Evidence that the photograph of her on Jaluit is real

In light of the latest hoopla with regard to the infamous photograph of the dock on Jaluit that proves Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were in Japanese custody...

Your honor... I present further evidence.

Let's recap, shall we?

The History Channel and my friend Les Kinney release a photograph that shows a number of verifiable details.  A ship identified on the show as the Koshu towing a plane on a Japanese barge with the same dimensions as the Electra

The show examines that the ship indeed was the Koshu.  We have records from the Koshu itself that show it was in Jaluit in July of 1937 (more on that later.)

The photograph in the portfolio - not a book, nor "a copyrighted book" - but a photo album that's been stamped 1935 - never published, not ever a book -  (if we can't agree on what a book is, what's the point of language anyway?) A book is bound - it's published, it's reprinted - that's not the case here. 

Guess they couldn't bind books in Japan without string.
Or perhaps it is what it is - a porfolio of photos stamped as 1935 incorrectly.

It's a photograph with other photographs taken by the same photographer tied together with the traditional string that photo albums have. 

1935 stamp. Not a copyright notice. Not a bound book by any stretch 
of the imagination. Not a published, reproduced book.  
No other copies of this portfolio.
That's all very clear from the website itself.
Hey look, a 1937 Ford! (just kidding - but you get the idea)

The photo caption for the photograph of the Jaluit dock actually says the ship in the photo is the "Koshu."  Gee willickers - you can't claim the photo proves one thing, then doesn't prove another thing.

When was the Koshu at the dock in Jaluit?  I reveal that below.

The photo has: A man standing on the dock who forensic photo experts claim is a match with Fred Noonan, and the back of what appears to be a woman crouching.  

It looks to my eye that it is Amelia's back - but then I've only amassed 5000 photographs of her, watched 30 hours of stock footage of her, been hired on the Diane Keaton and Hilary Swank films, have been studying her back for oh... 30 years now.  Could it be someone else's back?  I suppose so. But from the pose that I see - my brain said "oh, look, Amelia's back."

So there are other people on the dock as well.  Can these folks be placed on the dock in 1937. As I showed in a previous post here - yes, there is some evidence of Europeans being arrested, detained by the Japanese on these docks in the past.  De Bisschop is one, the fellow "V B 2" who wrote the "I saw Earhart in custody on the dock at Jaluit in 1937" letter is another.

But I digress.

The Marshall Islands issued a preliminary press release where they refuted the "debunking"of the photograph - claiming that their records and oral histories show that dock was not built until 1936.

(They've issued a second official release where they didn't mention the dock, but reaffirmed that they believe the words of the elders who claim they saw the Electra come down, saw the woman pilot arrested, and reported the dock was not built until 1936.)

So what else can we glean from this photograph?

Well, a number of things.

As reported below, an eyewitness who claimed he spoke to a stevedore who helped drag the Electra off of Mili Atoll, and then put it on a Japanese barge which took the Electra to a Japanese ship docked in Majuro.

Andew Bryce, Navy Vet, who spoke to the stevedore on Majuro
who claimed he transported the Electra to a Japanese barge, then to a Japanese ship. His brother Douglas saw the Electra in a hangar on Saipan. What are the odds two vets - brothers would hold key clues to her plane? (Both interviewed in the "eyewitnesses on saipan" footage)

There's an eyewitness report in the footage below that quotes a Marshallese congressman who remembers the day in 1937 when his father took him to the dock to show him the plane on the back of the Japanese ship, and told him about the arrest of an "American spy."

He was a boy when his dad to him to the dock in 1937 to show him the Electra.

There's an eyewitness report in the footage below where Bilimon Amaron, a local on Jaluit, claims the Japanese brought him aboard the Japanese ship to examine Amelia and Fred and he saw the plane on a sling on the back of the ship.

Bilimon Amaron, a man above reproach,
according to his business partner of 40 years. 

Bilimon was filmed at least twice, 
and his story reported in a number of books.
But maybe they're all wrong? Maybe they made that up?

What's a simple logical way to learn if and when this ship, identified by many sources as the Koshu, wound up on Jaluit?

The ship's records.

Turns out there's someone who has examined the ship's records.  Vincent Loomis.  Turns out he wrote about examining those records in 1985.  I found these references this morning, and I will post them verbatim and where they came from:

From a page marked "Warships in the Marshalls in 1937"

Subject: Warships in the Marshalls
Date: 2/21/01
From: "R.R."
Concerning Japanese military in 1937, I have a document that might be of interest.

Department of State
Division of Far Eastern Affairs
5 July 1937
Subject: Search for plane of Amelia Earhart

"Mr. Hayama informed Mr. Ballentine over the telephone that the Japanese Embassy had received an urgent telegram from Tokyo asking that inquiry be made of this Government whether the Japanese Government could be of assistance in connection with the search for Amelia Earhart, in view of the fact that Japan had radio stations and warships in the Marshall Islands... Mr. Ballantine expressed his appreciation etc."

"The significance is that the Japanese did have warships in the Marshall islands on 5 July 1937."

Subject: Re: Warships in the Marshalls
Date: 2/22/01
From: "D.P."

"At the very least, it shows that someone at the Department of State thought that the Japanese had warships in the Marshalls. This is the same intelligence that missed the Japanese planning to bomb Pearl Harbor. Their beliefs could have been incorrect."

(reply) From Ric

The communication alleges that Mr. Hayama (presumably of the Japanese Embassy) called Mr. Ballantine (presumably at the U.S. State Dept.) to tell him that the embassy had just received an offer from the Japanese government to help with the Earhart search because "Japan had radio stations and warships in the Marshall Islands...". 

"This would seem to be a rather straightforward acknowledgement by Japan that it had warships in the Marshall Islands. What ships were they?"

"For (sic) his book Amelia Earhart : The Final Story, Vince Loomis went to considerable efforts to dig out the records of what Japanese ships were in the Marshalls in July 1937. He was trying to figure our (sic) what ship his star witness, Bilimon Amaron, had seen carrying the Earhart Electra on its aft deck." 

"His book claims that he was able to determine that the Japanese really did not carry out the search for Earhart they later claimed to have made, because the ships of the "12th Squadron" supposedly used in the search were, in fact, in port in Japan the whole time. A survey ship also said to have participated in the search, the Kamui (meaning "God's power" and incorrectly listed as Kamoi in most Earhart books) was also in home waters." 

"The only ship Loomis could come up with anywhere near the Marshalls was the seaplane tender Koshu. She was in Ponape, about 400 miles west of the Marshalls, on July 2, 1937 and arrived in Jaluit in the Marshalls on July 13. Loomis says Koshu then left Jaluit but returned sometime before July 19 when she sailed for Truk and eventually Saipan. It is between its departure from and return from Jaluit that he says the ship picked up Earhart, Noonan and the plane at Mili Atoll in the southern Marshalls.


Subject: Re: Warships in the Marshalls
Date: 2/23/001
From: "R.J."

"Here's a pertinent extract from the book TFKing, and others are writing:

"The U.S. also asked the Japanese to search the areas around the Marshall Islands, and official correspondence at the time indicated that they asked the oceanographic survey ship Koshu to do so. The Koshu arrived in the Marshall Island area on or about July 9th, and continued searching for about ten days. 

A 1949 U.S. Army Intelligence report states that despite the fact that no documentation exists in the Japanese Navy, interviews of Japanese officials on Jaliut (sic) and elsewhere indicated that both the Koshu and Kamoi searched the Marshall Islands, with the assistance of a large-type flying boat. Bridge logs of the Kamoi clearly state it was no where near the Marshalls during this time, and we have no documentary evidence that a flying boat was ever used to search for wreckage. 

The report also states that no traces of the Electra were found. 1. The Japanese also offered to search the Gilberts, an offer that seems to have been (understandably) ignored. 2. The Koshu was doing oceanographic surveys, and based upon their reports, one can deduce from their speed and departure date to have arrived in the Marshalls (Jaluit) no earlier than July 9th. 

Official correspondence between the US Navy and State Dept. and Japanese officials at that time acknowledge only the Koshu in assisting in the survey for AE wreckage.... 

What's interesting about this Army Intelligence report is that it is the first document that names the Kamoi. Every AE book states the Kamoi and Koshu were involved in the search. Hmmm. Now about that seaplane...no confirming documents on its existance (sic) ...but I wonder if the anecdotes about a plane being sighted in and around Jaluit during the search phase on the back of a ship was this seaplane and not AE's...I wonder..."

1 US Army Intelligence, 1949a; Kamoi bridge logs in Jacobson archives; Maritime Safety Agency, Tokyo, 1951, Hydrographic Bulletin, 981(8).
2 Western Pacific High Commission, 1937a; U.S. Department of State, 1937; U.S. Navy, 1937e; Spading, 1997.

(reply) From Ric

"We clearly have the Kamui (Kamoi - whatever) nailed, but I'm a bit fuzzy about the Koshu. The Loomis book includes copies of various diplomatic exchanges between the U.S. and Japan but there's no reference to the Koshu. Mike Holt couldn't find a Koshu in A. J. Watts' Japanese Warships of WW2. I wonder what evidence we have that there even was such a boat?

The Honolulu Star Bulletin has an AP release dated 6 Jul 37 from New York; in sum, Japanese officials report that the "2100 ton survey ship Kooshu [sic]" is searching in the Marshall Islands. (In the main article the spelling is "Koshu", so probably an extra "o" typo. Also the Japanese were searching in "other areas near Howland".)

"This is probably independent corroboration of the Koshu's status. Fukiko Aoki, Japanese author, writes in Searching for Amelia Earhart in 1984 (not translated as of yet) that there were two Japanese ships in the area. The "battleship Koshu" and the carrier Kamoi." 

(RM: Obvious error or mistranslation from Ms. Aoki - not a battleship) 

"According to her, she reviewed the logs of the Koshu which reflect the dates and places reported by Ric. The Koshu left Jaluit on 19 Jul 37 headed to Saipan."

(RM: Hello? The Koshu was in Jaluit from July 9th to July 19th?  Then headed to Saipan?  Gee, I wonder what it was taking to Saipan?  Oh, I don't know. Perhaps that shiny aluminum plane that both Bilimon Amaron and Oscar De Brum claim they saw?

There are multiple reports that claim Amelia was taken to Saipan by hydroplane - there is even a claim that a suitcase of hers was found on Truk. (By a GI during the war) I'm claiming neither, but there have been claims made about both.

Ms. Blanco-Akiyama says she was at the seaplane harbor when Amelia and Fred came up the docks, as does the son of another eyewitness in the "Eyewitnesses on Saipan" footage below. (As do eyewitnesses in Goerner's book and his interviews in 1963. But these documents are posted on a research webpage that states that the Koshu not only was docked in Jaluit in July of 1937 but that it went from Jaluit to Saipan. How cool is that?)

Subject: Re: Warships in the Marshalls
Date: 2/22/01
From: "E. E."
Found on www.ibiblio.org/pha/pha/misc/45-41.html

From: U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Pearl Harbor Attack Hearings; Pt. 35, the Clausen Investigation, pp. 52-62.

Fourth Fleet:
Survey and Patrol Division: Koshu

"Seems to be some sort of cargo ship"

From Ric

"Bingo. Nice work. At least a ship by that name existed."

These reports printed from: 

The "Ric" in these reports are written replies from the founder of Tighar.org, Ric Gillespie. (Whose latest expedition (I think this is the 7th or 8th over the past 30 years) is being covered by National Geographic. The one with the cadaver dogs.)

These mentions of the Koshu on Jaluit are from his excellent repository of all things Earhart, the extensive research files from Tighar.org

Not to be overly obvious - but these messages were from 2001.  They were generally focused on the Kamoi - a ship that many thought was involved with the search for AE's plane.  But obviously, it's the Koshu that deserves focus.

Here's the Koshu in the photograph (so identified in the photo caption when put into the photo album originally).

And as confirmed here for the first time, it's in the ship's records that it was docked in Jaluit in July of 1937.


Amelia kneeling in front of the wheel that the dust cover
came from in a previous post

People tend to put theories in opposing camps.

Frankly, I don't care a fig about opposing camps. Or theories. I stick to when there is more than one eyewitness report that can be corroborated. 

I have no beef with Tighar or their work, or their research. I admit I was annoyed when I got to Saipan and someone from their organization called the Saipan newspaper ("Marianas Variety") and claimed I was some "Hollywood" fellow trying to get people to say anything on camera. That I was influencing their replies by 'twisting the questions.' The article was posted before I'd interviewed anyone.

The opposite was true.  I found pretty quickly that if you go to Saipan and ask about Earhart people close their doors in your face.  Or spout the official story that she disappeared.  Unless you ask them the question "So what was it like for you and your family during and prior to the war?"

And when they open up about their experiences, their own life stories - they begin to talk about how well they got along with the Japanese, how Japan brought wealth and friends to the island from 1914 on. That it was only just prior to the onset of war that they suddenly imported battle weary troops from Manchuria who treated the Saipanese "as slaves." Who executed them for not bowing low enough. Who took all of their homes and sent the populace to live in caves.

Photo from a private family album on Saipan

And after those stories, I'd ask "So did you or anyone in your family ever hear anything about a female pilot on Saipan?" 

And they would preface it with "I don't know who she was. If you ask me if it was Earhart, I will tell you - I don't know. We called all Caucasian people Europeans. (Spain ruled Saipan, then Germany, then Japan, now the US.)  

But yes, my "mother" "brother" "father" "grandfather" told the following story..." - and that is the eyewitness testimony I gathered.  10 hours of it.

When the Prime Minister of Japan visited Saipan. A private family photo.

And the stories were the same. She ("the female pilot" "the european woman dressed like a man") came to the island in July of 1937. Many people saw her - only the people who saw her weren't "Europeans."  

As I told the Marianas Variety "It's a peculiar form of racism that doesn't listen to eyewitness testimony of islanders and claims people didn't see what they saw, or for some reason would lie about it, or somehow conspire to tell THE SAME STORY." (emphasis added, because well, it's annoying to have to repeat myself)

I didn't bother uploading the parts where they spoke of how their families survived the war - for example, one fellow said "I saw Amelia just prior to the War."  I said "You mean in 1941?"  He said "No, it was May of 1944. She was on the back of a truck..."  
His memory of seeing Earhart on the back of a truck was
independently corroborated by another Saipanese businessman
who claimed he saw the same truck on the same day a mile further down the road.

I realized May of 44 was just prior to "the war" which began on Saipan in June...when the US came ashore. It's an example of listening with "Caucasian ears."  I thought he meant the war that began in 1941. He meant the war that began on Saipan in 1944.

As I've mentioned before - I was part of the sizzle reel for the History Channel show, and I was asked to be part of it, but I ultimately declined.  

I have my own Earhart projects, and am not invested in selling anyone's point of view. I don't represent the show, or their theory or any other nonsense. 

Yes, the show had many details that can be verified in my research as well. But enough with the "tastes great" "less filling" arguments - there is evidence that points to these simple facts that she landed the plane, it was picked up, and she and plane were taken to Saipan where numerous people saw her, and US Marines found her plane.

I'm just interested in the truth.

We owe that to her at the very least.

I'd like to congratulate Tighar for helping to prove the precise date that the Koshu was in Jaluit.  They got it originally from Vincent Loomis' book about Earhart, who Mr. Gillespie quotes above.

Apparently the ships records prove that the Koshu arrived in Jaluit on July 9th and stayed until the 19th.

Six days after she landed at Mili atoll.

Three days after she was heard broadcasting from her plane (and Tighar's reports show those reports extensively). 

Three days after the Japanese came to the island, arrested her - dragged the Electra (with the help of 40 Marshallese men) onto the barge and transported it to Majuro and then to Jaluit. (The Marshallese men were interviewed by Mike Harris, Dick Spink, Les Kinney and Jim Hayton. I was invited on that trip too, but declined.)

So there you have it. 

Proof that the Koshu was in Jaluit in July, 1937.

Just as its been reported.

Just as its shown in this photograph.

The photo must have been taken sometime between July 9th and 19th, 1937.  

So the Marshallese government says that its elders remember the dock being built in 1936. As they noted so eloquently; there was no dock in 1935.  

The League of Nations forbid it - yet when they built the dock, add fortifications, guns, ammo - they began arresting, beheading, detaining Europeans as spies.

That's why this photograph was classified and in the Office of Naval Intelligence. 

Not because it showed the Electra on a barge on the back of the Koshu. Not because it showed Amelia - or a woman who has the same shoulders as Amelia - or Fred Noonan standing on the dock.

Because it proved there was a new dock.

Just a little bit of evidence that proves the same thing that's been said before.  Amelia was captured by the Japanese, taken to Jaluit - and later to Saipan. Seven years later on June 19th 1944, the Electra was found by US Marines at Aslito airfield on Saipan. (see the eyewitness reports below and to the side of this panel.) Her briefcase was recovered, part of her body, and the Electra itself was destroyed (and witnessed by these GIs)

Saipan is where she died. Where the Electra was found on June 19th 1944 by US Marines.

It's not an opinion, belief or theory.  It's just eyewitness reports.  Not conflicting reports. Consistent reports. The same story. If you can only open your ears.

You're welcome.

Marshallese govt issues statement on Jaluit Dock

Marshallese government debunks the debunkers.

Turns out the "book copyrighted in 1935" could not be a book copyrighted in 1935, because the docks in Jaluit did not exist until 1936.  This press release issued yesterday puts that claim to rest.

If the photograph is from 1936, the argument 
"It was printed in a 1935 book" is moot.

"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."

Gee. How did #CNN, #NewYorkTimes, the #WashingtonPost and #NationalGeographic get the story wrong?

It's simple.

The people selling the idea that Earhart's plane landed in the Gilbert Islands are behind the PR machine that insists, argues, that their version of events is correct, must be correct.

So when a blogger (who I'm told contributes to the Tighar website) comes forth with the argument "I never believed she was arrested by the Japanese. The History Channel folks should have done their homework, it took me ten minutes to find the photograph of the docks in a book published in 1935."  Headlines went around the world "Japanese blogger finds proof the photograph is not real."  

They should have started with his first sentence.  

If you "never believe" something that means you're not basing it on evidence.  If over 200 people claim the same thing, then it's no longer a matter of theory or belief - it can only be a matter of sorting out the facts.  "I always wondered" or "I thought it was strange" gives us different insight. But when he stated that he never believed any other story, then he's just not looking at the evidence.

Plus well, there's some problems with his account.

First of all, "the book" cited was not "published in 1935."  It's a portfolio of photographs that are tied together with string. 

The "book" is a photo portfolio. A photo album.

 None of the photographs in this portfolio are dated.  

Page from the photo album.

There are no dates in the book, other than a stamp at the back of the book by someone who put it into this library.  

Librarian did the stamp. Not a copyright office.

Not a published book, a photo album - and the librarian obviously made a mistake with the date, because there was no dock in Jaluit harbor in 1935.  So CNN should have said "a photo album that bears an imprint of a librarian's stamp that says 1935."  But clearly, if the dock wasn't built until 1936 - the stamp was wrong.  I was just as curious as the next person - what book was this from?  Well, I was shocked that it wasn't a book - that no photo was dated, and that somehow that detail was overlooked.

But let's ask a more cogent question.  

What was the photograph doing in a classified file in the National Archives in a file of the Office of Naval Intelligence?

Once we answer this question, it becomes clear why the photograph was valuable to US Intelligence prior to World War II. 

Take a look at these photographs (from the net) of the harbor at Jabor.  In 1905 it had a wooden dock.  The Germans had agreements to run these islands (and turned the Marianas over to Spain, who turned over Saipan to Japan in 1914.) These photographs are from their records of these docks.

Titled "Jaluit in the 1930's."
Wooden dock  Jaluit 1905
"Germania - Jaluit 1905"

Skip forward to the 1930's.  The League of Nations "allowed" Japan to mandate the Marshall islands (run the government, build schools, etc) in return for their promise that they would not "fortify the islands" for war.  The Japanese were so secretive about these islands (and their fortifications) that two British citizens were beheaded for spying, and numerous other people were arrested, their boats sunk or confiscated by the Japanese for observing their fortifications.

Exact same photo of the dock.
Why is it valuable? Because it's a dock.

Which leads to how this photograph got into the ONI file. Because it's evidence of the dock that they built in 1936.  Obviously whomever put it in the file didn't care about the people on the dock - just interested in the dock itself.

So who else saw Amelia on this same dock in July of 1937?

Well, there's the explorer Eric De Bisschop who sailed through the Marshalls in July 1937 (the 2nd) and he was arrested near Mili for doing so. His ship was searched, and he writes about it in his book about his Thor Heyerdahl adventures in a simply built boat.  

Letter where De Bisschop (well known explorer) is asked about seeing Earhart on Jaluit. 

Transcribed: "In connection with the above" (see the transcript of the letter printed below) M. Hoppenot showed the writer the following statement made by M. Eric De Bisschop, a former French naval officer..."  after mentioning he'd sailed past Mila (sic) atoll, the Japanese turned hostile and searched his boat. "He was arrested, suspected of espionage, and given a severe and thorough questioning for several hours... (his ship the "Fou Po" was) searched from bow to stern.")

"At Jaluit he had seen shells for 3-inch guns... the Japanese have dredged the harbor and entrance channels... much larger and freer from obstructions then are shown on current charts." The charts are being held confidentially, not for "sale or distribution."

He noticed "an airplane ramp.." an "airplane hangar... a concreted dock... radio transmitter..." He said "as to Mila (sic) dredging and building was going on... It is held so confidential that even Japanese merchant ships are not allowed to visit there... coal, 3" shells, dynamite... are brought to Jaluit.. (then) by small navy transport" to Mila (sic) atoll.

(Part of the page torn away) "the story about Miss Earhart and other people kept... (n)er... is concerned, M. de Bisschop that while possible,... (torn). He said  that it was much easier to find someon(e)... ned then to keep them prisoners.  He had heard from... (torn) 'efore his visit one such white skin man who had visited Jaluit... (torn) day but with indications that he had been struck over... (torn) e natives declared that this man was rumored to have been (torn).

(Logic tells us that Mr. De Bisschop said he had not seen her but that it was possible she had been there, that it was easier to arrest people than to "keep prisoners."  And then he recounted a story of a man who had been beaten and possibly killed for being a spy.)

In Eric de Bisschop's own words from his book: THE VOYAGE OF THE "KAIMILOA" Published in 1940 (from an actual "book")

"And the last place of call of the Fou Po, at Jaluit,
yonder, in the Marshalls. Ah! the ugly faces of that
Japanese Governor and of those policemen, with their little daggers at their sides. . . . Spies ! We? What a joke! Some note-books showing positions, a few survey notes on the north coast of Australia ... that's not spying ! 

Kept prisoners for a fortnight, watched closely all the same ... the natives threatened with imprisonment if they approached our craft; and that searching of the Fou Po whilst we were being questioned ashore; just think, a wireless transmitter, an electric sounding apparatus must be hidden somewhere. 

Maybe I had thrown everything overboard before landing, but they'll find the traces all right ... everywhere, anywhere . . . under the planking, amid the provision tins... the fools!

And our departure? only just managed it, luckier than that American, a year ago, than that Englishman, six months ago ! . . . disappeared, both of them . . . poof! dissolved into thin air, for the greater glory of the Mikado's Empire.” (page 5)

"... the port of Jaluit (under Japanese mandate) is the port of entry for Nauru Island, which is under the control of New Zealand. I would not advise even my greatest enemy to go to Jaluit in the Marshall Archipelago and ask there for a permit to call in at Nauru. He would be received by a nasty Japanese Governor, with a shaved skull, then kept a prisoner, and accused by him of espionage, and perhaps would not have the luck to slip through his fingers as we did on the Fou Po. (page 211)

The Fou Po which he sailed around the world.

De Bisschop arriving in Cannes in 1939
aboard the Fou Po when he was debriefed.
DeBisschop and his traveling companion Joseph Tatiobouet
Mentioning he'd sailed near Mili in July 1937 ("Mila" in the letter)
he was arrested and searched. He reported this and the fury
of the Japanese authorities in his book of the voyage.

De Bisschop's account was taken by French authorities, who were following up on another letter, a much more controversial one, where the author claims to have seen Earhart and "her mechanic" on the same dock at Jaluit in July 1937.

The French obviously thought it was worth exploring, as De Bisschop was quoted in their letter interrogating him if he'd seen Amelia Earhart (He had not.) 

And to those who claim that the other part of the letter - which is written by a man whose boat was taken by the Japanese, where he claims he was close enough to Amelia to get a lock of her hair - it's the detail of calling Fred Noonan "her mechanic" that sticks out. If you're going to create a fake scenario - why get that key detail wrong? (Fred was not her mechanic, although he may have looked like one.)
The letter in the same DeBisschop file that claims a message was found
by someone who saw Amelia incarcerated on Jaluit in 1937 around the same time.

The message reads: "January 7th, 1939. Report of Amelia Earhart as Prisoner of the Marshall Islands." 

"Mr. Happenot, the chief of the French Foreign office, allowed the writer to read some papers found in a bottle washed ashore near Bordeaux. This communication... will be delivered to the American embassy here." He then describes a fellow walking on the beach along the Atlantic "On 30th October (1938), a Mr. Barret, aged 37" found a bottle that was half pint sized, with wax on over the top.  There was a sample of chestnut brown hair inside, with a note that said "May God guide this bottle, I confine my life and friends to it." 

Then in French, here in English;  "Have been prisoner at Jaliut (Marshalls) by the Japanese in a prison at Jaliut. In the prison there I have seen: Amelia Earhart (aviatrix) and in another cell her mechanic (a man), as well as several other European prisoners held on charges of alleged spying of the gigantic fortifications erected on the atoll." (A key detail, as they were forbidden by the League of Nations to build fortifications for war, in their being allowed to mandate the islands. The photo above is of a fortified docks - as in ready for war.) 

"Earhart and her companion were picked up by Japanese hydroplane and will serve as hostages, say Japanese.  I was a prisoner because I disembarked on Mila (sic) Atoll.  My yacht 'VEVEO' sunk, crew (3 Maoris) killed, my yacht (85 tons, sailing ship) was equipped with radio." (Another detail - she was transported from Jaluit to Saipan in a seaplane, as has been reported elsewhere)."

On the other side of the note he continues: "Having been kept a long time at Jaluit as prisoner, I was forcibly enrolled as stokehold hand, (coal shovel) simply fed, on board 'Nippon Noa?' (his question mark) (Here’s the Nippon Maru built in 1930) bound for Europe.  Will try to escape when ship near to coast.  Carry this message to Gendarmerie immediately in order so that we can be freed. " 

"This message is to be thrown overboard probably near Santander (Spain), and should arrive in Brittany or at the latest, October, 1938. (Wow. He had that correct.) This is message No. 6. To have a good chance of freeing Miss Earhart and her companion, as well as other prisoners, police should arrive incognito at Jaluit I shall be with (name indecipherable in text above, in book it's "Jo....eut") (this french sailor was traveling with a companion Joseph Tatibouet) and if I succeed in escaping.... because if the Japanese are asked to free the prisoners they will say that they have none are detained at Jaluit. One must be tricky."

"The hair (enclosed in the bottle - where did he get that? from her? a brush? or asked her for it?) is Miss Earhart's and will prove the veracity of this story and that I have seen Amelia Earhart (-) supposedly dead. This bottle will serve as a float for a second bottle containing some objects of Miss Earhart. (!!!)"    

"I am writing on my knees because I have only a little paper,  some left over when police took finger prints." (Finger prints? On Jaluit?) Bottom of the page reveals: Letter was stamped at the bottom with initials V. B. 2.” 

But beyond that - the details of this letter confirm a number of details (that are in the photo, and in the eyewitness reports above and to the side of this post) .

So here we have two different people arrested by the Japanese (one a matter of public record, the other this mysterious letter found on the beach in 1939) who say the exact same things about being arrested for "spying on the fortifications" on Jaluit. Detained, interrogated and incarcerated. De Bisschop goes on to say that he saw armaments and guns.  Both men arrested for doing precisely what this photo shows.  The fortification of the harbor on Jaluit.

Maybe before reporting whatever the latest "debunking" detail that comes via the PR machine that National Geographic has bought into, or the debunking machine that comes straight from those who have an investment in debunking.  How about doing a little legwork, do the research, follow the links, take a good hard look at the evidence - and report it for what it is.  "It appears, based on these reports that are consistent, that Earhart survived the landing, and combines with other details, that she was arrested by the Japanese, detained, and incarcerated on Saipan.  Her plane was reportedly found by US Forces in 1944, and her body was partially recovered in 1945."  Those are what the eyewitness reports actually say.  The photo is one piece of evidence in a mountain of it.

Journalism 101. (And yes, I have a Masters of Professional Writing from USC, took many Journalism courses while graduating Magna Cum Laude from Boston University.  Yes, I've written and/or directed eight theatrical features, and I do have a series of "best selling" books at Amazon (the "Flipside" series.)  I've been researching this story since 1986, and it has not changed since I began to explore what eyewitnesses have said.  Details yes, but the overall thrust of what they've said is consistent. I worked on "Amelia" and the Diane Keaton film - both using my extensive research of over 30 hours of archived footage and 5000 photographs. But because I've never been interested in being swallowed up by the Earhart research juggernaut, I've kept my research to myself (but published in "Hacking the Afterlife") but in this case, I'm contributing to this story not for profit - but for the sake of Amelia's story.  She deserves to be treated no less than any other American hero - as someone whose life mattered, and how she died matters as well.

So, to recap:

1. The "1935 book" is not a book or from 1935. It's a photo album with a librarian's stamp of 1935.

2. The photo accurately depicts Jabor docks post 1936. The docks were not built until 1936.

3. The Koshu is listed in the photo from the portfolio of pictures, so that photographer inadvertently proved that it was the Koshu in Jaluit by adding that caption when he put the photograph in his collection. (Can't have it both ways. He called it the Koshu. Clearly towing a 38 foot long plane (the precise dimensions of the Electra)

4. The photo shows the Japanese barge that carried the Electra from Mili to Jaluit - and there's an interview with the US Navy vet who met the man responsible for putting the Electra on that barge. (Andrew Bryce reported the story to me on camera, is in the footage above "other eyewitnesses.")

5. Bilimon Amaron says that he went aboard the Japanese ship and met both Earhart and Noonan. His reputation is defended by his business partner in the same footage.

6. In the letter from the Frenchman arrested as a spy, he claims she was taken away by seaplane which is corroborated in Fred Goerner's reports from eyewitnesses on Saipan.  (Ms. Blanco Akiyama, also interviewed on the History Channel show and in the eyewitness footage above, makes that same claim, as she saw her and Fred come ashore on the seaplane dock in Garapan, Saipan.)

7. I've been on Saipan, where I recently filmed 15 new eyewitnesses who claim either they saw Amelia in her cell, on the island, or in custody, people who've never spoken on camera before, people who are sick of being ridiculed by theorists. Either they directly saw her, had relatives who saw her, or had some story about her that was corroborated by other eyewitnesses.

8. US Marines who found her plane and Saipan, found her briefcase, who guarded the plane, who drove down from Mt. Tapachou to view the plane, who were nearby and confirmed the same dialog spoken outside the hangar, etc, etc, etc. Who watched as US forces took the plane onto the runway and destroyed it. Who decoded the secret messages regarding finding her plane, flying her plane and destroying it.  

9. Oliver Knaggs went to Mili and interviewed numerous eyewitnesses who saw her plane come down.  I interviewed the cameraman who shot that footage, and he confirmed everything Knaggs wrote in his book.

10. At some point - you just have to say "enough already."  On behalf of those Marines who entrusted me with telling their story - Robert Wallack and Earskin Nabors, veterans Tom Devine and Andrew Bryce and Douglas Bryce - all honest Americans who fought in the war, and don't deserve to have their story swept under a rug either.  Enough already.

There's more information on this page if you read the posts below.

But no, the dock wasn't built prior to 1936, ergo the argument "it's from a book in 1935" is inaccurate.


Stay tuned.

PS: I find it amusing, hilarious actually, at how this upsets people who are convinced that their theory, belief, philosophy is accurate.  I'm not sure what human quality that is - that despite 200 eyewitnesses who claim they saw her, who saw her plane land on Mili, who saw her transported to Jaluit, saw her aboard a Japanese ship, saw her transported to Saipan, saw her on Saipan, took care of her, buried her when she died - US Marines who found her briefcase and plane - are convinced beyond any shadow of rational doubt that their theory - which may or may not include a stamp on a photo album, includes no eyewitnesses, no physical evidence whatsoever - and yet, they're furious! Upset! Vitriolic! over the idea that they might be adhering to a belief, a philosophy, a theory that is not based on any evidence.  Not sure what this human quality might be - but having worked on this story for 30 years now, I've seen my share of them, and generally avoid them. I've met zealots from both sides of the coin - "she was beheaded!" "she was shot!" "she was tortured!" to "she crashed in the sea!" "She wound up in China!" "She returned to New Jersey!" It's fabulous that people are so eager to attach emotions to their beliefs. All I can surmise is that there's something deeply powerful or religious about her - something that's beyond rationale thought - or something of a spiritual nature that makes people treat her, treat her story, as if she's some kind of wax figure in a museum. I wish that the research showed different results. I wish that the Marshalls agreed that the docks in Jaluit were built in 1935.  I wish that she had come down in the Gilberts and not the Marshalls. I wish that the US revealed they knew she was on Saipan and negotiated for her.  I wish that the US didn't decide to cover up what happened to her.  I could have stopped researching her story back in 1986 when Diane Keaton made a film based on my script, but left out the eyewitness parts.  I wouldn't be here posting anything about this story.  After all, it's not about how Amelia died - who cares? - it's about how she lived.  Created the equal rights amendment. Single handed did incredible feats of daring. Was a terrific author, poet, explorer. She loved and was loved.  No one cares about where her body is - least of all her - but it is important to stay true to what really happened to her.  Because she had courage to live through that experience - courage to take whatever slings and arrows that came her way and continued to remain the sweet hearted soul she always was. She deserves to be honored for the hero that she is and remains to be.  Just not in the fantasies of some who believe she "screwed up" at the end of her life and "missed her target."  She did not. Sorry if that upsets you, but I'm happy to report it.  

Earhart History Channel meets Earhart on Saipan

In light of the show coming up this Sunday July 9th on History Channel, here are some eyewitnesses who saw Amelia Earhart on Saipan after she landed her plane at Mili atoll.

(Full disclosure - I was asked to participate in the History Channel show. They filmed me for the sizzle reel that they used to sell the show to History Channel. Ultimately, based on my 25 years of research, having worked on all the films about Earhart (both Diane Keaton's and Hilary Swank) and my 30 hours of footage and 5k photographs, I decided to hang onto my research, as we're still hoping to put this together in film form.  That being said, I'm friends with Les Kinney and Dick Spink, have interviewed them, have worked and shared notes with them, and what they have to say about AE's journey is accurate and based upon decades of research. 

(This show is based on their research, Les and Dick worked independently of me and Mike Harris, but a few  years back, we all got together and shared notes. Les told me about his photograph, and I've been waiting all this time to see it. And it's mind blowing.)

Here's a short time line of what the research shows based on eyewitness interviews collected over decades. Mike Harris filmed some of these interviews in the 1980's, we filmed more in Saipan recently, and the US Marines I collected over the years.

1. She landed the Electra on Endriken isle in Mili.  Dick Spink found pieces of her plane on a number of occasions - a former NTSB investigator (Jim Hayton out of Seattle) confirmed "beyond a shadow of doubt" that they could only come from her Electra.

2. She was picked up by the Japanese.  A number of islanders saw her plane land (they were fishing the shallow reefs) and the Queen of Mili was filmed and interviewed by a South African journalist in the 1980's.  Many people saw her come down.  On a recent trip to Mili, an island elder recalled that the Japanese had "ordered" 40 islanders to help drag the Electra off the atoll.

3. The Electra was put aboard a Japanese barge and taken to Majuro first. I got that info from a Navy veteran stationed on Majuro who heard it from a stevedore he worked with. He said they'd transported it to the Koshu Maru.  (Note, in the photo of the ship, there's a barge attached to the Koshu. I never thought there would be a photo of that - but there it is.)

3. Google Earth photos show (from a decade ago) that the drag marks of some large object could be seen from space.  There was Japanese rail equipment found on the island and recovered by Spink, Kinney, Mike Harris and others on a recent trip.  Same gauge equipment Japanese used to haul cane in Saipan.

4. She was transported with Fred and the Electra to Jaluit (where this picture is taken. If you watch the footage you'll see eyewitnesses who boarded the ship and saw her there.)

click to view - about 30 minutes - the links at the end no longer apply

5. She was taken to Saipan - I interviewed Ms. Akiyama a few years back, and this show on Sunday interviews her as well. She's the original source for Fred Goerner's book - and her story has not changed.  I interviewed other islanders (also in this footage) who corroborate her story - one congressman says his father told him the same story of Fred and Amelia being brought ashore.

6. She was held at first in the hospital (interview above) then the military HQ. Fred, according to reports, was beaten, tortured and killed for being a spy. (beheaded)  Amelia was moved from her initial cell which she was a few doors down from Fred (in the footage) to a larger cell closer to the commandant's view.

7. She spent the rest of her days in this cell. She was occasionally allowed to meet with islanders (see "Eye on LA" report in the 1990's for those reports with Chuck Henry) but for the most part lived in a small cell (that is still there, and has a tree growing inside of it.)

8. She died of dysentery.  She was held as a "playing card" for the Japanese to use against the US - but never got around to it. The US invaded June 1944.

9. The Electra was found in a hangar on Aslito field, Saipan June 19th. The man who decoded the messages, guarded the plane, numerous eyewitnesses are cited above in the footage and to the side of this page. Her briefcase was found, dry as a bone,her passport etc, all turned over to the same commander Louis Wallace (82nd.)  Corroborated reports are cited in the footage.

10. Her body was dug up by two GI's Hanson and Burkes, as reported in Goerner's book "Searing for Amelia" in 1963. However, subsequent evidence points to the fact these two "found an arm and a partial ribcage." Her skull and other bones have not been found or recovered.

11. The Electra, after being guarded for 4-5 weeks in the hangar, was towed to the south end of the field, covered with gas and burned (as reported above.)  It was shoved off the runway into a pit with other planes.  We had permits to excavate that pit a couple of years back, but ran out of the money required to do so. However, I know where the pit is.  According to the NTSB investigator, he could identify the frame of her plane from a field X ray.  That remains to be done.

12. Her briefcase and arm were turned over to the US military.  The next island in the war was Okinawa, and as Robert Wallack points out - "a number of ships were sunk by the Japanese."  Perhaps her arm, rib cage and briefcase went to the bottom of the sea. However, recently, I heard from a reliable source that the briefcase is in the hands of a private collector related to the Earhart family.  That too remains to be seen.

Over 200 people claim to have seen her, nursed her, fed her, washed her clothes when she got to Saipan.  Some of those people are featured in the footage above.  This footage has been posted for years now, and despite being invited to be on the History Channel, I felt that if I did not work on that show, and retained all the rights to my research, I might find another way to tell her story.  And I'm still doing that.

This is not based on a theory, belief or philosophy. These reports are based on consistent eyewitness reports, that have been cross referenced - if one person said one incredible thing (she was shot, she was beheaded) I put it aside to hear corroborating evidence.  When two people said the same thing ("I saw her in the back of a truck in May 1944 being transported by soldiers. I had never seen a white woman in my life, and it's not the kind of thing you forget, even at age 12 - a woman dressed like a man with her arms bound and a blindfold.  She was parked in from of me for 30 minutes.  My brother was next to me." (cited in the footage above.)

Ultimately, people can argue about what people saw or think they saw. Certainly the memory does tricks over the years - but when over 200 people say relatively the same thing, it deserves to be examined. And further - if what they're saying is true - then the US owes her a debt. She was the first victim of World War II and has never been honored for it.

(Sorry that this info disturbs some people - but if you take a look at my other work ("Flipside" "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" and "Hacking the Afterlife" - in which I reveal everything I've learned about Amelia's journey) I go into detail as to why that might not be the case.  

In "Hacking the Afterlife" I submitted the same 20 questions to mediums who claimed they could communicate with AE.  In all three cases, I got the same answers, as well as "new information" that no one knows, that I have confirmed, that could only come from someone who was Amelia, or knew her extremely well.)

Stay tuned.