The special will be on the History Channel at 9 pm (PST) (Sunday July 9, sure to repeat), check local listing.
IMHO the photo is pretty convincing. Having said that.... and after the research I've done on the Moody Blues (still alive of course) I've found some of their earlier photos with the wrong dates on them. It's very easy to have happen, especially when data passes through so many hands, and there was no time stamping back then of course. This is an event that happened 80 years ago or so.
I think if you want to claim FRAUD it is doing several things 1) Discrediting a woman who was a VERY experienced flyer and her very capable navigator, as two bumbling fools who didn't know enough to turn back while they still had a fuel reserve (was explained very very well in the special) and 2) Discrediting some witnesses from the area, as "just dumb natives"..... and also 3) Discrediting a guy who really knows his stuff about photo authentication. And discrediting a guy who was a lead researcher for the FBI.
Some background. in 1935, Wiley Post and Will Rogers took off around the world TOO. Possibly they were spying, but for sure (was commonly known around Bartlesville) they were testing high altitude fuels for Phillips Petroleum and the US government* (and yes it was classified, my pop had the right connections.) SO it stand to reason that Earhart, who was nominally sponsored by Purdue university (aviation engineering) might have been sponsored on the QT by the government as well (in 1937), and could have had spy gear on the plane, photo surveillance stuff. The plane they flew was ALSO top of the line, and if it WAS captured by the Japanese, it was a serious tech gain for them. Logically yes they would have shipped the whole works to Saipan, which was an aviation outpost in Japanese occupied Pacific.
Tensions were high in the Pacific in those days, and I suspect the engine had some serious innovations in fuel usage. And if it WAS a government operation, FDR would be quick to make up the cover story... and basically abandon the aircrew to their fate. Or hope to recover them later. We didn't exactly have a top of the line naval force in the Pacific in those days. We were trying to stay OUT of the looming war.
Looking forward to more debate. And of course, looking for the truth.
*stands to reason their fuel might not have liked the high cold altitudes in Alaska and thus crashed. That crash has never been explained satisfactorily either.
I rounded up all the info I had on this subject, and plan to do more research (in my spare time) but while I'm not gaga over the woman, I do think it's very very interesting stuff and am constantly looking for clues and tidbits about this time period. No I don't think she was kidnapped by aliens, but they used that theme for a really nice episode on Star Trek Voyager if you've never seen it. Delightful.
Things to add to the timeline related to Earhart and "pre-WWII"
1934: Purdue University, which sponsored Earhart's flight around the world, opened an airport and presumably a school of aviation engineering, still in it's infancy.
Aug 15, 1935: Wiley Post and Will Rogers go down near Point Barrow Alaska (see above) both die in crash
Fall 1936: FDR re-elected. Earhart and Elanor Roosevelt were very good friends, and Earhart did PR for the campaign.
1937: Earhart and Noonan disappear flying to Howett Island to the southwest of the Marshall Islands (then in Japanese hands) many mythic stories surround the event.
1939 -- Battle of Athens (Roald Dahl one of the few RAF pilots to survive this). Europe plunged into war. Sept the Blitz began on England, children are sent north. Poland invaded.
May 10, 1940 Germany attacked France, eventually took over, Dunkirk events. Churchill re-elected.
August 1940 Luftwaffe continues to attack England. Continues into Sept, Sept 15 the tide turned and Brits stop the Germans. 13,000 Londoners die in this period from bombs.
1940: John Steinbeck and friend Ricketts "The Doc" sail into the Sea of Cortez. They find huge Japanese operations essentially decimating the ecosystems of the area, scooping up massive amounts of fish, then just taking the shrimp for commercial use, killing everything else... this is called "by-catch" ... this happens all over the world, and is destroying our oceans and fish stocks. EVERYWHERE and still goes on (major reason I boycott all seafood except salmon.) Must be read to be believed, Chapter 27, The Log from the Sea of Cortez. The point being, the Japanese were EVERYWHERE in the Pacific at this time, and probably spying on US.
Fall 1940 FDR re-elected
1941: America begins to form Expeditionary Forces (I know 'cause my uncle was part of it) not sure timing on this, but they were stationed on the Amesbury Plain near Stonehenge.
Philippine Islands invaded: Dec 1941, right before Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec 7, essentially wiping out what little fleet we had in the Pacific. Thankfully Admiral Zumwalt had some of the fleet out (the air craft carriers) on that Sunday, chasing RADAR ghosts (picked up the Zeroes coming in over Schofield Barracks, down the island of Oahu) Admiral Kimmel took the blame for it, and believe it or not he's a distant relative of mine.
January 1942: German U-Boats begin an absolutely relentless campaign of destruction all up and down the east coast of North America. The level of destruction is kept under tight wraps, due to America not having the equipment to handle the onslaught. This continues for eight months, when New London finally catches up to the Germans with their own submarine fleet; American subs start training in the Caribbean, with epic shore leave in Havana. (ref: Torpedo Junction by H. Hickam)
If you think I thought FDR was a bumbling fool, you're right.
Will add on if I find more.