April 13 kidnapping of child from grandmother’s home is believed to be first time conspiracy theorists in Europe committed a crime linked to the QAnon-style web of false beliefs
The old music box factory had been abandoned for years on the outskirts of the Swiss mountain town, with paint curling at the edges of its dingy grey and yellow walls, AP reports.
It was the perfect hiding place for the young French mother and her 8-year-old daughter at the heart of Operation Lima, an international child abduction plot planned and funded by a French group with echoes of the far-right extremist movement QAnon.
Lola Montemaggi had lost custody of her daughter, Mia, to her own mother months earlier because French government child protective services feared the young woman was unstable. Montemaggi found people online who shared the QAnon belief that government workers themselves were running a child trafficking ring. Then she turned to her network to do what she needed to do: Extract Mia.
The April 13 kidnapping of the girl from her grandmother’s home marked what is believed to be the first time that conspiracy theorists in Europe have committed a crime linked to the QAnon-style web of false beliefs that sent hundreds to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. It shows how what was once a strictly U.S. movement has metastasized around the world, with Europol, the European umbrella policing agency, adding QAnon to its list of threats in June. QAnon influence has now been tracked to 85 countries, and its beliefs have been adapted to local contexts and languages from Hindi to Hebrew.
© Copyright LaPresse