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Alternative 3 - Chapter 2

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Alternative3 - Chapter 2

 

They realize now that they should have killed the old man.That would have been the logical course - to protect the secrecy of Alternative 3.

 

It is curious, really, that they did not agree his death on that Thursday in February for, as we have stated, they do use murder. Of course, it is not called murder - not when it is done jointly by the governments of America and Russia. It is an Act of Expediency.

 

Many Acts of Expediency are believed to have been ordered by the sixteen men, official representatives of the Pentagon and the Kremlin, who comprise the Policy Committee. Grotesque and apparently inexplicable slayings in various parts of the world - in Germany and Japan, Britain and Australia - are alleged to have been sanctioned by them.

 

We have not been able to substantiate these suspicions and allegations so we merely record that an unknown number of people - including distinguished radio astronomer Sir William Ballantine - have been executed because of this astonishing agreement between the super-powers.

 

Prominent politicians, including two in Britain, were among those who tried to prevent the publication of this book. They insisted that it is not necessary for you, and others like you, to be told the unpalatable facts. They argue that the events of the future are now inevitable, that there is nothing to be gained by prematurely unleashing fear. We concede that they are sincere in their views but we maintain that you ought to know. You have a right to know.

 

Attempts were also made to neuter the television programme which first focused public attention on Alternative 3. Those attempts were partially successful. And, of course, after the programme was transmitted - when there was that spontaneous explosion of anxiety - Sceptre Television was forced to issue a formal denial. It had all been a hoax. That's what they were told to say. That's what they did say.

 

Most people were then only too glad to be reassured. They wanted to be convinced that the programme had been devised as a joke, that it was merely an elaborate piece of escapist entertainment. It was more comfortable that way.

 

In fact, the television researchers did uncover far more disturbing material than they were allowed to transmit. The censored information is now in our possession. And, as we have indicated, there was a great deal that Benson and the rest of the television team did not discover - not until it been screened.And they did not know, for example, that Sir William Ballantine's freakish death - not far from his base at Jodrell Bank - was mirrored by that of an aerospace professor called Peterson near Stanford University at Palo Alt,California. Nor did they know of the monthly conferences beneath the ice of the Arctic.

 

Alternative 3 appears a preposterous conception -until one analyses the history of the so-called space-race. Right from the start the public have been allowed to know only what is considered appropriate for them to know. Many futuristic research developments - and the extent of information pooled between East and West -have been kept strictly classified.

 

There was a small but typical example in 1951 when living creatures were hurtled into the stratosphere for the very first time. Or, at least, the public were eventually told it was for the first time. Four monkeys - code-named Albert 1,2,3 and 4 - were launched in a V2 rocket from White Sands, New Mexico.

 

Remember White Sands? That's where the Columbus Dispatch man photographed that strange craft - the one which a NASA official grudgingly admitted was known as "The Flying Saucer".

 

The monkeys were successfully brought back to earth. Three survived. One died, shortly afterwards, of heat prostration.

 

Much later, when news did leak out, it was explained that Operation Albert had been kept secret for only one reason - to avert any possibility of animal-lovers staging a protest demonstration.

 

Most people accepted the official story - that the four Alberts really had been this world's first travelers in space. But was that the truth?

 

By 1951 the V2 rocket, a relic of World War II, had been superseded by far more sophisticated missiles. So would it be logical, or indeed practical, to use an obsolete vehicle for the first launch of living creatures?

 

Is it not more feasible to argue that Operation Albert was no more that a subsidiary experiment which happened to slip through the security net? That the authorities were not too perturbed about having to confirm it - because it helped conceal the real and gigantic truth?

 

There is abundant evidence that by 1951 the super powers were far more advanced in space technology than they have ever admitted. Much of that evidence has been supplied by experienced pilots. By men like Captain Laurence W. Vinther...

 

At 8:30 p.m. on January 20, 1951, Captain Vinther -then with Mid-Continent Airlines - was ordered by the controller at Sious City Airport to investigate a "very bright light" above the field.

 

He and his co-pilot, James F. Bachmeier, took off in a DC3 and headed for the source of the light.

 

Suddenly the light dived towards them at great speed and passed about 200 feet above them. Then they discovered that it had reversed direction, apparently in a split second, and was flying parallel to the airliner. It was a clear moonlit night and both men could clearly see that the light was emanating from a cigar-shaped object bigger than a B-29. Eventually the strange craft lost altitude, passed under the DC3 and disappeared.

 

Two months later, on March 15, thousands of people in New Delhi were startled by a strange object, high in the sky, which appeared to be circling the city. One witness was George Franklin Floate, chief engineer with the Delhi Flying Club, who described "a bullet-nosed, cigar-shaped object about 100 feet long with a ring of flames at the end". Two Indian Air Force jets were sent up to intercept. But the object suddenly surged upwards at a "phenomenal speeds' and vanished into the heights.

 

So, despite all official denials, sufficient advances had been made by 1951 to provide the basis for planning Alternative 3.

 

By the mid-Seventies there were so many rumors about covert information-swapping between East and West - with men like Professor Broadbent becoming progressively more curious - that the American-Russian "rivals" staged a masterpiece of camouflage. They would show the world, quite openly, how they were prepared to co-operate in space! The result was seen in July, 1975: the first admitted International Space Transfer. Television cameras showed the docking of a Soyuz spacecraft with and Apollo - and the crews jubilantly exchanging food and symbolic halves of medals.

 

Leonid Brezhnev sent this message to the united spacemen: "Your successful docking confirms the correctness of technical solutions that were worked out and realized in co-operation by Soviet and American scientists, designers and cosmonauts. One can say that Soyuz-Apollo is a prototype of future international orbital stations."

 

Gerald Ford expressed the hope that this "tremendous demonstration of co-operation" would set the pattern for "what we have to do in the future to make it a better world". And at his home near Boston, Massachusetts, former Apollo man Bob Grodin switched off his television set in disgust.

 

Grodin's comment was more succinct than that of either leader. He said: "How they've got the bloody neck!" Then he poured himself another tumbler of bourbon.

 

Grodin had cause to be bitter that day. Bitter and also cynically amused. There's been no television coverage, no glory of any sort, when he'd done the identical maneuver -140 miles above the clouds- on April 20, 1969. He's shaken hands up there with the Russians and laughed at their bad jokes - exactly like Tom Stafford had just been doing - but there's been none of this celebrity crap about that operation.

 

It was crazy...the way they were kidding people by making it all seem such a big deal! Christ! It hadn't been a big deal even when he'd done it. There's been all the others before him...

 

We now know,in fact, that this American-Russian docking technique was successfully pioneered in the late Fifties - with specially-designed submarines in the black depths of the North Atlantic. It was pioneered specifically because of Alternative 3. Because of the need for the ultimate in security. The system made it possible for men who were officially enemies, who played the charade of distrusting each other in public, to travel separately and discreetly to meetings far below the waves.

 

Thursday, February 3, 1977. A landmark. A Policy Committee meeting infiltrated, via the transcript, for the first time by Trojan. Information about earlier meetings, held in a variety of locations, still not available. Complete transcript obviously filed in separately-secured sections. Sensible precaution. And frustrating. Trojan obtained only small section. Enough to confirm murder conspiracy. Major breakthrough.

 

The venue: the wardroom of a modified Permit nuclear submarine. Thirty-five fathoms beneath ice of Arctic. Permit subs "seek out and destroy enemy". So American tax-payers are told. Cold ar concepts are readily accepted. They distract from real truth...

 

No names on transcript. No names, apparently, ever used. Only nationalities and numbers. Eight Russians - listed as R ONE through to R EIGHT - and eight Americans.

 

Procedure shown by subsequent transcripts - A EIGHT and R EIGHT alternate monthly as chairmen.

 

February 3. Chairman: A EIGHT. Transcript section starts:

 

A FIVE: You're kill-crazy...you know that?... absolutely kill-crazy...

 

A TWO: No...the guys right...that old man is dangerous...

 

R SIX: I am reminding you that it was agreed...right from the start it was agreed...that expediencies would be kept to a minimum...

 

A TWO: And the old man, friend, is right there inside that minimum...the way he talks...he'll blow the whole goddamn thing...

 

R ONE: Who do you suppose ever listens to him? Eh?... nobody...that's who listens. Come...he knows nothing...not after all these years. Theories...that's all he's got...theories and memories...

 

A FIVE: That just says it, doesn't it? Here we are wasting time and wetting ourselves because of theories that are twenty years old...Jeez!...if we start spreading expediencies so low because...

 

R FOUR: The theories have not changed so much in twenty years and in my considered opinion...

A FIVE: ...so low because of a semi-senile and garrulous old man...

 

A EIGHT: He's not semi-senile...he's not even that old I heard him lecture last year at Cambridge and,you take my word, he's certainly not semi-senile... What,precisely, has he been saying?

 

A TWO: About getting air out of the soil..about how the ice is melting...people at that university...they're beginning to listen to him...

 

A FIVE: That's no more, for Christ sakes, than he was saying in Alabama back in 1957...hell, I was right there at Huntsville when he said it...

 

R FOUR: The Huntsville Conference was like this meeting...the discussions there were not for outsiders and...

A FIVE: Yes...but not many people took him seriously even then...and now that he"s over the hill...

 

R FOUR: It is still a serious breach of security... it is dangerous and it could start a panic among the masses...

 

A FIVE: So all right!...Kill him! He's a harmless and doddering old has-been but if it makes you feel better...go ahead and kill him...

 

A EIGHT: Expediencies aren't to make us feel better..and our friend here was right...we have agreed to restrict them to the minimum...anything else against this man?

 

A TWO: Yeah...the real bad news...I hear he"s been dropping hints...nothing specific but oblique hints about the big bang...about the earth-air thing being cracked

 

R SIX: But it is not possible for him to be knowing that...

 

A TWO: Maybe he doesn't know...not know for sure...but he's sure done some figuring

 

A ONE: You're saying he"s guessed...right? That's what you"re saying

 

R ONE: So it is as I said...theories and memories and now guesses! We sentence an old man to death because of his guesses? That is how you Americans wish us to work?

 

A EIGHT: Let's cut the East-West stuff...we're a team here, remember, and we've got a hell of an agenda to get through and we've spent quite long enough on this Englishman. So let's vote...Those for expediency?Uhuh ...And against?...Well, that's it...he goes on living. For a while, at least. But I suggest we keep tabs...agreed?...Right then...Now Ballantine and this character Harry Carmell...looks to me like there's no room for question about either of them.

 

R SEVEN: This Harry Carmell...we are certain that he has stolen that circuit from NASA?

 

A EIGHT: Positive certain. And heads, I can promise you have rolled at Huston. We also know that he's somewhere in England...probably London..so if he should link up again with Ballantine...

 

R SEVEN: I think we are all aware of what could happen if he should link up again with Ballantine...

 

A TWO: Especially with Ballantine's contacts in Fleet Street...

 

R SEVEN: How was it possible for a man like Carmell to get out of America...?

 

A EIGHT: Don't tell me...I can say it for you...he'd never have got out of Russia that easily...but there it is...our people goofed and now it's down to us...

 

R SEVEN: As you say then, there is no room for question...both of them have got to be expediencies.

 

A EIGHT: All agreed?...Good...I suggest a couple of hot jobs...coroners always play them quiet...

 

R SEVEN: But first, presumably, we'll have to find Carmell...

 

A EIGHT: We'll find him...Londons not that big a ton and he'll soon be needing his shots.

 

A THREE: How hooked is he?

 

A EIGHT: Hooked enough...Now what about Peterson? Same deal?

 

R FOUR: We've all seen the earlier report on Peterson..what is the latest assessment?

 

A EIGHT: He's getting more and more paranoiac about the batch consignments...

 

R FOUR: You mean the scientific adjustments?

 

A EIGHT: Yeah...the scientific adjustments...he's running off at the mouth about ethics...that sort of crap...

 

A TWO: Ethics! What the hell do some of these guys think we're all at? Jesus! We're smack in the middle of the most vital exercise ever mounted...with the survival of the whole human race swinging on it...and they bleat about ethics...

 

A EIGHT: That surgery bit...it really got to him...

 

A FIVE: They should never have told him...he didn't need to know that...look, we owe Peterson...he's done good work...couldn't we just get him committed?

 

A TWO: No way...much too risky...he'd squeal his bloody head off.

 

A EIGHT: I endorse that. I'm sorry because I like the guy...but there's no choice. Anyone against an expediency for Peterson?...okay...that's carried... now for God's sake let's get down to the big problem...this stepping-up of the supplies-shuttle. Any word from Geneva?

 

That was where the transcript section ended. Three murders, quite clearly, had been agreed. No matter what they chose to call them, they were still talking about murder. But scientific adjustments? A great deal had already been published in the Western Press about strange experiments being conducted on inmates - chiefly dissidents and political prisoners - at the Dnepropetrovsk Mental Hospital in the Ukraine. They were barbaric, these experiments, but they had been known about and talked about for years. To push this Peterson to such agony of mind - to push him into risking and forfeiting his life - that surely had to be something new.

 

Trojan, by that time, had supplied us with information about that "something new" - for it was precisely that something which had decided him to make his dangerous break and talk to Benson. But he had nothing in writing. Nothing to document or substantiate his claims. We decided they were worth investigating but that it would be irresponsible merely to assume their accuracy.

 

We sought help from contacts in Washington. Contacts with influence in Senate and Congressional committees. And we were surprised by the speed with which those contacts achieved results. They didn't manage to bring the full story into the open, not at that stage, but they did make it possible for the public to see a glimmering of the truth.

 

On August 3, 1977, The London Evening News carried this story:

 

Human "guinea pigs" have been used by the CIA in experiments to control behavior and sexual activity.

 

The American intelligence agency also considered hiring a magician for another secret program on mind control.

 

The experiments over the past 20 years are revealed in documents which were thought to have been destroyed, but which have now been released after pressure from United States senate and congressional committees. The attempts to change sex patterns and other behavior involved using drugs on schizophrenic as well as normal people. Hallucinatory drugs like LSD were used on students.

 

Another heavily censored document shows that a top Magician was considered for work on mind control.

 

The give-away word was "prestidigitation" - sleight of hand - which appeared in a 1953 memo written by SidneyGottlier, then chief of the CIA's chemical division.

 

That story, we are convinced, would never have appeared if it had not been for the information supplied by Trojan. The "guinea-pig" facts would have remained as secret as the rest of the Alternative 3 operation.

 

The following day - August 4 - other newspapers developed the story. Ann Morrow, filing from Washington, wrote in the Daily Telegraph:

 

Some of the more chilling details of the way the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) tried to control individual behavior by using drugs on willing and unwilling human "guinea pigs" were disclosed yesterday by its director, Mr. Stansfield Turner.

 

In a large wood-paneled room, Mr. Turner, who likes to be known by his rank of Admiral, told the Senate's Intelligence Committee and Human Resources Sub-committee on Health that such tests were abhorrent to him.

 

He admitted that the tests were carried out in "safe houses" in San Francisco and New York where unwitting sexual psychopaths were subjected to experiments and attempts were made to change sexual conduct and other forms of human behavior.

 

At least 185 private scientists and 80 research institutions, including universities, were involved.

 

Mr. Turner went on to say that one man had killed himself - by leaping from an hotel window in New York City - after he had "unknowingly " been used in a "CIA - sponsored experiment:. The report continued:

 

Senator Edward Kennedy asked some incisive questions, but like other members of the Senate Committee found it difficult to keep a straight face when asking about the CIA's operations "Midnight" and "Climax".

 

Questioning two former CIA employees about the experiments which began in the 1950s and ended in 1973, Senator Kennedy read out a bizarre list of accessories for the "safe houses" in San Francisco and New York where prostitutes organized.

 

In his flat Bostonian accent he reeled off, straight - faced: "Rather elaborate dressing table, black velveteen skirt, one French Can - Can dancer's picture, three Toulouse Lautrec etchings, two - way mirrors and recording equipment." Then he admitted that this was the lighter side of the operation.

 

Mr. John Gittinger, who was with the CIA for 26 years, trembled and put a handkerchief to his eyes.He just nodded in agreement.

 

The Times, as you can check for yourself in any good reference library, carried a similar story from Washington that day. It described documents taken from CIA files and added:

 

Batches of the documents have been made available to reporters in Washington under the Freedom of Information Act, which guarantees the public access to Government papers. They are nearly all heavily censored.

 

That's the give - away - there in that last line.Nearly all heavily censored. Alternative 3, right from its conception in the Fifties, has always been considered exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. And it is no coincidence that these controversial experiments also started - as is now openly admitted - in the Fifties.

 

The editors of these newspapers had no way of knowing that their stories, disturbing as they were, had a direct connection with Alternative 3. Nor that they had secured only a fraction of the truth about those CIA experiments.

 

Information obtained from the complete experiments was pooled with that gained at the Dnepropetrovsk Mental Hospital. It was pooled so that factory - production methods could be developed to manufacture a slave species.

 

Remember that curious statement made by criminal investigator Ron Sutton in October, 1975 - after the disappearance of the "batch consignment" from Oregon?

 

"They were told they would have to give away everything, even their children. I'm checking a report of one family who supposedly gave away a 150 - acre farm and three children." That's what he said. And now those words fit into perspective.

 

 

In the days before the American Civil War slaves had no right to a family, no right to keep their own children, and they had no property. They WERE property. That horrifying philosophy, we can now prove, has been adopted by the space slave - masters of the Seventies.

 

Alternative 3 needs regular consignments of slaves. It needs them to labor for the key people. For people like Dr. Ann Clark.

 

Three people unwittingly inspired that television documentary and, although they would be dismayed to realize it, they helped alert the world to the horrors of Alternative 3.

 

Dr. Ann Clark is a research scientist specializing in solar energy. Brian Pendlebury, a former RAF man, is an electronics expert. Robert Patterson is a senior lecturer in mathematics - or, rather, he was until the time of his disappearance. Today, almost certainly, Patterson no longer teaches mathematics but is working full - time for Alternative 3.

 

So these people, then, were the catalyst for the entire investigation. That is why, although we have never met them, we have dedicated this book to them.

 

Ann Clark, a raven - haired and attractive woman who was just nudging thirty, made her big decision towards the end of 1975. She would never have made it - although her pride stopped her admitting as much on television - if her fiance' had not unexpectedly broken their engagement.

 

Her future had seemed all set. She'd intended to soldier on despite all the frustrations, at the research laboratory in Norwich until they got married. And then, probably, until their first child was born. Conditions at the laboratory were, as she'd often said, "pretty grotty" but she was prepared to tolerate them. After all, it wasn't going to be for too long...

 

Then Malcolm had shattered her with his news. He'd been astonishingly casual about it. Quite unlike the Malcolm she'd thought she'd known. He'd just told her, brutally, that their engagement was a mistake, that he didn't "want to get tied down." And then, only four weeks later, she's heard he was talking about marrying some girl called Maureen...

 

Suddenly the laboratory, and everything about it, had seemed intolerably depressing. Squalid and almost sordid. All the authorities admitted that their research was important. Particularly with the energy shortage and the climbing cost of oil. But apparently it wasn't important enough to have money poured into it.

 

Experimental projects often took three times as long as they should because of equipment which was makeshift and, in some cases, almost obsolete. Certain projects could not even be started. "Maybe in the next financial year but, at the moment, there's no budget available." That was a stock answer from the administrators. And Ann Clark became progressively more frustrated.

 

She wanted, now, to throw herself harder than ever into her research, to immerse herself in it completely, but she was increasingly aware that - like the others - she was not being allowed to make full use of her training. She's never have felt so strongly if it hadn't been for Malcolm and his plan for marrying this Maureen...that's what really decided her to start a new life.

 

Plenty of others were doing the same that year. They were getting out of Britain, heading for the big - money job sin Europe and in the Middle East. And in America. They were doubling their salaries and picking up bonus perks like company cars and lavish homes. They were also being offered far better conditions in which to work.

 

The Brain Drain. That's what it's called. And it is an accurate label. In the twelve years up to December, 1975 - the month Ann Clark reached her decision - nearly 4 million people had evacuated from the United Kingdom. More than a third of them were from the professional and managerial levels of British society.

 

One of the department heads at Norwich had left for a top post in America at the beginning of that year and, as his occasional letters had shown, he had not regretted the move. His only regret, in fact, was that he'd not made it years earlier. Ann Clark decided to write to him.

 

To her amazement, he telephoned her from California as soon as he got the letter. There's be no problem at all, he told her. Not with her ability and experience. She was exactly the type they needed and, if she wanted, he could certainly get her fixed with the right job.

 

If she wanted! She'd never imagined it could possibly be that easy. Excitement surged through her as she listened. Apparently there was a man in London who was recruiting scientists for the company in California and if she cared to contact this man...

 

She jotted down the name and address of the man in London, together with his telephone number. "I'll get in touch with him today," she said. I can't tell you how grateful...

 

"Let me call him first," he interrupted. "I'll put him in the picture about you."

 

"Thank you," she said. "Thank you very much indeed."

 

She met the man in London the following day and it was all settled within an hour. She drafted her resignation on the train back to Norwich.

 

That was the week, as we will explain later, that she was first contacted by Sceptre television. And, at first, she was more than happy to talk to them about her plans. She didn't mention Malcolm, of course, because the viewers didn't need to know about him. However, it was important, she felt, for people to be told exactly why scientists were flocking away from Britain. She was flattered, in fact, to be given the opportunity and she told herself that, by speaking out, she might help get conditions improved for those she was leaving...

 

Now we reach a mystery which we still have not completely resolved. The information we have fitted together has come from Ann Clark's friends and colleagues in Norwich. It almost provides an answer...but it also leaves questions.

 

Shortly after the Sceptre Television film unit arrived at the laboratory in January 1976, for the first of a series of interviews - Ann Clark was visited there by a strange American. He'd made no appointment but just turned up, and they assumed he was connected, in some way, with her new job. The American talked to her, privately, for a long time, and afterwards she seemed upset. She refused to say what he'd wanted or what they'd discussed, but she was obviously extremely upset.

 

That American, we have now established, went to her flat that evening and stayed for three hours. And after that evening, her attitude to those around her, and to the Sceptre Television people, changed in the most extraordinary manner. She did her work as conscientiously as ever, but she was oddly withdrawn. She refused to be drawn into any conversations. It was as if she had brought a shutter down all around herself.

 

There was also something else. One of her colleagues, an elderly man, told us: "I started noticing that she was sometimes looking at me - and at others - with a funny sort of expression in her eyes. It was almost as if, for some reason or other, she felt sorry for us. All a bit odd..."

 

All very odd. Dr. Ann Clark left Norwich in a self-drive hired car on February 22, 1976. She left without working out her notice, because, as she explained, the Americans were in a hurry to have her. So she became part of the Brain Drain. But she has still not joined that company in California.

 

Brian Pendlebury was thirty-three when he became part of the Brain Drain in July 1974. His principal reason for leaving was that he disliked the climate, particularly the climate in Manchester. He was very much a sun person.

 

Since leaving university with a degree in electronics, he'd acquired a taste for travel as a special-projects officer with the RAF.

 

The Air Force had shown him the world. It had also shown him that he wasn't the type to settle down in any humdrum routine. Certainly not in Manchester.

 

Five months after leaving the service, he applied for a job with a major electronics firm in Sydney, Australia. And, to the acute disappointment of his parents, he got it.

 

They were, they now admit, disappointed for a selfish but very understandable reason. He was their only child, and they absolutely adored him - having scrimped to get him through university and been so proud over his success - and for years they'd seen so very little of him. They had hoped that now he would live at home, for a year or so, at least. His mother also had this cozy vision of Brian marrying some nice sensible Lancashire girl and of herself becoming a doting grandmother.

 

"Maybe we can work out some compromise," but he'd made up his mind. He did promise, however, that he'd keep closely in touch. He'd write regularly, and he'd send lots of photographs. Yes, he knew that he'd said all that before...but this time he really would.

 

He kept that promise. He kept it for five months after leaving Manchester. Every week they got a letter with news of his life in Australia. The job, it seemed, was going fine, and he was really enjoying himself there. They also got photographs: Brian surfing...Brian with friends at a nightclub...Brian in front of Sydney Harbor bridge. That bridge picture was a particularly good one. They had it framed, and they put it on the mantelpiece.

 

So everything was fine, absolutely fine, except for some disconcerting facts.

 

Brian Pendlebury did not live at the address shown on his letters. The company for which he claimed to be working insists they have never heard of him. The truth, as far as we can establish it, is that Pendlebury never got to Australia.

 

Britain's system of taxation was a favorite hate subject with forty-two-year-old Robert Patterson. And, as a mathematician, he always had the latest facts to justify his anger.

 

His friends at the University of St. Andrews, where he was a senior lecturer, had become accustomed to a regular bombardment of figures.

 

"Do you realize that in Germany the most a man has to pay on the top slice of his taxable earnings is only 56 per cent! And in America...now that's a country where they really appreciate the value of incentive...in America it's only 50 per cent!"

 

Every one of his sentences, when he was talking tax, seemed to finish with a fiery exclamation mark.

 

"But what's it here in Britain? You ask me that and I'll tell you! Eighty-three per cent...that's what it is here...83 per cent! And you wonder why people here aren't interested in working harder!"

 

This sort of conversation - with Patterson supplying all the questions and answers - could go on indefinitely without anyone else saying a word. It was a hangover from his lecture-room technique, and it made him quite intolerably boring.

 

Many people at the university were rather relieved when he eventually announced that he was going to follow his own advice. He and his wife Eileen were getting out of Britain. They were taking their two children off to a fresh start in America.

 

He was unusually reticent about what he was going to do in America, saying no more than that he'd been "invited on an interesting project." It seemed obvious, despite his evasiveness, that he'd accepted some really plum post in America. And at the university, they weren't surprised, for he was recognized as one of the most brilliant mathematicians in Britain. It was a pity that he was also such a bore.

 

Patterson broke his news at the beginning of February 1976, and a paragraph appeared in the Guardian.

 

One of the researchers at Sceptre Television - the one who'd organized the initial interview with Ann Clark - saw the paragraph and immediately contacted Patterson. He was offering Patterson the best platform he'd ever had to air his views on taxation, for the program Science Report was networked right across the country.

 

"Thank you for the invitation," said Patterson. "Normally I'd love to take it up but I've got a time problem. We're flying at the end of next week, and there's so much I've got to do..."

 

"We wouldn't need all that much of your time," persisted the researcher. He'd had trouble enough finding the right people, and he wasn't going to let a prize like Robert Patterson slip away too easily. "We could send a reporter and film unit up to Scotland and do it, perhaps, at the university or at your home." Harman, he knew, would probably squeal about the cost of sending a unit all that way from London - just for one interview - but let him bloody squeal.

 

They couldn't expect to hold a network slot without spending a few bob. Anyway, he thought, Chris Clements could fight that out with Harman. That's what producers were for. His job was to get the right people, and he was damned well doing it. "It wouldn't take long, Mr. Patterson," he said. "And we could do it almost any time to suit you."

 

Patterson hesitated. "How about next Tuesday morning?" he said.

"Fine. What time?"

"Eleven o'clock?"

"Right. And where?"

"It would be more convenient here at my house."

"Then your house it is, Mr. Patterson. We'll be there at eleven. And thank you."

 

Colin Benson, now cooperating with us, was the TV reporter who went to Patterson's home on that Tuesday morning. He found the house locked and obviously empty. The Pattersons, according to neighbors, had driven off in a hurry at lunchtime on

the Saturday.

 

If you watched that particular edition of Science Report, you will probably recall that the family's car was later found abandoned in London. But the Pattersons - Robert, Eileen, sixteen-year-old Julian, and fourteen-year-old Kate - have not been seen since.

 

 

Intro -- Chapter 1 -- Chapter 2 -- Chapter 3 -- Chapter 4 -- Chapter 5 -- Addendum

 



 

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