The Specialist

By Gayle Rivers

Supposedly, these are the experiences of a colonial-born British arms dealer and mercenary counterterrorist, now domiciled in Switzerland who leads off with the covert jobs he allegedly pulled for US Special Forces in Lebanon. This global military operative also identifies himself as a member of Britain's Special Air Service (SAS), who has hunted IRA terrorists in Northern Ireland. And his main pitch the peg on which he hangs stealth-and-gore tales of his lucrative operations ("Quite frankly, I find ordinary business child's play") is that "the IRA has a prominent place in the international terrorist community": Irish-Americans shouldn't be supporting them, and Americans generally should take the IRA/PLO/ Basque separatist (ETA)/Baader-Meinhof "Puerto Rican fanatic" Jewish Defense League/Libyan network more seriously. "There is a whole structure within American ethnic political life which provides an umbrella for their activities" and, alleges "Rivers," we only recently avoided having midtown Manhattan blown up "by several different terrorist organizations," coordinated by the Libyans, "each of which believed it was working alone and for its own purposes." Who Rivers is, what factual basis any of this has (known terrorist collaboration aside), is anybody's guess: what sounds authentic is the anti-IRA/British "civil rights lobby"/"Irish-American law-enforcement officers" frustration. But there is a second major strand of British assassination assignments in Spain and Greece--which gives Rivers a chance to specifically show up, and upstage, the British. Add in Egyptian and Iraqi assignments (against Israeli and Iranian non-terrorist targets), and what's left is a pastiche of polemics, thriller-cartoons, and first-person posturing. 


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