from Guy Debord

To Floriana Lebovici
15 October 1984
Dear Floriana:

Marie-Christine[1] passed through here this week-end,[2] and communicated to me a single bit of news, but it is very important.

Francis Ryck,[3] whom she has sometimes met for professional reasons, said to her that, by chance, he met -- and under the cinematographical work -- the famous Captain Barrill (military policeman of l'Elysee, case officer for Direct Action, provocateur in the Irish affair at Vincennes,[4] etc.). This Captain, who is the most dishonored officer in the entire French army -- and it is not easy to attain such a record, as much in France as in Italy -- would say to the "simpletons" who want to listen to him that he knows a great deal about the assassination of Gerard [Lebovici]. This was obviously said so as to reach our ears.[5] It is possible that he knows a lot about it, but it is more probable that this manipulator would speak about something else -- and in exchange for what?

Ryck, speaking to impress someone he hoped was an ignorant young woman, declared that he was not too impressed by Barrill's personality, the "romantic" atmosphere surrounding him (body guards, etc.). Note that Ryck, having been what he had certainly was in his youth, and especially having written what he has written for nearly twenty years, if he has the least sincerity, says that Barrill is the most maladroit and ridiculous of the "secret" agents, which is a misfortune for those who employ him -- practically what a diplomat would think of Claude Cheysson, our Minister of Foreign Relations and the biggest blunderer in the country. Or, if you like, the equivalent of [Jacques] Attali as a thinker. Thus I have with certitude deduced that Ryck has kept in contact with the colleagues of his youth, as "crazy" and hippie[6] as he tries to appear (and which he can also be), completely like the old restaurant owner in Camargue of whom I have spoken to you. He is another example of the law that I have mentioned to you, with respect to a former secret agent from Bordeaux, that one never completely leaves this field. Thus Ryck, when he frequented Gerard's company, was already someone who was interested in Gerard even more than in [cinematic] direction. You know the proverb, "The cask always smells of the herring"[7] or perhaps one should say of the barril?[8] In any case, mentioning Captain Cask was an extraordinary clumsiness, but a calculated one.

I completely have the impression that here we do not have the people who were involved in the decision and execution of the crime, but who are certainly involved in the standard exploitation of it by certain governmental services that have learned of it (perhaps they knew something of the crime "in preparation"?). The delay and crudeness of their attempts give this explication a great probability.

I told Marie-Christine that Barrill can not be compared to Commander Henry in the Dreyfus affair. The difference, in a more reasonable time, is that Henry was found with his throat cut with his own razor after his first night in a military prison. Nevertheless, the "patriotic forgery" of which he was finally convicted was not more serious than the Vincennes affair, for which [Police Commissioner Jacques] Genthial made them all fall.

Thus, Ryck is someone with whom it is necessary to avoid all contact, a man whose advice and recommendations should not be listened to (he now, too late, speaks with enthusiasm of the English detectives whom he had recommended to you with such great reticence). As soon as possible, transmit this information, with all of the meanings that are necessary, to Jean Aurel and his friend.[9]

You recall that I recently said to you that I was a little surprised that no one had come -- from high up or claiming to be so -- to try to negotiate information about the assassins. Here, negotiation is not a question of money. This man is the least qualified. But one is sure that others will show themselves. This is the first time that things begin to stir and that the enemy begins to be maladroit.

I hope you encounter amore active attorney than Thierry [Levy], but keeping to the idea that this would be someone to whom one would not accord the kind of trust that Thierry merits! Have you thought about Pelletier?

I must see [Jean-Francois] Martos on 1 November. Will the book[10] be published by then? I expect to see you shortly afterwards.

How did Lorenzo's examinations go? Tell him to telephone us which day suits him to come to Arles.

I believe we have concluded nothing concerning the collector.[11] It seems to me that the best thing would be if you tell him, without refusing anything in principle, that I am very rarely in Paris these days, but that you are still the first to know, since it is at your place that I stay.

Do not forget about Kessler.[12] I think that it would be good to introduce him to Marie-Christine, who begins to be familiar with the available dossier.

I embrace you.

P.S. The blow evoked in the press clipping that you sent me is clearly inspired by a [Jacques] Mesrine operation. But it does not matter who did it, since the documents are public.

[1] Marie-Christine de Montbrial, a friend of Gerard Lebovici who worked at Gaumont.

[2] Translator's note: English in original.

[3] Francis Ryck had worked in "diverse trades" before becoming an author of detective novels, including The Undesirable Companion (made into a film called The Secret).

[4] Translator's note: on 28 August 1982, the Elysee's special antiterrorist squad arrested three members of an alleged IRA group that was supposedly active at the University of Vincennes in Paris. But the arrests were based upon planted and/or falsified evidence provided by Paul Barril, who was forced to resign and become a specialist in "private" security.

[5] Written in margin: "Barril even said that he would speak to you."

[6] Translator's note: English in original.

[7] Translator's note: see Debord's comments on this expression in his letter to Paolo Salvadori dated 7 February 1979 (item #28).

[8] Translator's note: a pun on barrique, another French word for "cask" or "barrel."

[9] Jean Aurel, a filmmaker; Jean Montaldo, an investigative journalist.

[10] All About the Person. [Translator's note: a collection of letters and press clippings about Gerard Lebovici.]

[11] Paul Destribats, whom Floriana Lebovici had introduced to Guy Debord.

[12] Counselor on intellectual properties for [Guy Debord's] The Game of War. [Translator's note: see letter dated 24 May 1976.]

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 5: Janvier 1979-Decembre 1987 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2006. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! May 2007. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted.)

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