3 thoughts on “The Further Fictions and Half-Truths of Mossad Agent, Michael Burrows – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. The competing narrative is pretty common in books on military or intelligence subjects where it is very hard to get reliable information; one writer will make Unit X look like James Bond, the other will make it look like Inspector Clouseau. I think the most extreme case of this was Vladamir Bogdanovitch Rezun (Victor Suvorov), a defector from the Soviet military. In 1981 he came out with “The Liberators”, a narrative of life in the Soviet Army in the 1960s and 1970s which pretty much went against the official narrative in Washington of an all-powerful red military force; it was allegedly the first book in English to talk about hazing (dedovshchina) in the Soviet military. In 1982 he produced “Inside the Soviet Army”, which was its complete opposite; the military is again competent in the extreme. I think Suvorov saw where the wind was blowing and he wanted to make a living publishing books on the USSR, which he has, more-or-less; he worked with Sir John Hackett on the sequel to Hackett’s world war III book (“The Third World War: The Untold Story”) before grinding out books on the GRU, Spetznaz, and promoting his theory that Stalin was going to attack Nazi Germany in 1942, so Barbarossa was a preemptive invasion.

    1. Two members of an SAS team which failed to properly plan their operation in the first Gulf War, resulting in prompt disaster, have subsequently enjoyed successful careers churning out overt fiction on the back of “factual” and mutually contradictory accounts of their heroism during and after the cock-up. They write under the names Chris Ryan and Andy McNab.

      Another SAS man and historian, Michael Asher, was persuaded to investigate their accounts, as he had done for T.E. Lawerence’s “The Seven Pillar’s of Wisdom” and a former regimental sergeant major of the SAS seems to have encouraged Asher to do this. Probably to protect the regiment’s integrity.

      While Saddam was still in power, Asher went to Iraq with a film crew and visited the locations described in these accounts of derring-do, and spoke to many locals who’d witnessed the actual events (where there were any) upon which they were based. His conclusion was that they’d actually made a mess of everything and their stories were really attempts to salvage their reputation. He also concluded that some things simply hadn’t happened at all.

      Asher once tried to prove that Lawrence could have made his famous forced march in exactly the way he did, by trying to do it himself, followed by increasingly worried Arab historians who tried to tell an exhausted and bewildered Asher that by exaggerating a little Lawrence was only following Arab custom and he was still a great man. Typically, Asher tried to retrace every one of Ryan’s alleged footsteps and, somewhat more quickly, realized that there was even less substance to the tale than there was with Lawrence, who probably only distorted the time taken for the trip and the circumstances rather than whether it really happened.

      At best, Burroughs is an Andy McNab or a Chris Ryan, and simply needs a Michael Asher to check out his tale. But I think it’s worse than that and he’s more of a Jeffery Archer: fictionalizing his own biography completely in order to further his writing (and political, in Archer’s case) career.

      If Burroughs is not a con-man in the financial sense, he’s a sexual con-man. And only rarely do sexual con-men fail to prey on their victims in the financial sense once they’d conned them into bed. It wouldn’t be in the nature of such a man for the “Mossad Agent” to be the only false persona, so everyone should watch out.

      (“Ryan” and “McNab” were members of 22 SAS, which are the hairy-chested saboteurs and gunmen that the Murdoch press loves so much. Asher, a former paratrooper, was in 23 SAS, which specializes in very long-range reconnaissance on foot, where a single man will slip undetected deep into enemy territory, see what the drones and satellites do not, and hear what’s not being said over any form of electronic communications. I’d be of the opinion that the latter was of far more actual military value. It’s got more to do with Orde Wingate than David Stirling.)

  2. Unlike Mossad, MI5 has now started to issue public warnings about conmen pretending to be agents or former agents. Especially when they want something…

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