On 13 April 2021, an 8 year-old girl, Mia Montemaggi, was kidnapped by a team of 5 men in what the Prosecutor of Nancy, in Eastern France, described as a “military-like operation”. She was in the custody of her grandmother, following a court ruling that her mother was only allowed to meet with her in the attendance of a third-party, because she has been trying to home school her child without permission of the French state and had expressed the will to subtract her from the supposedly nefarious influence of the “system”. The abductors then reunited the mother with her child and both of them fled to nearby Switzerland. In a bizarre twist, on 18 April, they were found in a Left-Wing, Anarchist-leaning squat in the Vaud canton. The girl is safe and the mother is awaiting extradition to France. The five men were rapidly identified and arrested.
The link with the Radical Right seems non-existent and the Prosecutor denied the arrested men had anything to do with that ideology, although previous press articles had reported they were close to the “ultra-Right”. What is sure is that they were quickly arrested because they were spotted by Domestic Counter-Terrorist Unit (DGSI), which had heard about their preparation of violent actions against the State, which also included attacks against COVID vaccination centres. What is certain is that the DGSI thinks the kidnappers are “survivalists”, which can mean anything from being a potential Radical Right terrorist to being an ideologically non-committed “Prepper” who fears environmental disasters and trains in order to stay alive in the advent of an emergency situation.
Another reason for concern is that the girl’s mother, 28 years-old Lola Montemaggi, was very much involved in various conspiracy-theory networks. Looking at her Facebook page (whose posts have now been deleted), one can see that she is not a Racist at all, that she was close to the Yellow Vests, and she had an interest in all kinds of “alternative lifestyles” including naturopathy and home schooling. But she was quick to relay the idea of a “New World Order”, those who are into the Illuminati-Bilderberg-Soros-Great Reset conspiracy, and she was also convinced that there existed a kind of secret network promoting Paedophilia. Her mindset was close to that of QAnon and she was obsessed with the fact that children who were onto the custody of the State’s Welfare and Minors Protection Services were in fact “stolen” from their parents by a fictive “deep state”. Occasionally, she relayed the post of Radical Right Conspiracy theorists, such as Pierre Hillard and the late Claire Séverac. This clearly proves that there is no clear-cut divide between Alternative Left and Radical Right believers in Conspiracy theories; indeed there can exist an overlap when it comes to this conspiratorial mindset.
The Radical Right came back into the picture, however, when it became clear, from some of the kidnapper’s police interrogations, that there was one key man behind the scheme: Conspiracy theorist Rémy Daillet-Wiedemann, aged 54, who lived in Malaysia and against whom an international arrest warrant has been issued for financing the kidnapping through the means of a crowd-funding campaign. The Malaysian authorities handed Daillet over to the French authorities at the end of May and he has been jailed in early June on the count of being an accomplice in a kidnapping of a minor.
Daillet is the son of a former member of Parliament and French Ambassador who belonged to the Centrist Party (or Les Centristes). He himself tried to establish a political career and in 2008, became the local president of the MODEM, François Bayrou’s movement, in the Toulouse area. He was dismissed in 2010 because of his opposition to the party’s leadership and his bizarre behaviour. He then drifted to the Radical Right and adopted the style of a Cult Guru, promoting home schooling, then launching a blog with no more than 370 followers. In October 2020, he issued a manifesto calling for a coup against “the System”.
A close read of the manifesto confirms that Daillet believes in the Great Replacement theory, that he believes is engineered by the “Cosmopolitan elites”. He also advocates the repeal of all legislation against hate-speech, supported the UK-based Holocaust denier Vincent Raynouard and gave an interview to the video channel of Rivarol, the Antisemitic weekly magazine. He also wants to abolish the Parliament and replace it with a Corporatist system; outlaw the Freemasonry, the Antifa movement and the representative bodies of French Jewry; and, of course, stands in opposition to the COVID-19 vaccination, social distancing, high-speed internet and mobile relay towers, etc.
Another of Daillet’s more farfetched beliefs is that the State should be overthrown because it is guilty of “mass-murder, including that of children.” In January, 2021, one of Daillet’s followers was on trial at the Dax Court in South-Western France, after he had deliberately crashed his car into a police station, harming no one. He was found insane, and Daillet also certainly is. But this is the first time in France that a self-styled Radical Right ideologue, although he is relatively unknown, is suspected of masterminding such a criminal act.
Dr Jean-Yves Camus is a Senior Fellow at CARR and Director at Observatoire des radicalités politiques, Fondation Jean-Jaurès. See full profile here.
© Jean-Yves Camus. Views expressed on this website are individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect that of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR). We are pleased to share previously unpublished materials with the community under creative commons license 4.0 (Attribution-NoDerivatives).