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Fred Goerner’s 1990 letter to TIGHAR’s Gillespie: “Don’t bring back more ‘maybes’ for publicity”

Most knowledgeable observers agree that the late Fred Goerner was the greatest Earhart researcher ever.  Some I’ve known with a preference for the bizarre and sensational, the lunatic fringe of the Earhart community, as Goerner was wont to say, have placed Joe Gervais on this mythical throne, though their numbers are few and growing fewer by the day.  

I’ve always thought it most unfortunate that Goerner didn’t live long enough to witness the phony Nikumaroro “hypothesis” promoted by TIGHAR’s Ric Gillespie attain the complete media dominance it has attained over the past 20 years or so.

Perhaps if the former KCBS radio newsman had not succumbed to cancer at age 69 in 1994, the man who wrote the most important book about the Earhart disappearance, The Search for Amelia Earhart (1966) and nearly broke through the stone wall that the Washington establishment erected around the truth since the earliest days, could have made a big difference in the way the American public thinks about the Earhart case. 

A healthy, vibrant Goerner could have put pressure on the media to be more honest and forthcoming about the sophistry emanating from the TIGHAR camp in its constant attempts to justify the ridiculous  travesty that the Nikumaroro canard has become.

A rare photo of Fred Goerner with Efram Zimbalist Jr., circa mid-1960s. Goerner was a fine tennis player, according to his son Lance, who sent me this previously unpublished photo.

A rare photo of Fred Goerner (left) with Efram Zimbalist Jr., circa mid-1960s.  Goerner was a fine tennis player, according to his son Lance, who sent me this previously unpublished photo.

The TIGHAR website is replete with all manner of Earhart research material, and even contains two letters from Goerner.  Neither of these is the below missive from Goerner to Gillespie, written shortly after Gillespie’s return from TIGHAR’s first trip to Nikumaroro in 1989.  The TIGHAR cash cow was still in its infancy, and another year would pass before the infamous falsehood Gillespie uttered at the Washington Press Club, telling the world via CNN that the Earhart mystery is solved.”  This March 1992 farce gained Gillespie instant fame and renown as the world’s greatest Earhart authority — for what amounted to absolutely no reason whatsoever. 

This is the first of two Goerner-to-Gillespie letters in my possession, the second coming two years later, shortly after the TIGHAR boss was featured in an article he wrote himself in Life magazine’s April 1992 edition.  A photo of Gillespie on Nikumaroro in his tropical search outfit, complete with pith helmet, hard at work and immersed in the quest for Amelia Earhart, may have sent an already-ill Goerner to his local emergency room in search of a cure for severe nausea. 

I will leave the rest of the meaningful conclusions to those who can discern them, and get on with the business of presenting the letter from Goerner to Gillespie, dated March 1, 1990.

Richard E. Gillespie Executive Director TIGHAR
1121 Arundel Drive
Wilmington, Delaware 19808

Dear Mr. Gillespie:

Please forgive the brief delay in answering your letter of February 8, 1990.

The questions you posed have required me to research my files which are quite voluminous.  I have more than 75,000 documents and letters and notes in my Earhart file alone.

When I wrote to Mr. Gerth and spoke with you by telephone last year, I was writing and speaking strictly from memory without reference to any documents.  As my involvement with the Earhart matter is thirty years old this year, my memory is far from totally trustworthy.

To properly answer you I have dug into a lot of material, much of which I have not perused for a decade or more.

With  respect to the Floyd Kilts business: One of our KCBS investigative reporters, Bill Dorais, who was deeply interested in the Earhart story, dug into Kilts ‘ claims.  Dorais concluded that it was third-hand information at best and totally suspect.

Bill became convinced that Kilts had seen FLIGHT FOR FREEDOM in which the female pilot character was supposed to land at “Gull Island” and because Hull Island was a part of the Phoenix Islands, speculation was rife that the Earhart plane had come down on one of the Phoenix Islands.

The 1943 Hollywood film Flight for Freedom, starring Rosalind Russell as pilot Tony Carter, who many are convinced was a thinly disguised Amelia Earhart, has been blamed by many uninformed skeptics for much of the so-called "speculation" that Earhart landed anywhere from the Phoenix Island to Saipan. The film was and is a red herring, and has no relationship to the truth about Earhart and Fred Noonan's Mili Atoll crash-landing and eventual deaths on Saipan.

The 1943 Hollywood film Flight for Freedom, starring Rosalind Russell as pilot Tony Carter, who many are convinced was a thinly disguised Amelia Earhart, has been blamed by many uninformed skeptics for much of the so-called “speculation” that Earhart landed anywhere from the Phoenix Islands to Saipan. The film was and is a red herring, and has no relationship to the truth about Earhart and Fred Noonan’s Mili Atoll crash-landing and eventual deaths on Saipan.

Bill wrote to the Central Archives of Fiji and The Western Pacific High Commission for information, and the archivist, named Tuiniceva, replied that “No skeleton has ever been reported found on Gardner Island.” Bill finally decided (as did I) that Kilts’ story was the result of a corruption of varied events, difficulty in translation, vivid imagination and the traditional exaggeration of the story over the years.

I learned more in November, 1968, at the time I took a film crew to Tarawa in the Gilberts to do a documentary on the 25th anniversary the World War II U.S. invasion of Tarawa.  I was accompanied by General David Shoup, USMC, Ret. , who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor at Tarawa, and five U.S. combat correspondents, who had been part of the Tarawa invasion.  The film, TARAWA D+25 was aired in 1969.

During our stay at Tarawa in 1968, I had some long conversations with a Mr. Roberts, who was a top assistant to the British High Commissioner.  Roberts was sort of an unofficial historian for the Gilbert Islands Colony.

I tried out the Kilts’ story on Roberts, and he gathered together several of the older Gilbertese, who had been a part of the colonizing activities at Gardner shortly after the Earhart disappearance.  After much conversation and deep-thinking, it was decided that there was a legend about the remains of a Polynesian man being found on Gardner, what year or specific circumstance unknown.  They were firm, however, that the skeleton of a woman had NEVER been found.  There was, too, a strange story of a woman’s “high-heel shoes” turning up at some point on Gardner.  This was a matter of some hilarity.

Roberts said he was absolutely certain the remains of a woman had never been found because it would have been a matter of considerable import to everyone.  He added that the Polynesian man story was plausible because Polynesians from Niue occupied Gardner Island sometime around the turn-of-the-century.

Roberts told me that if I had further interest I should seek out a man named [Henry Evans] Harry Maude, who headed an expedition to Gardner late in 1937.  He said Maude was the most knowledgeable man in the world about the Gilbert and Phoenix Islands, and he was considered a world-class historian.  Roberts also told me a quite sensational story about the travail of the crew of NORWICH CITY, but I have never found time or motivation to pursue the matter.

 Henry Evans (Harry) Maude, a former British colonial administrator, head of the Social Development section of the South Pacific Commission, and Professor of Pacific History at the Australian National University, and of his wife, fellow researcher and string figure expert, Honor Maude.

Henry Evans (Harry) Maude, a former British colonial administrator, head of the Social Development section of the South Pacific Commission, and Professor of Pacific History at the Australian National University. Maude visited Gardner Island, now Nikumaroro, in 1937, 100 days after Earhart’s last flight, and saw no trace of the Electra or the fliers.

I did not search for Maude, but recently I have been told that Maude has authored several books about the islands, and he is a Professor at the Australian National University in Canberra.  If I were you, I would contact Maude for a full story on Gardner.

Finally, Roberts told me that if Earhart and Noonan had been on Gardner they could have survived very nicely as there were plenty of coconuts, crabs and birds which could be caught by simply walking up to them and grabbing them.

Several times in the 1970s I visited the archives in Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand.  Basically I was searching for information about the cruiser HMS ACHILLES which was involved in the Earhart puzzle in 1937 . I was also interested in why the British through the New Zealanders were so vitally interested in the Phoenix Islands and in particular Canton Island at a time when those interests collided with those of the United States.

If you are certain he was British, I have no information that would refute that conclusion.  Also, I have no proof that Floyd Kilts was removing the Loran station on Gardner as opposed to constructing it.  Bill Dorais got the idea he was involved in the construction.

By  the way, U.S.S. PLANETREE was indeed a U.S. Coast Guard vessel.  It was  a 180-foot tender of the MESQUITE 180 (B) Class).  Her visual call sign was WAGL-307 (bn CG-140) [sic].  She was commissioned November 4, 1943.  As of 1982, PLANETREE was still on active duty.  She was the vessel which delivered the initial construction force to Gardner for the Loran station.  For further information,  I refer you to Robert Scheina, who is official historian for the U.S. Coast Guard.  I’m sure he could get you all of the information about the Gardner Loran installation and the reports that were filed from that installation.  He can also give you a complete biography of U.S.S. PLANETREE.

Again, with respect to the records found in the archives in Auckland and Wellington, I have neither the time or inclination to give you a full story of the competition between the U.S. and Britain over the islands, but I will give you some highlights of some of the material.

H.M.S. WELLINGTON visited Gardner in August, 1935 and accomplished a survey.  In February, 1937, HMS LEITH, again visited Gardner, and a British flag was raised on the island and a large marker was constructed proclaiming Gardner as a British possession.  Mr. Maude and his Gilbertese people arrived on Gardner sometime in October of 1937.  This was separate from the activities which originated in New Zealand.   The Gilbert Islands had a severe problem with excess population, and colonizing the Phoenix Islands appeared as a method of easing that situation.

On November 29, 1929, the British freighter SS Norwich City wrecked on the reef here during a tropical storm. When a fire broke out in the ship, the crew were forced to wade across the reef and seek shelter on the atoll. Eleven men perished in the endeavor but the rest were later rescued. The SS Norwich City was deemed unsalvageable due to Nikumaroro’s remote location and there it still sits, being slowly eroded by the relentless forces of nature.

On November 29, 1929, the British freighter SS Norwich City wrecked on the reef here during a tropical storm.  When a fire broke out in the ship, the crew were forced to wade across the reef and seek shelter on the atoll.  Eleven men perished in the endeavor but the rest were later rescued.  The Norwich City was deemed unsalvageable due to Nikumaroro’s remote location and there it still sits, being slowly eroded by the relentless forces of nature.

In November, 1938, a joint New Zealand and British team, which was known by the acronym NZPAS (New Zealand Pacific Air Survey) landed on Gardner.  The team was headed by E.A. Gibson, M.W. Hay, R.A. Wimbush, Jim Henderson and Jack Payton.  They stayed on the island until January 30, 1939, and they conducted a full survey of Gardner which included setting the boundaries for a landing field and clearing obstructions in the lagoon for a seaplane landing area.

The effort was the brainchild of Sir Ralph Cochrane and E.A. Gibson, and it had twin purposes: To prepare the islands for possible use in the event of a war in the Pacific and to claim the islands for Britain for later use for trans-Pacific commercial aviation.  The work was accomplished in considerable secrecy.

In 1939, the U.S. Navy ship BUSHNELL surveyed Gardner for defense and commercial purposes.  The survey also included aerial photographs and mosaics of the island.

You of course know of the occupation of the island by the Coast Guard [LORAN station] during World War II and the fact the Gilbertese colony held on until the early 1960s.

During all of this time, no official report was ever filed by anyone which would suggest that Earhart and Noonan landed on Gardner in July, 1937.

The above information was what finally dissuaded Fred Hooven from the Gardner conclusion.

By the way, despite our conversation of last year, nowhere have I seen you acknowledge that your recent efforts were motivated by the work of Fred Hooven.  As you well know, the information did not originate with Mr. Willi or Mr. Wade.  Though Fred Hooven has been dead for five years, responsible researchers have the obligation to identify their sources of information.

As I wrote to Mr. Gerth and as I discussed with you by phone last year, I knew the pilots Lambrecht, Short and Fox of U.S.S. COLORADO.  They were not fledgling flyers.  They were seasoned U.S. Navy aviators, and they would have liked nothing better than to find Earhart and Noonan.

To suggest that they saw signs that someone was living on Gardner and simply ignored them is an extreme insult to their memories.  John Lambrecht assured me that they were totally convinced that Gardner and the other Phoenix Islands with the exception of Hull Island were uninhabited.  His “signs of recent habitation” on Gardner were undoubtedly the markers left by HMS LEITH in March, 1937.

At the risk of making you angry, I feel I must say several things to you, Mr. Gillespie.

Up to this day no one has ever definitively located the site of their crash. Formerly known as Gardner Island, Nikumaroro, part of the Phoenix Islands in the western Pacific Ocean, may in fact be the final resting place of the aviation pioneers Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.

Formerly known as Gardner Island, Nikumaroro, part of the Phoenix Islands in the western Pacific Ocean, has been the focus of many false claims made by Ric Gillespie and other TIGHAR members.  Contrary to Gillespie’s phony assertions, nothing found on Nikumaroro in 11 visits by TIGHAR has been ever been connected to Amelia Earhart or Fred Noonan.

The temptation to get easy publicity is immense.  Evidence your recent claims, along with those of Messrs. Willi and Gannon, about a battery, a cigarette lighter, bits of metal, etcetera that you found on Gardner that “possibly could have belonged to Earhart and Noonan or come from the Earhart plane.”

Given the number of people who lived on or visited Gardner since 1937, there must be a mass of debris there, and the more logical conclusion is that these items belonged to those people rather than Earhart and Noonan.  There must be many old batteries there.  The Coast Guard used them for many purposes . Anyone could have lost a cigarette lighter. And a boxlike piece of metal with a serial number on it (that) may have enclosed radio equipmentis more logical to the Coast Guard.  Metal was at a premium on Gardner where the natives were concerned for many purposes including catchments for rain.  I’m sure the Coast Guard personnel gave the natives anything they could.  That ‘s the way it was during WWII .  Also remember that U.S. planes flew into Gardner during WWII to re-supply the Coast Guard station and to deliver mail.

Once you float “possibilities” to the media and there never is a follow-up, it catches up to you and credibility plummets.  The hardest thing in the world is to come back from an expedition and tell the media and friends and members of your organization that nothing was found that could be identified as belonging to Earhart or Noonan or their plane.  I know that because of personal experience.

The only thing that will write an end to the Earhart mystery is positive identification of their aircraft or their remains.  That does not mean a piece of metal or some unidentified human remains.  It means NUMBERS from the props, engines or instrument panel or remains that can be identified by dental charts.

If you return to Gardner, don’t bring back moremaybes for publicity.  If you bring something back, be absolutely positive you have clear identification before making the search for Earhart and Noonan more of joke than it already is.

As I discussed with you by phone and as I wrote to Mr. Gerth, Fred Hooven and I dismissed the possibility of Gardner or McKean because of the massive amount of information that made such a conclusion illogical.  We arrived at the conclusion that the most logical places to search were the tiny reefs which lie between Howland Island and the Phoenix Islands.  I have asked the U.S. Navy to search those bits of coral, and I’m hopeful they will do just that some time in the not distant future.

You must remember, too, that the direction finders circa 1937 were not considered to be accurate at distance closer than 5 degrees.  That information was given to me by captain August Detzer, USN, (Ret.), who in 1937 was head of OP-20-GX, the direction-finding division for Naval Intelligence Communications.

If you want further information, don’t hesitate to ask.

Good luck with your organization and any further searches.  Simply remember to provide all information to your membership and investors, and use the media carefully.  They will not remain tolerant of “maybes” forever.

Sincerely,

Fred Goerner

24 Presidio Terrace
San Francisco, CA  94118

Note Goerner’s closing statement, in which he gently warned Gillespie that the media “will not remain tolerant of maybes forever.  In 1990, four years before his death, Goerner simply had no way to foresee the depths of dishonest advocacy for TIGHAR to which the American media would eventually sink. 

Even now, after 26 years of nothing more than “maybes,” as far as the media is concerned it’s as if TIGHAR’s falsehoods were birthed yesterday, and Gillespie had just stepped out of the National Press Club in 1992 after proclaiming that the “Earhart mystery is solved.”

Nothing demonstrates the artificial, contrived nature of the Nikumaroro scam better than the fact that merit or results have nothing to do with the media’s enthusiasm for it.  Few if any are as disgusted by this absurd phenomenon as I am.

For Amelia Earhart, another unhappy birthday

Well, Amelia, another year has passed since Amy Otis Earhart brought you into this world in your grandparents’ Atchison, Kansas home on July 24, 1897, eons ago, in a much simpler and, some would say, far better America. Because you were so unexpectedly taken from us sometime after you turned 40, you’ll be forever young to those who remember and celebrate your life.

I’m sure you can read these comments or receive this message somehow, and I’m certain you’re in a place where the free flow of all information is enjoyed by all, and where no secrets exist.  I’ll bet there’s plenty you’d like to tell us, but the rules up there prevent it.

Admittedly, it’s a stretch to think you might still be with us at 117 if a few things had gone differently for you and Fred Noonan, and had you reached that exclusive club, you’d surely be a contender for world’s-oldest-person honors.  But considering the amazing feats you managed in your brief life that earned you nicknames like Lady Lindy and the First Lady of Flight, an equally lofty and hard-earned title 77 years later doesn’t seem impossible, does it? After all, Amy was an impressive 93 and lived the majority of her years before penicillin was discovered, and your sister, Muriel, made it all the way to the venerable age of 98 before she cashed in, so I’d say the odds were about even money that you could have been your family’s first centenarian.

In a highly publicized July 1949 interview, Amelia's mother, Amy Otis Earhart told the Los Angeles Times, "I am sure there was a Government mission involved in the flight, because Amelia explained there were some things she could not tell me. I am equally sure she did not make a forced landing in the sea. She landed on a tiny atoll—one of many in that general area of the Pacific—and was picked up by a Japanese fishing boat that took her to the Marshall Islands, under Japanese control.”

In a highly publicized July 1949 interview, Amelia’s mother, Amy Otis Earhart, who died in 1962 at age 93, told the Los Angeles Times, “I am sure there was a Government mission involved in the flight, because Amelia explained there were some things she could not tell me.  I am equally sure she did not make a forced landing in the sea.  She landed on a tiny atoll—one of many in that general area of the Pacific—and was picked up by a Japanese fishing boat that took her to the Marshall Islands, under Japanese control.”

Of course, wishing you a Happy Birthday is just something the living do to make ourselves feel better; where you are, every day is far better than any grand birthday bash we could imagine, and birthdays there must be quite passé.  For your devotees down here, though, at least for those who know the truth about what’s been going on for so long, it absolutely is another unhappy birthday, because nothing of substance has changed in the past year, and what little news we have ranges from the mundane to the depressing.

The big lie that your disappearance remains a great mystery continues to dominate nearly all references to you, often followed by another well-publicized whopper from TIGHAR that they’re just about to find your Electra on Nikumaroro, if only they can raise the money for the next search, ad nauseam.  Such unrelenting rigmarole must bore you, but this and other ridiculous claims are what has passed in our despicable media for “Earhart research” since Time magazine trashed Fred Goerner’s bestseller The Search for Amelia Earhart  in 1966.

Amelia at 7

Amelia at 7:  Even as a child, Amelia Earhart had the look of someone destined for greatness. In this photo, she seems to be looking at something far away, not only in space, but in time. Who can fathom it? 

You’ve likely heard that a young woman, Amelia Rose Earhart, a pilot and former Denver TV weatherperson who happens to have your first and last names but isn’t otherwise related, completed a relatively risk-free world flight July 11 following a route that roughly approximated your own.  At least three others have already done this, all Americans: Geraldine “Jerrie” Fredritz Mock in 1964, Ann Pellegreno in 1967 and Linda Finch in 1997, so there was nothing notable in Amelia Rose’s flight, especially considering that she had the latest GPS navigational technology to ensure her safe journey.

Her motivation was to honor your memory, said Amelia Rose, who was the featured speaker at the annual festival held in your name at Atchison last week.  I don’t attend these pretentious galas, and unless and until event organizers find the courage to come to terms with the truth of your untimely and completely unnecessary demise on Saipan, I never will. Last week she must have been making the rounds of the TV talk shows, as someone on FOX News announced she would be on soon, but I couldn’t bring myself to watch it.

If Amelia Rose actually cared a whit about your legacy, she’d learn the truth that so many insist on avoiding but is available to all.  She would then use her public platform to stand up and call attention to this great American travesty and cover-up – rivaled only by the Warren Commission’s “lone gunman” verdict in the John F. Kennedy assassination in its mendacity, but unlike the JFK hit, completely ignored in the popular culture – and demand that our government stop the lies about her namesake’s true fate.  

Unfortunately and all too predictably, based on what I know about this grandstanding pretender, Amelia Rose has never uttered a word that had any relationship to the truth about what happened to you 77 years ago.

Amelia’s younger sister by two years, Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey of West Medford, Massachusetts, died in her sleep Monday, March 2, 1998 at the age of 98. Muriel was an educator and civil activist, participating in many organizations and benevolent causes. Muriel and Amelia were inseparable as children, sharing many tomboyish activities, riding horses together, loving animals and playing countless imaginative games.

Amelia’s younger sister by two years, Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey of West Medford, Massachusetts, died in her sleep Monday, March 2, 1998 at the age of 98. Muriel was an educator and civil activist, participating in many organizations and benevolent causes. Muriel and Amelia were inseparable as children, sharing many tomboyish activities, riding horses together, loving animals and playing countless imaginative games.

Facts are stubborn things

Amelia Rose’s supporters say she doesn’t know about all the investigations and research that tell us that you and Fred Noonan landed at Mili Atoll on July 2, 1937, were picked up by the Japanese and taken to Jaluit, Roi-Namur and finally Saipan, where you suffered wretched deaths.  This gruesome scenario, as well as the fact that our fearless leader at the time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, refused to lift a finger to help you, much less inform the public that you were the first POWs of the yet-undeclared war to come, continue to be denied by the corrupt U.S. government and suppressed by our media big and small.  But facts are stubborn things, and they don’t cease to exist because the local PTA, the Atchison Chamber of Commerce or Amelia Rose Earhart wishes it were so.

Many hundreds of books celebrate your remarkable life, but only a handful dare to reveal the facts surrounding your miserable demise at the hands of barbarians on that godforsaken island of Saipan.  Now that the Japanese are among our best friends and allies in the Pacific Rim, we don’t want to offend their delicate sensibilities with public discussions of their World War II barbarities, do we?

Speaking of which, you might know Iris Chang, author of the 1997 bestseller The Rape of Nanking, which exposed the long-suppressed Japanese atrocities against the Chinese in December 1937, only months after your disappearance. Despite the book’s notoriety and widespread acceptance of its findings, the Japanese ambassador refused to apologize for his nation’s war crimes when Chang confronted him on British TV in 1998. In 1999 she told Salon.com that shewasn’t welcome in Japan, and she committed suicide in 2004.

We’re still not sure why Chang perpetrated the ultimate atrocity against herself, but it’s been said that the years of research into such horrific subject matter disturbed her greatly.  The parallels are obvious, but the depravities the Japanese committed against the Chinese, despite the overwhelming numbers of the murdered, don’t rankle Westerners nearly as much as the mere consideration of what befell you and Fred on Saipan.  Chang may have been unpopular in Japan, but her work was celebrated by the U.S. media, which avoids anything or anyone that hints at the truth about you like the plague.

The Rape of Nanking, Iris Chang'e 1997 bestseller that exposed the World War II depravities of the Japanese military, was embraced by the U.S. media, which continues to suppress and cover up the truth about that same Japanese military's atrocities against Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan.

The Rape of Nanking, Iris Chang’e 1997 bestseller that exposed the pre-World War II depravities of the Japanese military, was embraced by the U.S. media, which continues to suppress, deny and ignore the truth about that same Japanese military’s atrocities against Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan.

Amelia Rose may not know the sordid details, but she’s heard the story and has shown no inclination to learn about the truth, falsely marginalized as an “unsubstantiated fringe theory” for many decades by our trusted media.  So at best, Amelia Rose is among the willfully ignorant about you; this strain of ignorance is just another form of cowardice, another excuse to avoid the truth, and of course it’s dishonesty in spades.

How can I say this so blithely?  At last year’s Amelia Earhart Festival, an Earhart researcher engaged Amelia Rose, on hand to collect another dubious honor, in a conversation that began well but abruptly turned to ashes when he brought up the subject of your death on Saipan.  Amelia Rose, upon hearing this, flew from this man as if he had leprosy. Almost a year earlier, she ignored my email missives that not only politely informed her of the truth, but offered her a free copy of my book, Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.

So Amelia Rose Earhart, rather than being a special person, is just one of many hundreds of similar mainline media lemmings who assiduously avoid the truth.  Those who aren’t part of the solution are part of the problem, and excuse me if I repeat myself, but they are cowards as well.

So the lies continue without surcease, and 99.99 percent of the public continues to hear, read and without reservation buys the myth that your disappearance remains among the greatest aviation mysteries of the 20th century.  A few of us know better, and are doing our best to rectify this appalling situation, but we aren’t having much success.  Few will admit it, but the word has long been out that it’s not acceptable to talk about what really happened to you.  Nobody wants to hear it, so it’s fallen to outsiders like this writer to do justice to your story.  We’re called conspiracy theorists and wing nuts, and are strenuously shunned.

So Amelia, that’s how it looks to at least one of us down here on your 117th birthday.  Sadly, you and Fred Noonan are as far from realizing Fred Goerner’s justice of truth as ever, and there’s nothing coming from our government that gives us the slightest glimmer of hope.  But the difficulty of this mission doesn’t deter those of us who truly believe in the worthiness of the cause.  And so we continue.

 See also: Veterans News Now

 

77th anniversary of Earhart’s last flight approaches; Sadly, nobody cares

We’re just a week out from July 2, the 77th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s fateful flight, but it’s safe to say that no one will mention it, especially anyone in the media, whether it’s the mainstream or the so-called alternative variety.

Since TIGHAR’s previously announced plans to visit and search Nikumaroro for the eleventh time in August 2014, at an announced cost of $3 million for an operation that will yield nothing except another nice payday, have apparently been derailed or postponed (please advise if you know differently), our stalwarts in the truth-seeking media have been silent, and they will likely stay that way on July 2.  The reason for this silence is quite simple: If they can’t broadcast falsehoods and propaganda about Amelia Earhart, they won’t do anything at all.  How do I know this? Twenty-six years on this story, and two books, have given me a perspective that few, if any, have on this topic.

For those few discerning souls who visit this blog regularly, I know this might sound like a broken record bordering on sour grapes, but please bear with me.  The overwhelming majority of media people are not interested in the Earhart disappearance, and the rest actually detest the truth.  (See “Frank Benjamin: ‘We are brothers in pain!’” Jan. 28, 2014, and “A look back at 2013,” Jan. 1, 2014, for more.)  Again, you might ask how I know this.  Since the publication of Truth at Last in June 2012, I’ve undertaken several massive emailing campaigns designed to inform the media and everyone else I can think of about Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last and the worthiness of the cause.

One of my favorite photos of Amelia, revealing her essential nature before she found fame. While visiting her sister Muriel at St. Margaret’s College in Tornonto in 1917, Amelia encountered three Canadian soldiers who had lost a leg, and decided, on the spot, to join the war effort. She enrolled in the Voluntary Aid Detachment and was assigned to the Spadina Military Hospital. “Sister Amelia soon became a favorite among the wounded and discouraged men,” Muriel wrote.

A unique photo of Amelia as a young woman, seeming to reveal her essence before she found fame.  While visiting her sister Muriel at St. Margaret’s College in Toronto in 1917, Amelia encountered three Canadian soldiers who had lost a leg, and decided, on the spot, to join the war effort. She enrolled in the Voluntary Aid Detachment and was assigned to the Spadina Military Hospital.  “Sister Amelia soon became a favorite among the wounded and discouraged men,” Muriel wrote.

It’s hard to estimate the number of people I’ve contacted, but it’s far more than enough to reflect how most Americans perceive the Earhart disappearance, and must be somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 email contacts.

Groups that I’ve targeted, wrongly believing that they might be more receptive to the message than average citizens, included but were not limited to every talk radio station and host in the United States; every major newspaper and many hundreds of smaller papers in the country; thousands of Navy veterans; history departments and libraries at higher learning centers including the Universities of Kansas, Maryland, Florida, North Florida, Alabama and Florida State; all or most public libraries in Kansas, Minnesota, Maryland, Texas and Florida; all seniors assisted living centers and community centers in the Jacksonville, Fla.,  Gainesville, Fla., and southern Georgia areas; every aviation museum bookstore in the country (about 180); every public and private high school in the Jacksonville area; and even the entire fac ulty of Gonzaga High School, in Washington, D.C., where I graduated in 1968 and which ignored me without a single exception.  Along the way, of course, were countless angry emails demanding to be taken off my mailing list, and worse.

Besides the radio and print outlets listed under my website’s Media Page, I can count the positive responses from the above list on two hands. Doing the math is unnecessary here, and it’s far too depressing.  I can’t think of another subject that Americans would be less interested in than the one to which I’ve devoted so much time and effort.  Such is the putrid state of interest in poor Amelia’s fate that even the minimal standard one-half of 1 percent return that marketers expect from any ad campaign is an impossible pipe dream when the topic is the Earhart case.  If this two-year, mass-mailing experiment has proven anything at all, it is that the media’s enthusiasm for the TIGHAR search is entirely synthetic and contrived, and doesn’t in any way reflect a public demand for information in the Earhart matter.

I’ve recently suspended the email campaign, having surpassed my tolerance threshold for rejection months ago.  As we approach July 2, I’m not booked on a single radio program, and not one newspaper, or even blogger, has accepted the below commentary for publication.  So rather than hide my light under a bushel, my July 2 commentary is herewith offered.  A much longer version, with the same title, “The truth in the Earhart ‘mystery’ is a sacred cow,” has been among the top 25 most read at Veterans News Now since mid-June of 2013.

The commentary’s success at VNN is a rare but illustrative anomaly, and demonstrates that a compelling presentation can attract discerning readers who are interested in the truth.  The other light shining in the distance is that of Kay Alley, the vice chair of the Kansas Chapter of the Ninety-Nines, whose enthusiasm and advocacy in this cause has moved her committee members to approve my appearance at their sectional conference in Wichita, Kansas, at the end of September.  I’ll have two hours to change some hearts and minds, and will do my best.  (See “A point of light emerges,” March 8, 2014.)

The truth in the Earhart “mystery” is a sacred cow

July 2 is the 77th anniversary of the loss of Amelia Earhart, America’sFirst Lady of Flight, and Fred Noonan, her navigator, during their world-flight attempt in 1937.  No missing-persons case in history has been as misreported and misunderstood.  In fact, the popular myth that the Earhart disappearance remains among the 20th century’s greatest mysteries is a complete falsehood, the result of decades of government propaganda aimed at perpetuating public ignorance in the Earhart matter.

The ugly truth is that the flyers and their twin-engine Lockheed Electra 10E crash-landed at Mili Atoll in the central Pacific’s Marshall Islands, were picked up by the Japanese and eventually taken to Saipan, where they suffered wretched deaths at the hands of their barbaric captors.  This unpleasant reality has been dismissed and repackaged by the American media so successfully that it now permanently resides in the dustbin of fringe conspiracy theory.  But in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the flyers’ landing and recovery by the Japanese survey ship Koshu are commonly accepted facts. In 1987, the Marshallese government issued four postage stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the events.

San Francisco newsman Fred Goerner’s 1966 bestseller, The Search for Amelia Earhart, was the first of several books to reveal the truth.  Among Goerner’s witnesses was Manual Aldan, a Saipanese dentist who treated Japanese officers and spoke their language. “The name of the lady [flyer] I hear used,” Aldan told Goerner in 1960. “This is the name the Japanese officer said: ‘Earharto!’”  In 1965, retired Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz told Goerner, “Now that you’re going to Washington, Fred, I want to tell you Earhart and her navigator did go down in the Marshalls and were picked up by the Japanese.”  Not a whisper about Nimitz’s revelation can be found in any mainstream media product in the past several decades.

In his 1987 classic, Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident, former Army Sgt. Thomas E. Devine recounts his Saipan experiences that exposed the prewar presence of the American flyers.  In July 1944, Devine and other GIs watched as Earhart’s Electra was burned and later bulldozed into a pit with tons of war refuse, destroyed at President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s direction after its discovery at Saipan’s Aslito Airfield.  Our nation was not prepared to confront Japan in 1937, and if Earhart’s abandonment on Saipan by the popular president became known, FDR’s political future would have turned to ashes.  Soon after FDR learned of the flyers’ capture, likely through Navy intercepts of Japanese radio communications, the Earhart matter became a sacred cow, the truth deeply hidden until Goerner revealed it to a fascinated nation whose outraged call for Congressional action was roundly ignored.

With Our Own Eyes: Eyewitnesses to the Final Days of Amelia Earhart (2002) presents the accounts of 26 Saipan veterans whose Earhart-related experiences corroborated Devine’s. Ten years later, Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, this writer’s expansive follow-up to Own Eyes, overwhelmingly confirmed the truth with many new findings, witness testimonies and documents.  Convicted murderers are regularly sent to their deaths based on the smallest fraction of the evidence Truth at Last offers that places Earhart and Noonan on Saipan — far exceeding any objective standard of proof

A mountain of evidence reveals the tragic fate of Amelia Earhart on Saipan, yet nothing the media tell us about the so-called Earhart mystery ever hints at the truth.  The recycled theories are transparently false, but the establishment’s goal of diverting Americans away from the facts never changes, nor does the continuing travesty of official denial.  Will this pathetic state of affairs ever end?

Is missing Malaysian jetliner next sacred cow?

The quest for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is beginning to look more and more like the unending search for Amelia Earhart’s Electra on Nikumaroro on steroids — a complete charade meant only to distract and misinform the public, and provide more fodder for the Discovery News Earhart disinformation program.

In the case of the missing Malaysian jetliner, the entire international community is the target audience, which raises questions about our politicized media that have long needed asking.  Outraged relatives of the missing passengers — two-thirds of whom are Chinese, demonstrated loudly outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing yesterday, demanding more information from Malaysian authorities, who have been notoriously unforthcoming and incompetent in their investigation of the missing plane. 

Gen. Tom McInerney has not been seen on FOX News since he told Sean Hannity that he thinks Malaysia Air Flight 370 was hijacked to Pakistan.

Gen. Tom McInerney has not been seen on FOX News since he told Sean Hannity that he thinks Malaysia Air Flight 370 was hijacked to Pakistan.

In what is becoming eerily reminiscent of the false claims coming from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) during their seemingly endless 26-year Earhart search, today Reuters reports that new satellite images have revealed more than 100 objects in the southern Indian Ocean that could be debris from a Malaysian jetliner missing for 18 days with 239 people on board, Malaysia’s acting transport minister said on Wednesday.  The latest sighting came as searchers stepped up efforts to find some trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, thought to have crashed on March 8 after flying thousands of miles off course.” 

Similar false reports have been the mainstream media template for at least a week.  The claim that some sort of debris that could be from the missing Boeing 777 has been spotted by satellites is all we hear from our esteemed media pundits.  It’s as if the word has gone out — from who or what is the question — that this is the story and you’d better stick to it.

Nothing more has been heard from FOX News analyst, retired Gen. Tom McInerney, who told Sean Hannity on March 20 that sources about whom  he couldn’t say anythinghave told him that the jetlinermay have landed in Pakistan. And I believe that airplane landed, McInerney told Hannity on his prime time Fox show. “I believe that airplane landed. And I’ve listened to a lot of aviation experts, and none of them know anything about radical Islam. . . .  Yeah, I still maintain it was hijacked.  And for anyone to say, ‘Well, they had a fire or something’ — look, we never heard a mayday.

All the communications,the general continued, the comms, the UHF/VHF sat-com, to our knowledge were never turned off. And so they could have talked, if they wanted. . . . It surprised me, too.  And what have we heard from our own intelligence agencies about certain airfields, particularly the one near Quetta, Pakistan.  As I mentioned the other day on the radio, the distance from Lahore to Beijing, excuse me, Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and Kuala Lumpur to Lahore, Pakistan, is 2,700 miles, equidistant.  Isn’t that a coincidence?” 

Since McInerney’s comments to Hannity, ZERO about the hijacking possibility has been seen or heard from any news agency that I’m aware of right now.  It’s as if McInerney’s appearance was a unplanned mistake that will not be repeated on major air anytime soon.  Those who say that we would have heard from hijackers by now, claiming credit or making demands, aren’t considering that the barbarians who dominate the third-world ‘Stans understand very well how the element of surprise can be their ace in the hole in future terror attacks.

Only Tammy Bruce talked about it on her show two nights ago, though of course it’s possible other minor radio hosts may have done so as well.  But major networks seem frantic to tell us that the plane went in the Indian Ocean thousands of miles off Western Australia, the last place anyone would expect it to be.  Call me paranoid or conspiratorial, but if 26 years of study in the Earhart disappearance has taught me anything, it’s that the media can’t be trusted.  And the more important the story, the less truth we get from the media.  

I think it’s not too early to ask if the reporting about the disappearance of Flight 370 is going to loosely parallel the false Coast Guard and Navy conclusions when Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan went missing in 1937.  The truth about Earhart and Noonan, who landed at Mili Atoll, were picked up by the Japanese and taken to Saipan, where they died miserable deaths, has yet to be officially admitted by the U.S. government.  The Earhart cover-up, chronicled in detail in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, was not the last sacred cow our establishment elites created and nurture to protect their corrupt interests and rear ends, both political and financial.  Could Flight 370 be the next one, for even more despicable reasons on the part of our establishment elites?

Something to consider as you watch the latest dispatches about the new garbage spotted by satellites.

 

July 11: Another Amelia Earhart anniversary passes

I suppose it’s about time I posted something here, if only to justify the existence of this blog, so far out on the fringe of obscurity, much like the object of its focus.  Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last marked its first birthday on June 21, a few weeks before the arrival of the 76th anniversary of Amelia’s last flight, on July 2, 1937.  Since nothing memorable happened on the “platinum” anniversary, when one might reasonably expect something of significance to occur, we shouldn’t be surprised when the 76th anniversary would pass quietly.

All wasn’t entirely calm on the media front, as Ric Gillespie of TIGHAR was promoting another of his bi-annual schemes to collect prodigious sums of money from the stupid for the ostensible purpose of returning to Nikumaroro and searching for Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan and their lost plane.  Gillespie has done this 10 times already and found many curious “artifacts” among the island’s buried garbage that he’s brazenly attempted to connect to the lost flyers or the Electra, never successfully of course, because they were never on Nikumaroro.

No need to provide the details of Gillespie’s latest scheme here; it’s possibly the most absurd of all his ridiculous offerings to date, and would be hilarious if it wasn’t such an outrageous affront to all common sense and decency. Regardless, Gillespie need only utter his latest fantasy to Discovery News, which publishes his newest excuse to fundraise, and the monkeys and stenographers in the entire major media fall in line with their always-predictable press releases and breathless broadcasts, once again hyping a delusion as the Second Coming.

Many can attest to the fact that the American flyers never visited the atoll once known as Gardner Island, including Henry Maude and Eric Bevington of the British Colonial Service, who was there just 100 days after Earhart vanished. Ninety-odd days earlier, Lieutenant John Lambrecht and two other pilots from the USS Colorado, whose planes were launched by the battleship to search Gardner mere days after the flyers went missing, saw nothing amiss.  The hundreds of Gilbertese settlers who lived there from 1940 until the early 1960s, as well as the dozens of U.S. Coast Guardsmen who manned the LORAN Station in 1944-’45, would say the same thing — no trace of the missing American pair was ever seen on the island.

Meanwhile the major media blackout of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, continues unceasingly.  Good people such as Deanna Spignola, Michael Betteridge and Jessica Renshaw were willing to offer their support, stand up for the truth and have me on their radio shows and write about this on their blogs.  Thanks to great support from Debbie Menon of Veterans News Now, my long commentary, “The truth in the Earhart ‘mystery’ is a sacred cow” reached No. 1 on that news site, with many thousands of reads (please see “Media” at www.EarhartTruth.com).

Otherwise, the entire lame-stream media vehemently opposes and ignores this book and its message; their longtime investment in perpetuating Gillespie’s falsehoods is obvious to any rational observer. If the publication of Truth at Last has proven anything, it’s that the Earhart cover-up is alive, well and more real today than everHow else can one explain the media’s unbridled, never-ending enthusiasm for the so-called Nikumaroro “hypothesis,” which is nothing more than long-debunked, thirdhand, unmitigated crap, while completely ignoring Truth at Last and its uncompromising presentation of the overwhelming eyewitness, witness and documentary evidence that places Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan and their Electra 10E on Saipan in the weeks and months following their loss?

Want more evidence?  Hollywood director Rich Martini and associates recently spent months on Saipan vainly digging at the old Aslito Airfield in search of Amelia’s Electra, as well as interviewing aging Chamorros in search of new eyewitnesses to the prewar presence and deaths of Earhart and Noonan. Naturally, Martini’s activities were big news on Saipan, and were covered extensively in the two newspapers there, Marianas Variety and Saipan TribuneBut one could search forever without finding a single media organization in America – not one newspaper, radio or TV station, or even a single blog – that contained a whisper of Martini’s Saipan excursion.  Enough said for now.  I continue my efforts, for whatever that’s worth.

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