By J E Solomon
A piece of rock presented to former Dutch Prime Minister Willem Drees as a “moon rock” in 1969 by then US ambassador J. William Middendorf, has been found to be fake. The supposed moon rock was being kept at the Dutch national museum.

The museum is said to have acquired the rock after the death of former Prime Minister Willem Drees in 1988. Drees allegedly received the rock as a private gift on October 9, 1969 from Middendorf during a visit by the three Apollo 11 astronauts then on a goodwill tour after the first moon landing.

An Associated Press report filed on Thursday, August 27, 2009, at 11:35am ET disclosed that the piece of rock, supposedly brought back from the moon by US astronauts, has been found to be just a piece of petrified wood.

According to the report, Middendorf, who lives in Rhodes Island, told Dutch NOS News that he had    gotten the said moon rock from the US State Department, but couldn’t recall the exact details. Meanwhile, the US Embassy in The Hague is said to be investigating the matter.

A spokeswoman for the museum, Xandra van Gelder, who oversaw the investigation that proved the piece of stone was fake, said “the museum would keep it anyway as a curiosity.” She said one important unanswered question is why Drees was given the stone. He was 83 years old at the time and had been out of office for 11 years.

With this shocking revelation that the Dutch museum’s moon rock sample, once a treasured collection of Drees, is actually not a rock from the moon, but a mere piece of petrified wood, the world will be eager to know what really happened. I shudder to think that NASA, or for that matter the US State Department  could conceive and actually execute such a cynical ploy considering the fact that the moon landings had been challenged and widely doubted by some interest groups and researchers including a 2001 Fox television network program that showed alleged evidence that NASA faked the moon landings.

This article is not intended to revive the conspiracy theories that sought to suggest that NASA faked the first moon landing by Neil Armstrong. Arguably such a cynical ploy cannot in any way be executed without a whistle blower spilling the beans. Come to think of the number of people that NASA would have had to entice or coerse into being privy to such an elaborate trick. Obviously the entire team of scientists, engineers, and technicians at NASA and other relevant US institutions would have to be willing participants of the ruse to really make it a success. If that was the case, someone somewhere surely would have liked to make a name and become a hero in such a drama. It’s just unthinkable.

I do not intend to belittle the Dutch investigation that reportedly exposed the fake moon rock, far       from that. However, I’m tempted to believe that an insider swindler with access to the late Dutch prime minister’s valuable possessions might have secretly swapped the petrified wood with the real moon rock. It could also be that a group of smart and mischievous guys close to the late prime minister Drees might have planned and executed a foul play. That could be more than likely. But this is all about America and the world will want to find answers to this mystery.

It is interesting to note that in a moon landing poll asking whether the government could fake a moon landing, 57% said, “No way – a whistle blower would have said something.” As many as 42% thought otherwise, and their reason is that, “Our government has kept plenty of secrets, why not this one?” There was a total of 1,357 votes.

That a supposed moon rock presented personally by a US ambassador 40 years ago and only three  months after the first moon landing, should be found today to be fake is something that is certain to excite the conspiracy theorists and cause them to rejoice. I only hope that the piece of petrified wood at the Dutch national museum could be the work of a brainy swindler and that, it’s not the original goodwill moon rock presented to the former Dutch prime minister in 1969.

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