Thursday, July 10, 2008

Boulognegate?

Ségolène Royal's apartment in Boulogne was burglarized--"sacked," she says--for a third time. She sees a French version of CREEP (the Committee to Re-Elect the President, responsible for Watergate in the US way back in the 70s) at work. Her accusation, made on national television, has triggered a furor.

The police investigating the affair report that the door to her apartment was not locked, the alarm system, though operational, was not engaged, and the computer was not touched.

If my apartment had been burglarized twice, I think I'd lock the door.

16 comments:

kirkmc said...

She truly sounds like she's losing it. She claims the appartment was "mis à sac"; I'd like to see pictures of that. She's not going to show any because she's clearly exaggerating.

And, as you say, if the door wasn't locked...

It's not like she's any threat to the government; if they wanted to harass someone, they'd pick someone with a modicum of political power. And, anyway, why burgularize? Why not just listen in on her cellphone?

Kirk

Anonymous said...

You should verify your informations. The "Figaro" is not a good reference to find the truth.
The police reports that the door was "crashed"...

kirkmc said...

He's linked to Libération (not that that's a good place to find the truth either...)

Kirk

Unknown said...

Pardon me, but let's discuss the message before we shoot the messenger. Libé, whatever its faults, reports that the door was shut "à claque" but not "à clef." The police report that what occurred was "une effraction." This does not mean that the door was "crashed." (Unless you have seen some other report, I don't know what you're referring to.) French locks normally "lock" when the door is merely shut, but this lock is easily defeated. A firmer lock is obtained by turning the key in the lock to throw a deadbolt. The police report as rendered by Libé thus suggests that there was "breaking and entering" (effraction), but this only means that a locked door was opened, most likely by slipping a credit card into the unbolted lock. In other words, the door could easily have been made more secure, but wasn't. My only point was to suggest that this was imprudent on the part of someone who had already been burgled twice. The police also report that nothing was stolen (pas de vol) but that the contents of the apartment were "mise en scène." In particular, some jewelry was neatly laid out on a bed. Such an intrusion is no doubt disturbing to the occupants of the apartment, but it is rather a leap to suggest that its intent was political intimidation. Such behavior might also suggest a stalker obsessed with Royal. I don't agree with kirkmc that Royal's reaction suggests that she is "losing it." It does suggest that her judgment can be rather rash. Perhaps that's because she's upset; perhaps it's because she wants to get as much political mileage out of the incident as she can. I don't see any reason for observers like us to leap to judgment. After all, we are less likely to be upset than the victim. As for robinwood's comment about Le Figaro, I have no idea where that comes from. I cited Libé, but I read other reports as well, and as far as I can make out, there is general agreement as to the state of the apartment and the "latched but unbolted" door.

Anonymous said...

As the subject of this post seems to have derived to the fascinating issue on wether it is preferable to latch or bolt a door, let me add two comments.

Royal's son was the last to leave the appartment before the intrusion. I can understand why a twenty-year old does not feel really concerned about security issues.

Although my appartment was burgled (only once though ), I did not change anything in my habits: I continued to latch the door as I was used two, simply because I don't like to live in constant paranoia. Question de point de vue...

Anonymous said...

A third possibility could even be that her son did it. After all he's the last one to leave the premises, knows where exactly things are in the house, and one would presume that he might peferctly know when his mother would come back.

Not that I actually believe he did it. Based on what we know (which I would hope is much less than the police knows), many theories could be made. I understand the frustration of being burglarized three times, but I wonder if it was neccessary to go play Cluedo on national TV (Colonel Mustard in the Bedroom with the jewelery).

May be Ségolène should ask to "les partenaires sociaux" who they think is responsible.

kirkmc said...

I stand by my comment that she is "losing it". You don't go on national TV in prime time and accuse the president of ordering a burglary to your apparment if you have any sense at all. At best, she looks as though she's off her meds; at worst, she looks as though she's a major liability for whatever party she belongs too. I don't even recall Le Pen ever stooping this low (though it wouldn't surprise me if _he_ did.)

The seriousness of her accusation has been glossed over - I don't know why, but probably because of the ambient anti-Sarkozism.

Kirk

Boz said...

If her son was indeed the last to leave, he would appear to be as careless as the accident-prone Jean Sarkozy... There is nothing paranoid with always locking one's door and setting an alarm, in fact in light of the past break-ins, it would almost be abnormal not to do so.

Kirkmc, I agree her media performance has been lacking, and that if you were to simply read the headlines, you would get the impression that she is "losing it". But be sure to mentally separate this incident from the Betancourt comments; from what I read, most outside (non-French) observers considered those attacks unjustified. The reason you can seize on these accusations and claim she is "losing it" is because it fits an already existing media storyline.

Unknown said...

kirkmc,
I think her move is a calculated one, not an act of madness. It may be a miscalculation, but her strategy seems to be to charge Sarkozy with every kind of malfeasance, knowing that this is what many voters want to hear--for better or for worse. Irresponsible, yes; crazy, no.

Christine,
You, like Emerson, believe that it is better to be deceived than distrustful. As ordinary citizens, you and I enjoy the luxury of not living in constant paranoia. A presidential candidate is not an ordinary citizen, however. Ségo thinks she is being "followed and listened to," she said today, and she may well be right. In her position, it's not paranoid to think so; it's an application of the precautionary principle. In which case, why not lock your damn door, and ask your son to do the same? It seems like the sort of elementary precaution you'd want to take if you think "they" are after you. Whoever they may be. When you're in the public eye, you have to worry about the John Hinckleys of the world at least as much as any potential barbouzes.

Anonymous said...

Strange and disappointing argument.
OK, you'd lock the door…

But may I make several comments, Art?
First of all, whenever "professionals" decide to visit your appartment, locking your door or setting an alarm is of little use.

Second, it's the third time the ex-presidential candidate is burglared or attacked without anything stolen. And your first reaction is "I think I'd lock the door"??
Why not "I think the government has a specific democratic responsability in ensuring that one of the main opposition political figure’s home is being protected. That's the basic of democraty" ?
Why not "the police did use DNA technology to find the thief of the scooter of Sarkozy's son and how strange it did nothing similar to find the main opposition political figure’s home burglars." ?

Third what about the coïncidence of the « visit », just before the launch of its PS internal campaign ? You think it’s a stalker. Do think a stalker would just act at this very political moment ?
Listen to what Michèle Delaunay, Bordeaux representative, said to 20Minutes :
The very same day last year her laptop and Ségolène Royal’s one were stolen at 2 different places. And Michèle Delaunay’s laptop was stolen inside the Assemblée Nationale.

Do you think a stalker would just do that?

Here is the interview of Michèle Delaunay :
http://www.20minutes.fr/article/241110/Chats-Vous-interviewez-Michele-Delaunay.php

I think the whole story is a major political affair, not just a question of closing the door.

MYOS said...

What I'm reading is that the procureur de la republique found the matter serious enough to come over in the middle of the night and that the secret services were sent to investigate possible mikes. Also she's got detail - presumably to watch her apartment and her person/family, so whoever did that had to know precisely when the detail wouldn't be around as well as the family. Finally there's the set up which is designed as a threat including to her daughter. I am not familiar with stalker but this seems very calculated in any case.
In my opinion a proper official response would have been " a thorough investigation has been launched", not "go see a shrink" (Lefebvfre's latest, ever subtle.)
As for Richard above, I checked out Delaunay and here's her version:
http://michele-delaunay.net/blog/2008/07/10/784-de-l-universalite-de-l-imbecillite

MYOS said...

ps: be warned, the Delaunay blog is definitively a leftist blog.
(She's the one who kicked out Juppé from his French Parliament seat)

Alex Price said...

Of course Ségolène Royal’s remarks are calculated, and so far I’d say they’re working. Right now, she is the only socialist able to get any traction for attacks on Sarkozy and the government (however irresponsible those attacks might be). So far no one has mentioned the spying of Olivier Besancenot which came to light a couple of months ago or the recent discovery of a listening device in the car of one of the union leaders (I can’t remember which one. Bernard Thibault?). Those events create a context for her remarks and help to suggest a vision of the Sarkozy government as a Berlusconiesque régime intolerant of opposition.

Anonymous said...

Art,
My second comment was ironical and addressed to your last remark in your post, not to Royal. I agree that Royal, beeing who she is, should take special security mesures. The thing is that pointing out the fact that the door was not correctly locked reminds me of the old comment when a girl wearing a short skirt is beeing raped: "you had it coming, girl!".

The problem is not that teappartment was burglarized as such, but that it was not an ordinary burglary. I am not sure, though, Royal's move was as calculated as you think. She is taking a tremendous risk, and probably will end up ridiculized (although the Elysée is competing for the Ridicule Palm by magically pulling a yougoslave gipsy out of the hat. The whole thing starts to look like a cheap thriller).

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