The Summer I was 17….. Sans Armes, Ni Haine, Ni Violence

 

 

I was seventeen years old in 1976. It was the summer before my senior year in highcshool. My son is seventeen and will be a senior in highcshool next Fall.  Forty years later I cannot help but reminisce. The summer of  1976 was exciting and eventful. I lived at the time in the Washington D.C. suburbs and it was the big summer of The Bicentennial . The USA celebrating 200 years; of course declaring peace and achieving it was not on the same date!

The 1976 Summer Olympics, officially called the Games of the XXI Olympiad (French: Les XXIes olympiques d’été), took place in  Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1976; the first Olympic Games hosted by Canada.

IMAGE SOURCE

 

Healing after the turmoil of Watergate America was also preparing for the 1976 elections. In my 17 year old experience out of no-where JIMMY CARTER appeared everywhere, often in posters with long hair and the slogan  J.C. CAN SAVE AMERICA

Sans Armes, Ni Haine, Ni Violence 
(“Without Weapons, Nor hatred, Nor violence“)

However the event that most impacted my seventeen year old imagination took place in France that summer. I eventually moved to France to study in 1977, and perhaps in part it was the curious movie like robbery that ignited my tremendous curiosity for all things French.

The story of Albert Spaggiari  who led a group of men to commit the well planned robbery of the Société Générale bank in July 1976 during the Bastille Day celebrations in France that year….. is still the strongest memory for me of the events that summer.  (Image Source)

FROM WIKIPEDIA

 

Heist

When Spaggiari heard that the sewers were close to the vault of the Société Générale bank, he began to plan a break-in into the bank. Eventually he decided to do it by digging into the bank vault from below. Spaggiari rented a box in the bank vault for himself and then put a loud alarm clock in the vault. He set the clock to ring at night in order to check the possible existence of any acoustic or alarms protecting the vault because it was considered utterly impregnable; the door wall was extremely thick and there was no obvious way to access the other walls.
seismic detection gear. In fact, there were no
Spaggiari contacted professional gangsters from Marseille, who, after examining his plans and the site, decided not to participate in the heist. His accomplices probably were recruited through old OAS friends. His men made their way into the sewers and began a two-month effort to dig an eight meter long tunnel from the sewer to under the vault. Spaggiari had taken many precautions during this long dig. His men worked long hours continuously drilling. He told his men not to drink coffee nor alcohol and get at least 10 hours of sleep every shift to avoid any danger to the mission.
On July 16, 1976, during a long weekend due to Bastille Day festivities, Spaggiari’s gang broke into the vault itself. They opened 400 safe deposit boxes[citation needed] and stole an estimated 30-60 million francs worth of money, securities and valuables. It was the largest heist in the history of bank robberies to that date.
According to some accounts, Spaggiari brought his men a meal including wine and pâté, and reportedly they sat down in the vault for a picnic lunch, after welding the vault door shut from the inside. The gang spent hours picking through the various safe deposit boxes. Before they left on July 20, they left this message on the walls of the vault: sans armes, ni haine, ni violence (“without weapons, nor hatred, nor violence”). This was Spaggiari’s message to the world, implying that he considered himself to be something more than a common thief.

Capture and escape

At first the French police were baffled. However, by the end of October, they were closing in, and on a tip from a former girlfriend, they arrested one of the errant thieves. After a lengthy interrogation he turned over the entire gang, including Spaggiari. When Spaggiari, who had been accompanying the mayor of Nice Jacques Médecin in the Far East as a photographer, returned to Nice, he was arrested at the airport.
Spaggiari chose Jacques Peyrat, a veteran of the French Foreign Legion who belonged at the time to the National Front, as his defence attorney. Spaggiari first denied his involvement in the break-in, then acknowledged it but claimed that he was working to fund a secret political organization named the “Catena” (Italian for Chain) that seems to have existed only in his fantasy.
During his case hearings, Spaggiari devised an escape plan. He made a fictitious document which he claimed as evidence. He made the document coded so it had to be deciphered by the judge. He distracted judge Richard Bouaziz with this document and then jumped out of a window, landed safely on a parked car and escaped on a waiting motorcycle. Some reports claimed that the owner of the car later received a 5000 francs cheque in the mail for the damage to his roof.
Left-wing papers later claimed that Spaggiari had received help from his political friends, in particular from ex-OAS militants close to the mayor of Nice, Jacques Médecin. The accusations forced Médecin to go through a second round of voting at the local elections of 1977.
In 1995, Jacques Peyrat accused Christian Estrosi, French minister and former motorcycle champion, of having been Spaggiari’s driver. But later Estrosi proved that on that day he had been motorcycle racing in Daytona .

Life in hiding

Spaggiari remained free for the rest of his life. He was sentenced in absentia to a life in prison. Reportedly he underwent plastic surgery and spent probably most of the rest of his life in Argentina. However, it is reported that Spaggiari came several times clandestinely to France, visiting his mother or his wife “Audi”. For the publishing of his last book Le journal d’une truffe he gave an interview to Bernard Pivot for the TV program Apostrophes that was reportedly recorded in Milan, Italy.
According to a CIA document declassified in 2000 and publicised by the National Security Archive, Michael Townley, the DINA international agent responsible for the murder of Orlando Letelier, a member of Salvador Allende‘s government, in Washington DC, 1976, was in contact with Spaggiari. Information contained in the document suggests that Spaggiari (code name “Daniel”) conducted operations on behalf of DINA.  read more at WIKIPEDIA

CYBER-CRIME SERIES by ANGELA FORD

Awesome Review by Romance Reviews Magazine!

This is an American FBI based romantic suspense. We’re given a female agent – a complex stalker, and a classic covert romance budding between fellow agents. Thankfully that’s not all the author has given the reader. The heroine, Jess, has emotional problems linked to her past. Her love interest, Tom, similarly has a past he would rather forget. Neither reveals their covert feelings for one another, and I rather liked the way the author enlightens the reader to their innermost thoughts. This could easily have turned into a tired old cliché plot of agents shooting their way through crisis after crisis, then falling in love and straight off to bed. Ms Ford, though, luckily spins a little magic into her story with a dead agent brought back to life. And so the plot thickens. But who is watching Jess besides a dead agent, and who is stalking her? The more Jess puzzles over gathered evidence the more she fears the outcome. What is worse, the killer knows her name. Ordered off the case, Jess retreats to a safe haven. Jess is far from safe. Tom is far from safe. And the hero of the day is far from the expected hero. Well done Ms Ford for putting a jolly good twist in this tale. As a debut novelist I sense Ms Ford’s writing will grow with each new book she undertakes to write.

CLOSURE (Book 1)

An elite FBI task force tracks online predators while they hunt their prey. A series of murders in Presario Heights has forced Special Agent Jessica Resario to follow her gut instinct to save the next victim. Supervisory Special Agent Tom Erickson removes her from the case. The only place to escape the danger is her family beach home. She hadn’t been there since her parents were murdered. The level of intensity climbs higher with her discovery of postcards marked “I Crave You”. Old ghosts, secrets, imminent threats and an inevitable attraction to Tom send her on an emotional roller coaster. If that wasn’t enough, she opens the door to a man she thought was dead. Tom is stabbed and his case files go missing…high emotions put Jess at the killer’s mercy.

Jess opened the file that held copies of the postcards. They were simple postcards of scenic views which could be found in any shop in the Vineyard. The backs of the postcards showed Jess’s name printed very neatly, and beside it was written, “I Crave You.” All three cards had the same quote, her name, no address and no postage stamp. They would have been placed under the door in person.

A cold chill ran up her spine. It was definitely not a prank from one of her friends; they had more class than that! She couldn’t recall anyone around her who was shy or might have a crush on her. Sandy and Billy, her closest summer friends, would definitely have told her if someone had a crush on her. She never even dated anyone from the village in the summers. It was a small village and everyone around her age had gone steady since they were about ten years old.

There was a boy she had dated in Washington her senior year, but it was never serious. They only dated for a few months before graduation and Jess ended it before she left for the beach home. He wanted to continue their relationship, but she was headed west and he was attending college in the east.

The three words, “I Crave You,” struck a nerve. Where had she heard those words? Jess couldn’t recollect if the words were used in the existing case, or if they were from her past.

FORBIDDEN (Book 2)

In this sequel to Closure, Agent Jessica Resario continues to deliver spine-chilling seminars about internet predators. A seminar one night introduces her to the Bennetts’. They believe their teenage daughter has a stalker and is in danger.

One desperate man forbids Jess to love another man. Another desperate man preys on a naïve teen. Both put Jess back in the line of fire and once again her life is put into the hands of a serial killer.

Startled from her thoughts, Jess turned and saw Tom in the doorway with a concerned look on his face. He walked closer to her and set a cup of tea on her desk.

“I thought you might need this.”

“Thanks Tom. You always know what I need. I love you so much.” She smiled and reached for his hand. Just his presence in the room warmed her from the cold chill she’d felt.

“I love you too.” He leaned down and kissed the top of her head. “Now spill it Jess. I know that look.”

She laughed at his remark. He knows me so well.

“I feel like I’m reading about Trevor stalking me. This girl is in trouble, Tom. She’s being stalked. I feel it in my gut.” Jess took a sip of her tea. The warmth and sweetness of that Earl Grey Cream was exactly what she needed to calm her.

“That look worries the heck out of me. But I learned a long time ago I can’t stop you.” Tom picked up her phone from the desk and handed it to her. “Call Mr. Bennett”

“At this time of the night?” Jess looked at her watch.

“If he’s as concerned as you believe, Jess, he’ll be awake.” Tom kissed her forehead and smiled.

OBSESSED (Book 3)

The FBI cybercrime series continues after Jess shoots Trevor Marshall in her kitchen. The man responsible for three murdered teens in the Bay area, her parents and her adopted daughter’s parents. Ten years before he stalked her without her knowledge. Her father kept it from her to protect her and sent her to the west coast for college. Marshall murdered her parents in his attempt to find her. Ten years later he’s successful but Jess is a compelled FBI profiler who hunts internet predators.

SSA Jessica Resario thought her life had settled; now there’s more at stake. She stepped down as the team’s leader to be with her family and SA Mike Turner is promoted. A postcard shows up on her doorstep with the same three words used by Marshall – I Crave You. Mike promises to discover how it was leaked from the sealed case. When another postcard turns up at Jess’s beach house, Mike takes the team to the east coast. Only half the team makes it to the beach house. Old ghosts, secrets and with more at stake; Jess is determined to end this obsession and protect her family.

Jess looked in that direction and something caught her attention. She tip-toed toward the door and discovered a postcard on the floor just inside the front door. Memories of the postcards crossed her mind as she bent down to pick it up. Her hand trembled as she read her name on the front of the post card. She turned it over slowly. A tear formed and hit her cheek as she read the words written on it. I Crave You.

The sudden jolt of shock that hit her at the front door led her to scream Tom’s name. The postcard fell from her hand. Tom came running from the bedroom. Jess’s scream woke everyone and they all met at the front door. Jess couldn’t speak but pointed to the welcome mat where the postcard lay. Those three words “I Crave You” could be read as plain as day. Tom reached for the postcard with horror; one of Vineyard Haven addressed to Jess with those three words just like the ones she’d received in the past.

Angela Ford originates from Nova Scotia…Canada’s Ocean Playground!

DSC_0447 - Copy - CopyHer love of the ocean and sunsets are always in her heart and give her inspiration. Her love for words keeps her turning the page. She is never without a book, whether she’s reading or writing. Now residing in Ontario, Angela works in Finance – numbers by day – words by night. Her dedication to volunteer and involvement with cyber safety seminars gave her an Award of Distinction and sparked the idea for her first book Closure – suspense with a dash of romance that hit the best- selling Action/Adventure and Women’s Fiction. Angela continued this FBI suspense with Forbidden and will deliver the final of the series in 2015. She also writes contemporary romance, sometimes sweet…sometimes spicy and sometimes with a dash of suspense. Unforgettable Kiss delivers a spicy romance with a dash of suspense. Blind Tasting of The Love List series and The Christmas Wreath of the Forever Christmas series are sweet reads. 2015 kicked off with a new Romantic Suspense Surrender.

Between two jobs, being a mom with a home always filled with young adults and rather interesting stories; she is lucky to have one very patient and understanding man. But it is the furry family members who rule the house – a Puggle (Pug/Beagle), a new Chug puppy (Pug/Chihuahua) and two loveable cats. Every possible quiet moment she finds, she treasures and just writes about the moments to come. Angela is an avid reader of romance, a member of the RWA, KOD (Kiss of Death – Suspense Chapter) and Mississauga Writers Group. You can follow her at BTGN www.bookstogonow.com or visit her website/blog Romantic Escapes at http://www.angelafordauthor.com to connect with her on her social network sites. She loves to hear from her readers – they keep her smiling!