by Christopher Hodapp
The French press is reporting the Tuesday arrest of six members of what authorities are calling a "small neo-Nazi group" who were allegedly planning a violent attack on a Masonic lodge in Thionville. Thionville is located in Moselle, a department in Alsace-Lorraine in northeastern France.
National anti-terrorism investigators have been observing the group since February. In a separate article reported yesterday, their plans also included an attack on the immediate Past Grand Master of the Grand Orient de France (2018-21), Jean-Philippe Hubsch, who is from Thionville.
From Franceinfo.fr and AFP:
Six members of a small neo-Nazi group, suspected of wanting to take violent action against a Masonic lodge, were arrested Tuesday, May 4 in the Doubs and Bas-Rhin, a judicial source confirmed on Friday to France Televisions. Three of them, two men and a woman aged 29 to 56, must be presented this Friday to a Parisian examining magistrate with a view to possible indictment for "criminal terrorist association", according to this source. The other three individuals were released.
According to BFMTV , this small group is called "Honor and Nation" and [their plans were] aimed at a Masonic lodge in Moselle. The national anti-terrorism prosecutor's office (Pnat) opened a preliminary investigation in February 2021 into the activities of this tiny ultra-right group. According to this judicial source, the [attack] was not imminent. These individuals were arrested following exchanges, and in particular because they were researching explosives. Searches have enabled the authorities to find weapons, but they could be legally detained, said the judicial source.
The [current] Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of France Pierre-Marie Adam said he learned "with amazement" of this planned attack on a Masonic lodge in Moselle. In a statement, he congratulated "all the police services concerned, placed under the authority of the prefect Laurent Nuñez, national coordinator of intelligence and the fight against terrorism, for their speed and efficiency".France Bleu posted a very brief statement from Past Grand Master Hubsch:
Jean-Philippe Hubsch has not received any threats lately, but says he is worried despite everything : "I was amazed when I learned this today, even more when I was told that I would have been the potential target. It's a semi-surprise because as a former Grand Master of the Grand Orient de France, I have been exposed throughout my tenure. But in the world we live in, with a resurgence of political or religious extremists, I am unfortunately not surprised "According to the various reports, the anti-terrorism prosecutor's office has had the group under investigation since February. The suspects were conducting online research into explosives and weapons. Reportedly, they had been in contact with Rémy Daillet-Weidemann, who is notorious as a major French conspiracy peddler and currently lives in Malaysia, dodging an international arrest warrant. The former president of the MoDem political party in Haute-Garonne was recently ousted from his own party. Daillet-Weidemann frequently accuses Freemasonry of being a "pedo-satanic obedience." In October 2020, he gave a speech in which he said, "I will ban Masonry and all other dangerous sects that pass over the heads of citizens," and he regularly calls for the overthrow of France's government.