There was a very strange story in the headlines this week, with a prominent Muslim campaigner - Asghar Bukhari - complaining that Mossad agents had stolen a shoe from his home. Just one shoe. Though later he said that a pair of slippers had also gone missing.
After making the claim on his Facebook page, the story went viral. And most people 1) didn't believe it and 2) ridiculed him because of it.
Asghar Bukhari then posted this video about his shoe going missing -
And then later he posted this. In this second video he explained how his slippers had been found, but the shoe was still missing. What happened to his slippers is as strange as the missing shoe.
They are both longish videos but they are worth watching. He's trying to be ironic and sarcastic in the second video, which is a pity because actually this is serious and I don't think he should be making light of it.
The media gave him a tough time. Newspapers like the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph made fun of him, refusing to take his allegations seriously.
THIS IS WHAT THE DAILY TELEGRAPH SAID
AND THIS IS WHAT THE DAILY MAIL SAID
AND THE SPECTATOR MAGAZINE ALSO HAD A POP AT HIM
Twitter also gave Asghar Bukhari a rough ride. Leading the charge was the author Jeremy Duns.
This was followed by a series of tweets from Jeremy Duns, aimed at belittling Asghar Bukhari.
Jeremy Duns posted several other nasty tweets about the incident. It has to be said that Jeremy Duns has something of a reputation as an internet bully and as someone who tweets personal attacks on Muslims. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
Now, here's the thing. I don't know if Asghar Bukhari's shoe was stolen, or if it's lying under a sofa somewhere.
And if it has gone missing, I don't know if it was Zionists who took it.
But I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty. Things like this do happen. They happen in this country. And sometimes it is Government employees who make it happen.
How do I know this?
Because many years ago I met a man who did exactly that. I kid you not. For a time it was his job to, as he put it, 'destabilise bad guys'.
In the second video, Asghar Bukhari explains how the Stasi - the East German secret police - used underhand techniques to bring down their enemies in a process they called Zerstzung, literarily corrosion or undermining.
But the man I met did the same sort of thing in the UK. His targets were people being looked at by other agencies. Criminals, spies, terrorists.
His job was to play with their minds, to put them under pressure, to put them on the back foot. But he was never to confront them, never to do anything overt.
He would arrange for rubbish bins to be not collected. For much larger than normal utility bills to be sent. For hotel and airline bookings to be cancelled or changed. For unnecessary roadworks to happen outside their houses. For phone lines to go down. And, sometimes, to go into a house and rearrange furniture. Or remove a personal item, like a toothbrush. Nothing too obvious, nothing that would result in the police being called. Just small things, things that would prey on a target's mind. Because the more pressure he was under with regard to the small things, the more likely he was to make a mistake in other areas of his life.
On one occasion they kidnapped the dog belonging to a target's wife, knowing that she would make his life hell until the animal was returned!
When he told me about the house-breaking stuff I said I didn't believe that was possible. I had just bought a flat and installed state-of-the-art locks and a burglar alarm with motion detectors. I said I didn't think anyone could get into my flat. He spent the next few minutes explaining, in detail, exactly how he would get in and ever since that day I have had no faith in locks or alarm systems. If the powers that be want to get into your home, they can and they will. And you will never know - unless they want you to know.
The stories he told me back then have always stuck with me, and I've often toyed with the idea of incorporating them into a thriller.
Am I sure I believe him?
Absolutely, one hundred per cent. I have to say I was never completely sure who he was actually employed by. I know for several years he was up against the IRA and did the best Belfast accent I've ever heard from a non-Irishman. He gave me lots of intel that ended up in my IRA thriller The Bombmaker. After 9-11 he was very busy with Al-Qaeda and told me lots of stuff that often appeared in newspapers months or even years later and much of what he told me ended up in my Spider Shepherd books. He never told me anything that when checked proved to be anything other than the truth. I tried calling him this week but the numbers I have for him don't work and he seems to be off the grid. But yes, I believe what he told me about the 'destabilising' operations. And I do believe there are people who will sneak into your house, rearrange your furniture, and steal a shoe!