Sunday, September 2, 2018

Parting ways with TIGHAR

On August 31st, in a special telephonic session, the Board of Directors of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) voted to expel me from its ranks. The vote was not unanimous, but the fix was obviously in, and I did not complicate matters by participating in the kangaroo court. I have accordingly resigned my membership in TIGHAR altogether. 
My sin, it is said, is "conflict of interest." No one has explained to me precisely what this conflict is, but from what I can make out, it goes like this:

1. After the 2010 expedition, Ric Gillespie decided that since we'd not found a smoking gun on land, we should henceforth focus on underwater work. I vigorously disagreed, and was ignored. At this point it's implied that I should have shut up, but I didn't. 
2. I added insult to injury -- or maybe injury to insult -- by conspiring with Betchart Expeditions, National Geographic, and others to carry out the 2015 and 2017 trips to the island, continuing on-land (as well as underwater) research.

They may not have been discussed in the Board's proceedings, but as evidence of my evil ways, at various times in the last few months, I've been accused of:

A. Maintaining the AmeliaEarhartArchaeology blog;
B. Publishing the novel Amelia Earhart UNRESCUED; and
C. Failing to support Ric's insistence on a substantial upfront payment from Betchart Expeditions and/or National Geographic as the price of TIGHAR support for the 2017 trip. 
What can I say to these charges but mea culpa?
Some months ago, in view of my multiple sins, I was asked to resign from the Board. After some equivocation I agreed to do so IF two things could be guaranteed:

1. That TIGHAR would establish ways to ensure that its data and collections (including those held in trust for Kiribati) were kept secure and cared for properly (As things stand, Ric can throw out whatever he decides isn't interesting); and
2. That TIGHAR would not use its Antiquities Management Agreement with the government of Kiribati to block legitimate research in Kiribati by non-TIGHAR researchers.

In the immediate run-up to the August 31 meeting I was advised that neither condition was acceptable. Thus the die was cast.

Although I am no longer a part of TIGHAR, I want to assure my readers that I remain deeply interested in solving the Earhart/Noonan disappearance mystery, and intend to continue to work with Betchart Expeditions, National Geographic, the Archaeological Legacy Institute, and others to pursue its solution, to the extent any of them wish for me to do so. I will continue to maintain this blog to keep everyone informed of progress. I've contemplated organizing a new group to carry out such work -- perhaps Lugubrious Luddites Investigating Old Nonsense (LLION) or Bewildered Enthusiasts for Ancient Relics 'n Ruins (BEARR), but oh my, I think I'll skip it.

I want to thank all those who've worked on the project over the years for your efforts and collegial friendship. I'm happy to correspond --