There is a story here and it's not what officaldom would have us believe. The question is why is this happenening and why are the family's of the victims disinclined to believe the official story they are told? If anyone out there can shed some light on it then I will publish whatever you send me.
Fifty-year-old Alistair Beckham was a successful British aerospace- projects engineer. His specialty was designing computer software for sophisticated naval defense systems. Like hundreds of other British scientists, he was working on a pilot program for America's Strategic Defense Initiative--better known as Star Wars. And like at least 21 of his colleagues, he died a bizarre, violent death.
It was a lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon in August 1988. After driving his wife to work, Beckham walked through his garden to a musty backyard toolshed and sat down on a box next to the door. He wrapped bare wires around his chest, attached the to an electrical outlet and put a handkerchief in his mouth. Then he pulled the switch.
With his death, Beckham's name was added to a growing list of British scientists who've died or disappeared under mysterious circumstances since 1982. Each was a skilled expert in computers, and each was working on a highly classified project for the American Star Wars program. None had any apparent motive for killing himself.
The British government contends that the deaths are all a matter of coincidence. The British press blames stress. Others allude to an ongoing fraud investigation involving the nation's leading defense contractor. Relatives left behind don't know what to think.
"There weren't any women involved. There weren't any men involved. We had a very good relationship," says Mary Beckham, Alistair's widow. "We don't know why he did it...if he did it. And I don't believe that he did do it. He wouldn't go out to the shed. There had to be something...."
The string of unexplained deaths can be traced back to March 1982, when Essex University computer scientist Dr. Keith Bowden died in a car wreck on his ay home from a London social function. Authorities claim Bowden was drunk. His wife and friends say otherwise.
Bowden, 45, was a whiz with super-computers and computer- controlled aircraft. He was cofounder of the Department of Computer Sciences at Essex and had worked for one of the major Star Wars contractors in England.
One night Bowden's immaculately maintained Rover careened across a four-lane highway and plunged off a bridge, down an embankment, into an abandoned rail yard. Bowden was found dead at the scene.
During the inquest, police testified that Bowden's blood alcohol level had exceeded the legal limit and that he had been driving too fast. His death was ruled accidental.
Wife Hillary Bowden and her lawyer suspected a cover-up. Friends he'd supposedly spent the evening with denied that Bowden had been drinking. Then there was the condition of Bowden's car.
"My solicitor instructed an accident specialist to examine the automobile," Mrs. Bowden explains. "Somebody had taken the wheels off and put others on that were old and worn. At the inquest this was not allowed to be brought up. Someone asked if the car was in a sound condition, and the answer was yes."
Hillary, in a state of shock, never protested the published verdict. Yet, she remains convinced that someone tampered with her husband's car. "It certainly looked like foul play," Hillary maintains.
Four years later the British press finally added Bowden's case to its growing dossier. First, there appeared to be two interconnected deaths, then six, then 12--suddenly there were 22.
Take 37-year-old David Sands, a senior scientist at Easams working on a highly sensitive computer-controlled satellite- radar system. In March 1987 Sands made a U-turn on his way to work and rammed his car into the brick wall of a vacant restaurant. His trunk was loaded with full gasoline cans. The car exploded on impact.
Given the incongruities of the accident and the lack of a suicide motive, the coroner refused to rule out the possibility of foul play. Meanwhile, information leaked to the press suggested that Sands had been under a tremendous emotional strain.
Margaret Worth, Sand's mother-in-law, claims these stories are totally inaccurate. "When David died, it was a great mystery to us," she admits. "He was very successful. He was very confident. He had just pulled off a great coup for his company, and he was about to be greatly rewarded. He had a very bright future ahead of him. He was perfectly happy the week before this happened."
Like many of the bereaved, Worth is still at a loss for answers. "One week we think he must have been got at. The next week we think it couldn't be anything like that," she says.
This wave of suspicious fatalities in the ultrasecret world of sophisticated weaponry has not gone unnoticed by the United States government. Late last fall, the American embassy in London publicly requested a full investigation by the British Ministry of Defense (MoD).
Members of British Parliament, such a Labour MP Doug Hoyle, copresident of the Manufacturing, Science & Finance Union, had been making similar requests for more than two years. The Thatcher government had refused to launch any sort of inquiry.
"How many more deaths before we get the government to give the answers?" Hoyle asks. "From a security point of view, surely both ourselves and the Americans ought to be looking into it."
The Pentagon refuses comment on the deaths. However, according to Reagan Administration sources, "We cannot ignore it anymore."
Actually, British and American intelligence agencies are on the situation. When THE SUNDAY TIMES in London published the details of 12 mysterious deaths last September, sources at the American embassy admitted being aware of at least ten additional victims whose names had already been sent to Washington. The sources added that the embassy had been monitoring reports of "the mysterious deaths" for two years.
English intelligence has suffered several damaging spy scandals in the 20 century. The CIA may suspect the deaths are an indication of security leaks, that Star Wars secrets are being sold to the Russians. Perhaps these scientists had been blackmailed into supplying classified data to Moscow and could no longer live with themselves. One or more may have stumbled onto an espionage ring and been silenced.
DOSSIER OF DEATH
1. AUTO ACCIDENT--Professor Keith Bowden, 45, computer scientist, Essex University. In March 1982 Bowden's car plunged off a bridge, into am abandoned rail yard. His death was listed as an accident.
2. MISSING PERSON--Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Godley, 49, defense expert, head of work-study unit at the Royal Military College of Science. Godley disappeared in April 1983. His father bequeathes him more than $60,000, with the proviso that he claim it be 1987. He never showed up and is presumed dead.
3. SHOTGUN BLAST--Roger Hill, 49, radar designer and draftsman, Marconi. In March 1985 Hill allegedly killed himself with a shotgun at the family home.
4. DEATH LEAP--Jonathan Walsh, 29, digital-communications expert assigned to British Telecom's secret Martlesham Health research facility (and to GEC, Marconi's parent firm). In November 1985 Walsh allegedly fell from his hotel room while working on a British Telecom project in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Africa). He had expressed a fear for his life. Verdict: Still in question.
5. DEATH LEAP--Vimal Dajibhai, 24, computer-software engineer (worked on guidance system for Tigerfish torpedo), Marconi Underwater Systems. In August 1986 Dajibhai's crumpled remains were found 240 feet below the Clifton suspension bridge in Bristol. The death has not been listed as a suicide.
6. DECAPITATION--Ashaad Sharif, 26, computer analyst, Marconi Defense Systems. In October 1986, in Bristol, Sharif allegedly tied one end of a rope around a tree and the other end around his neck, then drove off in his car at high speed. Verdict: Suicide.
7. SUFFOCATION--Richard Pugh, computer consultant for the Ministry of Defense. In January 1987 Pugh was found dead, wrapped head-to- toe in rope that was tied four times around his neck. The coroner listed his death as an accident due to a sexual experiment gone awry.
8. ASPHYXIATION--John Brittan, Ministry of Defense tank batteries expert, Royal Military College of Science. In January 1987 Brittan was found dead in a parked car in his garage. The engine was still running. Verdict: Accidental death.
9. DRUG OVERDOSE--Victor Moore, 46, design engineer, Marconi Space Systems. In February 1987 Moore was found dead of a drug overdose. His death is listed as a suicide.
10. ASPHYXIATION--Peter Peapell, 46, scientist, Royal Military College of Science. In February 1987 Peapell was found dead beneath his car, his face near the tail pipe, in the garage of his Oxfordshire home. Death was due to carbon-monoxide poisoning, although test showed that the engine had been running only a short time. Foul play has not been ruled out.
11. ASPHYXIATION--Edwin Skeels, 43, engineer, Marconi. In February 1987 Skeels was found dead in his car, a victim of carbon-monoxide poisoning. A hose led from the exhaust pipe. His death is listed as a suicide.
12. AUTO ACCIDENT--David Sands, satellite projects manager, Eassams (a Marconi sister company). Although up for a promotion, in March 1987 Sands drove a car filled with gasoline cans into the brick wall of an abandoned cafe. He was killed instantly. Foul play has not been ruled out.
13. AUTO ACCIDENT--Stuart Gooding, 23, postgraduate research student, Royal Military College of Science. In April 1987 Gooding died in a mysterious car wreck in Cyprus while the College was holding military exercises on the island. Verdict: Accidental death.
14. AUTO ACCIDENT--George Kountis, experienced systems analyst at British Polytechnic. In April 1987 Kountis drowned after his BMW plunged into the Mersey River in Liverpool. His death is listed as a misadventure.
15. SUFFOCATION--Mark Wisner, 24, software engineer at Ministry of Defense experimental station for combat aircraft. In April 1987 Wisner was found dead in his home with a plastic bag over his head. At the inqust, his death was rules an accident due to a sexual experiment gone awry.
16. AUTO ACCIDENT--Michael Baker, 22, digital-communications expert, Plessey Defense Systems. In May 1987 Baker's BMW crashed through a road barrier, killing the driver. Verdict: Misadventure.
17. HEART ATTACK--Frank Jennings, 60, electronic-weapons engineer for Plessey. In June 1987 Jennings allegedly dropped dead of a heart attack. No inquest was held.
18. DEATH LEAP--Russel Smith, 23, lab technician at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment. In January 1988 Smith's mangled body was found halfway down a cliff in Cornwall. Verdict: Suicide.
19. ASPHYXIATION--Trevor Knight, 52, computer engineer, Marconi Space and Defense Systems. In March 1988 Knight was found dead in his car, asphyxiated by fume from a hose attached to the tail pipe. The death was ruled a suicide.
20. ELECTROCUTION--John Ferry, 60, assistant marketing director for Marconi. In August 1988 Ferry was found dead in a company-owned apartment, the stripped leads of an electrical cord in his mouth. Foul play has not been ruled out.
21. ELECTROCUTION--Alistair Beckham, 50, software engineer, Plessey. In August 1988 Beckham's lifeless body was found in the garden shed behind his house. Bare wires, which ran to a live main, were wrapped around his chest. Now suicide note was found, and police habe not ruled out foul play.
22. ASPHYXIATION--Andrew Hall, 33, engineering manager, British Aero- space. In September 1988 Hall was found dead in his car, asphyxiated by fumes from a hose that was attached to the tail pipe. Friends said he was well liked, had everything to live for. Verdict: Suicide.