HAVE YOU heard of Stanley Adams? If you have, then there is some hope for him. For the more people who know of his extraordinary and horrific adventures, the more chances there are that he will be able to clear his name and publicly justify his efforts to expose the malpractices of multinational big business and the treachery of EEC bureacracy.
"Otherwise," says former Lord Chancellor, Lord Gardiner, "the 'Stanley Adams Affair' could turn out to be as harmful internationally as if the famous Dreyfus case has been
allowed to languish unresolved." He so writes in introducing a book written by Stanley Adams himself entitled Roche versus Adams (Jonathan Cape).
The publisher's blurb writer did not have to strain for hackneyed superlatives. The simple truth is arresting enough: "In February 1973, Stanley Adams blew the whistle on illicit trade practices of the giant multinational Hoffman-La Roche, the world's largest vitamin suppliers and makers of the widely prescribed tranquilisers Valium and Librium. It was an act of conscience, deeply considered, which was to have unthinkable consequences."
Adams worked for Roche in Switzerland. His opportunity to expose malpractices came when Switzerland signed its Free Trade Agreement with the Common Market, an agreement which included certain anti-trust laws.
Adams presented a full report, whose confidentiality was guaranteed by the EEC Commissioner in charge of trade competition, and soon afterwards left for Italy to start his own business and a new life. He has a young, attractive wife and three small children. Their future happiness and prosperity seemed assured.
Having, as it seemed, made a successful start to their new life in Italy, they decided to cross the border back into Switzerland at the end of December, 1974 for a short New Year's reunion with other members of the family. At the border, however, Adams was summarily arrested, put into solitary confinement and in due course tried for industrial espionage and treason.
This was Adams's first glimpse of the link between big business in Switzerland and so called "national security." He did not yet suspect that he had been betrayed by the EEC officials in whoM he had put his trust to carry out official duties in a professional and honourable manner.
But, worst of all, no direct news of Adams's fate reached his bewildered wife Marilene. She was unable to get in touch with him and one is profoundly shocked to read of the conditions in prison and codes of behaviour by the authorities of a supposedly democratic and enlightened western country.
Instead Marilene Adams was interrogated by the Swiss police and told that her husband might be in prison for 20 years.
So great was the strain to which she was subjected, she committed suicide. Her husband was not told of this until two days later and was refused permission even to attend her funeral.
He managed to get a message out to those whom he supposed to be his friends at the EEC Commission and, when finally released on bail, was faced with the task of rebuilding some sort of life for himself and his three motherless, small daughters.
The next few years were nightmarish. Promised funds for his new business failed to materialise and he was badly let down on all sides. There seemed to be conspiracy to hush up the facts which his accusations would have brought to light.
Adams, however, when he finally got to England to rejoin his children — having meanwhile undergone a great change through strain and worry — was determined not to give up the fight, rightly described as "the fight of an individual against corporate iniquity and for the protection of that individual in international law."
But it will be a hard fight. An Appeal Committee, supported by some very distinguished patrons including Graham Greene, has been set up to raise the necessary funds to fight what is, by any standard, a worthy and urgent cause. The Appeal address is 40 Doughty Street, London WC1.
, To quote Lord Gardiner again, "A man naturally wishes to clear his name and have the stigma of a prison sentence removed if that is possible, but without substantial help, he has little chance of achieving this and is left feeling deeply frustrated and helpless. That is what Stanley Adams wants to do — clear his name."