below, from the Earhart Memorial Monument Committee. Thank you.

Anyone who contributes to the Earhart Saipan Memorial Monument will receive a letter similar to this one from Marie Castro, the vice president of the memorial committee.  It is destined to become a collector’s item, and I’ve already framed it.

Marie Castro: Iron link to Saipan’s forgotten history

Since the Feb. 7 publication of Junhan B. Todiño’s Marianas Variety story, Group to build Amelia Earhart monument on Saipan,” much has been written about the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Committee’s plans to build a memorial to Amelia at the Saipan International Airport.

Most of the vocal opposition to the monument is coming from the younger people of Saipan, many of whom have lost contact with their past, and have been subjected to historical revisionism and U.S. establishment propaganda on a grand scale about the facts surrounding Amelia Earhart’s presence on the island in the pre-war years.

Marie S.C. Castro, 84, is not among Saipan’s historically challenged, however.  In fact, some of the most compelling evidence attesting to the presence and deaths of Earhart and Noonan on Saipan can be found in her fine 2013 autobiography,  Without a Penny in My Pocket: My Bittersweet Memories Before and After WWII.

Marie S.C. Castro, vice president of the Saipan Earhart Memorial Monument Committee, holds a copy of her moving autobiography, Without a Penny in My Pocket as she as speaks on Feb. 6 to Saipan Rotarians about the personal accounts she’s heard about Amelia Earhart’s detention on Saipan. (Photo by Junghan B. Todiño, for Marianas Variety.)

Recently Marie kindly sent me a copy of Without a Penny, and I read it eagerly.  Marie isn’t a trained journalist or professional writer, but this deficit seems to enhance rather than detract from the impact of this moving account of her life. It’s written with great love and deep feeling for those you’ve met along the way of your amazing life,” I wrote to Marie. “Thank you so much for sending it; it’s truly a precious chronicle of yours and Saipan’s history.”

Despite enduring hardships under the tyrannical rule of the Japanese during the years leading to the June 1944 U.S. invasion of Saipan and the liberation of its Chamorro residents, nowhere in Without a Penny will you find the slightest a hint of the self-pitying, blame-casting or victim-status seeking rhetoric that has become so common in today’s “social media,” “snowflake” culture.

The Chamorros had no rights, our peaceful way of life on our island was gone under the Japanese,Marie wrote in a recent email.  We were under constant fear of anything.  The Japanese civilians knew what went on, we the locals knew nothing about it.  The Japanese considered us third class citizens.  They took over the land, cultivated it for their own good.  We had no authority whatsoever. . . . When you walk on the street, look straight forward, do not turn sideways, or else you would become a suspect.  Mike, even after the war, people were hesitant to say anything.  Thanks to the Americans we became again like human beings.  We are at peace now.”

One of the most poignant passages in Without a Penny is Marie’s description of her family’s terrifying ordeal during the American shelling and bombing of Saipan, which resulted in many unfortunate and unintended civilian casualties, as well as traumatic memories for the survivors.

After we were liberated by the American Marines in 1944 . . . we were so thankful to the Americans,” Marie wrote in an email.  “I was 11 years old then and I thought someday I will do something on my own to thank the Americans.” 

She was a professed Catholic nun for 17 years, from 1954 until her resignation in 1971. It was the time when I really examined what was I meant to be in this world,Marie wrote.  I wanted to do more.  I prayed hard to God to lead me in my decision.  I believed it was the right thing to do.  I resigned from religious life.  I will commit my life in education to thank the American Marines  in 1944.”  

She remained in Kansas City, teaching in the public schools, retired in 1989 and became involved in other community service organizations, finally returning to Saipan in October 2016.  Considering the 50 years in Kansas City,Marie wrote, I felt that I have given a productive life for 50 years.  Now I am involved with a challenging undertaking with the Amelia Earhart project, to erect an AE Memorial Monument.”

These and other notable chapters of a life well lived can be found in Without a Penny.  Right now, Marie is fully engaged in the effort to erect the Earhart Memorial Monument; indications are that it could be a long and bitter struggle, and not a penny will come from the local or federal government, which has a vested interest in the memorial project’s failure.

Marie, the vice president of the memorial committee and the driving force behind the initiative to build the monument, told Saipan Rotarians about her interview in 1983 with Matilde F. Arriola who, Castro said, met Earhart when she being held on Saipan following her disappearance in early July 1937.  According to Matilde, Earhart died of dysentery.  “There is strong evidence that Earhart was here on Saipan,” Marie said.

Since I came back home, Marie wrote in a Feb. 18 email,I had an urge [to do] something dating back to 1937 . . .  Amelia Earhart’s fate. On Feb. 2/ 2017, I approached Congressman Barcinas about my idea of building a Memorial Monument for Amelia Earhart here on Saipan to celebrate her 80th year.  All our elders who witnessed the American woman pilot’s presence here on Saipan are long gone; however, in 1983 I interviewed a local woman [Matilde F. Arriola] who had personal contacts with Amelia Earhart in 1937, who was living next door from the political detainee hotel called the Kobayashi Royokan Hotel. [Mrs. Matilde Shoda San Nicholas (the former Matilde Fausto Ariola), see pages 102-103 of Truth at Last.]  I want to pursue the Monument for Amelia Earhart and finalize the biggest lingering unsolved mystery of the 20th Century. . . . What is holding us now is funding. We need $200 thousand for the project.

If Marie is correct that all the Saipan elders who were eyewitnesses to Earhart’s presence are gone, and no evidence contradicts this, Marie’s personal connection to Matilde F. Arriola and other eyewitnesses, including Joaquina M. Cabrera, who washed Amelia’s laundry and whose account was also made famous by Fred Goerner in his 1966 bestseller The Search For Amelia Earhart (see pages 101-102 TAL), she is the strongest link to Saipan’s pre-war heritage now living, a role she deeply embraces.

Matilde and her family had personal contacts with the American woman pilot,” Marie wrote in a recent email.  The mother knew English and spoke with AE, Matilde, Consolacion her sister and Mariono her brother, they all communicated with Amelia [Editor’s note: None spoke English, according to interviews with Fred Goerner and others.] Matilde was 24 years [old] in 1937. The political detainee was next door from her house. Matilde was a student at the Sisters of the Mercedarian school in Garapan at the time.

The  passages from Marie’s book about her encounters with Matilde Arriola are too important to paraphrase, so I reproduce them here:

Evidently Amelia Earhart was found by the Japanese after she crashed somewhere within or near what may have been the Japanese Mandated Micronesian Islands [Mili Atoll, Marshall Islands], and was subsequently taken to Saipan, which also lay within the Mandated area.

The story of the famous American pilot was secretly known by a few men and women who were conscripted by the Japanese and worked for the Japanese government.  However, they had no knowledge of the lady pilot’s plight.  On a beautiful morning in the late ’50’s my Aunt, Sister Remedios, and I came upon our friend Matilde F. Ariola, who was working in her yard in Chalan Kanoa.  Our conversation immediately turned to the subject of Amelia Earhart’s fate.  Taking us into her confidence, Matilde related a story of having met a stranger who lived next door at the Kobayashi Royokan Hotel.

On a subsequent meeting, Matilde continued, the slender American woman, who wore a short hair style, gave Matilde’s younger sister Consolacion a ring with a while stone, set in a crown mounting.  Unfortunately Consolacion was wounded during the war and fell very ill.  Before she died of her wounds she gave the ring to Matilde who wore it until after the war.  The ring with a white stone remained in her possession during and after the war and was eventually given to her niece Trinidad.  Sometime later Trinidad had a stroke.  I had an opportunity to visit her and mentioned the ring her Aunt Matilde had given her.   Suddenly, she appeared cheerful and in good spirits as she described the ring.  However, the ring did not fit well on her finger and she sadly admitted that she had lost it somewhere around the house.

Time passes quickly and it was during one of my yearly visits to Saipan in 1983 that I once again had the opportunity to visit with my good friend Matilde.  The occasion was a friendly gathering in Garapan, attended by many old friends.  In a private conversation with Matilde we rehashed the subject once again: The lady pilot who remains still undiscovered.  During our conversation Matilde told me that she had received from Amelia Earhart a small diary in early days [sic] titled “Aviator” that contained many, many numbers, no explanations were offered.

Matilde kept the little diary until it was accidentally lost during the war.  Sadly, no trace of the diary was ever found by Matilde.  It wasn’t until after the war, upon seeing a picture of Amelia Earhart, that she was identified by Matilde as the stranger who had given her the diary.

Undated photo of a young Marie S.C. Castro, which appears on the back cover of her autobiography, Without a Penny in My Pocket: My Bittersweet Memories Before and After World War II.

After having heard the story of Matilde and the item she received from the woman pilot during the Japanese occupation, the Chamorro law enforcement officers whom I knew did not divulge any information they had at the time for fear of enemy reprisals.  Even after the liberation of Saipan, those individuals who possibly knew what happened to Amelia Earhart in Saipan refused to speak.

The residents in Saipan who had previously seen thelady pilot,” all described her as having worn a man’s outfit and short hair style.  Women who had seen the lady pilot, after having been shown photos of several women including Amelia Earhart, correctly identified Amelia Earhart.  Upon their identification the question was, would Amelia Earhart’s disappearance still remain a mystery? (End of section from Without a Penny.)

During the Japanese period, there was no running water,” Marie wrote in a recent email. The toilet was outside. When Amelia needed the facility she had to go outside to use the restroom. She would stop by Matilde’s house and would peep in to see if someone was around to talk to. One day Matilde gave Amelia a cooked breadfruit, Amelia took it and tasted it. At another time while Matilde was doing her geography homework  Amelia helped Matilde on her homework. Amelia took the pencil from Matilde’s hand and wrote something however Matilde did not understand what AE wrote, Matilde didn’t know English at the time. She conversed using signs. Consolacion received a ring from AE.  Mariono spoke to AE.

“One day Matilde noticed that the lady was ill, pale and used the facility too often that day,” Marie went on.  “That was the last day she saw her.  The next day the care taker came to Matilde’s house and asked for black material.  Matilde’s father, Tun Felipe, was a tailor.  Matilde’s father asked the caretaker why she needed black material she said, ‘Kookoo died, the American pilot.’ She continued, ‘amoeba.’  She didn’t know the lady’s name and called her ‘Kookoo.’ Amelia died of dysentery disease.”  Matilde died in 1996, at age 83.

Opponents of the Earhart Memorial Monument label accounts like Matilde’s and dozens of others from eyewitnesses and others with knowledge as “anecdotal,” proving nothing.  But when one considers these, and then adds those of U.S. flag officers such as Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, the Navy’s most revered wartime leader in the Pacific; Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, commandant of the Marine Corps during World War II;  and Gen. Graves  Erskine, a brigadier general on Saipan during the 1944 invasion and second in command of the entire land operation, all attesting to the presence and death of Earhart and Noonan on Saipan, these accounts begin to add up to far more than mere anecdotes.  As Marie told the Rotarians in early February, There is strong evidence that Earhart was here on Saipan.”  You decide, but please do so only after you know more about the real facts about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, facts that can be found everywhere you look on this blog.

A shorter, gentler version of this story appeared in the March 28 edition of Marianas Variety under the headline, Marie Castro: An iron link to Saipan’s forgotten past.”  As I said in the opening of this post, massive opposition to the proposed Earhart memorial is endemic on Saipan, and nowhere is it worse than in the brainwashed and propagandized Facebook crowd, where this story garnered a total of just four Likes.”  I could consider this a badge of honor, but I’d much prefer that more were in favor of building this long-overdue monument to Earhart at the place of her death.  Far too many on Saipan are dead against it.

Ed Williams, 67, a retired Merchant Marine (Military Sealift Command) radio electronics officer who’s lived and worked in many capacities on Saipan since 2004, recently painted a grim picture of the situation on the ground there.  “Marie is such a sweet soul,” Williams wrote in a March 21 email.  “But not many locals are interested in anything but beer and betel nut.  I would say 1 percent of the locals are on the same page as Marie.”  Williams, whose father was an Army medic who served on Guam, Saipan and Tinian, where he saw Enola Gay land and actually guarded the B-29 Superfortress bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan, is doing all he can on Saipan to educate the locals about Earhart’s tragic end there, but he’s a distinct minority. 

Williams’ appraisal sadly mirrors that of former Navy civilian archeologist Jennings Bunn, who spent 14 years on Guam and several months on Saipan during the Typhoon Soudelor in 2015. From what I saw in Saipan, it is over run by Chinese and Koreans, and the local folks aren’t real interested inHaole  [defined here as a white person who is not a native Chamorro] history,” Bunn wrote in a recent email.  My experience on Guam was that the local Chamorro knows very little about their own history, and few really care.” 

Please consider making a donation to the planned Amelia Earhart Memorial on Saipan (see March 16 story for more).  You can make your tax-deductible check payable to: Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument, Inc., and send to AEMMI, c/o Marie S. Castro, P.O. Box 500213, Saipan MP 96950.  The monument’s success is 100 percent dependent on private donations, and everyone who gives will receive a letter of appreciation from the Earhart Memorial Committee, suitable from framing.  Thank you.

David Martin calls out media Earhart propagandists

David Martin’s (DCDave.com) work is well-known to regular readers of this blog The award-winning writer and retired federal economist reviewed both editions of The Truth at LastHillary Clinton and the Amelia Earhart Cover-up, in August 2012, and Amelia Earhart Truth Versus the Establishment in May 2016.

Last summer, Martin helped clarify the confused mess surrounding the media’s relationship to the bogus claims that attached to the History Channel’s presentation of the 1930s-era Office of Naval Intelligence photo of the dock at Jaluit, in which Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were mistakenly identified, writing three pieces focusing on the History Channel’s odious July 5 Earhart special, Press Touts Dubious Earhart Photo,” “Earhart Photo Story Apparently Debunked,” and ’Earhart Photo’ Debunker Debunked?  On July 13 on this blog, I wrote, As usual, Dave Martin sees the truth in Earhart story,” followed by Martin’s analysis continues to bolster Earhart truth on Aug. 4.

Earlier this month, Martin teamed with Hugh Turley to publish their groundbreaking book on the 1968 death of the famed Catholic monk and mystic Thomas Mertonwhose sudden demise in a Thailand hotel has been unanimously accepted as accidental electrocution by an electric fan.  The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton: An Investigation, claims that a “careful examination of the official record, including crime scene photographs that the authors have found that the investigating police in Thailand never saw, and from reading the letters of witnesses, they have discovered that the accidental electrocution conclusion is totally false,” and leaves no doubt that Merton was murdered, likely by an element of the U.S. deep state — another cover-up, another sacred cow exposed, another important book to which the establishment media will never direct the public. 

Today we present Martin’s commentary on the recent attempt by our trusted media to resurrect TIGHAR’s snake oil that recently made such distracting noise in all corners of our corrupt media establishment.  An edited version of this piece was also published in the March 19 edition of the Marianas Variety.  All boldface and shading is the editor’s.

World traveler David Martin, best known on this blog as the most perceptive news analyst extant, pauses at a recent visit to the Parthenon. (Courtesy David Martin.)

“Propaganda Press Flailing over Amelia Earhart”
By David Martin

Here we go again. In what looks for all the world like desperation on the part of our national opinion molding apparatus, they’ve revived the story that some bones and parts of a skull found in 1940 on the small remote island of Nikumaroro (Gardner Island) belonged to the famous aviator, Amelia Earhart, who was lost in the Pacific, along with navigator Fred Noonan, on a trip around the world in 1937.  Those bones had been examined long ago and it was determined that they belonged to a male who was shorter than Earhart and have long since been lost, but now, would you believe, through the miracle of modern computer techniques, a single professor emeritus “expert” is telling us that those lost bones were almost certainly Amelia Earhart’s.  On top of that, this new “discovery” got saturation coverage right across the permitted political spectrum from Fox News to National Public Radio.

Just on the face of it, you might think that this was some kind of experiment to test the limits of the gullibility of the American public.  Anyone with an ounce of gumption can see that what the guy is telling us is preposterous.  What’s really happening is that the official story that Earhart and Noonan simply got lost and, running out of gas, either plunged into the ocean or got marooned on that island where they crash landed, is finally completely falling apart—thanks in large measure to the dogged work of Mike Campbell, author of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last—and they’re now pulling out all the stops in a last-gasp effort to salvage it.  The major precipitating event for this new story was likely the announcement coming out of Saipan, located very near to the U.S. territory of Guam, that plans are afoot to erect a monument there to Earhart, because that is where she died as a captive of the Japanese.

The biggest problem with that for the establishment protectors of the giant falsehood about Earhart’s demise is that the monument planners see the Earhart monument, to be located near their international airport, as a tourist attraction for the island.  It would be sort of like the tourist attraction of the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, with the big exception being that the Earhart monument would be based upon historical fact while the Anne Frank story is, from the best evidence, historical fiction.  Imagine how effective such a monument would be for bypassing the establishment opinion molders over the long haul.

Starting on the left of the permitted political spectrum among the floggers of the incredible new story, we find National Public Radio.  If you didn’t know before how thoroughly dishonest that news operation is, please notice that they make reference to the recent History Channel special [aired July 5, 2017] that featured a photograph that purported to show Earhart and Noonan on a dock on Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands and link that to its supposed debunking by a Japanese blogger.  What they don’t do is to make any mention of the subsequent debunking of the “debunker” by the Marshall Islands authorities, which is the subject of my article, ’Earhart Photo’ Debunker Debunked?” NPR, like the rest of the mainstream press, dummied up about that:

One example of the dummying up is particularly poignant to me since it has some connection to my own formal education.  Back in March, my alma mater Davidson College (which also happens to be the alma mater of the late Clinton White House counsel, Vince Foster) offered a free online two-week course on the subject of fake news.  One of their contributing “experts” was National Public Radio (NPR) reporter Camila Domonoske, also a Davidson graduate.  Here we can watch one of her contributions to the course, explaining why the “fake news” term has almost lost all meaning.

National Public Radio’s Camila Domnske, an expert on “fake news,” but not a supporter of the truth in the Earhart disappearance.  Like thousands of her mainstream media counterparts, Domnske serves the Washington establishment, and never utters a word of the truth about the Earhart case, faithfully protecting the sacred cow, wittingly or unwittingly. 

She makes some good points, but I think we can agree, though, that if the Marshall Islands officials are correct, the widely disseminated report that the key photograph in the History Channel Earhart presentation had to have been made in 1935 or before is not true.  That is to say, what was widely reported as news has turned out to be, in fact, fake news.

As it happens, the reporter who put out this fake news for NPR online very quickly in the wake of the story from The Guardian was young Camila Domonoske, herself.   I can find no indication online that NPR or The Guardian or any other news organ has retracted its Japanese-debunker story or has clarified it in any way in light of the latest Marshall Islands revelations, so we may now accuse them all of trading in fake news on the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

The Washington Post with its big Earhart story also made reference to the History Channel special and its supposed subsequent debunking, without mentioning the further revelations from the Marshall Islands.  It should be clear at this point that the whole History Channel hullabaloo was a set-up and that they already had their “debunking” information in hand, or they would have never run the story about the photograph in the first place.

To read the rest of Martin’s piece on TIGHAR’s latest blather, please click here.

Early reports from Saipan are not encouraging regarding donations for the Earhart Memorial Monument.   Please send any amount, large or small, to help support this important initiative.  If you care about the truth, your help is desperately needed to make this dream a reality.  I can’t address each one of you by name, but I always respond to every legitimate email you send.  Without your help, the memorial’s failure is inevitable.  Please make your check payable to: Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument, Inc., and send to AEMMI, c/o Marie S. Castro, P.O. Box 500213, Saipan MP 96950.  All donors will receive a letter of appreciation from the Saipan Earhart Memorial Committee.  Thank you.

Saipan architect unveils planned Earhart Memorial

This blog is becoming — at least temporarily — a running account of events surrounding the proposed Earhart Memorial Monument on Saipan.  You will recall my March 2 post that announced the recent development  on Saipan, Finally, some good Earhart news from Saipan, linking to the story “Group to build Amelia Earhart monument on Saipan,” that appeared in the Feb. 7 Marianas Variety (“Micronesia’s Leading Newspaper Since 1972″).

On Feb. 14, Marianas Variety published my opinion piece, heartily approving of this welcome and unexpected news, Amelia Earhart’s Saipan fate,” expressing my profound approval of the long-overdue decision to honor the First Lady of Flight at the location of her tragic and untimely death sometime after her disappearance in early July 1937.

This memorial’s design looks fantastic, in my opinion, especially considering the $200,000 estimated price tag for its completion.  Of course its size is vital, and the plan architect Herman Cabrera has unveiled indicates the diameter as 30 feet, quite impressive, with the statue height projected as 12 feet, and the base at 4 feet, 6 inches.   

Artist’s rendition of the proposed Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument on Saipan, sent by local Saipan architect Ramon Cabrera following the Feb. 7 Marianas Variety story that announced this amazing development for the first time.

“It is my belief that  every human being born has the right to be given the honor and recognition on his/her death, wherever or whatever circumstances death presents,” Marie S. Castro, vice president of the Earhart Memorial Monument committee, told me in a March 2 email.  “Saipan and the U.S. supporters join in this effort for a noble cause in honoring the famous first American woman pilot who ended her life on Saipan.”

On March 7, TIGHAR’s Tom King stuck the first blow for the obstructionists, penning another of his typical missives, appealing to the uninformed biases of the indoctrinated masses on Saipan.  King’s sanctimonious piece, Regarding Amelia Earhart’s monument on Saipan, was well received by the ignorant Facebook crowd, attracting well over 400 “Likes” to date; compare this to the paltry three that my own piece,  Amelia Earhart’s Saipan fate, garnered on Feb. 7. 

If the Facebook reaction to King is any indication of the way the winds are blowing on Saipan, the prospects for the successful completion of the monument could be quite bleak.  But I prefer to believe that those whose support is vital — the elders and over-60 generation of Saipan — are not in the habit of clicking “Like” in order to join the mindless horde, if they’re even reading these articles online at all. 

I responded to King’s dreck as you might expect, not with a moronic, herd-following “Like,” but with this comment, also posted on March 7:

Dr. King’s sophistry is well known among those in the small Earhart research community, and his unending, noxious advocacy for the phony Nikumaroro “hypothesis” is often cited as a prime example of the definition of insanity.  Not a single artifact in countless trips over 30 years that’s been dug up from the Nikumaroro garbage dumps has been forensically linked to Amelia Earhart or Fred Noonan, despite the constant drum beat of our corrupt media establishment telling us to buy this snake oil — and many of the ignorant and gullible have indeed bought it, much to their chagrin once they realized the Nikumaroro bill of goods is rotten at its core.

In fact there are actually no real “theories” in the Earhart disappearance, as the word is defined. We have the truth — supported by several dozens of witnesses and documents — that Amelia Earhart crash-landed in the Marshalls, was taken to Saipan by the Japanese, and died there, as did Noonan, at some unknown date before the American invasion in June 1944.  And we have lies, like Nikumaroro, that have been glorified and raised to the status of “theories” by an establishment desperate to protect the checkered legacy of our president at the time of Earhart’s death, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

As I constantly stress in “Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last,” and on my blog, www.Eaharttruth.com, the truth in the Earhart case has been a sacred cow in Washington since the earliest days of the search for Amelia.  The time is long overdue for the truth to be recognized and accepted, and for the parasites who have made their livings by peddling lies about Amelia’s sad fate to go away and find more honest ways to earn livings.

Likewise, there is no real Earhart “mystery.”  Some in the U.S. government are well aware of what happened to the fliers, and the physical evidence that would reveal the truth lies in the deepest recesses of our national security apparatus, known to a scant few custodians of this precious evidence.  I explain all this in my book and in my blog, and won’t go on at length here.

Undated photo of Marie S. Castro, now 84, the primary mover behind the recently approved initiative to build a monument to Amelia Earhart at the Saipan International Airport. 

I closed by announcing my invitation by Marie Castro and other Earhart Memorial committee members, including President Donald C. Barcinas, Secretary Frances M. Sablan,  Herman Cabrera (architect), Carlos A. Shoda, Evelyna A. Shoda and Ambrose Bennett, to join them as the committee’s U.S. representative, a great honor I will forever cherish.  “People like Dr. King and others who hate the truth,” I wrote, “are naturally dead set against the memorial’s success, and his letter is likely only the beginning of what could be a protracted, bitter battle to make the Earhart Memorial Monument a tangible reality.”

Marie Castro agrees.  “I read what came out on the Marianas Variety this morning,” she wrote on March 6.  “How many professionals with Ph.D.s  could come out with all sorts of theories to prove the truth?  There is only one truth.  Let’s help one another to prove what’s right, and the truth will finally prevail.”  From Marie’s pen to God’s ears.

Better news arrived the next day.  “Mike, I have no idea the magnitude of this project [and] where it is heading to,” Marie wrote in a March 8 email.  “Yesterday, we had a power point presentation on Amelia E. with the Marianas Visitors Authority. They seemed receptive to our idea of the monument. Our committee was encouraged by their responses. You and I together, with my wonderful team hopefully will someday unravel the mind of the unbelievers.”

On March 13, a shortened version of Les Kinney’s March 9 TIGHAR rebuttal on this blog was published in the Marianas Variety.  Titled Earhart bones’ just another of TIGHAR’s many false claims,” Kinney’s informed dissection of TIGHAR’s phony bones scheme was as badly received by the clueless Saipan Facebook mob as my own piece was on Feb. 7, at last glimpse drawing just two “Likes”!  The great Ralph Waldo Emerson had something memorable to say about such groupthink phenomena:  “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”  See the comments section for some interesting banter between Tom King, who knows that the successful completion of the Earhart Memorial threatens TIGHAR’s cash cow, Kinney, myself and a few other interested parties.

Also on March 13, the snail-slow U.S. Postal Service finally delivered my check and a copy of The Truth at Last to Marie’s Saipan mailbox.  “I took it to church,” she wrote me, “I found the President [Donald Barcinas] there.  Our cousin Bishop Tomas A. Camacho, our first Chamorro Bishop passed away.  I told the President, ‘It is the right place to open our first checks from the U.S. The Good Lord will be with us on this project, our Mission of Truth.’  Thank you.”

In closing, again I ask for your generous donations in any amount to the Earhart Memorial on Saipan — an eminently worthy cause that deserves far more support than it’s getting.  So few care about the truth, and every one of you is needed to make this dream a reality.  I can’t address each one of you by name, but I always respond to every legitimate email you send.  Without your help, the memorial’s failure is inevitable.  Please make your check payable to: Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument, Inc., and send to AEMMI, c/o Marie S. Castro, P.O. Box 500213, Saipan MP 96950.  Thank you.

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