It’s not very often that ANZMI looks into the background of an Australian Army poster boy but that is precisely what we had to do. Another terrific aspect of the work we carry out is that we have additional eyes and ears everywhere, not just those of our own investigators.
And it was one of our supporters who spotted a very interesting Facebook account (since withdrawn) for a bloke named Michael Magnese. The Facebook entry tends to suggest that Magnese is, or was, one of those elite members of the military, a sniper. The photo has a notation suggesting that the weapon ‘Magnese’ is using is an Accuracy International AW50, a .50 calibre, bolt action rifle.
To find out if the Australian military has ever used this rifle, we did what any researcher worth their salt does these days; called on our friend Mr Google! We soon discovered that the weapon is of British manufacture and is on issue to snipers in the Australian Army. But our interest really picked up when the Google hits included a photo on the official Australian Army website. Here is that photograph:
Now a little confusion set in at ANZMI because the official Australian Army photo looks remarkably like the one that ‘sniper’ Michael Magnese posted on his Facebook account and which he claimed to be of himself! But further enquiries suggest that Magnese has not even served in the Australian Army, let alone as a highly-trained sniper. However, that doesn’t seem to matter to this bloke as he continued to reinforce his deadly sniper image on Facebook.
Very little is known about Michael Magnese,if that is in fact his real name. His previous Facebook entry suggests that he may have gone to Footscray City College. Naturally, we would be delighted with any additional information available about ‘sniper’ Michael Magnese.
Frauds and wannabes like Magnese need to remember that the tentacles of the ANZMI are far-reaching. Our work is not just carried out by our band of dedicated volunteer investigators but like snipers, we also have keen-eyed spotters. And with the growing use of social media, we and our supporters are detecting more and more military charlatans massaging their egos by creating fantasy characters. Such behaviour is not only morally despicable but detracts from the honour and high esteem in which we hold our present and past military personnel.