Michael Rockefeller's Disappearance apparently solved
Apparently the Catholic Church
and the Dutch government knew Michael Rockefeller's fate within weeks of his disappearance, and suppressed that information for political reasons (WHODATHUNKIT???)
Quote:In December 1961, a month after Michael disappeared, a Dutch Catholic priest named Hubertus von Peij traveled to Omadesep, which lay at the southern end of his parish. Von Peij had spent years in Asmat, and he knew the people and language well. He told me about his journey when I met him one cold winter’s night in Tilburg, the Netherlands, in 2012. He was alive and well at age 84, living in a small apartment decorated with a few Asmat carvings.
As he sat in a missionary’s house in Omadesep, four men walked in. Two were from Otsjanep, two from Omadesep. They had something they wanted to tell the priest.
Bit by bit, it spilled out. The day Michael had set off from the catamaran, 50 men from Otsjanep had brought palm building supplies to the government post in Pirimapun, about 20 miles south of Otsjanep. They’d traveled at night, spent the day in the village, and then left for the night-long voyage home; at dawn on November 20, they’d paused at the mouth of the Ewta River, three miles downriver from Otsjanep, waiting for the tide to turn. It was a good time to have a smoke and a bite of sago. Something moved in the water. They saw a crocodile—an ew, in the Asmat language. No. It wasn’t a crocodile, but a tuan, a white man. He was swimming on his back. He turned and waved. One of the Asmat said: “People of Otsjanep, you’re always talking about headhunting tuans. Well, here’s your chance.” An argument ensued. Dombai, the leader of the Pirien jeu, didn’t think he should be killed. Ajim and Fin thought otherwise. While they tried to lift the tuan into a canoe, Pep speared him in the ribs. It wasn’t fatal. They rowed him to a hidden creek, the Jawor River, where they killed him and made a big fire.
“Was he wearing glasses?” von Peij asked. “What kind of clothes was he wearing?”
Their answer burned in his memory: The white man was wearing shorts, but shorts they’d never seen before and that you couldn’t buy in Asmat—shorts that ended high up on his legs and had no pockets. Underpants.
Von Peij nodded. “Where is his head?”
“Fin-tsjem aotepetsj ara,” they said. “It hangs in the house of Fin. And it looked so small, like the head of a child.”
“What about his thigh bones?” said von Peij, who knew they were used as daggers. “And his tibia?” He knew they were used as the points of fishing spears.
Pep had one thigh bone, Ajim the other. A man named Jane had one tibia, Wasan the other. On the list went: who had his upper arms, forearms, ribs, shorts, glasses, a total of 15 men.
“Why did they kill him?” he said. Because of the killings in Otsjanep almost four years earlier, they said—the Lepré raid.
Von Peij felt overwhelmed. The details, especially the description of Michael’s underwear, were too concrete not to credit.
A few days later, he wrote a note to his superior in Agats: “Without having the intention of doing so, I stumbled across information and I feel compelled to report this. Michael Rockefeller has been picked up and killed by Otsjanep. [The villages of] Jow, Biwar and Omadesep are all clearly aware of it.” He also notified the regional government controller.
Cornelius van Kessel, the priest Michael had been traveling to meet, had also been hearing things. He met with von Peij, sent his Asmat assistant to the village to quiz the warriors there, brought a handful to Basim to interrogate them himself, and on December 15, wrote a long report to the controller. “After my conversation with Father von Peij, the one percent of doubt I had has been taken by the very detailed data which matched with my data and inspections. “IT IS CERTAIN THAT MICHAEL ROCKEFELLER WAS MURDERED AND EATEN BY OTSJANEP,” he wrote in all caps. “This was revenge for the shooting four years ago.” Van Kessel spelled it all out. Names. Who had which body parts.
Less than a month after Michael disappeared—and within two weeks after they called off the search for him—Dutch authorities had von Peij’s and van Kessel’s reports.
On December 21, the governor of Dutch New Guinea cabled the Dutch minister of the interior. The cable is marked “secret” and “destroy,” but part of it remains in the Dutch government archives in the Hague. It outlines what the two priests reported and says:
In my opinion some reservations need to be made. No evidence has been found yet and therefore there is no certainty yet. In this connection it doesn’t seem germane to me to give information to the press or Rockefeller senior at this time.
Both priests had lived in Asmat for years. Both spoke the local language. And both were sure the story they’d heard was accurate. Van Kessel wanted to alert Michael’s family, even travel to the United States to speak with them. But in a series of letters church authorities warned von Peij and van Kessel that the issue was “like a cabinet of glass” and to keep silent, so “the mission will not fall from grace with the population,” and soon shipped van Kessel back to Holland. The Dutch government, engaged in a struggle with Indonesia and the United States to retain its last colony in the east, a policy predicated on presenting Papua as a civilized, smoothly functioning semi-independent entity, said nothing. When the Associated Press reported in March 1962 that Michael had been killed and eaten, based on a letter a third Dutch priest in Asmat had written to his parents, Nelson Rockefeller contacted the Dutch Embassy in the U.S., which contacted the Hague. Joseph Luns, the minister of foreign affairs himself, responded. The rumors had been thoroughly investigated, he said, and there was nothing to them.
In fact, the Dutch government investigation was just beginning. Officials dispatched a young Dutch patrol officer named Wim van de Waal—the very man who had sold Michael Rockefeller his catamaran. In 1962, van de Waal moved to Otsjanep to begin a long, slow process that would take three months.
“The Asmat in Otsjanep didn’t understand why I was there,” he told me in 2012, around the dining table in his home on the Spanish island of Tenerife, where he’s lived since 1968. He, too, was well, at age 73. “It was a complicated village, and they feel like talking about these things brings them bad luck.” Bit by bit he quizzed them about battles and raids and finally it spilled out—a story that differed little from the one von Peij had heard.
Van de Waal asked for proof, knowing the Dutch government would take no action without it. Some men took him into the jungle, dug in the muck and produced a skull and bones, the skull bearing no lower jaw and a hole in the right temple—the hallmarks of remains that had been headhunted and opened to consume the brains.
He handed the remains over to Dutch authorities, but it was now June 1962 and global politics intervened. “The political situation was becoming awkward,” van de Waal said; the Dutch were about to lose their half of New Guinea to newly independent Indonesia. Van de Waal’s superiors recalled him from the village. “I was never asked to make a report of my time in Otsjanep,” he said, and in meetings with higher officials “we never, ever, touched upon my investigation.” No records in the Dutch government archives mention it, though van de Waal’s story is corroborated in the memoirs of van Kessel’s replacement, a priest named Anton van de Wouw.
It's Special Pleadings all the way down!
Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77
You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop