Well-known former MI5 officer and 9/11 conspiracy theorist David Shayler has taken a further step along the path to fruitcakeville, suggesting to a TV news interviewer that he is the Messiah.
Describing an occasion on which he had been anointed by a mystic representing biblical figure Mary Magdalene, the confused ex-spook told More4 News:
"I felt a sense of peace, I suddenly realised why it had been how it had - why I seem to get such a strange deal from the universe, when I seem to be trying to tell the truth about everything."
At one point, however, there was a hint that Shayler - famously dubbed "the spy who won't shut up" by the Sunday Times, the paper for which he had worked before becoming a spook - wasn't taking the Messiah business entirely seriously.
Appearing to suppress a fit of the giggles, he told More4 that the Hebrew word for "king" - in this sense, the king of kings, messiah, what have you - is "chav". Shayler said there was an anagram on the rod of Aaron, a staff carried by Moses' brother in the Old Testament, predicting that he would arrive as the Messiah.
The rod's hidden message is, according to this interpretation, "David Shayler, righteous chav".
There's some support for this in the fact that Mr Shayler once wrote a novel which he described as "a gritty thriller about spies, sex and football" - sort of Footballers' Wives/WAGs'n'spooks fest - perhaps fairly chavvy. The tale was never published.
If one accepts that a Messiah will appear and guide the human race into the correct path, there seems no reason why David Shayler wouldn't be the chosen vessel of the holy word.
There is perhaps more reason to question other things he has said. For instance, Shayler told New Statesman last year that:
"I believe no planes were involved in 9/11... The only explanation is that they were missiles surrounded by holograms made to look like planes... Watch the footage frame by frame and you will see a cigar-shaped missile hitting the World Trade Center."
Before that, Shayler made some more intuitively believable assertions - that the UK's secretive Security Service (MI5) was riddled with incompetence, and that the foreign-office spies at the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, aka MI6) had been in touch with anti-Gadaffi elements in Libya during the 1990s - perhaps to the extent of providing financial and other assistance towards eliminating the good Colonel.
It's also quite true that Shayler was subjected to an unjustifiably expensive and foolish government witchhunt after going public, which may have played some part in his progress towards eccentricity since then.
The interview can be watched here. ®