Another July has nearly passed, a month when, for decades, two things have been certain. Many will flock to Atchison, Kansas for the annual Amelia Earhart Festival love-in on her July 24 birthday, and a new dose of recycled snake oil purporting to solve the so-called “Earhart Mystery” as dictated to media stenographers by Ric Gillespie of TIGHAR, the only “internationally recognized expert” to whom anyone should listen, will be injected into a culture sodden with lies about Amelia’s fate. We’ve been watching this revolting circus of endless deceit for 30 years now, with no relief in sight.
Last year Gillespie brought cadaver dogs to Nikumaroro to search for the remains of the lost fliers. Words fail to express how utterly ridiculous this idea was, once one understands how many people lived and died there since the late 1930s, none of them Earhart or Fred Noonan! Even more ludicrous, the U.S. and world media reported this absurd spectacle as if it were a serious attempt to find them, while an ignorant, incurious public looked on without a word of protest against this attack on all common sense.
(Editor’s note: Soon after this post was published, TIGHAR’s Tom King Ph.D. wrote to inform us that “Ric didn’t take the forensic dogs to Nikumaroro; he opposed our taking them. You can blame National Geographic and me for that outrage.”)
We can fairly wonder why our esteemed media gatekeepers never asked TIGHAR’s boss why he would be looking for Earhart’s bones on Nikumaroro, when the bones found there in 1940 were long gone, and according to University of Tennessee professor Richard L. Jantz, were almost certainly Earhart’s? On March 7, 2018, The Washington Post covered the story thusly: “Bones discovered on an island are hers, a new analysis shows.”
This July, Gillespie didn’t ask the credulous to believe that a jar of freckle cream, discarded pieces of aluminum, an old shoe sole, a zipper, a woman’s compact or even long disappeared human bones are proof that Earhart and Fred Noonan landed on Nikumaroro in the Phoenix Islands and died of starvation a week later on an island overflowing with food and water sources.
Gillespie has taken a more subtle approach this year, perhaps realizing that nearly everyone except the truly brain dead have had their fill of the annual hysteria and phony hype about the imminent “solution to the Earhart mystery” that he and his minions will soon produce. These disinformation drills are always followed by absolutely nothing, as another worthless claim is debunked and falls by the wayside, relegated to the garbage pile of the assorted flotsam and jetsam that Gillespie and his cronies have scraped and dug out of Nikumaroro, where hundreds of native settlers and even U.S. Coast Guardsmen lived from the late 1930s to the ’60s.
In a lengthy paper titled “The Post-loss Radio Signals” he authored with Robert Brandenburg, Gillespie brings out his trademark bells, whistles, colorized graphs and charts that have long dazzled and bamboozled the unwary and made him infamous among the literate to proclaim: “As with Dr. Jantz’s findings, the patterns and relationships emerging from the data show that TIGHAR has answered the 81-year-old question: what really happened to Amelia Earhart?” None of this is new, and nothing Gillespie conjures up will ever place the lost fliers on Nikumaroro, because they were never there, as a mountain of legitimate evidence tells all who bother to take their eyes off the shiny objects TIGHAR is constantly waving at them.
The Washington Post, long a stalwart in the TIGHAR water-carrying brigade, led the way in this season’s current propaganda blitz with its July 25 story, “Amelia Earhart’s last calls: Research suggests dozens heard radioed cries for help.” Here’s the key excerpt from the Post story we will focus on forthwith:
On July 3, for example, Nina Paxton, an Ashland, Ky., woman, said she heard Earhart say “KHAQQ calling,” and say she was “on or near little island at a point near” . . . “then she said something about a storm and that the wind was blowing.”
“Will have to get out of here,” she says at one point. “We can’t stay here long.”
Note that the Washington Post says nothing about where the radio signals came from that Paxton claims she heard, despite the fact that Paxton named that location in some of her letters. Of course not, because the Marshall Islands are nowhere near Nikumaroro, where Gillespie and TIGHAR’s cash cow lives.
Fox News, along with the rest of the usual suspects, followed the Post story with its own version of the same agitprop, and three comments with my name and Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last were expunged shortly after they appeared on the Fox News site. This was reported to me by staunch supporter William Trail, who notices such things. When it comes to the Earhart story, Fox News is far worse than the hated Washington Post, which Fox demeans as being too liberal. Can you blame me for despising this “fair and balanced” news Gestapo?
At least the Post briefly mentioned Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last in its new article, and even provided a link to its July 11, 2017 story, which gave me a few paragraphs to vent, thanks to Amy B. Wang, the story’s co-author who took the time to briefly interview me. Pigs will fly before Fox News or any of the other mainline media would even consider doing such a thing.
Longtime researcher Les Kinney has plenty more to say about Paxton’s claims, and he doesn’t file his stories with Fox News, the Washington Post or any other news organizations, for obvious reasons. Occasionally he brings his work here, where the truth is always welcome and most appreciated, especially when it sheds new light on nagging questions.
The last time we heard from Kinney was his March 9 dismantling of the aforementioned TIGHAR-Richard Jantz-bones fantasies. Although we still differ over his belief about the identity of the figure sitting on the dock in the Jaluit-ONI photo of History Channel infamy, as far as I can discern, we agree on virtually everything else of significance.
Without further delay, here’s some real Earhart news, courtesy of an Earhart researcher whose findings, with one well-known exception, will not be found in our corrupt media. (All boldface emphasis mine.)
“The Nina Paxton Papers”
By Les Kinney
At about 2:20 in the afternoon of July 3, 1937, Nina Paxton was fiddling with the tuner on her Philco radio in Ashland, Kentucky. Suddenly, she heard Amelia Earhart “In a very clear strong voice.” For a few seconds, Nina attended to the needs of her five-year old son thinking Miss Earhart must be on a training flight. When she then realized Amelia was crying for help, she listened and took a few notes. A few minutes later, Earhart was gone.
Until her death on Christmas Day, 1970, Nina Paxton told anyone who would listen that Earhart had crash landed in the Marshall Islands. She tried to remember everything she heard that day. She began standing vigil over her radio listening to the shortwave band hoping to hear Amelia again. A few years later, Nina wrote to Rand McNally looking for information on the Marshall Islands. She developed a guilt complex and believed she hadn’t done enough to save Earhart’s life. She searched for new memories, words or phrases Amelia might have said on that early July afternoon that might have previously escaped her. No one seemed to believe her. In the mid-1940s, she wrote to the Office of Naval Intelligence, Walter Winchell, and the FBI. Toward the end of her life she corresponded with Fred Goerner, the bestselling author of The Search for Amelia Earhart. Nina’s letters always carried the same general message: Amelia Earhart landed in the Marshall Islands.
Skeptics said Nina could have gotten her information from newspapers, radio, and seeing the 1943 movie Flight for Freedom. The fact that Nina waited a full week to tell her local newspaper didn’t help her credibility. On July 9, 1937, the following brief article appeared in the Ashland Daily Independent. It differs from Nina’s notes from July and August 1937. Nina had more to say than the local reporter sent to print:
Mrs. C.B. Paxton, 3024 Bath Avenue, told the Independent she heard the distress message of Amelia Earhart noted American woman flyer lost in the Pacific ocean last Saturday afternoon at two o’clock. Miss Earhart and her navigator Frederick J. Noonan, last were heard from in the air at 2:12 EST last Friday when they said they had only a supply of gas good for thirty minutes.
“The message came in on my short wave set very plain,” Mrs. Paxton said, “and Miss Earhart talked for some time. I turned the radio down one time to talk to my little child and then turned it back up to catch the last part of the message.
“I didn’t understand everything Miss Earhart had said,” Mrs. Paxton told the Independent,” because there was some noise. She gave the following message as she understood it:
“Down in ocean,” then Miss Earhart either said ‘on,’ ‘or’ [sic] near little island at a point near. . . .” After that Mrs. Paxton understood her to say something about “directly northeast,” although she was not sure about that part. “Our plane about out of gas. Water all around very dark.” Then she said something about a storm and that the wind was blowing. “Will have to get out of here,” she said. “We can’t stay here long.”
The message was preceded by Miss Earhart’s call letters, “KHAQQ calling, KHAQQ calling.”
Because Nina’s letters in the 1940s were so passionate, I suspected what she had to say was true. Why would she lie? Nina was educated, married, a registered nurse, and had no bone to pick. When I started investigating her background, I found out she died a widow in Ashland, Ky., Christmas Day in 1970. She left no family. Her husband passed away in 1954. Her son got into one scrape after another until he ended up in prison.
It took me three years and quite a bit of luck to locate the Paxton papers. Eventually, I discovered Nina’s Earhart files at tiny Mars Hills University in the mountains of western North Carolina. They were donated to the university by a wife of a doctor that had worked with Nina in the 1950s. The Paxton box had been collecting dust in a library storeroom since 1975.
I planned to report the Paxton findings in the book I am writing on the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Recent events caused me to change my mind. TIGHAR just released a new Post Loss Radio Study touting the claims of Betty Klenck in 1937, who as a 15-year-old claimed to have heard Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on her home radio for several days. None of the post-loss radio messages collected by TIGHAR give a location where Amelia and Fred went down. The Paxton papers tell us Earhart and Noonan went down in the Marshall Islands. Mars Hills University recently put a few of Nina Paxton’s letters on the internet: http://southernappalachianarchives.org/ /show/4. It is time to share my findings.
There are over a hundred letters, some notes, and a few newspaper and magazine clippings making up the Paxton material. I copied them all. The first letter is dated July 14, 1937. Nina continued to write and offer insight into the Earhart disappearance until close to her death. After reviewing all the files, it appears there might be a few writings and reference notes missing.
At about 2 p.m. on July 3, 1937, local time, Nina Paxton heard Amelia Earhart’s distressed voice announce she had gone down in the Marshall Islands. Nina had no idea where the Marshall Islands were located. Nor did she know the call sign for Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra wasn’t KHABQ. After hearing Earhart on her radio, Nina went to the Ashland Police Department and then to a nearby Coast Guard Station to report what she had heard. They laughed at her and said the call sign for Earhart’s Electra was KHAQQ. It was for this reason that Nina didn’t tell the local press of Earhart’s distress message until July 9, 1937. Nina had no idea the call sign for Earhart’s previous plane, a Lockheed Vega, was KHABQ. A tired, exhausted, worried and emotionally drained Amelia Earhart blurted out her old call sign the day Nina heard the distress message on July 3, 1937. It would have been an easy thing to do.
Nina Paxton heard the only post-loss radio report giving a specific location where Amelia and Fred landed. During the two months following Earhart’s disappearance, Nina enclosed her rough notes in the letters she sent to Mrs. Noonan, George Palmer Putnam, Walter Winchell and Congressman Fred M. Vinson. Nina typed the rough notes out twice and tried not to embellish what she had heard. She created spaces where she was unsure of a word or phrase. The first rough note is without a heading. The second one is titled, “Call of a Courageous Lady.” She didn’t like that either and scratched it out.
In some of her later notes, which aren’t on Mars Hill’s website, Nina wonders why Amelia used the time of her arrival as 2:20. She possibly thought Earhart might have converted the time to Eastern Standard Time and makes that point in later letters. Nina puts this confusion in parentheses. Nina’s two rough notes held by Mars Hill University seem to be a cumulative compilation she completed sometime in August 1937. Nina says “the plane was damaged in landing near a part of Marshall Islands.” Amelia says Noonan was injured, and that he “doesn’t walk very well, and that he (Noonan) bruised his leg badly when landing.”
(Editor’s note: This detail about Noonan’s leg injury is directly reflected by eyewitness Bilimon Amaron’s account to several researchers, including Vincent V. Loomis. See pages 107-108 in Amelia Earhart: The Final Story.)
In a letter to George Putnam dated Aug. 5, 1937, Nina writes she found a piece of scratch paper she had written while listening to Earhart. “Miss Earhart mentioned three little islands. The little one (perhaps a reef) they were on, north of Howland Island at a point very near an island she called “Marshall.” (Sadly, this little piece of scratch paper is missing from the Mars Hill holdings.) Rather naively, Nina tells George Putnam in a letter dated Aug. 5, 1937, “If there is an island known by the name of Marshall and it can be contacted, I believe it well worthwhile to do so at once as I am sure Miss Earhart, and Captain Noonan will be found in this area.”
Early researchers Vincent Loomis and Oliver Knaggs in the late 1970s and early 1980s focused their attention on the middle of three islands at Mili Atoll. On my recent trips to Mili Atoll, we discovered airplane artifacts in the middle of three small islands. Nina’s rough notes indicate she heard Earhart say, “Directly north-east of a part of Marshall Islands, 90 ****173 longitude and 5 latitude. We missed our course yesterday and came up here.”
No one knows whether Fred Noonan carried sectional maps for the Marshall Islands. The U.S. Navy hadn’t the opportunity to map the area since the Japanese took control in 1914. It wasn’t on their planned route and its likely Fred had to rely on an old British map of the Pacific from his seafaring days. There is a picture of Amelia and Fred on the internet standing next to the tail of the Electra looking over such a map. If they relied on that map, Fred would have only had a general idea where he and Amelia had gone down.
When Nina heard Amelia Earhart on the afternoon of July 3, 1937, she scratched down a few words where Amelia said they had landed. “90 ******173 longitude and 5 latitude.“ If you look on a map, 5 degrees North latitude and 173 East longitude is not far from Mili Atoll. (End of “Nina Paxton Papers.” )
I devoted nine pages of Chapter III, “The Search and the Radio Signals,” in Truth at Last, a section titled “The ‘Post-Loss’ Radio Messages” (pages 40-49 TAL 2nd Ed.) to an examination of most of the significant alleged receptions from Amelia, but omitted Nina Paxton’s claims because at the time I wasn’t enthusiastic about them and hadn’t properly researched the Paxton claims to write about them intelligently. Thanks to Les Kinney, we’re now much smarter about Nina Paxton.
So what are we to believe? Did Amelia Earhart send radio messages from her downed Electra, transmissions that were heard by Nina Paxton in Ashland, Ky., by Pan American Airways, U.S. Navy stations in the central Pacific and numerous amateur radio operators in the continental United States? I’m not technically smart enough to claim any special insights, but I’ve presented the educated verdicts of several experts in radio propagation and reception capabilities of the day in several posts. For what its worth, I think Nina Paxton’s account could be the most compelling of all these alleged messages, and should be taken seriously at the very least.
You can find an extensive discussion of the significant post-loss messages in the three posts I wrote on this subject in 2014:
Earhart’s “post-loss messages”: Real or fantasy?“ published April 30, 2014, followed by “Experts weigh in on Earhart’s ‘post-loss’ messages“ two weeks later, and finally “Amelia Earhart’s alleged ‘Land in sight’ message remains a curiosity, if not a mystery | Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last“ on May 27, 2014.
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, that heartily applauded 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 that 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.
“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, mob-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.
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 in a March 6 email. “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. “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 bunch 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 group-think 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.
Most readers of this blog will recall last July’s imbroglio over the History Channel’s bogus claims about the ONI photo found at the NARA Archives by researcher Les Kinney several years ago. If you don’t recall this or you’re here for the first time, here is my review of the History Channel’s July 9, 2017 abomination: History’s “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence”: Underhanded attack on the Marshalls-Saipan truth.
Clearly, Les Kinney and I have had serious disagreements — and not only about the photo — over important, sensitive issues in the Earhart case. Thus I was a bit surprised this morning (March 9), to receive an email from Les, asking if I would post his essay addressing TIGHAR’s latest claim on this blog — sort of a “guest column” so to speak.
I’m sure Les hasn’t changed his position about the ONI photo, but in this case, I have no problem setting aside our differences and working together against the TIGHAR plague, which has done more damage to the truth in the Earhart case than anyone in the past 30 years. The degree to which their outrageous and transparently false claims have dominated the corrupt and complaint mainstream media Earhart coverage cannot be overstated, and it’s been a constant irritant for all who pursue the Earhart saga without monetary consideration of any kind.
More on my personal TIGHAR complaints later. Now, for those few who aren’t up to speed on the latest mega-media TIGHAR blitz, on March 7, The Washington Post covered the story thusly: “Bones discovered on an island are hers, a new analysis shows.”
Without further delay, here’s Les Kinney’s rebuttal of the latest TIGHAR crapola. All boldface is mine except headlines and subheads.
TIGHAR PRESS RELEASE
“New Evidence in the Amelia Earhart Mystery!”
Bones Found in South Pacific Likely Amelia Earhart . . . “This analysis reveals that Earhart is more similar to the Nikumaroro bones than 99% of individuals in a large reference sample.” — Richard L. Jantz, Ph.D.
Hold on a minute!
For those of you not familiar with TIGHAR, the acronym stands for The International Group for Historical Aircraft Recovery. Its executive director, a fellow named Ric Gillespie founded TIGHAR in 1985. It’s a non-profit organization funded by donors and sponsors. Gillespie has taken a salary to support the ideals of TIGHAR. Those ideals, according to TIGHAR’s website is the promotion of responsible aviation archaeology and historic preservation. Don’t let that fool you. TIGHAR devotes 99 percent of its substantial resources hoodwinking the public into believing Amelia Earhart landed at Nikumaroro, a three-mile sliver of land in the Phoenix Island(s) Group. So that you don’t have to pull out a world atlas, Nikumaroro is close to the equator and smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
On March 8, FOX News, and a fair amount of other media outlets including USA Today splashed a tale taken from a TIGHAR press release. “It is with 99 per cent certainty, bones found in 1940 on Nikumaroro are that of the famous missing aviator.”
It all started in April of 1940 when bones, a skull, and bottle were found on Gardner Island (Nikumaroro) by some unknown native colonist. Near the spot of this find was evidence of a camp site. Natives also found an old sextant box and a sole of a shoe – about an English size 10. This same hand-painted sextant box was described by experts as likely originating from the 1800’s. It did not appear “under any circumstances to have been for a sextant used in modern trans Pacific aviation.” It was concluded that quite possibly this unknown castaway used the box to keep his possessions.
A little history of Gardner/Nikumaroro is in order, and for good reason.
There is limited information about who visited Gardner Island from the 1700s to the early 1900s. The island was first named in 1825. So, at least we know of one ship that visited the island when John Quincy Adams was President of the United States. No doubt the island had been visited many times in the 1800s simply because man’s curiosity gets the best of him. There is also a possibility, though never confirmed, that Gardner Island had been temporarily settled in the 1890s and abandoned shortly thereafter.
In November 1929, the British freighter HMS Norwich City departed Melbourne, Australia bound for Vancouver, B.C. The 397-foot freighter ran aground on the reef at Gardner Island. Eleven men were killed. Four bodies were buried by survivors after washing ashore. Seven other men were missing and never found. The rusted and broken hulk of the Norwich City still rests on Nikumaroro’s beach.
In October 1937, a British survey team headed by Harry Maude and Eric Bevington, along with 18 Gilbertese men “thoroughly explored” Gardner Island for several days.
From November 30, 1938, and for the next several weeks, a 16-man New Zealand Survey team explored Gardner Island from an aviation viewpoint.
In December 1938, while the New Zealand team was still on Gardner, at least 80 colonists from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands under British sponsorship settled on the island. At the time of their arrival, it was noted at least 200 coconut trees existed on the island. The island also had an abundance of very large coconut crabs resembling King Crabs in size, a pesky rat population, sea turtles, and the inner reef and lagoon swarmed with fish.
On November 5, 1939, crew members from the USS Bushnell, a Navy Survey ship landed at Gardner Island. The ship discharged 25 sailors and technicians. The Bushnell crew was intent on constructing a tower on the island. The Bushnell surveying team noted in its journal, the island was being occupied by 80 settlers. The Bushnell team stayed on the island for two days.
In June of 1944, the U.S. Coast Guard arrived on Gardner island and began construction of a Loran Station. The station was up and running on December 16, 1944 and manned by 25 Coast Guard personnel. Because of changing technology and the end of the war, the station was deactivated on May 15, 1946. The “Coasties” co-existed with the Gilbertese settlers who finally gave up on the island in 1963.
Don’t you get the idea that a lot of people trampled around Gardner for many years? One Coastie remarked it was boring and all they did in their free time was explore. Can you imagine the amount of trash on that island?
How the Nikumaroro “Bones” got TIGHAR’s attention
In the late 1980s along comes Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR. During Gillespie’s second or third mission to Gardner, having heard a tale from a Coast Guardsman who served on the island in the 1940s, that early colonists buried Earhart’s bones, Ric and his crew began poking and digging around an area TIGHAR has coined the “Seven Site.” They found human remains alright, but it was of an infant.
While they were figuring out their next move, one of TIGHAR’s explorers found the sole and heel of a shoe nearby. It was about the size of a 9 or 10 and stamped on the bottom was the famous American trademark, “Cat’s Paw.”
Fast forward a few years. One of TIGHAR’s Kiwi members was leafing through research material in the Kiribati National Archives in Tarawa. He noticed a file talking about a skeleton and human remains discovered on Gardner Island in 1940. Gillespie’s team jumped on this information.
The Kiribati archive report documented the finding of Gerald Gallagher, Gardner Island’s colonial administrator. After Gallagher arrived on Gardner in 1940, he was told by natives that human bones had been found on the southeastern part of the island. The natives also told Gallagher they found a human skull, but it was reburied. Gallagher’s working party searched the area, collected 13 bones and found the skull. Nearby, they also found an old-fashioned sextant box, part of a sole, possibly from two shoes, and a bottle. Gallagher’s examined the sole carefully and said it was about an English size 10. Writing back to Fiji headquarters in Suva, Gallagher said there was a “very slight chance” the bones might be of Amelia Earhart, although to his untrained eye, the bones appeared to be “older than four years.”
Gallagher went on to tell his superiors the area was then searched for rings, money, and keys with no results. His message also explained he examined the skull. The “dental condition appears to have been good,” he said, “but only five teeth remain.” Gallagher makes no mention of fillings. He goes on to emphasize that in his opinion, “am quite certain they are not less than four years old and probably much older.”
The bones were eventually shipped to the High Commissioner’s Office in Suva. An initial report was completed by the Acting Senior Medical Officer. The medical examiner concluded “they are part of a skeleton of elderly male of Polynesian race, bones having been probably in sheltered position for upwards of 20 years possibly much longer.”
The bones were then brought to the Central Medical School and examined by Dr. D. W. Hoodless. Hoodless took careful measurements of the bones and skull. He noted the remains only included one half of the pelvic bone. Hoodless obviously took into consideration the pelvic bone is symmetrical and said that in his professional opinion, the bones were that of a skeleton of “total height of 5 feet 5 and ½ inches approximately.” Hoodless went on to write “it may be definitely stated that the skeleton is that of a [MALE.”] Hoodless emphasis. Hoodless added, “he was not less than 45 and more probably older.”
Dr. Hoodless again emphasized the bones were male and probably a male of undetermined cultural origins, possibly of mixed descent. The skull had five teeth and Dr. Hoodless noted the right zygoma and malar bones broken off.
The bones, the bones, where are the bones?
TIGHAR has tried hard to find the bones but they haven’t been seen since 1941. It hasn’t deterred Gillespie. Early on, he called on one of his members, the late Dr. Karen Burns, an anthropologist to review the Hoodless findings. Burns had previously traveled to the South Pacific and Gardner courtesy of TIGHAR.
Dr. Burns’ analysis indicated the Nikumaroro bones could have indeed been Earhart. But her findings are biased. After all, she was on TIGHAR’s Board of Directors. It would be like Eli Lily telling the public their new drug was 100 percent effective based upon a study by a pharmacologist who happened to be on Lily’s Board of Directors.
It wasn’t long after Karen Burns issued her findings when an independent study of the Nikumaroro bones was completed by Cross and Wright (2015): “The ‘Nikumaroro Bones’ are not those of lost aviatrix Amelia Earhart,” stated Pamela J. Cross and Richard Wright. Published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, this new analysis is a welcome redress to the reputation of Dr. D.W. Hoodless (the medical official first responsible for the evaluation of the bones) and raises serious questions for The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), an Amelia Earhart-focused nonprofit investigatory group and the top proponents of the ‘Gardner Island Theory.’ ”
Not one to easily give up, Gillespie tried a different tack. First though, TIGHAR needed to make the Hoodless calculations a little more palatable. It’s well known that Earhart was at least 5 feet eight inches tall or taller. Amelia’s pilot’s license says 5’ 8″. Dozens of personal recollections and photographs describe and show a tall woman. Amelia tended to fib. Maybe she was even taller. Compared to the known height of many of those she is photographed alongside – there is no doubt Amelia is tall – certainly taller than 5’7″.
Since TIGHAR needed to reduce the measurements necessary to obviate the discrepancies with Dr. Hoodless measurements, TIGHAR now says maybe Earhart was five-seven based upon a driver’s license they found from Massachusetts. Even at five-seven, it’s a stretch the bones found on Gardner fit the computer analysis done by TIGHAR’s latest anthropologist. It is difficult to explain how Dr. Jantz’s computer model concluded “with 99 percent certainty” the bones found on Nikumaroro are Amelia’s based upon measurements taken by Dr. Hoodless.
Can Dr. Jantz’s Nikumaroro bones analysis be considered plausible? Highly unlikely.
Dr. Jantz didn’t know all the facts. First, he hadn’t any bones. Second, his analysis makes no mention of the skull. To duplicate what he believes are the physical dimensions of Amelia Earhart, Dr. Jantz uses clothing held in the George P. Putnam Collection at Purdue University for comparison. Noting the inseam length and waist measurement of a pair of trousers worn by Amelia and told to him by a Purdue staffer, Dr. Jantz makes the incredible assumption those measurements would suffice for his scientific analysis.
Dr. Jantz might not have known what TIGHAR had been told years ago. Amelia Earhart had a painful operation called a Caldwell-Luc procedure done. On June 26, 1935, at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, Dr. Joseph Goldstein performed the surgery. The operation was meant to alleviate a chronic sinus problem plaguing Amelia since 1918 when she was a young nursing assistant in Toronto, Ontario. Goldstein’s procedure called for drilling a hole in the cavity of Amelia’s mouth going through the bone above the second molar to open the maxillary sinus. It was meant to be a new channel for sinus drainage. (ouch) If the procedure was done on both sides it was called a bi-lateral Caldwell-Luc. According to Muriel Morrissey, Amelia’s sister, Amelia had this procedure done previously on the opposite side. Following the operation in 1935, Amelia was quite sick for a week and in fact developed pleurisy before recovering.
A forensic examination of a skull having a Caldwell-Luc procedure within the previous five to ten years would have been observed by a five-year-old. TIGHAR fails to explain how Dr. Hoodless, Gallagher, or the Chief Medical Officer failed to see a dime size hole extending from the jaw through the bone into the cranium. TIGHAR argues maybe the procedure was not apparent because of the missing zygoma and malar bones. However, the zygoma/malar bones are really one area of the cheek and would not interfere in a forensic analysis of this part of the skull. One of TIGHAR team members, a medical doctor, admitted that it would be hard pressed for anyone not to have seen evidence of such a procedure.
Not long before her final flight, Amelia bragged to Muriel that she just had a $1,000 worth of dental work done. In today’s dollars that’s about $18,900 bucks. It seems the five teeth examined by Gallagher, the Chief Medical Examiner, and Dr. Hoodless would have shown evidence of some dental work — a filling at least.
Let’s review some of the known Nikumaroro facts.
Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan failed to arrive at Howland Island on their flight from Lae, New Guinea on July 2, 1937. TIGHAR believes post-loss radio messages from the pair skipped off the ionosphere and originated from Nikumaroro. TIGHAR has tramped to Nikumaroro at least 12 times over the years scouring the island for the missing aviators.
Some of the apocryphal TIGHAR discoveries include: 1) a bone from Earhart’s fingers — which turned out to be from a turtle; 2) a small glass jar that TIGHAR says could have contained freckle cream, and since Earhart had freckles, the jar would be evidence that Earhart was on Nikumaroro. Never mind the jar was mass-produced for years by a variety of manufacturers, not just for freckle cream; 3) the sole of a size 9 shoe even though it is well documented from two pairs of Amelia’s shoes that still exist that Amelia had small feet and wore a size six and a half; 4) a piece of aluminum shelving that TIGHAR insisted came from the Electra even though it has been determined to be a manufactured piece and standard equipment on WWII era Navy PBY Flying Boats; 5) a piece of aluminum sheathing found on Nikumaroro’s sandy beach by TIGHAR in 1991 that TIGHAR insists came from a metal patch installed over the rear window of Earhart’s Lockheed 10 Electra in Miami, disregarding the fact the aluminum is stamped with war years aluminum markings, and not withstanding how the aluminum piece remained in plain view on the beach after 55 years, while the plane is nowhere to be found; 6) a jackknife found near TIGHAR’s “Seven Site” might have come from Earhart’s plane because a jackknife was listed as being on the Electra’s inventory. TIGHAR apparently is not aware that most men in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s would have never been without a jackknife in the wilderness.
But why did they die?
TIGHAR theorizes Earhart and Noonan died very early during their stay on Nikumaroro. Maybe as little as a week or two after they arrived. Certainly, before October 1937, when the first group of explorers arrived. Could this have happened? Quite unlikely.
Coconut water from at least 200 coconut palms was plentiful. Each coconut can contain as much as six ounces of coconut water. Fish teamed in the hulk of a freighter washed up on the beach and in the lagoon. Maude, one of the early scientists visiting the island in October 1937, later wrote that you could catch the fish with your hands. Turtles were easy prey and large coconut crabs scampering about everywhere are considered a delicacy by natives. Earhart and Noonan could have survived on Gardner Island indefinitely.
TIGHAR claims it’s possible Earhart and Noonan might not have had the “know how” or stamina to survive as castaways. That argument seems impossible. The will to survive is strong and Earhart and Noonan were no slouches. Noonan was worldly and had sailed around the world on nine windjammers. Hardly the life of a wimp. Earhart was athletic, had no hesitation to crawl under cars in need of repairs, shot rats in barns, played golf, tennis, rode horses, and earlier in life, played basketball. In college, she explored the dark catacombs below Columbia and crawled several times to the precarious top of its library dome. She had no fear. More importantly, she was an accomplished swimmer.
Didn’t the U.S. Navy look for Earhart and Noonan at Gardner Island? They sure did.
A week after Earhart disappeared, three Vought O3U-3 Corsair float planes from the Battleship USS Colorado flew over Gardner Island for 30 minutes. They roared back and forth, and up and down the length of the island at a leisurely 80 mph. Lieutenant John Lambrecht, the team leader, said they flew at an altitude of 50 to 500 feet. Each plane carried a pilot and observer. It would have been enough time for the six set of eyes to view the island close-up for at least four passes over the length of this small island. TIGHAR says the “glare” probably prevented the crew from seeing Earhart and Noonan. Or, TIGHAR surmises, maybe Earhart and Noonan were deep in the jungle.
Guess what, nowhere on the island is the center of the jungle more than 200 yards from the beach — plenty of time for the castaways to break out into the open.
Why would they be deep in the jungle anyway? (End of Les Kinney commentary.)
Les Kinney’s comprehensive history of Gardner Island-Nikumaroro provides clear perspective on the credibility and veracity of the latest TIGHAR offerings. Of course, there’s plenty that Les couldn’t get to, and that we can’t cover in one blog post. Frankly, I purposely did not expend much space in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last discussing TIGHAR’s vapid disputations, preferring to cover other threads of far more substance. I did write a section titled “The Nikumaroro Hypothesis: Recycled Snake Oil,” that dealt with some of the more salient matters, including the fact that the Nikumaroro hypothesis itself is a third-hand version of Fred Hooven’s original McKean-Gardner Island landing theory, presented by Goerner at the 1982 Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Amelia Earhart Symposium. The theory was soon disavowed by Hooven, once he realized how ridiculous it actually was — and still is. (See pages 300-304 Truth at Last.) Several revealing posts relating to TIGHAR can easily be found via a simple search of this blog.
Les Kinney’s foregoing presentation was far more civil, cordial and even-keeled than anything I write about these miscreants, but we each have our own style. On March 9, the Pacific Regional News echoed the latest TIGHAR bombast with its own story, which appeared in the Marianas Variety, Saipan’s major paper and the site of the recent announcement about the planned Earhart Memorial Monument at the Saipan International Airport. The story, “Bones found on remote island may belong to Amelia Earhart, study says,” is followed by comments, and because the Marianas Variety is a fair and unbiased publication, my comment was allowed to stand:
The claim that Amelia Earhart’s bones were found on Nikumaroro has been long discredited and exposed as fraudulent; this idea is nothing but more hype and fake news from TIGHAR and their media toadies across the mainstream media. Further, this latest media blitz has surely been coordinated by those in Washington who do not want to see an Earhart memorial on Saipan, and such is their anger that they have activated more than the usual handful of media organizations to spread the latest TIGHAR manure across the land. The timing is too coincidental to be anything else. This new installment of the “lost bones” lie is nothing more than a thinly veiled response to the recent announcement about the plans to build the Saipan Earhart Memorial Monument.
Weasel words like “could have,” “likely” and “99 percent probability” season the latest recycled TIGHAR trash, but at bottom, it’s nothing but smoke, mirrors and lies, as usual, from TIGHAR and those in the media who aid and abet their phony schemes. I ask those who believe in real science — not discredited fantasies like “remote viewing” — to study the facts that Earhart researchers have complied for nearly 60 years, and you cannot come to any other conclusion than Amelia and Fred Noonan’s tragic and unnecessary deaths on Saipan.
Murderers are sent to their executions daily on the smallest fraction of the evidence presented in several books since Fred Goerner’s 1966 bestseller “The Search for Amelia Earhart” solidly established the presence and deaths of Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan following their loss in July 1937, and inspired thousands of Americans to demand action from Congress to reveal the truth, which was thoroughly ignored. The additional mountain of evidence I present in “Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last” and here in my blog, www.EarhartTruth.com to support the Marshalls and Saipan truth brings together Goerner’s work and that of several other fine researchers and leaves no other conclusion than Saipan. If TIGHAR had the tiniest molecule of similar evidence to support their false claims, the Earhart “mystery,” would have been declared “solved” decades ago.
The major problem with the Earhart story is that the American public has been told unceasingly for 80 years that her disappearance is a “great aviation mystery,” to the point that this canard has become part of our cultural furniture, blindly accepted without question by nearly everyone. In fact, the U.S. government knows exactly what happened to the fliers and simply refuses to admit it. I will not expand on this basic truth here, however, as anyone unafraid to learn the truth can easily find it. Although the truth about the Earhart disappearance is a sacred cow in Washington, it’s also an open secret, available to anyone who desires to find, learn and understand. (End of Campbell comment.)
In a different situation I would end this post by saying, “We rest our case,” but the fact is that no case has been made by TIGHAR for any of its unceasingly empty and baseless claims. So at this time, I’ll simply say, “Case closed.” Until, of course, the next round of mass-media propaganda and lies descends on the unwary.
In closing, again I ask for your kind donations in any amount to the Earhart Memorial on Saipan — a eminently worthy cause that is long overdue. Please make your check out to: Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument, Inc., and send to AEMMI, c/o Marie S. Castro, P.O. Box 500213, Saipan MP 96950. Thank you.
Lest those who might have thought the latest chapter of the continuing Amelia Earhart disinformation campaign had come to a neat and tidy close with the July 11 report from The Guardian online that the photograph of the dock at Jaluit in the Marshall Islands had been found in a Japanese travel book published in 1935, we now have another, not unexpected, loose end. You might recall that The Guardian reported that “The image was part of a Japanese-language travelogue about the South Seas that was published almost two years before Earhart disappeared.”
“Does it get any worse than this?” I wrote in my July 12 review of the latest History Channel propaganda effort, “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence.” “If the report is true, whatever the photo claims that began with NBC’s Wednesday, July 5 promotion barrage, are now entirely destroyed, discredited and defunct.”
I didn’t need a report from a Japanese blogger to convince me that the claims made by Les Kinney, Morningstar Entertainment and the History Channel, first broadcast nationwide by NBC News on July 5, were false and totally without substance. I was the first to publicly denounce Kinney’s assertions for the delusions (at best) that they were, and I’d known about this shameless plot to grab headlines under false pretenses for many months, since a reader from Pennsylvania procured the same photo from the National Archives in College Park, Md., and sent it to me.
Now Karen Earnshaw, a journalist who lives in the Marshall Islands and wrote June 26, 2015 and July 9, 2015 stories in the U.K.’s Daily Mail online about Dick Spink’s discoveries at Mili Atoll’s Endriken Islands, has informed me in a July 16 email about a Marshallese government press release she found on Rich Martini’s blog. Here is the release:
It’s not easy to read this rather fuzzy document, so here is its content:
The Republic of the Marshall Islands is following your investigation of the Amelia Earhart mystery with great interest. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, confirms that the photograph found in the US National Archives is the dock at Jabor on Jaluit Atoll.
Jabor Dock was built in 1936. The events of this period are still recalled by our eldest citizens. The claim that Jabor dock was already built in 1935 does not match the historical record. Therefore, it would not have been possible for any photos to have been taken of the Jabor dock in 1935. The dock simply did not exist. The elders who confirmed that Amelia and her navigator were brought to Jabor are of the highest standing and reputation in our community.
The ministry hopes this helps the record straight.
It’s interesting to note that there is no Internet site for the Republic of the Marshall Islands; the closest I can find to an online presence is a website for the Embassy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to the United States of America.
The obvious question is, who are the “your” referred to in the first line of the press release? Closely following that, we can ask who besides Rich Martini and TIGHAR, who I’ve been told also has posted it, was this release sent to? Surely they weren’t the only recipients of this highly significant statement from the Marshallese government. I think it’s perfectly obvious that the Marshalls statement was sent to many, if not every major player in the American media. How Martini and TIGHAR obtained it is irrelevant. What is relevant is that no one else in our media has paid any attention to it.
Joel Freedman, of Canandaigua, N.Y., who writes letters and editorials to newspapers locally and nationally in support of the truth, contacted the Marshalls Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was informed that the press release did originate with the Marshallese government. So at least we know this is a legitimate document.
So what does this latest revelation, which so directly contradicts The Guardian report about the 1935 origin of the photo, really mean? It must be insignificant, based on the complete silence emanating from our esteemed media, and indeed it does mean little. But the media isn’t interested in it for entirely different reasons. They’ve already played their roles with the phony photo claims in advance of the History Channel’s Earhart special. As far as the establishment media is concerned, the Marshalls-Saipan truth has been discredited, and the public is once again flummoxed and confused about all aspects of the Earhart case. Mission accomplished.
It’s more than likely that the Republic of the Marshall Islands, an independent nation that doesn’t answer to the United States on all matters related to its Earhart propaganda program, was simply not informed by the involved parties that the current operation was over. Some in the Marshallese government might actually have been trying to be helpful and set the record straight about the provenance of the photo in relation to the dock at Jaluit. I’m sure their efforts were not appreciated, judging by the overwhelming media silence that has greeted the press release.
Meanwhile Martini has now joined the vision-challenged Les Kinney in insisting, despite all evidence, that the photo does indeed reflect the presence of Earhart and Noonan, in effect doubling down on the insanity most thought had been put to rest — and seemingly has been, with the exception of these two luminaries. Martini has apparently decided that he has nothing better to do than to team with Kinney on his grave-digging detail to incoherence and irrelevance in the Earhart chase. But is this really a case of the blind leading the blind, or is it something altogether different, something far more sinister than mere incompetence?
On his blog, Martini further muddles the picture by injecting the interesting but complex and unverifiable tale of the “bottle message” found on a beach in France in October 1937 that some have unsuccessfully tried to tie to Earhart by way of French explorer Eric De Bisschop. I decided long ago not to venture into these very murky waters that demand too much speculation to ever be accepted as fact. If you want to be thoroughly confused, I suggest you visit Rich Martini’s blog, where you will come away with far less clarity than you arrived with.
The bottom line is that “Earhart Fever,” a condition I’ve seen work its insidious ways on far better than these two, is alive, well and highly contagious. Its victims can be identified by their abject willingness to say or do anything that will bring them a moment’s more attention than they otherwise deserve, which is little or none at all.
For those who still fail to understand what has recently transpired despite my best efforts to explain this deviously planned disinformation exercise as clearly as possible, I can only suggest that you carefully re-read my previous posts on the History Channel travesty, and to review Dave Martin’s Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression to see how many of them fit nicely into the despicable drama we’ve seen unfold since NBC News kicked it all off with their promotion blitz on July 5.
Readers of this blog can continue to trust that this correspondent will always tell them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. My integrity and credibility are all I have, and they are infinitely more valuable to me than a few minutes on a third-rate History Channel Earhart special.
“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” — George Orwell
If I wanted to produce a TV documentary that pretends to provide evidence in support of the truth as we know it — Amelia Earhart’s Marshall Islands landing and death on Saipan — while at the same time cunningly undermining this evidence by predicating its entire existence on sensational claims about a photo that are soon entirely discredited, I couldn’t do better than Morningstar Entertainment’s “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence,” which premiered July 9 on History, formerly and better known as the History Channel.
Here’s History’s promotion of the program on its website: “The disappearance of Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan on July 2, 1937 is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of all time. Now, 80 years later, former FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry investigates new, astonishing evidence behind the disappearance of America’s first female aviator in History’s two-hour special ‘Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence.’”
Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? That’s the idea – to hook the unwary into watching this snake oil. But for those who truly understand the Earhart story, such as your humble correspondent, History and Morningstar Entertainment, which produced this program, practically gave their whole game away when they announced that the Earhart disappearance is “one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of all time.” This is a verifiable lie. As I constantly stress, this great American travesty, this great myth of the Earhart “mystery,” simply doesn’t exist. It’s nothing more than a cultural construct that’s been sold for 80 years to an unwitting, inattentive public. The fact that it’s believed by nearly everyone doesn’t change the truth.
In the deepest recesses of the U.S. national security apparatus, where the physical evidence of Earhart and Fred Noonan’s presence and death on Saipan is kept under the strongest lock and key, there’s no Earhart mystery. More importantly, there’s no Earhart mystery in the minds of anyone involved in the Morningstar production, or anyone else who knows how to find and read one of the few books that present the truth, especially but certainly not exclusively Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.
Look around the Net and you can find plenty of “experts” who will tell you why you should believe them about the claims that have been made. For the few who might ask what I thought, I never imagined there was even the remotest possibility that the man claimed as Fred Noonan was he, or that Amelia Earhart was this strange person sitting on the dock. Amelia was never known to have thick black hair, not in any of hundreds of photos I’ve ever seen.
The claims about the ship were also shaky, as I saw no plane on a barge behind the ship, and what looks to be a wake of white water and a blurry object that might be a small barge, or even a small boat. A huge metallic mass on its stern could be an airplane, any airplane, as Koshu was known to pick up wrecked planes at sea. The whole drill seems like some kind of bizarre Rorschach test, with any two observers extremely unlikely to agree on what they’re viewing. This is not how one establishes the presence of Amelia Earhart in this or any photo, or what should be the predicate for a History Channel program that purports to be presenting “astonishing new evidence” in the Earhart case.
On Tuesday, July 11, comes this report from The Guardian online that claims the photograph has been found in a Japanese travel book. “The image was part of a Japanese-language travelogue about the South Seas that was published almost two years before Earhart disappeared,” The Guardian reported. “Page 113 states the book was published in Japanese-held Palau on 10 October 1935.” Does it get any worse than this? If the report is true, whatever the photo claims that began with NBC’s Wednesday, July 5 promotion barrage, are now entirely destroyed, discredited and defunct.
“I agree 100 percent with your take [on the photo],” longtime Earhart researcher and former Office of Naval Intelligence agent Ron Bright told me in a July 5 email. “I saw the photo about a year ago, up close, etc., by Kinney, and told him I could not ID AE sitting on the dock, nor ID the plane on a raft on the stern as the Electra. No guards, no official presence etc., on the dock. Undated, and photographer unknown.
“Now if you agree with Bilimon Amaron that he treated two Americans, a man and woman, on the deck of the Koshu, a few days after 2 July 37, for minor wounds, the facts don’t fit,” Bright continued. “Amaron was very clear to two researchers that the Koshu left shortly for Jaluit with a plane on the stern, with a broken wing, and that the two, probably AE/FN DID NOT LEAVE THE SHIP FOR A SECOND, while in port and before sailing away. It is [in] Les’s eyes that the girl (?) sitting there with rather heavy head of hair, with a white shirt (AE left Lae in a checked shirt) was AE. I don’t buy it. Compare hair at Lae with the rather heavy thick hair on the person sitting on the dock. No date, no cigar!” Of course, with the discovery of the Japanese travelogue, this is all academic now, but I thought it might interest some.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and this photo failed utterly and completely, even before The Guardian report laid waste to this fraud forever. Does anyone except Les Kinney actually think that Earhart and Noonan are in this photo? Does Kinney still believe it?
I wish the ONI photo actually did portray Earhart and Noonan, because our very worthy cause for the truth would have taken a giant step forward at the moment millions saw it on national television. In itself, that would be extremely gratifying to me, regardless of who got the credit. But I’m also convinced that if the photo is the game changer Kinney and Morningstar claim, it would have never have seen air, and would have been completely suppressed.
The brilliant news analyst David Martin (DCDave.com), who’s written two fine reviews of The Truth at Last, may see the essence of the current situation better than anyone. Last week Martin weighed in two days after NBC News broke the news about the photo, kicking off four days of promotions for the Sunday premier. Initially Martin shared my pessimism about a documentary predicated on such a shaky foundation as the ONI Jaluit photo, as his July 7 post, “Press Touts Dubious Earhart Photo,” reflected.
“The special was conspicuously designed not to be taken seriously,” Martin told me. “I thought it had a certain supermarket tabloid quality to it, and I think Wikipedia’s response will be the standard one and was probably already in the can before the program aired. Notice Wikipedia’s use of #6 in the Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression, ‘Impugn motives.’ They’re just doing it to make money, like that Campbell guy with his book. To be sure their motives were not pure, but in a different way.”
“This is just too good!” Martin wrote in a July 11 email after learning of The Guardian’s findings about the now-infamous ONI photo. “The whole thing was surely a set-up. It’s really amazing the lengths to which they go to keep the lid on the Earhart story. Notice that The Guardian is following the script to the letter, pretending that debunking the photo debunks the notion that Earhart was captured by the Japanese. Now watch the rest of the MSM line up to sing from the same choir book. It’s all really quite shameful, all in the service of protecting FDR’s reputation.”
Martin continued that theme in another July 11 email. “The vultures are sweeping in more quickly than I thought they would,” Martin wrote. “This is turning out to be a textbook example of #4 in the Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression. The Guardian quite shamelessly leaves its readers with the impression that debunking this photo — whose phoniness you correctly called — debunks the very notion that Earhart was captured by the Japanese.”
For Dave Martin’s reviews on both editions of The Truth at Last, as well as a summary of that evidence and the press (and Wikipedia) treatment of it, see “Hillary Clinton and the Amelia Earhart Cover-up,” “Amelia Earhart Truth Versus the Establishment,” and “Wikipedia’s Greatest Misses.”
“The Lost Evidence,” formatted in what has become an annoying Reality TV “investigative team” of poseurs we see virtually everywhere these days, did deliver slightly more than I expected. The most important of all the Saipan eyewitnesses, Josephine Blanco Akiyama, 91, and still mentally sharp, told her story to Shawn Henry at her San Mateo home. But to my pleasant surprise, and for the first time on any mainstream TV program, important eyewitnesses other than Josephine were shown, albeit briefly. We saw Bilimon Amaron on film from the mid-1980s, telling T.C. Buddy Brennan of his experience aboard Koshu, treating Noonan while Amelia stood by. In a 1989 interview with Bill Prymak, Amaron said some of the Japanese crewman called the woman, “Meelya, Meelya.”
From the film archives of Don Kothera, which are now in the possession of Les Kinney, we saw Saipan’s Joaquina Cabrera, who washed Amelia’s clothes, and was said to have been moved by Amelia’s “kind eyes,” according to local historian Genevieve Cabrera; and Anna Magofna, who as 7-year-old watched as a tall white man was beheaded while a white woman stood by, and then ran in terror before she could learn what happened next. Lotan Jack, another Marshallese witness interviewed by Buddy Brennan, was also briefly seen on film. David Sablan, among the last of the old guard on Saipan, told his interviewer, “I believe firmly that Amelia Earhart was on Saipan.” These witnesses are magnificent and revealing figures whose convincing accounts, if known and accepted by enough concerned Americans, could be the key to the deepest locks in Washington, the ones with the top-secret Earhart files.
General Alexander A. Vandegrift’s 1971 letter to Fred Goerner, in which the Medal of Honor winner told Goerner that “Miss Earhart met her death in that area [Saipan] because that has been substantiated,” another blockbuster revelation that has never seen American airwaves, was introduced for the first time. On top of this, the 1960 Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) Report was briefly mentioned, another first, to my knowledge. Vandegrift’s letter truly prompted me to wonder if Morningstar and History were actually serious about trying to advance the truth, unlike all other network Earhart documentaries in recent memory, which are little more than slick infomercials for TIGHAR and Nauticos’ fund-raising activities. But too many red flags signaled that “The Lost Files” was just an advanced form of media disinformation, dressed up and pretending to be a sincere presentation of “new evidence.”
“I, too, was surprised at how far they went in revealing the truth,” Martin wrote in a July 10 email. “It was way too slick to be the product of incompetence, and we know what that leaves us with, which practically radiated from the screen. The proof of the pudding will be in the reaction of the opinion-molding community. What we will see, for the most part, will be a combination of #1 and #14 in the Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression. The contrast between the buildup and the reaction will be striking. Most will simply ignore it and proceed as though the program never aired. Those few who might write about it will devote most of their attention to debunking the photo. No one in the MSM or the academic community will ruminate about what it all means. ‘Nothing to see here. Move along.’ ”
Laurel Blyth Tague, Ph.D., a friend and former radio talk show host I’ve known for several years since doing two long interviews on her program, is now well versed in the media’s Earhart disinformation program. But even she has been surprised by the way this soap opera has played out. “I am most struck by the determined refusal [by media] to go DEEPER into any existent supporting evidence by all these people,” Blyth Tague wrote in a July 8 email. “What I mean by ‘surprised’ is that there is no excuse for that perspective, that it almost jumps out as intentional and hostile. They are tipping their hand.” Indeed they were, but as always, these rats in the media are also good little soldiers and carry out their orders without questions or qualms. The real question is how much of the public will actually see this sleazy charade for what it is?
For me, the worst aspect of “The Lost Evidence” was the abject refusal of the principles to acknowledge the work of so many fine researchers and authors who made this program possible. It’s as if these people discovered the story just the other day, when some local natives told them about it. They never mentioned the most important Earhart disappearance book ever written, Fred Goerner’s The Search for Amelia Earhart, and insisted on calling Goerner, a “journalist,” not the great researcher and author he was. Other notable Earhart researchers and authors fared even worse, and none of them, not Vincent V. Loomis, Thomas E. Devine, Oliver Knaggs, T.C. “Buddy” Brennan or Bill Prymak were ever even mentioned. Donald Kothera had to be cited once or twice, because some of the film shown came from Kothera’s archives, which he left to Kinney upon his death.
Otherwise, History’s pretentious-beyond-words “investigative team” took all the credit for about 60 years of research by several devoted, honorable men who risked life, limb and reputation in pursuit of the truth. This practice is absolutely beneath contempt, and is the most shameful breach of ethical and moral standards I’ve yet had the extreme displeasure of viewing on the small screen. For someone like myself, who’s spent 30 years on this story and never lied about any aspect of it to anyone, not once, watching these thieves and pirates prattling and posing throughout this program was painful indeed.
I can’t say with certainty whether Kinney actually believed what he said in “The Lost Evidence,” or whether he knew the truth. Kinney has said more than once that he’s spent “thousands of hours” at government archives over many years in search of the smoking gun in the Earhart case. Based on countless conversations I had with him for several years after he initially contacted me in 2012, it’s easy to believe Kinney convinced himself that he saw things and people that weren’t there. Though it’s a stretch, it’s remotely possible this Earhart-addled soul actually believed his own imagination, but I seriously doubt it. But to those around him, who enabled and facilitated this absurdity presented on this program as legitimate, we shouldn’t think for a millisecond that they were sincere. Are we to believe they’re all delusional or incompetent, including the former FBI official Shawn Henry and Morningstar chief Gary Tarpinian?
Conclusion: A Pure Propaganda Operation
In my opinion, “The Lost Evidence” exhibits many of the hallmarks of a classic disinformation operation. “The Lost Evidence” is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a masterpiece of deceit, cleverly designed to discredit the long-established facts that reveal the truth about Earhart and Fred Noonan’s landing at Mili Atoll and deaths on Saipan at the hands of the prewar Japanese.
It’s a variant of a technique known as “Fake Opposition,” or more commonly, “Controlled Opposition,” and traces its ancestry to Vladimir Lenin, who said, “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.” The controlled opposition, in this case, would be anything that purports to contradict the officially approved theories about the Earhart case, which do not need re-stating here. Also known as “Psychological Operations” or PSYOPS, this practice is ubiquitous in our media. The onslaught of activity from the leaders of our fake news brigade that preceded the July 9 airing is all we need to tell us that a massive propaganda operation was under way, and remains so.
I’ve had enough experience with media and their aversion to the truth about Amelia Earhart to know that nobody who runs production companies in Hollywood could be this incompetent. Many will disagree with my analysis, and say it’s good that the Marshalls, Saipan and Earhart are being presented together in any way at all on History, considering the media blackout that has predominated up till now. But this reasoning is shortsighted, and is rooted in the fact that most Americans want to be entertained, not educated, especially when they watch TV. “The Lost Evidence” undoubtedly fulfilled the entertainment requirement for most, but it is not the work of people who are serious about advancing the truth; on the contrary, they are dead set on discrediting the truth.
If Morningstar and History wanted to make the case for the Marshalls-Saipan truth, this was not the way to do it. Kinney’s ridiculous ONI photo that has now been re-dated by two years earlier in a Japanese travel guide, the empty hole on Saipan, Spink’s unlinked artifacts, all these fail miserably to corroborate the truth as we know it; all are little more than objects of interest and speculation. Nothing is proven in any of these investigations, and plenty of ammunition is handed to the enemies of the truth. The interviews of Josephine Blanco Akiyama, Bilimon Amaron, David Sablan, and footage of Joaquina Cabrera mean nothing when the predicate of the program is destroyed a few days after it airs. Who in the mainstream is showing any interest in the Marshalls-Saipan truth? Not a soul; all are jumping on to denounce all of it because the photo claim no longer holds water. The entire program has now been tainted and will quickly be forgotten. “The Lost Evidence” is simply and transparently the work of people who want to undermine the truth as we know it.
I like Dick Spink and consider him an honest man and a friend, and I don’t believe he’s culpable for the ugliness and stink that so characterize “The Lost Evidence.” But Spink and Les Kinney, with their three minutes (down considerably from Andy Warhol’s original 15) are yet oblivious to the cold fact that they have been duped and made unwitting pawns in the establishment’s ongoing Earhart disinformation efforts, Kinney far more than Spink, who is little more than an innocent bystander.
Kinney, whose dreams of fame and glory, of being hailed as the “man who solved the Earhart mystery,” has lost all credibility and is witnessing a far different reality, as his fantasy dissolves into smoke before his very eyes. After all, how can one solve a mystery that doesn’t exist? Kinney has only himself to blame, because he lit the fuse that ignited this monster. On many occasions I tried to tell him about the media and its overwhelming hatred of the truth, that if he were ever to find a legitimate smoking gun, they would never allow it to stand. He never listened, thinking he knew better.
Just before the publication of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last in June 2012, Sunbury Press Publisher Larry Knorr asked me what my goal was for the book. My answer was simple: I wanted to change the conversation about the Earhart disappearance, to make the Marshalls-Saipan truth at least an acceptable possibility again, instead of the forbidden territory where only conspiracy nuts dared to tread. In the big picture, “The Lost Evidence” has done nothing except incite a brief argument about the credibility of a photo. Meanwhile, something unintended may have happened, because more readers are coming to this blog and to Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last. The silver lining is real, though it will not last very long.
“Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence” is only the latest in the growing list of tawdry Reality TV rip-offs, serial disinformation classics such as “Hunting Hitler,” “Mystery of Oak Island,” “JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald” and other phony productions conceived in the worst tradition of Barnum and Bailey and designed to sow only confusion, ignorance, money and ratings. It’s all so predictable, depressing and most of all, EVIL. Nothing but darkness and lies have plagued the Earhart case since its earliest days, and if the American public ever learned about its own history, few would watch these time-killers, the ratings would plunge and less of these abominations would be produced.
When this nasty little episode fades away, the whole cast of odious characters will soon be forgotten, relegated to the void that is the just reward for those who serially abuse the truth with a disregard and contempt that hasn’t been equaled in recent memory. Their Sacred Cow has been protected once again through the most deceitful of methods, but Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last will remain standing, stronger than ever.