Australian nazi terrorist Tarrant no ‘lone wolf’


This Associated Press video says about itself:

Witnesses inside the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch describe the horrific scene when a gunman opened fire during Friday afternoon prayers. One said there was 10 to 15 minutes of continuous shooting, “He just shot all the people.” (March 15 2019)

By Tom Peters in New Zealand:

Australian fascist group tried to recruit Christchurch terrorist

8 May 2019

The Sydney Morning Herald revealed on May 2 that in 2017 the Australian fascist and white supremacist Lads Society tried to recruit Brenton Tarrant, who carried out the March 15 terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The death toll from New Zealand’s worst-ever mass shooting increased to 51 on May 2 after Turkish citizen Zekeriya Tuyan succumbed to injuries in hospital. Dozens more were injured in the atrocity, which the gunman had spent at least two years preparing.

The latest revelation further discredits the claims by Australian and New Zealand governments and police, along with much of the media, that Tarrant was a lone gunman whose attack could not have been prevented. NZ police commissioner Mike Bush repeated to TVNZ on Monday that the shooter was “not ever on anyone’s radar.” In fact, Tarrant had long-standing links with Australian far-right groups, made repeated threats of violence, and donated large sums to the racist Identitarian movements in Austria and France.

The Lads Society is one of several neo-Nazi groups which, despite their small membership, have received extensive publicity in the corporate media in recent years, and are closely monitored by police and intelligence agencies. Like the Christchurch shooter, the group was emboldened by the election victory of US President Donald Trump and the shift to the right by the entire political establishment in Australia and internationally.

In a May 3 blog post, Lads Society leader Thomas Sewell said the group’s members were “the sons of Nietzsche, of [Italian fascist] Evola, of Hitler, of [British fascist Oswald] Mosley, of [Enoch] Powell.” The society describes non-white immigration as the “genocide” of the white race and seeks to establish an ethnically cleansed state.

According to the Herald, Sewell claimed he never personally met Tarrant, but people in the fascist scene “had known of Tarrant online for at least three years.” Tarrant supported the United Patriots Front, the predecessor of the Lads Society, in numerous Facebook comments. He hailed UPF leader and Lads Society co-founder Blair Cottrell as an “Emperor.”

In 2016, Tarrant sent a Facebook message threatening to kill a man who had denounced an anti-immigrant rally held by the UPF. The threat was shown to Melbourne police, who dismissed it and took no action. In New Zealand, police similarly ignored a report in 2017 from a member of the public about violent and anti-Muslim language at the Bruce Rifle Club, where Tarrant was a member.

Sewell told the Herald he had corresponded with Tarrant and invited him to join the Lads Society but Tarrant declined because he “didn’t believe there was a peaceful solution to European people being genocided.” Sewell said “we believe, certainly at this stage, that there is a peaceful solution for us to create the society we want to live in.” [emphasis added]

In other words, the difference with Tarrant was a matter of timing and tactics, and did not concern their shared fascist politics and willingness to use violent methods.

Sewell added that the group was prepared to resort to violence “if the state continues its persecution of our people for wanting to preserve their culture and heritage” or if his members were arrested. “I’m not going to give you any explicit threat but it’s pretty f—king obvious what’s going to happen,” Sewell said.

In fact, far from being persecuted, fascists feel able to make such public threats because they are confident of being protected by the state apparatus. On March 20, the Lads Society revealed that it had a friendly visit from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and state police “to ask for our insight into the motivations of Brenton Tarrant and how they can assist us in ensuring our lawful community organisation can succeed and grow in order to prevent further isolation, radicalisation and potentially any future politically motivated violence.”

Following the Christchurch shooting, ASIO’s director-general Duncan Lewis told a Senate committee there was “nothing wrong with” right-wing extremism “except when it ventures into violence.” He declared there was no need to refocus intelligence gathering on far-right groups, which were already being monitored. ASIO and the police did not explain why they took no action in response to Tarrant’s repeated threats on social media to attack immigrants, “Marxists and globalists.”

In Europe and the US, there are extensive neo-Nazi networks and fascist sympathisers within the military, border security and intelligence agencies. Tarrant, who travelled throughout Europe in the years before his attack, estimated that hundreds of thousands of European far-right nationalists were employed in the armed forces.

Members of the “alt-right” are being welcomed into established bourgeois parties, which have largely adopted their xenophobic and anti-Muslim rhetoric in order to divide the working class and deflect blame for social inequality and poverty onto immigrants. Labor and the Liberal-National coalition have for decades demonised and imprisoned refugees, and joined US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In late 2017 and 2018 a group of 22 fascists, including members of the Lads Society and Antipodean Resistance, were admitted into the youth wing New South Wales branch of the National Party, which is part of the Liberal-National coalition government. A leading member of the group, Clifford Jennings, was voted onto the executive of the NSW National Party youth. The group, which included open racists and admirers of Adolf Hitler, was only expelled following an investigation by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in October 2018.

In the lead-up to the May 18 federal election, the same elements are campaigning for the Conservative National Party, founded by independent senator Fraser Anning, a former member of the racist One Nation party. Anning issued a press release following the Christchurch shootings blaming the victims for the attack and declaring that Muslim immigration was the “real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand’s streets today.” Anning is openly campaigning for a white “ethno-state” and to “ban all Muslim and Black immigration.”

In New Zealand, the right-wing nationalist NZ First Party is a partner in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour-led coalition government. NZ First has repeatedly demonised Muslims and Chinese immigrants, using language similar to Tarrant’s. Ardern adopted the right-wing party’s anti-immigrant policies and made NZ First leader Winston Peters deputy prime minister and foreign minister.

Notwithstanding their hypocritical professions of sympathy for the Christchurch victims and the Muslim community, the ruling class in Australia and New Zealand continue to promote the fascist forces that led to the atrocity and will be used against the working class as it seeks to organise in opposition to austerity and imperialist war.

Advertisements

Young Australians demonstrate against climate change


Part of the Melbourne, Australia pro-climate rally

From the World Socialist Web Site in Australia:

Australian youth speak out against climate change

By our reporters

6 May 2019

On Friday, thousands of students and youth around Australia took part in a “national day of action” against climate change. Rallies were held in regional centres and capital cities across the country.

The events followed worldwide March 15 protests, in which tens of thousands of young people throughout Australia participated. …

Mia

In Melbourne, high school student Mia said: “I think it’s good that children are getting out there. It shows that it’s an actual problem and it needs to be dealt with.”

Asked if she thought the major parties would act on climate change, Mia responded: “I think they’re all in it for themselves, for their own profit. I feel like they have things that they deem more important than the futures of their children and their grandchildren on their minds. Whatever is going to make them the most money is what they deem most important.”

Theo

In response to the program of the IYSSE, Theo—a year nine student from inner Melbourne—said: “Creating an international organization of the youth that will take action on climate change is a really good idea because there is a lot of us and we are all really passionate and we will get it done.”

Katerina and Georgia, journalism students at Melbourne’s La Trobe University, initially attended the rally as part of an assignment.

However, Katerina explained: “I knew what it was about and the causes. It blew my mind to see so many children with nothing to lose protesting today. I think the politicians need to listen.” She agreed that none of the major parties would do anything about climate change, saying “if you look at their track records, they’ve all gone back on their word. They might win us over with election promises, but no doubt this will keep going.”

Georgia and Katerina with SEP candidate Tessa Pietsch (right)

They were buoyed to hear of the SEP’s campaign putting forward a socialist alternative to the capitalist profit system and were excited to meet SEP Victorian senate candidate, Tessa Pietsch—whose statement they were reading—at the rally.

Year 11 students Zara, Heyma and Saskia took part in the rally in the regional New South Wales city of Newcastle, attended by around 200 students.

Heyma said that students were protesting “because we thought it was important to voice our views about climate change and the lack of government action. This is a pressing issue, and the world is waking up to it. People are beginning to realise that they need to get involved in this. We need to get involved in strikes like this, get involved in politics and make sure we’re informed.”

Zara, Heyma and Saskia

Zara explained she thinks “governments haven’t taken any steps to resolve climate change because it’s an economic issue. The government just wants the rich to make heaps of money, they don’t care about the environment that they’re leaving behind for us, the younger generation. They only care about making profits. They only think about the short-term gains.”

“We want to spread awareness that we’re ready to fight for this,” Saskia added. “We’re fighting to protect the environment and our future. The whole of society needs to change, not just particular policies. The fact that this movement is international is important—it also shows the power of social media, in spreading movements like these and uniting young people, who are thinking about these things and want to take action.” …

Aiden and Jackson

KyleKyle, a year 10 student who attended the inner-Sydney Marrickville protest said he thinks climate change “is one of the most important issues we face seeing as it involves the whole planet.”

“I’m anti-capitalism in general. A lot of people say that you have to make changes in yourself, but there is a big problem with the way companies are working. They are not changing what they are doing. They are telling us that we can change, but they need to change what they are doing in a big way.”

Gouldian finches, why so colourful?


This 2017 video from Australia is called Gouldian Finch Conservation – ABC News.

From Cornell University in the USA:

Why unique finches keep their heads of many colors

An underlying selection mechanism prevents one color from dominating

April 23, 2019

There appears to be an underlying selection mechanism at work among Gouldian Finches — a mechanism that allows this species to produce and maintain individuals with red heads, black heads, and yellow heads. Research by scientists from the the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and other institutions, reveals what this additional evolutionary process might be. Findings were published today in the journal Nature Communications.

“Most people have heard of natural selection,” says lead author Kang-Wook Kim at the University of Sheffield. “But ‘survival of the fittest’ cannot explain the color diversity we see in the Gouldian Finch. We demonstrate that there is another evolutionary process — balancing selection — that has maintained the black or red head color over thousands of generations.”

The yellow-headed type (actually more orange) is produced by a completely different mechanism that is not yet understood. Yellow-headed Gouldian Finches make up less than one percent of the wild population.

“Having distinct multiple color types — a polymorphism — maintained within a species for a long time is extremely rare,” explains co-author David Toews, who did this work as a postdoctoral researcher at the Cornell Lab and who is now at Pennsylvania State University. “Natural selection is typically thought of in a linear fashion — a mutation changes a trait which then confers some reproductive or survival advantage, which results in more offspring, and the trait eventually becomes the sole type in the population.”

Studies from Macquarie University in Australia have shown the red-headed finches have the apparent advantage. Female Gouldian Finches of all colors prefer the red-headed males, who also happen to be more dominant in the social hierarchy. So why hasn’t the black-headed type disappeared? It turns out there are disadvantages to having a red head, too, such as higher levels of stress hormones in competitive situations.

“If advantages are cancelled out by concurrent disadvantages, these two color types can be maintained — that’s balancing selection,” Toews says. “Red forms are not as common in the wild, so the counterbalancing pressure reduces the advantage of being red. That’s super cool!”

Teams from the University of Sheffield and the Cornell Lab independently zeroed in on a particular gene called follistatin which is found on the Gouldian Finch sex chromosome and regulates melanin to produce either red- or black-headed finches. Rather than competing, the two teams decided to join forces and share their data. For the yellow morph, a different gene, not located on the sex chromosome, is controlling the head pigmentation, but it hasn’t yet been found and it’s not clear what forces are allowing the yellow morph to persist in the wild.

In another twist, Toews and co-author Scott Taylor, at the University of Colorado-Boulder, have done previous research that revealed the genes likely governing the plumage differences between North American Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers — and one of those regions is in the same spot on the sex chromosome that differs among Gouldian Finches with different head colors.

“We didn’t expect we’d locate the exact genomic region that governs plumage differences in both the Gouldian Finch and the two warblers,” says Toews. “But now that we’ve done it, it opens up the possibility that the same region in other species may also be controlling plumage color.”

Australian police knew Christchurch terrorist, did nothing


This 17 March 2019 video says about itself:

Christchurch, New Zealand shooting survivor recounts attack

Muhammad Luthfan Fadhli, who is 19 and originally from Indonesia, recalled his time inside the mosque where a shooter unleashed gunfire on March 15 that killed 50 people.

By Tom Peters in New Zealand:

Australian police dismissed death threat by Christchurch terrorist

12 April 2019

A few hours after the March 15 mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch which killed 50 people and injured more, New Zealand’s police commissioner Mike Bush was asked in a press conference: “Why were these people [initially there was more than one suspect] not on a security watch list? Were they completely unknown to police?”

He replied: “No agency had any information about these people… I’ve been in contact with my Australian colleagues, they have no information on them at all either.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the media that the shooter, Australian fascist Brenton Tarrant, was “on nobody’s radar, anywhere.” New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern made a similar statement.

In fact, it is now clear that the gunman had come to the attention of Australian police more than two years before the attack. On Wednesday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported that in September 2016, a man went to police in the Melbourne suburb of Eltham after receiving a death threat from Tarrant via Facebook.

The man had criticised the United Patriots Front (UPF), an extreme-right group that was planning an anti-refugee rally in Melbourne. In response, Tarrant said: “The UPF is the leading ethno-nationalist group within Australia… When you speak against the UPF you speak against my right to a home for my people and my culture. This marks you.”

Tarrant warned the man to “choose your words carefully” and “think of who you insult.” He then added: “If you are a nationalist I hope you one day see the light, and if you are a Marxist I hope you one day meet the rope.”

The man made a screenshot of Tarrant’s Facebook message and took it to police, who dismissed the death threat and told him to block Tarrant on Facebook. Police did not take an official statement.

Victoria Police told the ABC yesterday they had “no record” of the 2016 complaint, adding that they had “strong arrangements in place for monitoring and tracking people who pose a threat to the community.”

There is no innocent explanation for police refusing to investigate or even, apparently, make a record of Tarrant’s death threat. The episode raises extremely disturbing questions about the relationship between the police and Australia’s anti-immigrant and fascist groups.

The death threat was not an isolated incident. Tarrant made numerous public comments on Facebook in 2016 hailing the UPF and its neo-Nazi leader, Blair Cottrell, and threatening “globalists and Marxists.”

In one instance, when members of the UPF violently clashed with counter-protesters in Coburg, Tarrant wrote: “Communists will get what communists get, I would love to be there holding one end of the rope when you get yours traitor.” All of this was apparently ignored by police and intelligence agencies.

In New Zealand, police similarly dismissed a complaint made in late 2017 by Peter Briedhal, who was concerned about the racist, anti-Muslim comments expressed by members of the Bruce Rifle Club, which Tarrant had joined after moving to New Zealand that year. When Briedhal went to police he was told not to worry, and his complaint was not recorded.

If authorities had “no information” on the Christchurch terrorist, this is because police in Australia and New Zealand had deliberately shielded him. For several years he was allowed to travel the world, donate to fascist groups in Europe, amass a stockpile of weapons and prepare his atrocity, all while making public comments on Facebook and 8chan expressing his murderous hatred of Marxists and Muslims.

The reason Tarrant was not stopped is suggested in his fascist manifesto, which expresses support for the military and police and states that he did not want to shoot any police officers in the course of his attack. He estimated that in Europe hundreds of thousands of far-right nationalists were employed in the armed forces.

The manifesto has been banned by New Zealand’s chief censor in order to prevent public discussion of Tarrant’s political motivations. The ruling elite do not want any questions raised about whether members of the police and intelligence agencies in New Zealand and Australia share Tarrant’s fascist views.

The document shows the similarity of the gunman’s anti-immigrant and anti-Marxist politics to those of the political establishment throughout the world, including the administration of US President Donald Trump.

In Australia and New Zealand, anti-Muslim racism has been cultivated for decades to justify the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have killed more than a million people. … New Zealand First, which is part of the Labour-led government, has frequently demonised Muslims and Chinese people, using language similar to that of the Christchurch shooter.

The entire Australian political establishment and media have viciously attacked refugees fleeing wars in the Middle East and elsewhere, creating an environment in which right-wing nationalist groups have flourished. The UPF and True Blue Crew have received significant promotion on TV and radio programs. One Channel 7 report in January 2018 described these fascist organisations, led by admirers of Adolf Hitler, as concerned “patriots” seeking “to help average Australians deal with what they are calling an immigrant crime crisis.”

The working class must draw the necessary political lessons from the systematic promotion of the extreme right by capitalist parties and the media, and the protection given to fascists like Tarrant by the police. The official response to the Christchurch shootings is to cover up the political roots of the attack and push for censorship of the internet and other police-state powers. These will be used, not against fascists, but against workers and young people who are moving to the left and seeking to fight against austerity and militarism.

“The historic function of fascism,” Leon Trotsky wrote in 1934, “is to smash the working class, destroy its organisations, and stifle political liberties when the capitalists find themselves unable to govern and dominate with the help of democratic machinery.” He warned workers that it was fatal to rely on the police or bourgeois parliaments to oppose fascism.

Today, while fascism is not a mass movement, it presents a growing danger to working people throughout the world, amid the most severe crisis of global capitalism since the 1930s. The working class must respond by building a socialist movement to unite workers around the world in a political fight to abolish capitalism, which is the source of nationalism and fascism as well as social inequality and war.

The author also recommends:

Why was the New Zealand terrorist attack not prevented?
[27 March 2019]

New Zealand government bans fascist terrorist Brenton Tarrant’s manifesto
[26 March 2019]

The New Zealand terrorist attack and the international danger of fascism
[18 March 2019]

Australia’s political spy agency boss told a Senate estimates hearing this week there was no reason to refocus intelligence gathering on right-wing extremism, despite an Australian white supremacist being charged with the killing of Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15: here.

Saving Australian native Murray river fish


This video says about itself:

Construction of Native Fish Habitat- Murray River South Australia, 18/10/2018

A group of dedicated local fishers build 10m x 3m x 3m high Fish Reef in a back yard, at Barmera and place it in 8m of water near Kingston on Murray. Here is how !

From Flinders University in Australia:

Australian Murray River habitat restoration increases native fish populations

April 5, 2019

Dubbed the ‘honeypot effect’ — a team of scientists from around Australia have shown that providing woody habitat, or ‘snags’, for native fish in the Murray River increases their population size.

In a paper released today in the scientific journal Ecological Applications, Dr Jarod Lyon from the Arthur Rylah Institute and his team describe studying 110 km of the Murray River over seven years, installing more than 4450 ‘snags’ and analysing more than six million records of tagged fish.

“We found a three-fold increase in the abundance of Murray cod, and a doubling of abundance of golden perch, in the reach of river where habitat restoration was done compared to sites where habitat remained constant,” says Dr Lyon.

“In addition, abundances of the target species in the nearby reference sites remained stable, indicating that the numbers of fish across the whole study area had increased, rather than just the same fishes just moving around.”

A team of scientists from the Arthur Rylah Institute, University of Melbourne, University of Canberra, the Federal Government, and Flinders University employed a range of methods to track the fish populations over time, including electrofishing surveys, mark-recapture, and telemetry tracking.

Collaborator Professor Corey Bradshaw from Flinders University, says relevant government bodies and authorities are more likely to take habitat-restoration options seriously because of the proven effectiveness.

“Restoring degraded freshwater ecosystems like the embattled Murray-Darling Basin is an expensive and colossal task, so knowing that our restoration attempts actually work to increase the number of native fish gives us hope that we can keep these unique species around well into the future.”

Anglers also provided important data by sharing their catch records within a valuable science citizen-science program.

“These results give great confidence to river managers that installing woody habitat really does help native fish populations thrive, and delivers substantial benefits to the communities using them,” says Dr Lyon.

“Under most climate-change scenarios, we are looking at a future where there will be increased pressure on Australia’s limited water resources.”

“We need to look at a range of options for restoring fish populations in our waterways — it will take a mix of interventions to do this, and it is vital for managers to know that we can apply habitat restoration that works.”

The large-scale, long-term study also provides a valuable and useful example of how experts can assess other interventions in our rivers, such as installing fish passage or delivering water for the environment, all of which are designed to support better, healthier, thriving native fish populations.

Turkish, Australian rulers quarrel on Christchurch bloodbath


This music video about Australia and the first world war is called The Pogues – The band played Waltzing Matilda.

The lyrics are:

When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murray’s green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over

Then in nineteen fifteen my country said Son
It’s time to stop rambling ’cause there’s work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we sailed away from the quay
And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers
We sailed off to Gallipoli

How well I remember that terrible day
How the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter

Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He chased us with bullets, he rained us with shells
And in five minutes flat he’d blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia

But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then we started all over again

Now those that were left, well we tried to survive
In a mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
But around me the corpses piled higher

Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
And when I woke up in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
Never knew there were worse things than dying

For no more I’ll go waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

So they collected the cripples, the wounded, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla

And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where my legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then turned all their faces away

And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving old dreams of past glory

And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
The forgotten heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, “What are they marching for?”
And I ask myself the same question

And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men answer to the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me
And their ghosts may be heard as you pass the Billabong
Who’ll come-a-waltzing Matilda with me?

By Tom Peters in New Zealand:

After fascist terror attack, New Zealand and Australia stoke tensions with Turkey

25 March 2019

Last week the Australian and New Zealand governments furiously attacked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his response to the March 15 Christchurch mass shooting, in which Australian fascist terrorist Brenton Tarrant killed 50 people in two mosques.

Addressing a political rally on March 18, Erdogan likened Tarrant’s white supremacist ideology to the anti-Muslim views of Allied soldiers sent to fight the Ottoman Empire in World War I. His comments prompted immediate, belligerent denunciations from the Australian and New Zealand political establishment and media, which glorifies the role of the Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) in WWI, especially the disastrous attempted invasion of Turkey via the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

The Anzac “legend” is a central ideological tool used by Australia and New Zealand’s ruling elite to promote patriotism and militarism particularly amid acute social tensions over poverty and inequality. It has helped create the environment that fuelled the growth of fascist groups and led to the Christchurch massacre.

Speaking to a crowd near the Gallipoli battle site, Erdogan declared that Tarrant’s shooting “wasn’t an individual attack, this is organised,” contradicting claims by New Zealand police that Tarrant acted alone. Turkish authorities believe he was backed by a well-resourced organisation and may have been planning terror attacks in Turkey, which he visited twice in 2016.

Referring to the defeat of the Allies at Gallipoli, Erdogan said anyone travelling to Turkey with views like Tarrant’s would face the same fate. “Your grandparents came, some of them returned in coffins”, he declared. “If you come again like your grandfathers, be sure that you will be gone like your grandfathers.”

At several campaign rallies, Erdogan has shown excerpts of Tarrant’s video of his horrific attack, in which three Turkish nationals were injured. He demanded that New Zealand bring back the death penalty for Tarrant, otherwise Turkey would “make [him] pay one way or another.”

Erdogan’s statements are aimed at whipping up Turkish nationalism in order to divert growing working-class anger over social inequality in the lead-up to the March 31 local elections. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is desperately trying to cling to power amid an economic crisis and worsening tensions with the US

The outraged response to Erdogan from Canberra and Wellington, however, is just as reactionary. Neither government condemned or sought to differentiate themselves from Tarrant’s call in his manifesto for Christians to reconquer Istanbul and slaughter Turks, or his threat to “kill Erdogan”. Instead, they sought to whip up nationalist sentiment against Turkey and defend the Anzacs’ World War I campaign.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in a bellicose rant, called Erdogan’s speech “highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment”, and an “insult [to] the memory of our Anzacs.”

After speaking with the Turkish ambassador, Morrison told the media he was not satisfied with the “excuse” that Erdogan was engaged in a heated political campaign. He declared that “all options are now on the table”, including expelling Turkish diplomats.

In a highly provocative move, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sent Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters to Turkey to “confront” Erdogan. Peters told journalists that Erdogan’s speech “imperils the safety of the New Zealand people”, even though the Turkish president did not threaten peaceful tourists, only violent anti-Muslim extremists like Tarrant.

Peters leads the right-wing nationalist New Zealand First Party, which has a major role in the Labour Party-led coalition government. It has repeatedly scapegoated immigrants for social inequality, low wages and unemployment and demonised Muslims as potential terrorists. Before departing, Peters told journalists he would not retract his previous anti-Muslim statements.

By Thursday Australia and New Zealand had received an “assurance” from Ankara that travellers would be welcome at Gallipoli on Anzac Day. Morrison said he was pleased Erdogan has “moderated” his rhetoric. The [Rupert Murdoch] Australian, however, reported that some in the government “feared [Erdogan’s remarks] could… unleash a wave of jihadist attacks on Australians at home and abroad.”

Anzac Day, the April 25 holiday in Australia and New Zealand, marks the landing of soldiers at Gallipoli in 1915. The ruling class in both countries encourages citizens to make patriotic “pilgrimages” to Gallipoli on the day.

The Gallipoli campaign was a disastrous attempt by the Allies to seize control of the strategic Dardanelles shipping lanes. The battle cost the lives of 8,700 Australians, 2,700 New Zealanders, more than 21,000 British, 10,000 French, 1,300 Indians and more than 86,000 Ottoman soldiers. A further 262,014 people were wounded on all sides. After the war the defeated Ottoman Empire was broken up and its Middle Eastern territories divided between Britain and France.

The slaughter at Gallipoli was part of an imperialist war aimed at re-dividing the world between the major imperialist countries. Australia and New Zealand joined the war as part of the British Empire and as minor imperialist powers in their own right seeking a share of the plunder, especially of colonies in the Pacific region.

The battle is promoted by the Australian and New Zealand ruling class as a pivotal moment in the forging of national identity and militarist values. During the 2014-2018 centenary of World War I, governments in both countries poured hundreds of millions of dollars into museums, monuments, films, books and events glorifying the Anzacs, in order to inculcate respect for the military and prepare young people, in particular, for future imperialist wars.

Anzac Day ceremonies promote not only WWI and WWII, but all wars Australia and New Zealand have joined, including the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the US-led wars aimed at controlling resource-rich Iraq and Afghanistan, fought on the pretext of defeating terrorism.

Anzac mythology has always falsely justified the imperialist war as the defence of democracy and “our way of life”. Now, however, it is increasingly portrayed as a fight against Islamic “extremism” and a precursor to today’s wars. John King, chairman of the Returned Services League (RSL), told the Australian on Thursday that Erdogan’s speeches were “the sort of hate and extremism” Australian soldiers had fought against.

Damien Fenton, who wrote a state-funded book praising New Zealand’s World War I campaign, has described the war against the Ottoman Empire as “New Zealand’s first taste of jihad.” A Southland Times article in October 2014 reported: “Fenton says it is ‘chilling’ to reflect that Gallipoli was the cradle for the jihad the world is experiencing right now.”

The Australian far-right group United Patriots Front, which was a major influence on Tarrant, heavily promotes Anzac Day and portrays the Gallipoli campaign as part of an ongoing fight against Islam.

The fascist who carried out the March 15 attacks did not develop his views in a vacuum. He grew up during a quarter century of constant wars in the Middle East, accompanied by anti-Muslim racism and militarist propaganda, including the historical lies surrounding the Anzac legend.

The author also recommends:

Australian PM seeks to cover up political roots of fascist attack in New Zealand
[23 March 2019]

After far-right terror attack, New York Times glorifies New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
[21 March 2019]

The New Zealand terrorist attack and the international danger of fascism
[18 March 2019]

Australian government hypocrisy on New Zealand bloodbath


This 18 March 2019 video says about itself:

Candle Light Vigils for Christchurch

Here’s a montage of vigils that have already been held in local communities throughout New Zealand following the Christchurch mosques terror attack.

By Mike Head in Australia:

Australian PM seeks to cover up political roots of fascist attack in New Zealand

23 March 2019

Over the past week, millions of Australians have sought, via vigils, petitions and social media posts, to voice their revulsion and outrage at the massacre of 50 Muslims at two New Zealand mosques.

Adding to the shock and concern is that this terrible crime, one of the worst acts of fascist violence since World War II, was carried out by a young man, Brenton Tarrant, 28, who was born and bred in Australia.

By contrast, while feigning sympathy for the victims, the entire political and media establishment is desperately denying any responsibility for creating the social conditions and political climate for such atrocities.

In a speech last Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an end to “mindless tribalism”. While appealing for an end to “hate, blame and contempt”, his sole purpose was to insist that there was no link between the Christchurch attack and Australia’s notorious record of demonising and incarcerating refugees.

Morrison claimed that “legitimate policy debates” about “border policy” and slashing the migration intake were being hijacked by “tribalists” of both “the left and the right”. Tarrant had “rightly been denounced” for exploiting concerns about immigration to justify a mass killing, but “equally” anyone must be denounced if they seek to connect government policy to “racial hatred”.

This attempt to wall off refugee and immigration policy from the murders committed by a self-proclaimed “ethno-nationalist” is utter hypocrisy. There are palpable connections between Tarrant and the bipartisan regime of “stopping the boats”, detaining asylum seekers indefinitely and vilifying Muslims, which has been pursued for decades by successive Australian governments, Liberal-National Coalition and Labor alike.

Australia’s anti-refugee “model” has long been hailed by the far-right networks to which Tarrant proclaimed allegiance in his manifesto, railing against “Muslim invaders”. Among the most avid admirers of Australia’s brutal policy have been the far-right Donald Trump and the leaders of fascistic parties across Europe, including the Lega’s Matteo Salvini, who is now Italy’s deputy prime minister, Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose People’s Party attacks Muslims and refugees, and the neo-fascistFrench National Rally’s Marine Le Pen.

Tarrant himself was born in 1991, the year that the Hawke-Keating Labor government became the first in the world to mandatorily detain all asylum seekers, a regime now being replicated by the Trump administration and governments all over Europe. The same government … unleashed the global program of deregulation and privatisation that demolished the jobs and conditions of workers across Australia, including in regional towns, such as Grafton, where Tarrant grew up. Labor’s condemnation of refugees as “queue jumpers” was part of a conscious policy to divert and divide the working class as this social assault escalated.

In the same year, the Labor government also rushed to join the US in its first invasion of Iraq, initiating decades of militarism aimed at reasserting the global hegemony of American capitalism. Australian troops have been on the frontline of every bloody US war since.

That is the political climate that shaped Tarrant’s views. For three decades, Australian governments, Coalition and Labor alike, have stoked nationalism, militarism and xenophobia to divert the rising discontent produced by falling real wages, the destruction of full-time jobs and decaying public services and infrastructure.

Morrison himself has been in the forefront of anti-Muslim scapegoating. As immigration minister from 2013 to 2015, he led the military-based “Operation Sovereign Borders” to repel refugee boats and reinforce the previous Labor government’s policy of incarcerating asylum seekers, many of whom have fled the US-led wars in the Middle East.

An early fore-warning of this role came in 2010. According to well-substantiated media reports, Morrison urged a Coalition shadow cabinet meeting to whip up concerns about “Muslim immigration” as a political weapon. This week, he branded these reports “a disgraceful smear and an appalling lie”, but later admitted he had raised the issue in 2010, supposedly to “address” but not “exploit” alleged public concerns about Muslims.

Just days after the Christchurch attack, Morrison unveiled a 15 percent cut to the country’s annual migration intake, to 160,000, and a policy to force new arrivals to live and work in rural areas for three years, as a source of cheap labour, in order to qualify for permanent residency. …

In an … attempt to voice their political disgust, more than 1.3 million people this week signed an on-line petition—by far the largest in Australian history—to demand the expulsion from parliament of the openly racist Senator Fraser Anning. He had declared that Muslim migration was “the real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets.”

This popular outrage, while justified, is misdirected. Anning simply gave unvarnished expression to the poisonous fumes that saturate the parliament itself. In fact, Anning, who entered parliament as a nominee of Senator Pauline Hanson’s anti-immigrant One Nation party, espouses the “White Australia” policy [dating from the 19th century].

Moreover, the climate of anti-Muslim racism also has been deliberately fomented to justify the US-led “war on terror” in the resource-rich and strategic Middle East, which successive Australian governments, both Coalition and Labor-led, have supported since 2001.

The removal of an MP for his views would set an anti-democratic precedent to be used against left-wing dissent, as Morrison’s targeting of the “left” indicates. The only MP ever expelled from the national parliament, [Labor MP] Hugh Mahon, was removed in 1920 for “seditious and disloyal utterances at a public meeting”, at which he condemned British repression in Ireland and called for a republic.

Many questions remain about how Tarrant and his co-thinkers in Australia, New Zealand and Europe were able to prepare his mass murder, supposedly without being detected by the police and intelligence agencies. Nevertheless, the official response has been to exonerate these political surveillance forces and hand them expanded resources and powers.

Morrison began by allocating another $55 million for the installation of CCTV cameras and other security systems. … He demanded that social media platforms do more to censor postings, and called for this issue to be placed on the agenda of this year’s G20 summit in Japan. Such measures will not primarily be used to block fascist views, but to undermine democratic rights and the struggles of the working class against social inequality and war.

While the events in New Zealand have come as a shock to many people, the record shows that the evolution of an Australian fascist is hardly accidental. The Australian ruling elite has long been in the vanguard of resorting to anti-immigrant and nationalist demagogy to try to divert and divide the working class.

Tarrant’s callous murder of Muslims marks a new stage. The capitalist ruling class internationally, from the Trump administration to the ultra-right governments and parties in Europe, is increasingly promoting fascistic forces to suppress the emerging eruption of working-class struggle against the escalating inequality, social crisis and threat of war.

Around 20,000 people attended a remembrance service at Hagley Park in Christchurch yesterday for the victims of the March 15 terrorist attack on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques, carried out by Australian fascist Brenton Tarrant. The gunman murdered 50 people, including young children, and injured the same number. Twenty-two people remain in hospital, three of them in critical condition: here.