Tag Archives: Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian rejection letters to Briand Jr., others: Classics of sophistry in the Amelia Earhart saga

In an April 3 comment  Les Kinney sent in response to my post of that same day,Revisiting the ’82 Smithsonian Earhart Symposium,” Les wrote: “Joe Gervais, Don Kothera, and Vincent Loomis all asked to speak at [the 1982] symposium.  All were denied.  Only Fred Goerner represented the Japanese capture theory.”  (Boldface and italic emphasis mine throughout.)

Three weeks later Les sent me a copy of a June 1982 letter from Ms. Claudia Oaks, then curator of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, to Paul Briand Jr.  In her June 6 missive, dripping with condescension, Oakes deigned to inform Briand that he wasn’t important enough to stand and deliver the truth about Amelia’s tragic end to the sophisticates who would be populating the peanut gallery at the Smithsonian’s Earhart Symposium later that month.   

Recall that Briand’s 1960 book Daughter of the Sky sparked the real modern-day search for Amelia Earhart, and that without it, Fred Goerner’s famed 1966 epic, The Search for Amelia Earhart, would never have been written.  Les has a similar Oakes letter to Kothera; Gervais and Loomis must have also received them. 

The Smithsonian has long been a central repository of Earhart disinformation — ground zero, as it were, for the establishment’s ongoing commitment to keeping the ugly truth hidden from those of the unwashed incurious enough to rely on government institutions to tell them the truth about America’s history, which is about 99.99 percent of the populace.  Oakes’ letter, below, is a prime example of the carefully crafted mendacity we’ve come to expect from the revered Smithsonian.

Oakes begins her litany of deceit by informing Briand that “half the program [will be] devoted not to her disappearance but to her life. . . . We want the day to be more devoted to Amelia Earhart, the person and the pilot, than to the mystery of her disappearance.”  Does anyone know the precise origin of, or who planted the seed that bloomed into the Smithsonian’s 1982 Earhart symposium?  After 45 years and hundreds of magazine stories, biographies, movies, documentaries, billboards and ads, all celebrating and trumpeting Amelia Earhart’s amazing life, are we to believe that the Smithsonian brain trust actually thought their symposium was needed to preserve Amelia’s legacy? 

Does anyone buy that?  My guess is that the initial impetus for the event was created by the growing, annoying realization among the anointed that Briand Jr., Goerner, Gervais, Loomis and Kothera had all found aspects of the same truth, which would soon be further disseminated to the masses by Loomis’ 1985 book Amelia Earhart: The Final Story and Thomas E. Devine’s Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident two years later.  More than likely, the Smithsonian elites felt something needed to be done to derail this train of Earhart enlightenment before it sped out of control and exposed their sacred cow to danger.  They needn’t have worried.  Besides being dishonest, they were also quite paranoid, failing to understand how effective many decades of government and media propaganda had been in keeping nearly everyone either ignorant or disinterested about the so-calledEarhart Mystery.” 

Oakes, in her officious gibberish, was actually saying that the Smithsonian could handle Fred Goerner, whose ideas, though generally accepted by many if not most of the 400,000 who had made Search a bestseller in 1966, had been vilified and rejected by virtually the entire literary and historical establishment.  Goerner by himself was tolerable, but things could get very uncomfortable if truth tellers such as Briand, Gervais, Loomis and Kothera were to chime in with their findings in support of the unhappy facts Goerner uncovered in four visits to Saipan in the early 1960s.

Thus nobody should be surprised that Oakes tells Briand,Therefore, there are only two spaces on the program for speakers who will talk about her disappearance.  These two [Goerner and the silver-tongued Elgen Long, the poster boy for the government’s crashed-and-sank verdict of 1937, rapidly becoming an anachronism by 1982] were selected after much consideration and with the knowledge, of course, that not everyone would agree with our choices.”  And where was it written that only enough time would be allotted for these two to speak about Amelia’s disappearance, one of them the best-known and most vocal of the double-talking proponents of the false government narrative?  (TIGHAR would not appear on the Earhart scene for several more years.)  Never mind. 

Former Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Curator Claudia Oaks appears in a June 2012 Rome (Ga.) News Tribune story about her retirement from Chieftains Museum, also known as the Major Ridge Home, a log house of 1792 in Cherokee country, within present-day Rome, Ga.  It was the home of the Cherokee leader Major Ridge.  “Retiring Chieftains Director Claudia Oakes is donating commemorative swatches of original aircraft for auction,” the cutline reads.  “Here she is shown with a swatch from a Curtiss NC-4, one of the group of planes commanded by native Roman John H. Towers in his attempted Transatlantic crossing in 1919.  (Doug Walker / RN-T.com).”

Our aim, however,Oakes continued in the same mendacious vein, was not a public debate on theories as to her ultimate fate but a program that would highlight her life, her flying career, and her contributions to aviation, with some attention to, but not emphasis on, her disappearance.”  The emphasis, of course, was on obscuring, deflecting and ultimately burying the truth about Amelia’s Saipan death with enough sugar-coated glorification, distraction and nonsense to keep the majority of the sheeple content, and that’s what happened:  Another stage-managed Earhart disinformation production sold and in the can. 

I have my own brief but inglorious history with the Smithsonian and its confreres, as my posts of Jan. 18, 2015, Smithsonian mag throws “Truth at Last” a bone: Says, “it’s possible . . . Campbell is on to something and Aug. 6, 2019, After five days and publication of this blog post, Smithsonian mag approves my Earhart comment clearly attest.  Nothing in the Smithsonian’s behavior with me or anyone else invested in the truth has ever given me the slightest reason to trust them in any way when it comes to the Earhart matter.

Included in the former of the two Truth at Last posts cited above, Smithsonian mag throws “Truth at Last” a bone,are several paragraphs from my Earhart Disappearance Position StatementBecause this truth cannot be over-emphasized and has yet to be accepted by more than a scant few, I present the below excerpts, as these are more than appropriate for this particular post. 

The Big Lie: The “Great Aviation Mystery”

This PRINCIPLE, which has become one of my constant memes, is that the very idea that the disappearance of Amelia Earhart is a “great aviation mystery” is among the biggest lies in American history.  So effective has the U.S. government been in inculcating and maintaining this idea into the official historical narrative that it has become a normal piece of our cultural furniture, accepted without question by all but the few who care to closely examine this longtime canard, this straw man our establishment created so long ago to protect its own interests.

. . . Thus, when the Earhart disappearance is analyzed or examined by people we would normally consider intelligent, like Tom Crouch [who replaced Claudia Oakes and retired as Air and Space curator in 2018], all established, traditional rules of investigation, including objective evaluation of evidence, logic and the scientific approach, become virtually nonexistent and non-applicable.

Undated photo of Paul Briand Jr. (left) and Joe Gervais, Earhart researchers whose findings, as well as those of Vincent V. Loomis and Don Kothera, firmly established Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan’s Marshall Islands landing and Saipan deaths, were determined not worthy to speak at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum’s 1982 Earhart Symposium by Claudia Oakes and her Smithsonian associates.

Les Kinney ended his April 3 comment with another fascinating nugget, this one concerning researcher Don Kothera and former Marines Everett Henson Jr. and Billy Burks, whose story was the subject of my Dec. 26, 2017 post,KCBS 1966 release a rare treasure in Earhart saga.”

“As part of their June 1982 trip to Washington, D.C., the Kotheras tried to get Marines Headquarters to interview Billy Burks and Ev Henson on the record about their grave digging episode on Saipan [in 1944] directed by Marine Captain Tracy Griswold,” Les wrote.  “The Kotheras even had signed affidavits from Henson and Burks.  The Marines refused the Kothera request.  I wonder why.”

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