Charlie Haas and the 2004 National Geographic expedition


Mar 20, 2000
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Parks and all:

"…Your idea of a petition is not a bad one...it's just that I have my reasons, which I don't want to go into here, for not leading one as you suggested…"

I also have reasons for not leading a petition — namely the fact that I have undisguised personal dislike for Robert Ballard, which would only make it look like a vendetta. However, I am willing to support anything that might dismantle his efforts to denigrate or hinder educational dives by other parties to Titanic.

"…Actually, by taking a conversation from the Marine Forensic Panel circle and convincing Charlie to allow me to post it here, I was hoping to create a bridge of sorts between the two forums…"

I recognized that and thought it was a good call on your part and I was trying to support it.

May I suggest that if a letter writing campaign is to be launched that people keep their letters short and to the point so as to ensure a greater likelihood of their being read.

Randy
 
Mar 3, 1998
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I would like to add at this point my personal wishes of goodwill for everyone reading this during this holiday season. I wanted to say that now before school lets out and I give myself over to family activities and Christmas celebrations.

Parks
 

Scott Newman

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Jun 16, 2004
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Hey, all I want for christmas is a new Titanic Model to make...and maybe make one more trip to the SLC exhibit before it leaves in January...oh, and I'd like my wife to stop thinking that I'm obsessed with Titanic...
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Lots of luck with that last item on your wish list, Scott. I am thinking of organizing a rehab center for terminal funnel fanatics and a support group for those who love them!
But seriously, I also think a brief but pointed letter is the ticket to NG. The chances of it being read and remembered are best that way. As for some of our stellar Titanic personalities not posting, some prefer written correspondence, some like to read the board but prefer not to actively post as they have been viciously attacked on other boards, are busy doing research and can't respond to all inquiries with equal attention, or simply hate cyber-correspondence in a fishbowl. To each his own!
 
Dec 24, 1997
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The petition is a great idea hope someone will actually get it going. I have contacted National Geo before and mentioned Ballards errors and received a interested reply ONCE. Nothing since. We have to admit it like it or not Ballard is National Geo's Fair Haired Boy. Sometimes I wonder if the National Enquirer might be more factual than the Geo. I myself as some of you know worked very hard with Congressman Jones for the Titanic Memorial Act and testified at the hearings along with Ballard. He at those hearing as you can read was in full favor of the French going back and recovering items from the site. Needless to say as I sat beside him this statement of his did not sit well as I thought he was sincere in protecting the wreck, yet later on he also said he would have liked to have salvaged a wine bottle for him mantlepiece.
I am sure the MAJORITY of us and the world back THEN in 1986 felt the wreck should be left alone when rumors started about expeditions being planned to recover artifacts.
I would like to make note and this is not to take away any of Charlie or Jacks thunder on this thread or all the good work they have done, However there was another meeting with Congressman Jones about this threat of a recovery expedition in which Charlie and Jack and myself and other government personnel attended and like myself Charlie and Jack chastised the whole idea and thought the planned expedition was nothing short of Grave Robbing and they were quite verbal about their opinions of the French. George Tulloch and the whole idea. Somewhere I have a taped recording of this meeting and they really blasted out against recovery. George Tulloch was supposed to be there but cancelled at the last minute. Of course YOU must realize that was back in 1986/87. Since then we have learned thankfully that the recovery expeditions were done in good taste and to the benefit of history. So when we jumped on the Bandwagon screaming "FOUL" we were too hasty in judgement and I mean MANY actually MOST of us self included. So Mr Ballard you are in a word actually two words" Off Base' Make it Three Way Off Base in your Holier than Thou attitude. Your first expedition did damage when Argo slammed into the wreck more than once even after your crew warned you that you were flying to low and Argo came up with paint from the ship on it and at Woods Hole it was a tourist attraction when it came back. So don't say the damage down there was caused by expeditions alone, don't go posturing that there is no historical value of artifacts or exploration by others than yourself. To quote a great line from ANTR, "After all your not God you know.' Get in line Fella your fast becoming the minority in public opinion.
Now that I have screamed all that, on a better note,
May everyone out there have the Merriest Of Christmases and The Happiest Of New Years filled with good health, happiness, good cheer, Prosperity and more Titanic Knowledge. Cheers and God Bless you all
Jon
 
Oct 23, 2000
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Mr. Haas was selective on one detail regarding the USS Arizona salvage:
In the book Desecent Into Darkness, by Edward Raymer, which Mr. Haas references, Raymer recalls some salvage from the Arizona. Including the AA guns Haas mentioned.
Her after 14 inch guns were removed, as well as the guns from her number 2 turret.
Superstructure (some of which still exists elsewhere on Oahu to this day) was cut away.
However ...
Raymer records that only forty bodies were removed from the ship due to the severe deterioration of the corpses. Which made recovery so nauseous the hospital corpsmen waiting to recieve them tried wearing gas masks.
After this, the bodies inside were left in peace. As the Navy considered the main hulk of the ship a tomb. Which she rightfully was.
Haas' attempts to use these facts against Ballard are selectively presented. For he glosses over the fact of the Navy's decision to leave the bulk of the bodies aboard.
Also, in terms of his attempts to refute via some mumbo jumbo scientific talk about bodies naturally floating in water even when decaying, and ergo the Titanic is not a natural wreck site:
Haas is not aware of the fact that a corpse was found near the bow section of the wreck of the ore freighter Edmund Fitzgerald in 1994.
The poor man was lying face down in the sediment. Clearly not going to rise again until the Messiah arrived on Earth again.
His corpse sure did not "float" when the ship went down.
The SS Superior City, another Lake Superior victim, has skeletons resting aboard her. As do the wrecks of the War of 1812 US Navy vessels Hamilton and Scourge. Bones which can be veiwed in a National Geographic book entitled Ghost Ships.
Finally, National Geographic did a feature article on a 17th century shipwreck sometime back that still had bones aplenty of her crew scattered around.
There are plenty of underwater graveyards around, Mr. Haas. So why should the Titanic have been any different?
 
Oct 23, 2000
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I would like to add that the unfortunate man spotted in 1994 by the Frederick Shannon visit to the Edmund Fitzgerald was wearing a life jacket. And even wearing that, the poor man's body did not surface. Apparently because he was ejected from the Fitz too deep for the kapok to work.
Again, Mr. Haas was playing "smoke and mirrors" in his anit-Ballard letter to National Geographic re: how the bodies from the Titanic would have floated rather than sunk.
Let the record show the MacKay Bennet and other ships did not recover all of the Titanic's dead. Leaving room for the possibility that some descended to the wreck herself.

All said belatedly. Too late to make much difference to the anti-Ballard venom rants posted here, but still finally said.
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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Richard, I'm one of those who stands by every anti-Ballard "venom rant" I've ever posted. The basic point Haas made, that there *were* items removed from the Arizona automatically neagtes Ballard's "don't bring up one artifact" ever perspective which is the essential point of the argument. Plus, you're still left with a laundry list of Ballard's lies that he's uttered to push his perspective that are the spots that will never out for him.
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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Yep, I remember them talking about the Scorpion way back when as part of the initial phase of their expedition. And boy, he really understates the condition of the wreck even when he first found it since he was the first to realize just how extensive all the "rusticles" were (which I guess made it "encrusted" to that degree!).

Ballard is the kind of guy who clearly mastered the fine art of believing his own untruths long ago so he can keep uttering them with such sincerity.
 

Cam Houseman

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Jul 14, 2020
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"Why does Ballard do this? Why does he refuse to acknowlege the volumous ammounts of information we have aquired through the recovery and exhibition of Titanic artifacts? Why does Ballard downplay the importance of the 2001 Cameron expedition?"

My own opinion is that it's egomania, pure and simple. Ballard has this self-indulgent obsession with being the "man who found the Titanic" and he wants the history books to think only of him whenever they talk about the Titanic and diving on it.

To Ballard, all knowledge of the Titanic wreck should be frozen in July 1986 and anything after that....only the evil people who disrespected her visited her, so we can easily dismiss them from any meaningful consideration.

And I agree Tarn, that it is hypocritical of him to suggest that Titanic requires this intense effort of protection if in fact the objects below are simultaneously "historically worthless." But to me, the real offense is that Ballard wants the American taxpayer to foot the bill for his self-indulgent "preservation" ideals of underwater museums, and that's one bit of government pork I would gladly say no thank you to, since my money is far better spent when I choose to see a Titanic exhibition of real artifacts for myself.
was he like this when he first found her?
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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I'd really prefer not to dive back into this subject again after all these years. Not that I've changed my view of Ballard's conduct or of him as a man, but I've had to learn in the years since to not invest too much emotion into the topic as I did in too many clashes in years past that took place nearly half of my life ago and stretched on for too many years afterwards.

The resurrecting of this thread though did offer me a reminder that I needed after all these years to rectify not having a copy of Paul's book and I have just now purchased the Kindle copy.
 
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