France far right

CNN was able to see documents from France’s DGSI (French intelligence agency), which show that the group was far right with different ideological roots, but one unifying goal: To overthrow France’s government.

The DGSI alleges that the mastermind behind the group was Rémy Daillet-Weidemann, a former regional councillor in France, who was “setting up a hierarchical structure whose objective was to overthrow the government” and attack the head of state.

CNN reached out to officials at the interior ministry but was not able to get a response.

The alleged coup ​plan never came to fruition. French security services ​said they shut it down before the plotters could act. ​

In October, Daillet-Weidemann was placed under formal investigation by French authorities — alongside 13 others — for ​allegedly planning violent actions, “association with terrorist wrongdoers” and “provoking a terrorist act by a third party through public telecommunications,” according to his lawyer Jean-Christope Basson-Larbi.

Basson-Larbi stated to CNN that his client had never proposed anything but a peaceful overthrow — without violence, popularly supported, that is to say with support from the majority of French citizens — of the current political system.

According to the lawyer, Operation Azur was the result of “fantasies”, which were not his client’s and of which Daillet Weidemann did not know. Daillet Weidemann is currently in custody.

The DGSI report stated that Daillet-Weidemann, who ​allegedly “envisages the use of violent action” to enact the coup d’etat, recruited members and exercised command over the cells in his network, including at least two men who planned to manufacture explosives.

“The discovery and use of arms, munitions and hit lists [and]Basson-Larbi stated that explosive recipes did not have anything to do with Mr. Daillet.” Basson -Larbi explained that Mr. Daillet was currently living in Malaysia. His client wasn’t responsible for “potentially violent or criminal” projects by individuals who “invoke some of the above.” [Daillet-Weidemann’s]Ideas or pretend to be part of his movement, or to follow his political views.”

Kidnapping case

According to Nancy prosecutor documents, Daillet-Weidemann and 10 others were placed under formal investigation in June for the kidnapping of Mia, an eight-year old girl who disappeared from her grandmother’s home in April 2021.

Prosecutors say that members from The Overthrow’s network abducted the child, before fleeing to Switzerland in “military-type operations” for Lola Montemaggi, her mother.

Mia, her grandmother, was caring for her at the time she was kidnapped.

The ​child’s custody with her grandmother was anathema to Daillet-Weidemann who promoted “the idea that actions should be taken to return children [in care] … to their parents,” according to French prosecutor François Perain.

Mia was found with her mother Lola Montemaggi in Sainte-Croix, Switzerland.

According to Nancy prosecutor, Mia was discovered safe in Switzerland — along with her mother — five day after she was taken.

Lola Montemaggi was placed under formal investigation for her alleged ​role in the kidnap plot and kept in pre-trial detention for several months; she was released in October, according to the Nancy prosecutor. The legal proceedings are ongoing.

“She was a mother who was alone, who was lost, who once again had the impression that the justice system was not listening to her, not hearing her,” Montemaggi’s lawyer Stéphane Giuranna told journalists in April. “She sought refuge in social networks and blogs. He said that she typed “abusive placement, children placement” and then moved from one address to another.

“She felt trapped, she felt lost and she felt unheard. Giuranna stated that she did not make the right choice. She knows it and understands it.

CNN’s Basson-Larbi stated that Mr. Daillet–Weidemann supported the actions of those who returned the child to their mother. He also said that he was not aware of the details and did not contribute to the transaction in any way.

DGSI reported that two of the alleged kidnappers were already under surveillance as part of an inquiry into Daillet-Weidemann’s group for far right terrorism. Police arrested them, and searched one of their homes. According to the DGSI report, authorities discovered chemicals that could have been used to make explosives.

The fiercest fight of the 21st century -- to save democracy

Correspondence discovered at the home of this bomb-maker alleged points to Daillet Weidemann’s influence over the planned operation. The DGSI Report and the Nancy Prosecutor both said that Daillet Weidemann was at the head of both criminal enterprise.

Daillet-Weidemann’s appearance at the center of these cases highlights the amazing melding conspiracy theories across the Atlantic.

QAnon, a far-right virtual cult which sees ex-President Donald Trump as a savior, is the most prominent of these conspiracy theories. CNN’s DGSI analysis of conspiracy organizations in France reveals how Daillet-Weidemann is a common figure for these theories.QAnonHis network brings together a wide variety of conspiracies.

QAnon is a group that has a strong distrust in or rejection of government power. The original QAnon conspiracy revolved around claims that a corrupt cabal of politicians, A-list celebrities, was conspiring with governments all over the world to commit child sex exploitation.

According to an analysis by DGSI, Daillet-Wiedemann online expressed the desire to “find an immediate answer in order to end the actions of a Satanist pedocriminal Elite infiltrated into the Freemasons.”

Catalyst to conspiracies

Daillet-Weidemann is a hot topic for conspiracy theories in France. CNN’s DGSI analysis said that he was “an emblematic figure” of conspiracy.

While he espoused no concrete ideology of his own, bar​ring ​allegedly calling for the overthrow of the French state, he “wanted to present himself as the leader of an insurrectionary movement surfing on these various theories in order to reach a large audience,” according to the DGSI’s analysis.

The report said Daillet-Weidemann was a “charismatic, intelligent and manipulative leader,” in “the very opaque world” of conspiracy, who “quickly became an exception by showing himself openly and under his true identity,” which only increased his ability to gather support​, the DGSI report said.

The DGSI stated that Daillet-Weidemann was the center of a community of believers in anti-state conspiracy theories. They communicate via encrypted messaging and virtual personal networks (VPNs).

“The Daillet Weidemann Movement is a catch-all’ movement, emerging from an extreme right-wing movement allowing everyone to recognise themselves in his proposals,” DGSI documents stated.

​The DGSI said “the pandemic had a real catalytic effect and contributed to the increase and spread of conspiracy theories,” and added: “Lockdown has also led to an increase in exchanges between conspiracy supporters as people spend more time in front of their screens.”

Made in America

A man waves a QAnon flag at a protest against Covid restrictions in Berlin on August 29, 2020.
Researchers charted QAnon’sDuring the pandemic, Europe gained a foothold and began to adapt to local narratives.

CNN’s Jordan Wildon, an open source intelligence analyst at Logically said that QAnon takes on its own flavor wherever it crops up.

Wildon claims that France is the second-largest European country with QAnon followers, after Germany. It is not a problem only in America. Wildon says that one French QAnon group, Telegram, on encrypted messaging network Telegram, has more than 42,000 members.

French officials will not take chances in the wake of the January 6, 2008at the US Capitol. Among others, QAnon conspiracists committed acts of violence.
Speak to Agence France-Presse in May, ​France’s national intelligence and counterterrorism coordinator Laurent Nunez acknowledged that QAnon had arrived in the country. ​

Social networks have made conspiracy theories very popular. It is now clear that people organize themselves in clandestine cell networks. Nunez stated that it was a danger.

QAnon in France

Daillet-Weidemann, one of several high-profile conspiracy theorists from France, is provoking fears of state-organized and autocratic pedophile rings. ​

Daillet-Weidemann, who released a video following the kidnapping Mia’s kidnapping, salutes “brave Frenchmen”, in which he praises those who remove children form “sordid networks.” He said that his “organization… returns children kidnapped or the state to their parents upon demand.”

When he speaks about state-backed child abduction, he also mentions a nonexistent investigation into Hillary Clinton, the former US presidential candidate. This is often a target for conspiracy theories about alleged sexual pedophile rings. CNN was told by the Nancy prosecutor that Daillet-Weidemann’s network believed children under the state’s care were susceptible to pedophiles.

Some people are more concerned about government interference in their lives than the legally mandated lockdowns, vaccine mandates and mask requirements that were triggered by the pandemic.

How the 'parasite' QAnon conspiracy cult went global

This is evident in The Overthrow’s website. It calls for French citizens “to act” against their state to stop “dictatorship” and “decadence.”

According to DGSI, one Daillet-Weidemann video calling for a popular rebellion on his now-defunct YouTube channel received more than 300,000.

Wildon says that Daillet-Weidemann began to gain popularity in conspiracy circles, including QAnon, as the pandemic progressed. The name of the ex-politician was found in approximately 350 Telegram QAnon channels, two English and five French, that were monitored by Wildon between October 2020 to May 2019. ​

According to CNN messages, Wildon shared with CNN that some viewers expressed concerns about pedophile gangs. Some also referred Daillet-Weidemann to as a savior to France. ​

Daillet-Weidemann’s fall

Daillet-Weidemann moved with his family to Malaysia at 2020’s end, but his online organizing went on unaffected, according the DGSI report. Since then, he and his family have returned to France.

According to the DGSI the kidnapping 8-year-old Mia in April 2021 was a pivotal moment in the unraveling Daillet-Weidemann’s network. It led to the arrests of other members implicated in wider plans for violence and bombings. French authorities say correspondence found at the address also highlights Daillet Weidemann’s influence on planned violent actions.

Public prosecutor François Perain (second right), flanked by other officials, speaks about the kidnapping of Mia in April 2021.

According to Perain’s statement, Daillet Weidemann had launched an internet fundraising campaign one month prior to the abduction of foster-care children, in order to raise funds, it was just a month earlier.

Prosecutor Daillet-Weidemann claims that he called his network to locate a safe place for the mother in Switzerland.

Perain claimed that Daillet Weidemann told his network that he had said this to him: “The whole point of the mission is to provide help to those on the run, so we can help to avoid the repression by the dictatorship.”

By the time Mia was abducted, Daillet-Weidemann was allegedly spreading the word about his planned coup and drawing on the support of a growing movement ​that opposed Covid-19 vaccination, according to the intelligency agency report.

True terror?

Although Daillet-Weidemann’s network faces allegations of organized kidnapping and bomb-making, it’s not clear if the online putschists could possibly have pulled off a complete coup d’etat.

DGSI reports that the two bomb-making instructions were given to them by a Chemistry teacher at a far right populist rally in February.

According to the DGSI, one of the men attempted to source potash rich fertilizer from two nearby garden centers. This was a key ingredient for homemade explosives. According to the DGSI and a copy the “Anarchist’s Cookbook,” which is a guide to making explosives at home, authorities searched the home of the other man.

Rémy Daillet-Weidemann appears in court in June 2021, on charges he orchestrated the kidnapping of Mia. He has denied the allegations against him.

As part of the Mia kidnapping investigation, both men were later taken into custody. According to Nancy’s prosecutor they were subject to formal investigation for “kidnapping by an organized gang” or “association of wrongdoers with the view to committing any crime.” They are currently being tried.

But the ​alleged plot’s abrupt end held lessons for at least one member of “The Overthrow.”

“I have the feeling of having slipped into madness at the time of lockdown,” the chemistry teacher who ​allegedly provided bomb-making instructions, told police investigators, according to police interview reports obtained by Le Parisien.

The man stated that he was “going resigning” from teaching. He added: “I envision students might have nightmares about being entrusted with the care of terrorists.”