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A look back at 2013

I’ll try to make this year in review as brief as possible, since my efforts to promote Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last are far outweighed by many more negative incidents and unhappy encounter that need not distract or bore the few interested readers who might visit this blog. 

Truth at Last was published by Larry Knorr’s Sunbury Press in June 2012, thus we mark the first full year in the life of this book.  Although we enjoyed a few bright moments, 2013 will be memorable almost solely for the nearly overwhelming number of rejections the book and its message received.  I thought I’d learned all about rejection during the more than a year it took to find the right publisher, but that was merely an introductory course.  2013 has offered a high-octane dosage of rejection on a scale that dwarfs all previous experience, leaving me to ponder how much longer I can continue to pursue this worthy cause while being almost completely ignored.

This “pan-institutional aversion to the truth” described in the final chapter of Truth at Last is alive, well and even worse that I imagined.  Make no mistake, the powers that be at the network and corporate levels fully understand that honest discussion of the Earhart disappearance is off limits.  No matter that after nearly 77 years of government-media propaganda, the idea that Amelia’s loss is an irresolvable mystery has been a familiar, universally accepted piece of our cultural landscape virtually since the day she failed to land on Howland Island.  No slippage can be tolerated, so the insidious campaign of lies and disinformation continues in its incessant refrains, ensuring the ignorance and disinterest of media consumers nationwide, and maintaining the status quo.

The TIGHAR plague

No honest discussion of efforts to solve – or, more accurately, explain the Earhart disappearance — would be complete if it didn’t include Ric Gillespie and The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has done more damage to the truth in the Earhart matter than anyone over the past 25 years or so.

Before Gillespie we had Elgen Long and the even more ridiculous Navy-Coast Guard crash-and-sank verdict, which for the most part kept a gullible public stupid for the first five decades following Amelia’s loss.  Thanks to these two paragons of deception, with their abject contempt for the truth, and a long list of lesser lights, as well as the enthusiastic help of the American media, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart remains among the most misunderstood and misreported events of the 20th century. 

Every other year, well in advance of the next TIGHAR-Nikumaroro boondoggle, we get the endless press releases, TV news stories and documentaries trumpeting and exploring the latest follies announced by TIGHAR’s Ric Gillespie, a propaganda blitz now led by Discovery Channel and Discovery News (see Oct. 24 and July 11 posts).  Other possibilities are rarely if ever mentioned; it’s as if Gillespie is the only man on earth who has any clue about what happened to the lost fliers

For 25 years now it’s been one phony claim after another; one might think that few are taken in anymore, yet the false headlines keep coming, telling us that the Earhart mystery might be solved soon if TIGHAR’s latest hunch pans out.  If the search were for anything or anyone else except Amelia Earhart, this shopworn charade would have been ignored by the national media after TIGHAR’s first few jaunts failed to produce any credible evidence.  But after a much-too-long 50-year run, the original crashed-and-sank lie became impossible to maintain by the late 1980s; lacking anything better to keep the public distracted from the unpleasant truth, the establishment holds its nose and keeps dishing out nausea-inducing portions of Nikumaroro gruel to a public that could hardly be more disinterested.

The media’s aversion to the truth

No overt or covert conspiracy compels most establishment types to run from the truth in the Earhart case; most of them are completely ignorant of the facts.  Cynicism, disinterest and even boredom motivate many of these jaded characters to avoid the subject, while others who express initial interest flee in fear from public discussion upon learning of the very unpleasant ends that Earhart and Fred Noonan met on Saipan.  Others, informed by their habitual servitude to political correctness, instinctually understand that the subject of the fliers’ miserable deaths at the hands of the Japanese, now our good friends, is simply not a proper topic for cultured eyes and ears.  The reasons are many, but they add up to a colossal societal resistance to the truth.  If we lived in a world that encouraged truth seekers in the Earhart matter, I’m convinced Truth at Last would be a bestseller by now.  Of course, without the 77-year government cover-up, no need would exist for Truth at Last to be written, nor any of the other fine books that present the truth in varying degrees of effectiveness.

I won’t name the numerous talk radio hosts, newspaper editors, bloggers and others who have scheduled me on their shows or promised their help in various ways and then bailed without warning, explanation or apology – as if they had suddenly learned that I had leprosy, with apologies to any lepers who might be reading this.  It’s bad enough to be ignored by more than 95 percent of these media types when I send them my standard query, but for them to respond, schedule a date and then ignore me is truly unprofessional and inexcusable. 

Just three days into 2013, the retail sales manager at the Admiral Nimitz Museum unwittingly set the tone for the coming year when she refused to stock the book that significantly expands upon Admiral Chester W. Nimitz’s revelation to Fred Goerner in 1965, a year before Goerner’s bestseller The Search for Amelia Earhart was published.  

Search immortalized the famed admiral’s statement to the San Francisco radio newsman that Earhartwent down in the Marshalls and was picked up by the Japanese.  My letter to the museum directors appealing this decision was ignored; even the simple decency of a response was refused me.  Maj.  Glenn MacDonald (U.S. Army, retired), editor-in-chief of the popular rank-and-file military-oriented site, www.militarycorruption.com, is among our book’s greatest supporters.  Glenn chronicled the Nimitz Museum travesty with this story, which was also ignored by the Nimitz Museum’s enlightened leadership.

In early March we had the Jim Bohannon debacle.  Charles Heller, a Tucson, Ariz., radio host, had recommended me to Bohannon after having me on his own show.  Bohannon’s late night show is syndicated to more than 350 stations nationwide, and I had high hopes that his program might provide a launching pad to the breakthrough this book badly needed.  It wasn’t to be, as Bohannon had invited me only as a favor to Heller.  He didn’t do a minute of show preparation, knew nothing of the Earhart matter and told me he didn’t receive the PDF of the book and other material I had twice sent to him, which I seriously doubt.

Bohannon spent the first half hour by reacting with hostility and disbelief to everything I said, catching me off balance and unprepared.  I finally stood up to the bully, and Bohannon had little to say over the last 25 minutes or so.  This sad episode, captured in a post by Jessica Renshaw on her Hidden in Jesus blog, served as a hard-learned lesson I will never forget: Never assume anyone is on your side going into a media interview unless you’re absolutely certain.

Earhart Truth Presentations: A rough start

During the second half of the year, inspired by the success of veteran Earhart presenter Rob Ellos, of Stillwater, Minn., I embarked on my own attempt to spread the word, dubbing my new enterprise “Earhart Truth Presentations.”  Sounds impressive, and I even had 1,000 business cards made for distribution to interested parties, but most of these are still in my drawer at home.  The inaugural version of Earhart Truth Presentations failed to pay for its rollout.  I sent my query to many hundreds of assisted living facilities and senior centers, as well as Kiwanis, Rotary, Moose and Elk Lodges and Daughters of the American Revolution chapters within a 90-minute drive of Jacksonville, with pathetic results.  Apparently only phony searches on tramped-down islands in the central Pacific have any chance of making money in the Earhart information business.

After talking to the few groups I visited, it was obvious that it’s not the older people who aren’t interested, but the much younger activity directors who don’t care about the Earhart disappearance.  The future of Earhart Truth Presentations is quite dim, with nothing at all scheduled for the New Year.  As for Rob’s success in Stillwater and the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, maybe the baby boomers up there, the ones who run the senior facilities, are better educated and informed, and thus more inclined to invite him to their facilities.  Who can say?

I also sent the flyer to all private and public high schools, and the response was exactly zero, which speaks volumes about the pathetic state of our secondary schools.  It’s common knowledge that our public schools ceased to teach true American history decades ago, but I thought the private schools might have retained a semblance of traditional curricula.  Sadly, none of them have any interest in anyone coming into their classrooms to set the record straight about Amelia Earhart, whom few of any have heard of anyway. 

Perhaps the highlight for my year was a lengthy commentary I wrote to commemorate the July 2 anniversary of Amelia’s last flight, published by Veterans News Now, the same outfit that posted Dave Martin’s fine review of Truth at Last in August 2012, “Hillary Clinton and the Amelia Earhart Cover-up.”  Titled “The truth in the Earhart ‘mystery’ is a sacred cow,’ and posted June 13 by editor Debbie Menon, the piece stayed atop the VNN top 50 for over two weeks and continues its run in VNN’s top 25 with over 11,300 reads as of Dec. 31.  Joel Freedman, my friend from Canandaigua, New York, placed some guest columns in local newspapers, and Jessica Renshaw, whose Hidden in Jesus blog was among the first to discover Truth at Last, did what she could to help.

I did about 18 radio appearances with the relatively few independent radio types who were unafraid to step up and help, PC be damned.  Many of these hosts failed to read anything I sent them, were completely unprepared to do a decent interview, and simply were filling time by having me on.  But a few were outstanding professionals, did plenty of show prep, read the book and had great programs.  The best of these were author and host Deanna Spingola, who had me on her show, “Spingola Speaks” on the Republic Broadcasting Network for a return engagement;  and Bill Xam, host of the Internet program “Surrounded by Idiots,” which recently joined the Freedom Talk Radio/SETV network.  Bill spent many hours preparing notes and special features for our two-hour discussion, which can be found on the EarhartTruth.com Media page. 

Other radio people I should thank again for their help included Chuck Wilder, host of “Talkback with Chuck Wilder” on CRN; Michael Betteridge,  general manager of WTHU 1450 AM “The Source,” Thurmont, Md., and nephew of noted Earhart researcher Paul Rafford, Jr.; Bill Hay, host of “I’m Speaking Plainly,” on local Jacksonville’s 600 AM “The Answer” and Dr. Stan Monteith, veteran host of Radio Liberty, heard in multiple cities including Cincinnati and Spokane, Wash., who has invited me back on Jan. 7 at 6 pm EST and Jan. 9 at 11 pm.

I also want to express a special thanks to my old friend Sonny Auld, who has been the webmaster of www.EarhartTruth.com since its inception. Without Sonny’s unselfish efforts, we’d be nowhere at all.

That’s about it.  I continue to do whatever I can and hope that somehow the breakthrough that Truth at Last needs to come to the attention of the American public will eventuate.  It can’t happen if we give up, and so I won’t.  Amelia deserves far better than she’s received since her tragic loss, and so does the book that presents the truth about it without apology.

Dec. 9: Joel Freedman strikes again

I met Joel Freedman in the summer of 2012, shortly after Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last was published, when I saw his commentary in the local Canandaigua, N.Y. newspaper, the Daily MessengerDuring the days surrounding the 75th anniversary of Amelia’s last flight, Joel was the only writer in America who recalled Fred Goerner’s book and his seminal work on Saipan in 1960, work that firmly established Amelia’s presence and death there following her loss in July 1937.  I wrote about Joel’s article in a July 7, 2012 posting.  Freedman is a community activist of sorts, and writes in support of many worthwhile projects including mental health  patients’ and animal rights.  Boldface emphasis mine throughout.

On Dec. 2 another fine commentary from Joel appeared in the Daily Messenger, headlined “Public needs truth about Earhart.”  The guest column would also be run by several other sister papers in the Rochester area. Readers might recall that it was Joel Freedman who convinced the Knoxville News Sentinel in October 2012 to run his book review along with another feature story and photos in their local news section.  The News Sentinel coverage remains the best we’ve received thus far, and along with the Daily Messenger and a scant few others, is a rare exception to the establishment’s continuing blackout of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.

Following is Joel’s piece as it appeared in the Daily Messenger; only the photo of Amelia has been changed.

There may not be conclusive answers to such questions, but “Amelia Earhart: The Truth At Last,” a book written by Mike Campbell, a Navy veteran and a Jacksonville, Fla., journalist, answers many questions about what really happened to Earhart and Fred Noonan, her navigator, after their disappearance on July 2, 1937.

When American Marines liberated Saipan in 1944, island natives gave accounts of two white pilots, a male and female, who were imprisoned and buried on Saipan. It is uncertain whether Earhart died from maltreatment and disease or whether she was executed by the Japanese. There is evidence Noonan was probably executed by the Japanese.  The islanders were told the two were American spies were picked up in the ocean.  American Marines, under the direction of Military Intelligence, disinterred the remains of two individuals they were told were from Earhart’s burial site. 

The evidence that Amelia Earhart and her navigator died on the island of Saipan, controlled by the Japanese before the United States captured it in 1944 during World War II, is overwhelming, says the writer.

The evidence that Amelia Earhart and her navigator died on the island of Saipan, controlled by the Japanese before the United States captured it in 1944 during World War II, is overwhelming, says the writer.

Japan denies knowledge of what happened to Earhart. With Japan’s emergence as an important American ally, why offend Japan? And why besmirch the memory of one of America’s most beloved presidents by acknowledging that Earhart’s plane was recovered by American Marines on Saipan and destroyed by order of Roosevelt?  Perhaps Roosevelt didn’t want to disclose that Earhart had been asked to do something that put her at risk for capture by the Japanese.

As a radio message code clerk in the communications center of the 8th Marine Regiment on Saipan in July 1944, Marine Cpl. Earskin J. Nabers of Baldwyn, Miss., decoded the top-secret message announcing the discovery of Earhart’s plane.  A few days later, Nabers decoded the order, originating in the Oval Office, to destroy the plane. Nabers said he personally witnessed its torching by Marines under the direction of at least one civilian operative.

Another Marine, Robert Sosbe of Antwerp, Ohio, said he monitored radio communications during and after the liberation of Saipan.  He said he heard discussion about finding the graves of Earhart and Noonan.  He also claimed he saw the burning of a two-engine airplane shortly thereafter.

Marine veteran Stanley Serzan of Orange City, Fla., a retired Bayonne, N.J., police officer, said he saw several photos of Earhart and Noonan found on a dead Japanese officer on Saipan.

Robert Wallack of Woodbridge, Conn., another Saipan veteran, said he found an attache case containing “official-looking papers all concerning Amelia Earhart,” which he gave to a Navy officer.

Arthur Nash of Kaneohe, Hawaii, a P-47 pilot whose carrier-based squadron landed at Saipan’s Aslito Airfield during the invasion, said he and other members of his unit saw Earhart’s plane outside a hangar at the airfield shortly after their arrival on Saipan.

Fifty years ago, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, who commanded American naval forces in the Pacific during World War II, advised investigative journalist Fred Goerner, author of “The Search for Amelia Earhart,” that “Earhart and her companion did go down in the Marshalls and they were picked up by the Japanese.”

In 1966, Marine Gen. Graves B. Erskine, deputy commander of the V Amphibious Corps at the battle of Saipan, told news reporters, “It was established that Earhart was on Saipan. You’ll have to dig the rest out for yourselves.”

For the past several decades, the news media have largely failed to follow up on Erskine’s challenge, focusing instead on coverage of futile searches for Earhart’s plane in the Pacific.

Campbell concludes, “Despite the massive and compelling body of evidence attesting to the fliers’ cruel and ignominious ends on Saipan, Amelia Earhart’s fate remains, in the popular culture’s conventional wisdom and in the history books, as much a mystery now as in the first desperate days following their disappearance.”

It’s high time to set the record straight. (End of Joel’s commentary.)

 Indeed it is, Joel.  Indeed it is.

Oct. 24: Knoxville News Sentinel comes through

Today we welcomed the long-awaited Knoxville New Sentinel’s coverage of Truth at Last, and it greatly exceeded our expectations, as features editor Susan Alexander, assistant features editor Christina Southern and freelance writer Melissa Priode combined, along with Joel Freedman, to create a spectacular local news front page layout that was entirely devoted to Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.

When I got the hard copy newspaper today, I was stunned to see the book cover and promo on the top of the front page, with the story and three photos taking up the entire front page of the local news section.  The layout is spectacular and I couldn’t ask for more in that regard.  They did a fantastic job, and we’ll probably never have better Amazon rankings that we have right now.  With a circulation of 123,000 daily, the most prominent thing about today’s issue was arguably Truth at Last.  Joel Freedman’s review is here, and here is Melissa Priode’s story, which briefly looks at my background and relationship to the book.

We needed this desperately, as the book has been languishing in Amazon sales ranking hell of late, but right now we’re looking very good indeed, which illustrates the power that a medium-size city newspaper has to help a struggling book when it has a mind to do so.  Sincere thanks to Susan, Christina, Melissa and Joel for their invaluable assistance in this most worthy cause.

August 25: Media update

I hope the radio programs I’ve recently appeared on aren’t as unpopular or unknown as this blog appears to be, or I am truly spinning my wheels.  On Aug. 5 I was on the Firebase Network Veterans Hour on the Stardust Radio Network with host Rick Townsend, and Deanna Spignola invited me on to talk to her for two hours Aug. 20 on her daily program, “Spignola Speaks,” on the Republic Broadcasting Network.

Both went as well as could be expected, having last done radio in the mid-1980s.  It was good practice for my Sept. 4 date with Phil Williams of Knoxville’s WOKI 98.7 FM, likely the top afternoon-drive show here, and a real opportunity for a breakthrough.  I never thought he would actually schedule me, but I finally got the official invite on Friday.  Will be on Firebase again tomorrow night for an hour.

Joel Freedman is doing great work on behalf of Truth at Last.  He placed a letter to the editor of The Banner Independent, of Booneville, Mississippi, in the same Prentiss County neighborhood as smaller Baldwyn, where Earskin Nabers lived most of his life, and where he died in 2006 at 82.  Freedman’s letter ran at the top of the Opinion section on August 16.

After stating his belief that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan “were captured and tortured by the Japanese and died on Saipan, Freedman wrote that he was “impressed by Campbell’s account of the importance of World War II Marine Corps veteran Erskine Nabers in finding the truth about Earhart. …Campbell describes Nabers as a soft-spoken, low-key individual, content in his quiet life of work and devotion to family in the obscurity of small-town Mississippi.

“Campbell explains, ‘As a radio message code clerk in the communications center of the 8th Marine Regiment on Saipan in July 1944, Nabers decoded the top-secret message announcing the discovery of Amelia Earhart’s Electra in a hangar at Aslito Field. . . . “After his death,” Freedman continued, “I can almost imagine Nabers’ spirit was greeted by the spirits of Earhart and Noonan, who thanked him for his courage and honesty, on their behalf.  When I read a good book, I often learn about people I wish I had met during their lifetime.  Earskin Nabers is one of these people.”

July 7: A tiny point of light

Until this morning, I was not aware of a single word about Amelia Earhart’s death in Japanese captivity on Saipan in any U.S. newspaper commemorating the 75th anniversary of her disappearance.  Instead, all we hear is TIGHAR and Nikumaroro, ad nauseum till death do we part.    

But an enterprising member of the Amelia Earhart Society’s online forum, Australian Ian Mann, sent the group a link to an op-ed that headlined the opinion page of GreecePost.com, an online version of the Canandaigua, N.Y.-based Messenger Media, with 16 publications that reach 400,000 consumers in the surburban Rochester, west-central New York area.

What really happened to Amelia Earhart? Joel Freedman asked, and proceed to briefly summarize Fred Goerner’s major conclusions in this 1966 bestselling classic, The Search for Amelia Earhart. What about the evidence Earhart and Noonan deliberately veered off course to scrutinize Japanese military installations, and that they were captured and killed by the Japanese? Freedman wrote.  “When Americans liberated the small island of Saipan in 1944, the island’s natives gave accounts of two white pilots, a male and a female, who were beaten, executed and buried on Saipan.”

Freedman then asked the logical question that anyone with a basic knowledge of investigations into the Earhart case, scant few anymore, often ponder:  “So why does the U.S. government give the royal runaround to those who have sought further validation of all this?  If Earhart had volunteered to secretly scrutinize Japanese military installations at a time we weren’t at war with Japan, she surely was advised America couldn’t aid her if she was captured.  Could it be after the war, rather than acknowledge our government asked the world’s most famous and admired aviatrix to engage in espionage, it was decided not to reveal Earhart’s fate?”

In his conclusion, Freedman quoted a salient passage from Goerner’s final pages in Search that I had overlooked in Truth at LastWhat is going to be done to clear the record completely, to remove all the aspects of doubt and suspicion and bewilderment from a heroic story that the public has a right to know in full so that two human beings may be properly honored for their courage and their contribution?”  Indeed.

Here for the first time, albeit in a suburban New York community newspaper, was evidence that at least one man was seriously contemplating Amelia Earhart’s fate on the diamond anniversary of the iconic flier’s loss, instead of being lulled into semi-consciousness while watching the latest news of the 10th TIGHAR trip to Nikumaroro, where Ric Gillespie and his pack of bloodhounds will doubtless seize upon some new artifact (piece of garbage) that Gillespie will claim could have been owned by Earhart or Fred Noonan.  

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