The Brotherhood of Eternal Love
Stewart Tendler and Davaid May
The Badlands Brotherhood International
The calling card was 1 kilo of LSD. He was growing fat and was balding, the wide forehead pushing back thick, dark hair. In his early thirties, Ron Stark seemed quite at home on the Brotherhood ranch in a smelly jellabaand the Brothers loved him.
He was introduced through an indirect connection with Millbrook and Leary. The first anyone knew of Stark was when a man turned up in New York to see Hitchcock. The messenger had been part of the psychedelic menagerie at Millbrook, and came as emissary of a large French LSD operation. Hitchcock sent him west. Stark, the man's boss, followed soon afterwards.
Stark had a remarkable ability for giving his listeners what they wanted to hear, speaking the language of both the smugglers and the chemists. 'He impressed the heck out of the Brothers,' said one source, 'especially as he came up with all sorts of smuggling scams which they liked.' There was the West African 'scam'. Using connections which included both business and ministerial contacts, Stark proposed that heavy electrical equipment be sent backwards and forwards to the United States packed with drugs instead of the normal mechanisms. There was the Japanese 'scam'. Stark had business contacts there, too. If the Brothers wanted to turn the world on, they should not forget Red China. The Japanese criminal syndicates could be very useful in reaching the Chinese mainland.
The Brothers were afraid police action would cost them the ranch, while Hitchcock was desperate to remove all traces of his connection. Stark had companies and lawyers who could take care of such worries. Sand still needed financial expertise, and Scully wanted to go into a legitimate electronics business. Again, Stark had answers. He sat on so many boards, controlled so many concerns, that a few shell companies or a few thousand dollars were no problem.
As for LSD, Sand was still tableting but had no immediate prospects of a laboratory without raw materials. In return for a feedback of money and materials, Stark could fill the gap. The LSD would be made in Europe, in a laboratory safely out of reach of the American authorities, and dyed orange to continue the flow of Orange Sunshine. To spice the offer, Stark added that he had discovered a new quick process of making LSD and even had the assistance of an English chemist who, he claimed, had done research for a Nobel Prize-winning team.
No one worried that Stark seemed far removed from the traditions of the psychedelic scene. This was some sort of LSD entrepreneur, whatever his clothes and his outrageous ideas. This was a Faustus tempting the Brothers further into the new world of big business drug-making, and no one stopped to wonder where he was coming from. If they tried to find out, they would not get very far.
Ronald Stark was and is an enigma. Many people can describe him and remember conversations or events, yet they cannot say who exactly he really was. With a clutch of different identities, he moved like a chameleon from communes and LSD laboratories to luxury hotels and exclusive gentlemen's clubs. The major LSD producer who became adviser and partner of the pacific Brothers was also adviser and confidant of terrorists, walking with Arab princes and Sicilian Mafiosi. He was the man who made LSD a transatlantic commodity, the catalyst for a British subsidiary which became one of the world's greatest LSD producers.
If Owsley was, according to Leary, God's Secret Agent, for whom did Stark work? There is no one word which accurately describes Stark … and that is the way he wanted it. Stark operated on four continents, in at least a dozen countries. He did so for the most part successfully because in the Americas they knew little about what he did in Europe, just as those in Europe knew very little about what he had done in Africa, and those in Africa knew nothing about his activities in Asia. His textbook for security, exhorting others to follow his example, was, of all things, a science-fiction novel published in the 1960s by Robert A. Heinlein, called The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. It is the story of a lunar colony's attempt to free itself from the control of Earth through a movement based on a system of cells, each kept in ignorance of the others. The success of the revolution is also aided by skilful deployment of disinformation.
In this, Stark was a past master. There is not one biography but two, three, four or more different stories which he disseminated. Each is slightly different, so that no two people ever got the same story.
The official record leaves plenty of room for embroidery and subterfuge. Stark was born in New York in September 1938 as Ronald Shitsky. In adult life, he is recorded as being five feet eight inches tall, weighing 210 lb., with brown hair, blue eyes, balding with a scar on his abdomen. In 1962 he was convicted of filing a false application for a government Post and became FBI Number 812020E. He failed to abide by the terms of his probation and was sent to a federal detention centre, and then to Lewisburg Prison, Pennsylvania. Shitsky was changing identity. He was convicted as Ronald Hadley Clark. When jailed, he was now calling himself Ronald H. Stark. While in custody he spent a period of time in Bellevue mental hospital. Under the heading of employment, his record merely says 'research laboratory'. In 1967, the record notes he was worth $3,000, but the next year in excess of $1 million.
Mug shots from Stark's time in prison show a young man already going to fat, the hairline receding from a high forehead; the face heavy and slightly glowering. Someone once said he looked like the 'toad god' from one of the ancient cultures.
Friends in New York in the mid-1960s remember him as living in a tenement in the centre of the Little Italy area of the city. They thought he was a biochemist or something at Cornell University. 'He was short and fat. The kind of guy who could pass as ethnic anything and aged between 25 and 45. He was an interesting guy,' said one acquaintance. Stark also seemed a little eccentric. He had a six-room apartment, but lived in only two of them, throwing his garbage in the other four rooms. When the place filled up, he left. The friends understood he got his money from a breakthrough in his research, and they saw documents which seemed to back up the story. One of the friends tried to get hold of Stark at his Cornell laboratory, used by a Nobel Prize winner, but no one had heard of him.
Stark's explanation of his wealth to friends in the drug world revolved round his connections with the Whitney family, one of America's richest clans. Calling himself George Ronald Hadley Whitney Stark, he claimed to have been born into an Austrian branch of the family. He was given money from the family's trust funds which he put to good use and increased. Stark said he was at Harvard at the time of President Kennedy's election and, on graduating, joined the administration, like many other young Harvard men recruited by the Kennedys. He served under McNamara in the Defence Department on work which was secret but the (unspecified) tasks eventually so disgusted him that he resigned. His break with the American establishment was completed in the mid1960s when he first took LSD.
The conversion to LSD was omitted when Stark spoke to his lawyers. The story here was that his father had been a biochemist in Europe during the 1930s who bad moved his funds from Nazi Germany to Switzerland. Stark inherited the funds because his mother wanted nothing to do with anything connected with the Nazis, and in 1968 Stark sold patents, implying that they might have been his father's, to a Californian corporation for $900,000, plus an annual royalty payment guaranteed at never less than $24,000. A graduate of Harvard, the Rockefeller University and a New York teaching hospital, Stark took his PhD in biochemistry and his MD and, with his new fortune, moved into the international business community.
In Accra, capital of Ghana, in 1967 Stark again claimed connections with the Whitneys. He acquired a genuine 40 per-cent holding in the Ghanaian state pharmaceutical house, in the hope of eventually buying out the government. While there, he enlisted the aid of an economics specialist at the US embassy to press his bid. Entertained at the diplomat's home, he boasted of his collection of large fast cars and houses in Rome, Paris and other capital cities. Further along the coast in Nigeria, he claimed to be an important member of a company called West Africa Services and talked of plans to open a pharmaceutical company. His business card announced him as part of Interbiochem Ghanawhich the card said had replaced the state pharmaceutical house.
In fact, he was never a graduate of Harvardor of anywhere else, for that matter. The firm to which he is supposed to have sold his patents say merely that they had some dealings with him in the mid-1960s and do not wish to comment further. Department of Defense records in Washington do not go back further than 1973. There is a Ronald Harry Stark living a perfectly ordinary life in the Midwest. This Stark has genuine connections to various forms of research; somewhere, although he cannot remember anyone like his 'namesake', the fictitious Stark discovered him and his useful identity. The two men are the same age, the same build and the real Mr Stark says he has never been out of the United States. 'Stark's' mother is still alive and living in New York, but neither she nor his lawyer will comment about the background of her son.
In all the autobiographies Stark issued, one thing was missing which could have explained more about his wealth: Stark was a very successful LSD entrepreneur. At one point he worked for a corporation which sold ergotamine tartrate in the United Statesa company for which Druce once acted as agent and the one Stark is supposed to have sold his patents toand a comparison of street prices for LSD and the wholesale price of ergotamine would have made interesting reading for a man out to make a fortune. Or, while at Bellevue, did Stark receive his first LSD as part of a course of treatment? The story about the squalor of his New York apartment is interesting when compared with Sand's early career in similar circumstances. Perhaps Stark tried to make his own LSD, and the squalor was either a cover or the result.
Exactly when he moved into large-scale production abroad, or why, is not known; but several sources independent of each other report a production run in Rome at the time when he suddenly became wealthy. By the late 1960s, Stark had again moved, to France, embellishing his operations with legitimate chemical companies as a front. He was established in the thirteenth arrondissement of Paris with two other Americans, working at night after the regular staff had gone.
The mean little figure arrested by the FBI a few years earlier was now a wealthy man of the world, boasting a fleet of expensive cars and a pleasant home at the better end of Greenwich Village. He may have worn a jellaba for the Brothers, but he was equally comfortable in expensive suits, developing a taste for fine food, particularly caviare. A dabbler in legitimate and illegitimate businesses, he had command of many languages. Gregarious and charming when it suited him, he seemed fascinated by the antics of the young. On the streets during the Paris riots in May 1969 he bumped into a fellow American expatriate. The casual meeting was to have great importance. The two got talking about drugs and the other American, a student at Cambridge, England, mentioned that a drugs expert and writer had settled in the university town. Stark tucked the name away for future reference. David Solomon was a man, like others, who went back to Millbrook days and beyond. It was through David Solomon that Stark met the brilliant English chemist he mentioned to the Brothers. But these were different people from the Brothers, developing in very different circumstances. Their story began in the late 1960s, when the Brothers were growing in strength and Owsley was already an established figure.
David Solomon left the United States with his family in 1966 as a rising authority on drugs. The man who first took mescaline as a magazine assignment after reading Huxley's books turned from jazz criticism to a series of works in which he pulled together and edited the views of artists, philosophers and experimenters on drugs. The books on LSD and marijuana added, for their readers at least, a gloss of respectability to the growing drug culture. Many of them might well grow out of the culture eventually, but Solomon did not. In his early forties he did not shrug aside the faith he had acquired. The psychedelicsto which he had been introduced in the first fervent period of lay interest, becoming part of an LSD pipeline in the IFIF dayswere a natural part of an unconventional philosophy he already accepted.
From the United States the Solomon family moved to Majorca where their friends included the poet Robert Graves. But they did not stay long. Arrested by the police for drug possession, Solomon left the island without paying the court fine. In late 1967, he moved to Britain and settled in Cambridge.
The youth revolt in Britain lagged some years behind the United States and never had a clear focal point like the Vietnam War or Civil Rights. While the use of drugs was well established by the mid-1960s in the United States, it was still developing in Britain, where laws were tighter. There was no British equivalent of Leary in a society which was more stable than the American and where ideas moved much more slowly. The proscription of LSD did not produce any group like the Brothers or campaigning movements; the nearest Britain got was a lobby to legitimize marijuana. Solomon found himself at Cambridge in a world eager to learn, and he was happy to become its psychedelic missionary.
Dressed in jeans and sweater, the scrawny, bird-like author was an appealing Loyola to the young, one who reached easily down to their level, unaffected by stuffy adult conventions.
Here was a man as outrageous as any Yippie half his age: he walked through customs posts with marijuana stuffed in his pipe or drove up a motorway with one foot on the steering wheel and the other on the accelerator while lighting up. Despite his age, Solomon was fired by a desire to be everywhere and do everything, ranging up and down the social scales of the drug world. His interest in Soma, the group campaigning for the legalization of cannabis, brought him into contact with Dr Francis Crick, the Cambridge Nobel Prize winner, and Dr R. D. Laing, the famous British radical psychiatrist; both were on the Soma council.
At a lower level, the family home in Granchester Meadows, close to the meandering river on the outskirts of Cambridge, was open house to the young who could come for a sympathetic hearing from a man many took as a surrogate parent. The house was asocial whirlpool, a vortex powered by Solomon's enthusiasms which sucked people into it. In the spring of 1968 it sucked in Dick Kemp.
Solomon had not moved to Cambridge simply because of its relaxed and academic ambience or the pleasant rural setting. He left Majorca with the germ of an idea, to synthetize THC, the active ingredient of marijuana. Such an achievement would short-circuit smuggling across the world, producing a fortune for the men who made it simply and successfully. THC at the time was legal in Britain where scientists at Cambridge were involved in research. Before he came to Britain, Solomon, the drug expert and author, had written to them on behalf of what he later came to call his 'company': a potential partnership between Solomon and two other Americans. One was a contact from Majorca and the other from the New York days, but both were also members of the Millbrook fraternity.
Paul Arnabaldi was at Millbrook in its heyday, but by the time Solomon met him he was an expatriate living on the Spanish island. Described as a rather morose, sardonic person, Arnabaldi looked what he was -a buccaneer. Living a life close to that of a beach bum in Majorca, he was a much-travelled man with some private means and an interest in supplementing them.
The other American was Gerry Thomas, who began as a chemical engineer. Given to short hair and sharp suits, he became a celebrated drug smuggler, earning the nickname of 'Elephant Boy' for moving a marijuana load into the United States in the innards of a stuffed elephant. Yet another man who had visited Millbrook, Thomas, recipient of three degrees, was now in his thirties and was also fascinated by THC.
The author, the hustler and the smuggler began a very uneasy partnership. The start of the THC research was not auspicious. Solomon hired the services of a post-graduate student who knew one of his daughters. The man began working on a formula drawn up by Israeli scientists, only to find difficulty in obtaining chemicals.
The post-graduate turned for help to an old friend from his student daysDick Kemp. On the face of it, Kemp was a grey scientific researcher; but he possessed characteristics of both Scully and Owsley.
A tall, angular young man, he shared with Owsley the background of a troubled, uneven childhood, and with Scully academic prowess harnessed to a certain naivete. The child of working-class parents, Kemp won a scholarship to a minor public school. Never totally happy in what must have been an alien atmosphere, he scored well in exams and went to St Andrews University in Scotland. Both a good science student and a sportsman, he was thrown out for a misdemeanour, but his abilities were too good to be wasted. He was given a fresh place at Liverpool University, where he graduated to research work.
Kemp helped his friend out as best he could and thought no more of the matter until he dropped in to Cambridge in the autumn of 1968 while on his way abroad for a scientific conference. He was enchanted by Solomon who was amusing and interesting, confronting Kemp with a host of ideas new to a man whose horizons stretched no further than his research, a pint of beer, a bridge hand or a game of squash. At Granchester Meadow, Kemp smoked his first marijuana cigarette, fascinated by both the drug and his host's patter. With a £5 note from Solomon tucked in his pocket in payment for his help on the chemicals, he left, having agreed that he might further aid the THC research. Back in Liverpool, when he had time he tinkered in his laboratory on the project.
Who brought up the question of making LSD was later a matter of dispute, but by the beginning of 1969 Kemp and his friend at Cambridge were prepared to try making the drug to finance further THC research. Solomon told Kemp, who had never taken LSD, that the drug was a stronger version of marijuana.
In a basement in Liverpool, Kemp did indeed make LSD, using raw materials smuggled by Arnabaldi. Three batches of very poor LSD, which found their way to Canada, were created for the 'company'. The wages for the chemists were little more than a few hundred pounds and a supply of marijuana.
To find out what he was making, Kemp chewed slivers of filter paper. Bad though the LSD was, Kemp liked what he tried. Alone in the make-shift laboratory, he upset a flask which smashed and gave him an enormous dose. The young chemist mentally tumbled and turned under the influence; the experience left him shaken but none the less very impressed.
When he crossed Liverpool to his legitimate work bench, the excitement of LSD was hard to shake off. He became increasingly disillusioned with his poorly-paid university research job; he felt he was being treated as sweated labour by narrow-minded scientists. He was moving towards a choice between underground chemistry and overground research. The changes he registered in himself under the influence of the psychedelics were fascinating compared with the scientific trivia of life at the university. Solomon had given him a push towards his choice. The final shove came with a summons to Cambridge to meet a man with a '$3 million inheritance', a background in chemistry and a love of the good life. Stark, following up the information gleaned in Paris, had announced himself at Granchester Meadows.
On a summer evening in 1969, Kemp and the two Americans sat up late discussing the future. Solomon was about to sell his newest asset in return for more LSD to keep his 'company' alive.
Kemp later compared the deal to the transfer of a promising young footballer from a tiny, impoverished club to one of the rich giants. The unlikely venue for the final negotiations was the Oxford and Cambridge Club in London. Stark, posing as a Harvard graduate to gain membership, used the hushed and elegant ambience of the gentleman's club in Pall Mail as his headquarters for British business. In return for a supply of LSD at the discount price of $900 a gram, Solomon passed Kemp over to Stark.
When Kemp arrived in France in early 1970, after Stark had linked up with the Brotherhood, his ostensible function was to continue THC research. But the humble denizen of a Liverpool research laboratory came to Paris to find himself accelerated into a world of mass LSD production, fine living and more than a little excitement. Kemp did some THC work but, now a veteran LSD user, he could not object to LSD manufacture as wellStark claimed that production was still legal in France.
Stark's site was a Paris perfume factory, and the English chemist was resourceful and ambitious. The aim was to make over a kilo of LSD and Kemp more than justified his transfer fee. Accidentally he stumbled on a way of making an almost pure product. Part of the way through the process, Kemp was on his own late one night and decided to store the solution he had made in a refrigerator until the next day. When he examined it again he found he had discovered a short-cut of great value by the simple act of freezing. It could save time as well as producing a very good product which had long-lasting qualities. In his own words, Kemp became 'the goose who laid the golden egg'.
Over a kilo of LSD was made and stored. Kemp may not have known it was destined to become Orange Sunshine, but it was.
The Paris laboratory was so successful that Stark, breaching his own security, showed Kemp off to Sand and Friedman, Sand's professional adviser, at a meeting in Switzerland, where the LSD was delivered for smuggling to the United States. It was the opportunity to set the seal on a loose-knit partnership of Stark and Sand within the Brothers' LSD operation; Kemp remained a subordinate. The meeting looked not only at LSD but also THC, since Friedman was spending a sabbatical year in Israel and Switzerland at various research laboratories, and he passed on to the others his experiences in dealing with the two leading Israeli scientists working in the area.
Business concluded, Stark indulged himself by buying a Ferrari 250-GT he saw advertised in a Zurich newspaper. A few weeks after returning to Paris, Kemp was allowed to take the car on to Britain, accompanied by one of Stark's aides. At Dover the customs wanted the duty paid, although Kemp explained he was driving it for Stark.
His passenger offered to take responsibility for the car and produce d his passport. Unfortunately, he had been a registered drug addict in Britain with a conviction. The British customs officer returned to the car with a search team and they spent the next six hours taking the Ferrari to pieces, but to no avail.
When Kemp finally drove away from the customs post at Dover's ferry terminal, the aide exclaimed merrily at the stupidity of the customs men. On the back seat of the car was his briefcase. The customs men had failed to notice documents for the purchase of 9 kilos of ergotamine tartrate from Druce.
Ever since his visit from the police after the raid on Scully's Denver laboratory, Druce had been blowing cool on any chemical deliveries. He was constantly pressured to produce as much as possible as soon as possible; but Druce, frightened, kept stalling and urging caution. While Sand was in Switzerland, Druce was summoned to see him. Druce tried to play one last card. He persuaded a young man at Exico, the Czech state company he had dealt with for years, to get a quotation for lysergic acid and travel with him to Switzerland.
But Sand was not so easily placated, and Stark's advice Was to get what was owed, one way or another.
After the trip to Switzerland, Druce returned to London and a seemingly unruffled existence in the summer of 1970. His firm was used as a source of supplies and equipment which Stark could not or did not want to buy on the Continent. Friedman, who had done consultancy work in Britain, acted as the go-between for purchases which included a specialized and expensive piece of scientific apparatus for Kemp. The little local difficulties of the Swiss trip seemed to be a thing of the past. But Druce was no longer dealing with people invested with the casual attitude of the original psychedelic outlaws: there was no Griggs to shrug off rip-offs and scams. The smooth-talking Mr Druce now faced men like Starkand Stark, in the words of Munson, was a 'real mover'. He was about to bring his skills to bear on Druce's non-delivery. The morality of the psychedelic movement could be stretched a very long way in the Badlands where trickery was one of an arsenal of weapons of survival.
First of all, Friedman laid the bait. He suggested to Druce that if he could lay his hands on ergotamine tartrate, he knew a firm in Switzerland which would pay well fora bulk purchase. Charles Druce Ltd was supposed to specialize in fine chemicals, but Alban Feeds had a remit to dabble in commoner chemicals to bolster its finances and, as it happened, Craze had apparently been stockpiling ergotamine tartrate against a shifting market price.
Craze's speculation could have been quite profitable. The price of ergotamine rose and fell between $3.50 and $8 per gram. The place to keep it was Hamburg, the international marketplace for the pharmaceutical industry. Between March 1969 and July 1970, Alban Feeds bought ergotamine tartrate from a West German firm in regular lots of 1-2 kilos and stored them away to catch the market.
The moment seemed ripe when Friedman (via Druce) suggested the Zurich brokerage firm of Inland Alkaloids. Friedman had rung Alban Feeds several times, trying to reach Druce about outstanding business; but Craze says he made no connection between such calls and the sudden appearance of a buyer for his stockpile. Alban Feeds had several telephone conversations with representatives of Inland Alkaloids.
Documents for the sale were finally sent off to Switzerland, but nothing happened. The papers were sent again, but still there was silence. The kilos were bought on loanthe chemicals assigned to the bank as collateraland Craze checked in Hamburg to ensure all was well. The chemicals were not to be collected without Proper authorization but Craze had not been specific enough in his instructions and the ergotamine tartrate was gone.
A pleasant young Englishman had walked into. the German firm and presented documents for the order. Dressed in a pinstripe suit and clutching a briefcase, he seemed eminently respectable. The firm released the chemicals which he packed in his briefcase. It was the same man who showed Kemp papers for 9 kilos of ergotamine tartrate, and who worked for Stark. Ergotamine tartrate worth over £19,000, and many thousands of pounds more when converted into LSD, was on its way to France.
Inland Alkaloids was nothing more than a front company with a Swiss postal box number. The directors were Friedman and Stark's man, but the guiding spirits were Stark and Sand.
Craze was soon on their trail. Alban Feeds was overextended and the bank wanted its money back. Within a couple of months, Druce had been ejected from the firm by Craze and the other partner. In a business Putsch, the two then struck at Charles Druce Ltd, using a van to cart away papers in the hope that they could track down what had happened to their promising company. Craze wrote threatening letters to Sand, Friedman and Hitchcock.
In the autumn of 1970, the three conspirators began a strategy of promises and threats, in the hope of silencing the English businessman, with meetings scattered all over London. Then they simply faded away.
Craze and the third director went bankrupt and have never recovered financially. Druce just about stayed afloat, becoming a van driver. If the episode sank the partnership in Alban Feeds, it did little to improve that between Sand and Stark. After all his trouble Sand thought he should have got the ergotamine, or at least reimbursement; but Stark refused, and at one point relations were so strained that Stark thought Sand would kill him. Two years later Stark, recalling the incident, claimed the ergotamine was still safely tucked away in the free port of Tangiers. It is more likely to have been used in Stark's second French laboratory. Having moved out of Paris, he had set up base at Orléans, but 1970 was not going well for Stark. Kemp was being difficult, too.
The Orléans site was in the outhouses of a stomach-potion firm where Kemp had gone back to his work on THC. At Orléans, Kemp became bored and angry: the good life in France had grown stale. There was a time when Stark had been fascinating, going into bars and pulling out a pocketful of change from so many countries that he had trouble sorting it out before paying for anything. Now Stark seemed merely bizarre. A man with both homo-and heterosexual tastes, his boyfriends flitted in and out of Stark's various homes with impunity. Then one night Stark climbed into Kemp's bed claiming to be ill, and the chemist grew paranoid. Stark was getting a little too rich for the Briton's taste.
Matters were not improved by Stark's contradictory views on security. He never worried about his boyfriends but he strongly disapproved of Dr Christine Bott, Kemp's girlfriend. Kemp had met her while she was still a medical student at Liverpool, and the relationship blossomed. He introduced her to drugs but she retained her career in England while he went to France. The trouble began when Kemp brought the tall, blonde girl over for a visit, introducing her to one of Stark's assistants. Stark was furious. He already blamed Kemp for the customs search at Dover. Kemp gave as good as he got. And where was Stark anyway? Kemp worked away alone at Orléans while the American and his assistants disappeared. He kept talking about the Brotherhood but 'these great men' were never at Orléans And what about money?
One day, Kemp took his lunch break with some of the French chemists working on legitimate projects, and in conversation one of them innocently showed Kemp a newspaper article about illicit drug-making. The Frenchman joked that perhaps he was on the wrong side of the business since others were making millions. Everyoneincluding Kemplaughed. Later, Kemp did not think it was particularly funny.
When Stark brought up the possibility of another LSD run, Kemp brought up the possibility of money. The chemist would not work unless he was paid and his employment put on a regular basis. According to Kemp, Stark would not agree: if Kemp was not going to work, he could go back to Britain. In despair, Kemp had already sounded out Solomon who had kept in touch, and Arnabaldi in Paris. They had yet to receive the promised transfer fee. Kemp went back to Britain.
While Kemp returned home to take a holiday with his girlfriend, Solomon set about the question of the transfer fee and approached Stark. During an angry meeting in a Chinese restaurantStark, being Stark, said it served the best Hong Kong food outside Hong Kongthe deal was agreed. Why Stark should decide to pay after such a long delay is not known, but he made Solomon a straight offer of the LSD if Solomon would arrange to collect the cache from Switzerland. A young drug dealer who worked with Solomon was sent to keep the liaison.
The handover took place in a Swiss hotel. The brown jar weighed about as much as a small packet of margarine. Inside it was 240 grams of pure crystal LSD, worth £1,000,000. Within an hour, the Englishman was on a train heading home.
His debt finally paid, Stark left for California and Christmas with the Brothers. With Sand glowering at him, Stark had awkward questions to answer, but no one seemed too fazed by his mishaps. The Brothers had special reason to celebrate Christmas that year: once again they had paid their dues to Leary, the guru who had inspired their creation. On 13 September 1970, Leary, one-time psychology professor, psychic magician and convicted prisoner of the State of California, had been transformed into William John McMillan, socially responsible businessman, married with two children and living in Salt Lake City.
Leary opened the door to the prison yard and peeked out cautiously at the floodlit expanse. His presence in the yard after dark was enough to sound the alarms, but nothing stirred. California Men's Colony, West Facility, was unaware that its most famous prisoner was on the loose. Behind Leary, prisoners were watching Saturday-night TV. He had passed, as he planned, few people in the corridors.
Across the yard he could see the tree and the overcast sky above. He slipped across the yard, keenly conscious of the windows looking down at him; aware of the voices. At one, a prisoner, an informant, was chatting to two guards. The man had only to stare out to see Leary. In the prison block someone could open his locker and find the farewell noteLeary compared himself to Socrates fleeing oppression. Someone might suddenly order a roll-call, want to see him. The prisoner turned away from the window and Leary began climbing the tree.
He pulled himself upwards, his sneakers trying to keep a purchase on the bark. The sneakers had been dyed black. Leary had carefully replaced the white laces with brown ones to be on the safe side.
The tall, slim figure was now at the top of the tree where it overhung block 324. Taking purchase on the sloping roof, Leary slipped off the sneakers.
Just short of fifty, Leary was less than fit, and climbing trees was not something he had trained in. The roof was easy. He was above the glare of the lights, looking down into one of the guardrooms. In stockinged feet, he moved softly across the roof. There was no sound, but beneath his feet and behind him was an establishment filled with people. You could be like this, seemingly alone in the world under the clouds, within a few yards of other human beings. You could feel they were there even if you could not see them, hear them or touch them.
What was that? Leary felt something.
Mentally planning the route before setting out, Leary had warned himself about the TV antennae. Now he had forgotten and bumped into them.
On the other side of the roof he found the cable, twenty feet above the ground. Gently he put his sneakers back on and pulled out a pair of baseball gloves from the pocket of his denim prison jacket. Leary lowered himself on to the cable, kicked his legs up like an ape and began to inch forward. Ninety seconds this should take. Forty feet of cable. Leary's arms and legs ached like they had never ached before. He could hear his breath, feel the sweat breaking out under his arms.
Ten years ago he had been a rising academic star at Harvard, settled in a chair in the Faculty Club with the sports pages of the Boston Globe. Now he was a psychedelic revolutionary breaking out, busting free. Goodbye, Mr Federal Agent. Goodbye, Officer Purcell. Thank you for the arrest for those two lousy marijuana cigarettes. Thank you for shackling Timothy Leary to rapists as another number on a jailer's list.
Sweet Jesus. No.
There was a sudden glare of lights. Leary clung to the cable, willing it to stop swinging. A patrol car turned towards him, its lights changing the colour of his denims. The officer flicked out a cigarette as he drove by under Leary without looking up.
Leary reached out for the utility pole on the other side of the perimeter fence. Still no sound from the prison. Like a true magician, Leary had flown over the fence. He slid down the pole. Keep going.
Past the outer buildings of the prison towards the highway. Leary found the spot he had been told to wait by, three trees joined at their base by one trunk.
Prisoner B 26358 felt very vulnerable as the minutes ticked by. One police prowl car catching sight of his figure slipping back from the road... one look at the famous features... and the pains in Leary's limbs and chest would be wasted.
A pick-up truck signalled it was pulling in. Someone said the password, 'Kelly'. Overjoyed Leary replied as he had been told, 'Tino'. As the car door slammed behind him and the vehicle pulled away, the two girls on board handed Leary papers for Mr. McMillan. On the back seat was a set of new clothes.
Leary was told his old clothes would be dumped at a garage to throw the police in the wrong direction. He would change vehicles and keep moving, as his rescuers planned. The psychedelic revolutionary was free, in the protection of the Weathermen.
Free. Leary could thank a man he called Aries, none other than Michael Randall. The leading Brothers, led by Randall, having already swollen Leary's defence funds, had raised $50,000 for the escape. The gobetween for the escape plan was characteristic of the many meeting-points the world of drugs and the world of extremist left-wing politics were now beginning to find, and would continue to find, in the underground. When the going gets rough, everyone needs a lawyer; in this case, senior Federal officials believe the middleman was a young West Coast counsellor with radical interests bridging drugs and the left wing.
Exactly what the Brothers had paid for became apparent in the first few days after the escape. Leary was smuggled eastwards, joined by Rosemary, towards Detroit on the Weathermen's underground routes. As the police search for Leary got under way, he began making a physical transition into Mr. McMillan with the help of Weathermen disguise experts and a growing mass of false identification.
Three days after the escape, Leary handed his passport to emigration officials at Detroit airport before boarding a flight for Madrid. They gave him a cursory glance. Gone was the thick, greying hair, the toothy grin, the casual dress and attitude. The man before them was a bald, tight-lipped individual in glasses. Smartly dressed and intense, Mr. McMillan was an international executive in a hurry.
Rosemary Leary, travelling separately on the flight, was equally unrecognizable. A short, loosely curled wig concealed her long black mane of hair and her face was transformed by large glasses, false eyelashes and orangey lipstick. Her passport announced her as Miss Margaret Ann McCreedy, insurance company secretary. In her pale polyester suit, she was the image of a safe, conventional professional woman.
What the Weathermen gained from the escape, apart from the contribution to their war chests, became clear when they issued a communiqué claiming responsibility. The escape was another blow against the 'belly of the beast... pig Amerika', a tremendous propaganda coup freeing a political prisoner from the State's POW camp.
The communiqué declared that drugs would help to make a better world but, for the moment, 'We are at war. With the NLF and the North Vietnamese, with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Al Fatah, with all black and brown revolutionaries... and all prisoners of war in American concentration camps, we know that peace is only possible in the destruction of US imperialism. We are outlaws. We are Free.'
Leary paid a price for release. The man who had decided with the Brothers not to take part in the Chicago demonstrations in 1968 because of possible violence issued a letter six days after his escape announcing: 'World War III is now being waged by shorthaired robots.' Instead of tuning in, turning on and dropping out, Leary called for sabotage and hijackings and claimed that 'to shoot a genocidal robot policeman in defence of life is a sacred act.' The 'mechanical mind' could still be blown with 'holy acid', but Leary really did seem to err on the side of the revolutionary rather than the psychedelic. Perhaps the dramas of his escape had affected him, for in a postscript he declared: 'Warning: I am armed and should be considered dangerous to anyone who threatens my life and freedom.'
In California there was some uncertainty about the letters. No one would actually swear that the signatures were those of Leary.
But they were. The Learys had taken refuge in Algeria, a favourite gathering place for revolutionary and quasi-revolutionary alike in the early 1970s; and from there Leary sent more messages, calling for violent resistance. Yet the bright revolutionary dawn rapidly clouded. Leary joined Eldridge Cleaver, former Minister of Information for the Black Panther Party. Estranged from his party at home, Eldridge was now Supreme Commander while his supporters called their offices 'the official United States Embassy'. The alliance between figures such as Leary and Cleaver fired the underground imagination, but the reality was a clash of egos: there was not enough elbow room for two powerful spokesmen among the expatriate revolutionaries.
Cleaver placed Leary under 'house arrest' for a time, and the Brothers sent out $25,000 to smooth Leary's life with the Panthers. There were visits from other radicals, like the leaders of the Yippies; and eventually Leary fled from the Black Panthers to Switzerland where he took up residence as exile-in-chief of the psychedelic movement. The Brothers, having paid their dues, went back to business.
Just before Christmas 1970, brightly painted posters circulated throughout California calling 'All Wise Beings' to come to Laguna Beach on Christmas Day and celebrate the holiday with cosmic light shows, celestial music and fun. The poster was signed by 'The Brotherhood of Eternal Love'. One of the organizers was a young woman who had lived in the town most of her life. She said later, 'There was no real organization. The Brotherhood was more a vibe than a group. It symbolized freak power... So a group of us got together and called ourselves members of the Brotherhood and had posters done. It was that simple.' That was one view of the Brotherhood, something from the 1960s.
The other, the 1970s view, could be seen in another holiday celebration, the convention on the new repopulated ranch. About thirty people had gathered for what one guest, a European who had never met the Brothers before, thought was a drug-world parody of the meetings of the great gangs during the Prohibition days. There were dealers from New York, the East, the Midwest and, of course, California. The righteousness he had heard of was thereRandall gossiped about the Leary escapebut the atmosphere was heavily commercial as well. Many of the other people on the ranch struck the guest as street-wise rather than beatific and there was a strain of violence: discussion about setting up a contract to kill someone who was giving them troublethe Brothers, however, could not bring themselves to do it. Instead, they turned to business, the problems of LSD supplies, new hash routes, marijuana deals.
Both the view of the Brotherhood at the ranch and the view in Laguna were legitimate, both part of a Brotherhood which by the early 1970s was a schizophrenic creature. The Brotherhood had expanded like the ripples from a stone thrown into a pond, circles moving further and further out. The mythology of the Brotherhood and its freewheeling structure allowed anyone to claim membership or understand the 'vibes'. There were those who just believed that the Brotherhood was a simple summation of their views, their loyalties. At the same time, the Brotherhood had grown into a huge network of drug smugglers, manufacturers and suppliers. Partnerships would come together and split like amoebae. But key figures, the people with the connections and the experience, remained at the centre. Randall was the organizer of much of the LSD trading while Fat Bobby Andrist had risen to control much of the hash movement. No one was eliminated to make way for new leaders and no one shot it out in Woodland Drive for possession of a garage-full of marijuana. If this was a mafia, it was one with a distinctly different ethos from the traditional idea of organized crime.
The more deals you got into, the more money they generated, which meant more deals and more money, and again more deals.
The dealing had an addictive, almost hypnotic effect, like playing an enormous and never-ending game of Monopoly. Many things were now acceptable.
The Brothers may have baulked at a contract killing, but Andrist always carried a gun in the Middle East. The Brothers had already moved into the world of secret bank accounts and deposits with the help of Hitchcock. Why should they not? They now operated on the scale of a conglomerate, a multinational.
Some of the Brothers were moving into cocaine from South America via Costa Rica. It was not big business at any time, but it was there for those who wanted to take it up. The Brothers did not discourage the infiltration of a non-psychedelic drug into their range. That was one of the differences between the people at the ranch and the people at Laguna Beach, between the 'vibes', imagined or real, and the marketplace.
There is no doubt the Brothers could enjoy the money that drugs provided. The Christmas meeting dripped with money. Andrist brought back a Porsche sports car from West Germany on one of his trips; he was too fat to drive it and had to get John Gale to chauffeur him. Yet the same Andrist turned up in Laguna with a suitcase filled with $1 million from various deals and promised that one day he would bum such amounts. The Brothers were not completely rid of their original ideals, but they were often dwarfed by the size of the enterprise. The ambiguities of trying to establish a new lifestyle in the midst of the old were showing through.
Their interests now stretched south through Mexico to South America, west to Hawaii and east across the Atlantic to Europe and on to the Middle East and Asia. Members had invested in shops along the Laguna front, in other Southern Californian towns and in the Hawaiian islands. Between them, Sand and the Brothers owned two ranches in California and land in Oregon.
The LSD system headed by Randall boasted over thirty regional and local distributors, covering not only California but also the Eastern Seaboard. Orange Sunshine could be found in Texas, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and eventually as far afield as Argentina and Australia. John Gale was still throwing LSD doses to the crowds; but he was also distributing on a commercial basis between 80,000 and 250,000 doses at a time. Randall, who supplied them, dealt in tens of grams. Andrist's hash runs were organized to bring in 1,000 kilos from Afghanistan in three deliveries a month on a highly organized basis.
The Brothers no longer took potluck as Lynd had done. An advance party met up with the Tokhis in Kandahar. Ostensibly, the Americans were interested in buying rugs for export to the United States. Somewhere in Turkey a Volkswagen, a Mercedes or even a pick-up truck brought over from the United States would be ploughing its way along the lonely roads towards Iran.
Once in Teheran, the driver would cable Kabul, using a simple code to give his estimated time of arrival. At the border, one of the Tokhis' minions would be waiting. As the pick-up or camper crossed through the customs point, an Afghani car would pull out behind it. The small convoy headed out into the desert until the coast was clear and the Tokhis' man identified himself.
'The Brotherhood driver was directed south-east along the main road linking Herat in the north to Kandahar in the south. Eighty miles outside Kandahar, the Brotherhood vehicle turned off further into the desert near Lashkar Gah. With the main road behind him the going got rougher, but it was also isolated and undisturbed: sand dunes and hills which rose in the east towards foothills and then mountain ranges. The Tokhis' messenger picked a suitable spot and left him.
A few hours later, an ancient Borgward truck would bounce and sway into view, its springs low on the ground under the weight of its load.
Hidden compartments built into the Brotherhood vehicle would be loaded with kilo after kilo of hash. To protect the drugs and kill off the scent, the Brotherhood had taught the Tokhis methods of packaging the polythene-covered hash with latex paint, hot wax or styrofoam supplied from the United States on previous runs. Oil-filter cans soaked with canine repellents were placed in the hidden compartments to confuse sniffer dogs used by police and customs investigators.
With the loading complete, the Brotherhood vehicle waited for the cover of darkness before driving back on to the main road. The car or van went straight through Kandahar without stopping, on to Kabul and across the Pakistan border, heading for the port of Karachi, or Bombay further south in India.
The vehicle and its load arrived in the United States or Canada at one of eight ports where the Brotherhood thought customs surveillance was slack. Driven to Laguna, the contents would be bought up by Andrist who arranged the unloading. The hash was hidden in rubber garbage cans buried in the hills around the town until sales were made, usually at 50 kilos a time.
In his garage, Andrist used his stock to experiment with making hash oil, a distillation of the resin which is high in THC but low in bulk. The Brothers were fascinated by new ideas. Now matter how extravagant the ideas, they were always willing to give them a try.
Seven of the Brothers were to be found crewing a 96-foot yacht off the western coast of Mexico in 1970. Most had previously got no nearer the sea than the surf at Laguna, but they had successfully brought their vessel out of Maui in Hawaii, across the Pacific to stand off Zapategas outside the twelve-mile limit.
This was no pleasure cruise. As the yacht lay anchored a convoy of small launches put out from the shore, roaring across the open sea and tossing in the swell. The Brothers lined the rails as the first of the launches cut its engine, bobbing gently. Tied alongside the yacht, Mexicans on board the launch began to pass up bales. The yacht took on board 1,500 kilos of best Mexican marijuana before hauling up anchor and turning westwards back to Maui.
Safe ashore, the Brotherhood's crew's travels were not over. Several of them flew to Japan and ordered stereo speakers for importation to Maui. In the back room of a health food bar, the Mexican cargo was packed into the speakers which were sent to the American mainland. Part of it was also canned as Hawaiian produce.
The yacht was only one way of moving marijuana in bulk without meeting the problems and risks of overland travel. There were plans to use a couple of battered DC3s to move it up from Mexico and South America. Perhaps one day the same could be done for cargoes from Afghanistan or the Middle East, where the Brothers had discovered the potential of Lebanon.
Such multinational trade needed unsuspecting specialist advisers. Through the good offices of Stark, they now had the services of an international law firm. Stark had first presented himself to the law firm of Surrey, Karasik and Morse in the United States, where the son of the American diplomat he had met in West Africa now worked. The firm decided that since Stark appeared to live in Paris their French branch should handle his affairs. Sam Goekjian, the partner in Paris, received a letter of recommendation from his firm in the United States and assumed that Stark was, as his colleague believed, a rather impressive entrepreneur.
Using Goekjian in Europe and Buchanan, who had worked for Sand and Hitchcock, in San Francisco, Stark began to lay a false trail over the investments of both the Brotherhood and their chemist. Through Goekjian, Stark bought a Panamanian paper company called La Hormega. It would be used by Stark to conceal Sand's ownership of the Cloverdale ranch.
Buchanan was also hired by Randall to deal with the purchase of $80,000 worth of land which the Brothers were buying to merge into their land at Idylwild. Title to the land did not pass to Randall but to Four Star Anstalt, the Liechtenstein company Hitchcock had concocted for the off-shore laboratory site which never materialized. In Paris, Goekjian was told by Stark that the company was to be another of his holding companies for interests in California.
The job of false companies completed and reported to the Brothers, Stark began work on his other projects for the Brotherhood. He was a very busy and much-travelled man in the aftermath of the Christmas convention. But he still-found time to check on the results of Kemp's apprenticeship.
It is a moot point whether the British LSD operation was a proper and deliberate offshoot of the Brotherhood or something that simply grew under the initial influence of the Brothers through Stark. On the one hand Stark maintained his contacts and interests with the Solomon group, even though his arrangements with them were said to be at an end; and he told Solomon of his links to the Brotherhood. On the other hand, with the rapid spread of the drugs world in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were bound to be overlaps across the continents, loose federated networks working in much the same way as the Brotherhood itself now operated.
From the start the British group operated in the sort of world Scully had forecast to Hitchcock. LSD had been banned in Britain for four years and there was none of the impetus or experience which created Scully and his master, Owsley. Both Kemp and Solomon were firm believers in the efficacy of LSD, yet they were also driven by the sheer excitement of their achievements and rewards. Stark found that Solomon was expanding.
The new figure in Solomon's company was a friend of one of the American's step-daughters. Kemp thought he was 'just a guy on a motorcycle', but it was unwise to dismiss Henry Barclay Todd out of hand. Tall, dark and burly, Todd enjoyed mountaineering and rugby. At first sight he might seem too conservative for Solomon's circle and the American's ambitions, but Todd was also one of those young men thrown up by the 1960s. They never adopted the total alternative life-style of the times, but took to their own those parts which suited them best, floating from job to job, enjoying life and watchful for chances to find a better one. Given such an opening, Todd could bring to bear a blend of shrewdness, flamboyance, greed and leadership. He was a rogue who could be both forceful and charming: qualities useful to a small-time drug dealer, which was what he was when he, like Kemp, was sucked into the vortex of the Solomon circle. What came out of the vortex was, by the standards of the drug world, the embryo of a very successful executive.
With Stark's transfer fee of LSD buried in the hills outside Cambridge, Solomon was in a predicament. He had to sell the stuff butwhatever he might have told his sleeping partners, Arnabaldi and Thomas, or claimed to Starkit seems that Solomon had little idea about the best way of going about that task. His ambitions were bigger than his expertise. Moving LSD was no problem to the Brotherhood in the United States, but then they had four years of experience and millions of doses behind them. Todd, as a small-scale dealer, was brought in to help.
The product of a middle-class, Service background, Todd was an intelligent, adaptable man in his mid-twenties, a chequered career already behind him. Educated to university entry level, he jettisoned any chance of a degree course to spend two years in Paris as a photographer. Back in Britain, he was convicted of theft and obtaining money by false pretences in 1966 and sent to Oxford prison where he tried unsuccessfully to escape. At the end of his sentence he became a computer systems analyst. Eventually Todd moved in with a girlfriend near Cambridge, spending his weekends there as a pig farmer and his weekdays with computers in the City. On the side, he dabbled in imports and modelled for art students at a London college.
Early in 1971 he agreed to become part of the distribution chain Solomon was setting up, but it was a chain which began with mishaps and distrust; whatever his feelings for the finer qualities of the psychedelic movement, Solomon was a suspicious character dogged by ineptitude.
The early deals were based on quarter-grams sold at £100 a time. There were soon complaints that he was selling short. Solomon replied that it was he who was being caught out because the drugs were watered down after they left him. It transpired that Solomon's idea of precision weighing consisted of a pair of ancient post office scales. It has to be given to Solomon that his solution was effective, if outrageous. He befriended a postgraduate student in the university who was partial to marijuana and, in the space of a few days, persuaded his new-found acquaintance to do the weighing in his University laboratory with specialized scientific equipment. A few hundred yards from the laboratory where Rutherford had split the atom, Solomon weighed out cellophane bags of LSD.
Left in Solomon's hands, tableting could also be an ad hoc exercise. Capsules were filled by hand in a rudimentary system which required a taster to check each batch. The LSD was normally brushed into capsules placed in a pegboard; but Solomon, taking a turn as taster, dispensed with the brush and crammed LSD into a capsule. The dosage was normally estimated at 200 micrograms but, using this method, Solomon had taken nearer 1,000 micrograms. He had to be driven home from the cottage rented for the tableting. When the car arrived the tiny figure leapt out, crashed through the front door and collapsed in bed for a week.
Todd's success in his new vocation relieved Solomon of' further mishap. The market built up so rapidly that Todd took full grams rather than quarters and moved on to do his own tableting. His customers included not only people in Cambridge and London, but also West Germans. The German distribution grew into a major outlet which Todd carefully nurtured and kept under his wing. He visited Berlin and opened a bank account in case he should need it.
When Stark came over from France, Solomon's group seemed to be prospering after early mishaps. Stark drove up to Cambridge to spy out the lie of the land.
The French laboratory had been closed. Warnings of impending danger are said to have come from a senior CIA man Stark met by chance in London, a public figure who heard from government sources of impending trouble and in the United States, a source also reported problems. Stark boasted that the French operation had turned out 18 kilos of LSD in each of eight runs, at a total value of $400 million, and put it about that the LSD was stored in a Swiss bank vault wired with a remote-controlled fire bomb in case of trouble. Planning his next production site, Stark was as security-conscious as ever.
Once he arrived in Cambridge his sense of self-preservation went into overdrive. What he heard about Solomon was not good at all. Success had gone to Solomon's head. His ego had been inflated beyond endurance by his venture, and he openly boasted of his company's achievements. Friends in and around Cambridge, vaguely aware of what he might be doing, feared for their safety and the anxiety was passed to Stark.
Having closed down the French laboratory, there was no way he could tolerate security risks which might lead back to the Brothers and himself. Before seeking Solomon, Stark mused darkly about some sort of permanent arrangement for his fellow Americanthere were those who dubbed Stark 'The Godfather'but in a place like England, it was explained to Stark, the sort of arrangement he had in mind was out of court.
Solomon was summoned to the Oxford and Cambridge Club. The row took place behind closed doors, but the results were dramatic. Solomon sped back to Cambridge and prepared to move.
Having survived Stark's wrath, Solomon found he was also the target of ambitious employees. Stark's 240 grams, less 50 grams for Arnabaldi, who like Todd had German connections and also links to the United States, were exhausted. Kemp was prepared to open his own laboratory. As Christine Bott saw it, he had little choice: 'either ICI and coronaries or LSD'. Besides which, Kemp, treated like a god at Solomon's parties in Cambridge, was addicted to the power he had acquired and the adrenalin of combating a society he now despised. 'I get a great feeling from it,' he said, 'the power to turn people on.' There was also quite a lot of money. The LSD had generated well over £50,000 for the chemist, Todd and Solomon, and much more on the streets.
Solomon, in anticipation of Kemp's production, began the work of acquiring raw materials. Using a Stark trick of printing up impressive headed notepaper, he became 'Carl Andresen', head of Inter-Dominion Associates, and wrote off to European chemical firms in search of ergotamine tartrate. The address for replies was a Holborn agency which ran a poste restante servicethe agency was recommended by Thomas, one of Solomon's sleeping partners. Most firms said they were unable to help Inter-Dominion, but a Swiss firm explained that it represented a German chemical company called Dr Rentschler of Laupheim, one of Europe's biggest legitimate stockists.
In June 1971, Solomon took personal delivery of a kilo of ergotamine and hurried back to Britain, only to find his further services were not required. His chemist and his distribution expert had taken over much of the control. Neither Kemp nor Todd was prepared to suffer fools.
The new scheme of things became clear to Solomon when, during discussions on the new price of LSD at E300 per gram, Todd intimated he was no longer a junior partner. Todd rode roughshod over the American while Kemp sat back without defending the man who had introduced him to LSD. The upshot of the meeting was a firm order to Solomon: 'Don't call us, we'll call you. 'Solomon could get raw materials if they were needed. Nothing more.
Kemp and Christine Bott moved into a flat in the heart of Notting Hill, west London, which Kemp planned to use as a laboratory as well as a home. The choice was not accidental. Six months earlier, the tenant had been Stark's aide, who was followed by a Dr S. D. Cohen. His tenancy had only just expired when Christine Bott applied for the flat. The landlords were surprised, since the flat had yet to be advertised. 'Dr Cohen' is thought to have been either Stark or Lester Friedman, scientific adviser to Sand and now Stark. Relations between Stark and Kemp seem to have improved again, and at one stage the American asked Kemp to consider rejoining him. Kemp refused, but Stark was nonetheless prepared to help him with advice or information. Notting Hill, with its many communes, was an area which Stark often visited.
Unfortunately the flat was too cramped and too flimsy for a laboratory. Kemp's electric pump shook the floor and the hum could be heard all over the building. The flat became a proper home and the chemist decided on a peripatetic operation, using other small flats hidden in the anonymous streets of bed-sitters. He looked for places where the drains system discharged into sealed mains, to prevent suspicious smells being detected, and strong water-pressure which meant a flat close to ground level. London had the advantage that the neighbours were normally reticent but, to be on the safe side, Kemp would move in for a couple of weeks to check on their movements before bringing in his equipment.
Once Kemp was satisfied, he set up production in the kitchen. All the time the laboratory was in situ, either Kemp or his girlfriend stayed in the flat as a security measure. Windows were kept open to release fumes and a fain ran in one corner of the kitchen to keep air circulating. Extra equipment and chemicals were bought through an accommodation address agency in Earls Court which Thomas had again recommended (and was using himself). Kemp, keeping his laboratory on the move, even took a house in Liverpool for one production run.
Although Kemp left the tableting and distribution to Todd, they collaborated on sales philosophy, aiming to produce for the summer pop festivals which sprang up in the early 1970s. These festivals were descendants of the great festivals of the late 1960s in the United States, 'free festivals' organized within the British underground among the squats and communes: ideal marketplaces. Todd and Kemp debated whether to produce one continuous line which would become a byword, like Orange Sunshine, or to vary the product. They chose the latter course because the customers might prefer a range, and the differences would serve to confuse the police. Kemp said: 'It pays to have a good range; people are fussy.' The shape remained the same. It was called the microdota tiny disc, as the name suggests.
Kemp and Todd were so close now that they arranged for further supplies of raw materials without Solomon, and Todd bought 3 kilos from a Swiss firm called Dolder.
But Solomon could not stay away. Having tried and failed to produce LSD on his own, he foisted another kilo of ergotamine on the chemist with the unwelcome news that he and Thomas were now experimenting with synthetic cocaine close to Kemp's home. Kemp was not amused, but gradually his mood changed. He was learning things about Todd. And he did not like what he discovered.
The price agreed on between Todd and Kemp had originally been set at £300 per gram, but dropped to £200 as Todd started taking larger and larger deliveries. Then the marketing manager put up a new discount of £27.50 per 1,000 doses with a content of 200 microdots per dose. Kemp would now be paid £137 per gram.
The content was an important point for Kemp because from the very beginning he was adamant, as Owsley had been, that the user must get a good dose of LSD to appreciate its effects, Soon after the new arrangement, Kemp bought his own LSD at a pop festival with a confident assurance from the dealer that the doses were good for 100 micrograms each.
In order to be sure, a worried Kemp borrowed Andy Munro, a young Cambridge graduate working for Solomon on the cocaine project. Munro had taken a master's degree at East Anglia University, and took Kemp back there to test the doses in -one of the laboratories. The microdots contained 100 micrograms each.
Challenged with incontrovertible evidence, Todd admitted he was paying Kemp for 5,000 doses per gram but splitting them to make 10,000, and promised not to do it again. Kemp took his promise at little more than face value. Thomas was asked by Kemp to try his hand at tableting while Solomon bought another 3 kilos of ergotamine.
In financial terms, no one could really complain. In two years, Kemp admitted making 500 grams of LSD, claiming he had wasted ergotamine equal to 2.5 million doses through accidents. His output at that figure was worth between £68,000 and £100,000 from Todd. On the street, the doses might sell at between 25p and £l, which generated between £625,000 and £2,500,000 for the marketing manager, the distributors and the dealers. If Kemp's admission of 500 grams is wrong and he produced LSD at his usual rate of 250 grams per kilo, then the 5 kilos bought by Solomon and Todd produced 6,250,000 doses. The cost of each dose was once calculated by Kemp at 0.01p.
With so much money being generated, a new hiding place was needed. Once again Stark provided the solution, having demonstrated to Kemp in the Paris days the use of Swiss banks and their safety deposit boxes. Kemp and the others had set up a network of accounts in three Swiss cities, joined by powers of attorney.
Stark, who inspired the accounts and their contents, still flitted in and out of London. The LSD run for which he had tried to recruit Kemp was coming to fruition and Solomon and Co could be useful. Meanwhile he kept many other irons in the fire, both in London and elsewhere.
In Afghanistan the new product was hash oil. Stark had inspired its creation in Afghanistan by suggesting to the Brothers the idea of taking Andrist's process out to Asia and subverting the dominant position of the Tokhis, who were still distrusted as 'hotel hustlers'. He went further, proposing that he should go out to Afghanistan with an idea taken from a contact Solomon had furnished in Britain. Instead of producing hash oil, it might be possible to take the process further and turn the oil into a powder which was even easier to transport.
Stark visited Afghanistan at least once. The rifle-waving tribesmen in the foothills did not endear themselves to him, but he did manage to work his way into the confidence of a Minister and began making plans for a factory to produce penicillin. But rather than cut out the Tokhis, Stark and the Brothers appear to have decided to teach them how to make hash oil. Papers recovered from Stark years later include correspondence on material and equipment in Afghanistan yet to be removed.
For the Brotherhood, the move into hash oil could only be a profitable one. A gallon of oil brought in $40,000 wholesale, and considerably more when divided. The Tokhis were more than happy to oblige. A third brother called Aman had joined the family business, quitting his job as a maintenance supervisor at the American Embassy in Kabul. In a matter of months he became a well-dressed businessman sporting gold watches, two cars and a wad of banknotes. For $36,000 he bought the former home of an American diplomat close to his old workplace. Aman explained that his good fortune was due to the considerable success of the family rug business. Another brother was planning a private zoo in the garden of his villa in Kandahar.
Not content with hash oil, Stark was still chasing the elusive prospect of synthetic THC which had led him to Solomon, and was now talking of going one stage further. He had it in mind to make a derivative of much greater power. One kilo, he once claimed, would be equal to thousands of kilos of THC and with eight of the fourteen stages of production worked out, Stark needed just another $500,000 to finish the job.
The super-THC was bruited in London where Stark, with a Chelsea apartment, was also talking about the prospects fora little firm he had started to make pocket calculators. Aware that the Brothers might like a new spiritual leader to replace Leary, he found time, it is reported, to approach a radical British psychiatrist who turned the idea down flat.
Across the Channel, his French lawyers were asked to look at the pocket calculator idea, while Stark indicated he might be interested in an olive oil refinery on Cyprus which Goekjian had put money into. Stark called in Lester Friedman to advise him. The law firm was handling a research grant which Stark had promised the professor.
There was nothing to rouse Goekjian's suspicions. Stark's lavish international life-style inspired confidence.. An early Picasso and a De Kooning graced the walls of his Greenwich Village base. In Paris he stayed at the Ritz; in the South of France he used a villa. Goekjian even agreed, at Stark's request, to look into the case of one of Sand's friends who had been caught and imprisoned in Greece while trying to fly out a cannabis load.
In Switzerland, Stark was busy setting up new companies and across the border in West Germany he was trawling for supplies of ergotamine, using a Hamburg dealer and approaching Renschler, Solomon's supplier.
But the heart of the network was a university campus just outside Brussels. The overground projects were passing fanciesthe Brothers needed more LSD. Stark was now sewing together the pieces which would add up to his next LSD production centre. Germany would be the source for ergotamine, Geneva and London the conduits, and the details of the laboratory were ironed out in Paris.
The link to Belgium was the American diplomat Stark had met in West Africa who had introduced him through his son to Surrey, Karasik and Morse. After Africa, the man was on the last stage of his career before retiring and was now serving in Brussels. His wealthy young friend was looking for a laboratory site and the diplomat, unaware of the real purpose, helped. The site chosen was a villa on the campus of Louvain le Neuve University. Stark, true to his modus operandi of using legitimate fronts, named the laboratory Laboratoire Le Clocheton and gave the address as part of the university. (The university objected and he stopped.)
In Paris Goekjian drew up papers fora company producing organic and inorganic chemicals. Nearly $300,000 were put into the factory, and shares were split between Stark, as managing director, Friedman, as consultant, the lawyers until other shareholders came inand the other 994 were held by Swiss nominees. To gather his small staff, Stark advertised in the Belgian magazine Chemical Reporter, telling recruits that he had many financial interests and was interested largely in medical research. He confided to one member of staff that he was hoping to manufacture a product difficult to make but commanding a high price.
The most important staff members had in fact already been recruited from the team he had used in France. One American had applied formally for a Belgian work permit in New York. He became a technician and security man entered on the payroll, but another, the chemist, was a mystery to the staff. Stark said he had been co-opted from another of his firms and was not registered because he would be leaving soon. Working in his own separate laboratory this man kept odd hours, apparently doing his 'research' at night, sleeping during the day.
Stark searched for as much ergotamine as he could find, building up supplies for both Belgium and future production runs. In London, he appears to have used Kemp and Solomon, who repaid his help in the past with information on supplies. If the British were not fully fledged members of the original Brotherhood, they played a growing part in the loose-knit international network which it generated.
As Matthew Thompson of the Amalgamated Pharmaceutical Company in the summer of 1972, Stark used the same accommodation address agency in Holborn that Solomon had used and another address in Holland Road, Notting Hill, a few doors away from one of Kemp's laboratories. The telephone number on the headed notepaper was for an address miles away on the edge of north-west London. The masquerade got him 8 kilos from RenschlerSolomon's supplierwith the proviso that he did not resell it in the United States. Stark agreed, tongue in cheek. The sources added up to a considerable quantity of ergotamine, probably over 30 kilos.
Randall visited the laboratory, travelling under the name of Michael T. Garrity, soon after production began. He must have been impressed by what he saweven the professors on the campus thought Stark was a genuine scientist. Small amounts of legitimate chemicals were being sold to Switzerland and Stark was seeking further orders, but out of sight the real money-maker was being produced. Randall ordered a shipment. Since the Brothers were adept at the movement of hash concealed in vehicles, what better transport than Stark's ageing Jaguar shipped to New York for Randall?
In Paris, Goekjian and his firm were now making plans to pull out as directors to allow Stark to appoint more substantial figures. Then they got an inkling of what they might have landed themselves in.
Agents from the American Internal Revenue Service appeared in Goekjian's office. Right at the beginning, Stark had explained that his father's 'inheritance' could cause him tax problems, but these men wanted to know about someone called Sand and a ranch. Goekjian contacted Stark and suggested they should meet in Washington and sort the thing out in the summer. Stark agreed.
Goekjian flew to Washington, but Stark did not turn up. He went back to Paris where he was telephoned by Stark's girlfriend. Ron was ill and recuperating on a Caribbean island. He would be in touch again very soon. Stark's movements were erratic at the best of times, and Goekjian sat back to await his reappearance. In October 1972 he got a call from the laboratory. The firm was going bankrupt. Stark had not been seen for months, the security guard had run off with the chemist's wife who had also been injured in an accident. Who was going to pay the wages? Goekjian began searching for Stark, but he had disappeared.
The Brotherhood of Eternal Self-Interest