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.

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New Zealand kea parrots play with snow


This 18 April 2019 video says about itself:

Kea Parrots Play With Snowballs & Discover One To Be Particularly Intriguing!

Intelligent Kea Parrots love to be entertained and living in the snow gives plenty of opportunity for that. Our Snowball Cam soon puts their intelligence to the test.

From our programme ‘Spy in the Snow’ for the BBC.

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.

Australian nazi Christchurch terrorist, his Austrian connection


This 18 March 2019 video from New Zealand is called Students perform haka tribute at vigil for mosque attack victims in Christchurch.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The suspect of last month’s attacks in Christchurch has been charged in New Zealand for 50 times murder and 39 times attempted murder. The lawsuit against the 28-year-old Australian will continue tomorrow.

The shooter, Brenton Tarrant, killed fifty visitors to two mosques in Christchurch on March 15. Dozens of others were injured. …

Tarrant is a right-wing extremist who said he wanted to take revenge for attacks by Muslim extremists in Europe. German media report that two years ago the Christchurch shooter transferred more than 2000 euros to the French extreme right-wing movement Génération Identitaire.

In the investigation into the attacks in Christchurch, a search was also conducted at the end of last month at the house of a leader of a right-wing nationalist movement in Austria, the Identitäre Bewegung Österreichs. That movement also stated that it had received a major donation from the attacker.

By Markus Salzmann:

Christchurch terrorist donated to right-wing Austrian Identitarian movement

3 April 2019

Christchurch shooter, Brenton Tarrant, enjoyed wide-ranging ties with international right-wing extremist circles, reaching as far as Europe. He was no individual attacker, as the official narrative claims. On 15 March, the Australian shot and killed 50 people in two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, and injured dozens more.

Last year, Tarrant donated €1,500 to the Austrian Identitarian Movement (IBÖ). As a result, the public prosecutor in Graz has ordered the house of IBÖ leader, Martin Sellner, to be searched. The spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, Hansjörg Wacher, said that possible ties between the Christchurch shooter and Sellner were being investigated.

The donation came to light in the course of an investigation into another matter. The filing of a charge on the criminal offence of participation in a terrorist organisation was being considered, Wacher added.

For his part, Sellner said he had received an “unusually high” donation in 2018, and sent a thank you email to Tarrant. He added that his house had been searched before he could report the donation. Sellner went on to reject having any connection to the Christchurch attack, and accused Tarrant of wanting to associate him with it, in order to provoke repression against the Identitarian Movement.

This is obviously nonsense. Tarrant was in Vienna last winter, and it seems likely that he had ties to right-wing extremist groups. He participated in right-wing extremist discussions on 8chan, and commented on posts on Facebook and other media outlets using his own name. Although it remains unclear whether he developed ties to Sellner and other leading Identitarian figures during this time, it has not been excluded. The parliamentary subcommittee for internal affairs is now examining the Christchurch shooter’s ties in Austria.

By contrast, the political and ideological links between the Christchurch shooter and the Identitarians are clear. In his manifesto, released shortly before his attack, Tarrant based himself on a number of their conceptions. Its title “The Great Replacement” is taken from the Identitarians’ vocabulary. Even after the attack in New Zealand, a group of Identitarians marched in Vienna under the banner “Stop the great replacement.” Such agitation against “uncontrolled mass migration”, and the description of refugees as “invaders” are typical for the right-wing extremist scene around the Identitarians.

The same goes for their barely concealed calls for violence and vigilante justice against the left. “Thank God I bought a weapon before the asylum madness started. It would be hard to get something decent now”, Sellner tweeted in 2015. And, just one day prior to the massacre in Christchurch, when a two-year weapons ban (imposed after he fired at “antifa” demonstrators with an air pistol) was lifted, Sellner said in a video, “So now with the blessing of the state I can take entirely legal steps to ensure security for me and my girlfriend in a society which is rampant with criminality and becoming ever more violent. In fact, it is being made increasingly difficult for citizens to arm themselves for their own security, while at the same time insecurity rises and public safety can no longer be guaranteed.”

“The fact that his [Tarrant’s] gaze reached as far as Austria is quite remarkable”, Bernhard Weidlinger, an employee of the Documentary Archive for the Austrian Resistance (DÖW), said, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “But it is by no means surprising that he selected the Identitarians for a donation. The content of the attacker’s manifesto overlaps considerably with the Identitarians’ world view.”

The Identitarians are a right-wing extremist group that emerged 16 years ago in France and now maintains close connections to a network of far-right parties and militant neo-Nazi groups across Europe. They have been active in Austria since 2013. Although their membership numbers are relatively low and their activities meet with broad hostility and opposition from the vast majority of the population, they are well connected to high levels of government and enjoy support from the judiciary.

This was made clear in July last year. Seventeen members of the Austrian Identitarian Movement, including Sellner, were acquitted by the Graz District Court on every major charge in their case. The judgement was widely seen as a scandal. The Identitarians were charged because they had intimidated political opponents, disrupted their meetings, and promoted radical, xenophobic, and Islamophobic ideologies. According to the court, the accused were not guilty of sedition, or the formation of, or participation in, a criminal association.

Around six months prior to the Graz decision, the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), led by Sebastian Kurz, formed a coalition government with the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), which maintains ties with the Identitarians. FPÖ members are also active in the Identitarian Movement, and high-ranking party officials appear in public with them.

For example, FPÖ Interior Minister, Herbert Kickl, spoke in 2016 at the right-wing extremist Congress of Europe’s Defenders, which was attended by the Identitarians and supporters of other far-right groups. Kickl has played a leading role in adopting more restrictive laws on the rights to asylum and foreigners’ ability to stay in Austria.

The ties between the FPÖ and the Identitarians are especially close in Graz. In January 2016, FPÖ member of the state parliament, Gerhard Kurzmann, joined a protest march there, organised by the Identitarians against the accommodation of refugees in an old barracks. FPÖ local councilor, Heinrich Sickl, reportedly had contacts to neo-Nazis as a 17-year-old, according to the Vienna-based Der Standard. To this day, he rents rooms to the Identitarians in a multi-party building in the centre of Graz. Sickl participated in Identitarian demonstrations—sometimes serving as a steward—including in a march against immigration in the border town of Spielfeld in 2015. The FPÖ’s Mario Eustaccio, deputy mayor of Graz, was also present in Spielfeld.

According to Kontrast.at, the Free Association of Academics in Styria (FAV) organised a 2015 seminar, to which Sellner was invited as a speaker. The right-wing extremist publication AULA reported on the meeting. The report carries a photo of Sellner and Sickl posing together.

Deputy Chancellor Hans-Christian Strache also maintains close ties to the Identitarians. Photos from 2015 show the FPÖ leader sitting at a table with two well-known Identitarian members in a bar in Styria.

After the Identitarians stormed the stage in a theatre at the University of Vienna in April 2016, where a play by Austrian playwright Elfriede Jelinek was being performed, Strache defended them on Facebook. “The Identitarians are a non-party, non-left citizens’ movement, which has obviously adopted its free activism as a contrast and critical counterpart to the left, which, however, unlike the Identitarians, often unfortunately resorts to acts of violence,” the subsequently deleted post declared. “They are basically young activists of a non-left civil society.”

Official government policy also corresponds to the Identitarians’ line. The latest border-protection exercises, carried out jointly by the Interior and Foreign ministries, took place in southern Styria in 2018 and were entitled “Pro-border”, an Identitarian slogan. In 2016 and 2017, Strache posted on Facebook that the “population exchange”, which the Identitarians promote as a conspiracy theory, had already been accomplished, according to Der Standard.

In this context, Chancellor Kurz’s threat to take action against the Identitarians, and consider a potential ban, amounts to an attempt to cover his government’s tracks, curtail democratic rights, and prepare the ground for the banning of other, predominantly left-wing organisations.

For its part, the FPÖ immediately spoke out against banning the Identitarians. According to the television news program ZIB, Strache said that the proposed ban was Kurz’s initiative, and he did not support it.

This 28 March 2019 video is called Austrian government mulls disbanding far-right group over financial ties to Christchurch gunman.

From Belgian daily De Standaard today:

For the first time since he formed a government with the FPÖ at the end of 2017, conservative [‘Christian democrat’] Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz openly lashed out at the far-right party. It is a direct consequence of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, Australia, where the Australian Brenton Tarrant shot fifty Muslims in a mosque.

The investigation showed that in the beginning of 2018 Tarrant donated 1,500 euros to the Austrian extreme right-wing Identity Movement IBÖ. Austrian media discovered a 2016 statement by [FPÖ] Minister of the Interior Herbert Kickl: at a conference where many members of IBÖ were present, he called those present “like-minded”. At the end of last week it turned out that there is a villa in Linz that is used by both IBÖ members and a right-wing conservative student movement of FPÖ members.

Kurz thought the time had come to implement a part of the coalition agreement: from now on the intelligence services should report to the Chancellor instead of Kickl and Mario Kunasek, the Minister of Defense who is also a FPÖ member. According to the critical tabloid Kurier, this is “a clear sign of growing suspicion on the part of Kurz, especially towards the Minister of the Interior.”

The Austrian Chancellor was also under pressure from Berlin to take action – and such a thing weighs heavily in Vienna. German MEP Elmar Brok, a heavyweight within Merkel’s CDU, warned: “In Germany, we need to ask ourselves what data relevant to our security we can still share with an Interior Minister of the FPÖ.”

“A minister of the Interior who openly expresses his preference for an extreme right-wing and racist movement is, I believe, a security risk,” said Burkhard Lischka, MP for the SPD – the Social Democratic coalition partner of the CDU.

Another argument against Kickl is that he ordered a raid on the domestic intelligence service BVT in the spring of last year. This seized BVT files on extreme right-wing organizations in Austria.

Dutch FvD party uses Austrian ‘identitarian’ video for racism: here.

Marine reserves save fish, other wildlife


This 2015 video says about itself:

Goat Island marine reserve, New Zealand

A great example of how effective marine reserves are. If you haven’t been here, take the time to check it out as the sea life is simply outstanding. This is what I managed to see in the 1.5hrs that I was there, but Im sure there is still a lot more to be seen.

From the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in the USA:

Marine protected reserves do more than restore fish

UMass Amherst, Smithsonian, Florida research reports wider ecological benefits

April 1, 2019

In a new analysis of the effectiveness of marine protected areas worldwide, University of Massachusetts Amherst marine ecologist Brian Cheng and colleagues report that reserves not only replenish target fish populations, they also restore ecological functioning. However, not all reserves performed equally well.

Ecological functioning is a measure of the activities that maintain life, Cheng points out. In this case, it involves rates of predation and herbivory, or when animals eat other animals or plants, he adds. Without these activities, these ocean habitats would be radically different, providing fewer benefits to society.

Analyzing field experiments from across the globe, he and collaborators at the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Florida say their findings reveal that marine reserves increase predation rates by protecting predators that were once heavily fished by humans, allowing their numbers to thrive. Their study appears online in the current issue of Ecology, the flagship journal of the Ecological Society of America.

In turn, these predators have greater impacts on their prey. For example, at less effective reserves, the odds that a predator consumed prey species was 1-to-1, just an even chance, the researchers note. In contrast, at highly effective reserves, the odds of a prey species being preyed upon skyrockets to 49-to-1. “You would not want to be a prey species in these reserves”, Cheng notes.

He likens the creation of a marine protected area to rebuilding a village, which means bringing back many different types of workers to do varied jobs: teachers, police officers, firefighters, shopkeepers and carpenters, for example. Without teachers, students would have no school, he points out, and having no firefighters would be dangerous.

“We are trying to rebuild many, many communities like this in the ocean”, Cheng says. “We have historically removed many of the fish and other species that have important jobs as predators and herbivores, just like the teachers and firefighters. Imagine trying to rebuild these communities without paying attention to this. Our research points out that these rebuilt ocean communities are not all the same, and we need to pay attention to the different kinds of jobs each species does in order to rebuild in an effective and sustainable way.”

Results of this work highlight an important gap in scientific knowledge about marine reserves, Cheng says. “Past efforts have mainly focused on quantifying the abundance and diversity of fished species inside reserves. This is a critical first step, but it doesn’t give us information on how communities within reserves are altered by protected status. If you remove a species, will another take on its role or function, or not?”

“Marine reserves can really work well to restore part of the ocean, but one of our conclusions is that they are not all equally effective,” Cheng points out. “We need to ensure that our existing reserves are well supported in addition to building new reserves,” Cheng says.

He and co-authors also point out that humans have removed an estimated two-thirds of the oceans’ total fish biomass. To protect and restore biodiversity, people have created marine protected areas where harvesting fish is reduced or not allowed. The number of marine protected areas has grown exponentially over the past 50 years, they point out. Although this growth is encouraging, only four percent of the ocean surface is protected from harvest.

While many studies have evaluated the effects of reserves on biodiversity, there has been “no broad assessment to determine their influence on ecological processes such as predation and herbivory,” the authors point out.

They hope that this work, which was supported by the Tennenbaum Marine Observatory Network, the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian Johnson Funds, will help stakeholders who manage and promote marine reserves and scientists who design and research reserves, along with residents of coastal communities near protected areas.

Christchurch murderer, no lone wolf, preventable?


This 5 January 2019 video says about itself:

Nazi salute at far-right rally in Australia

Hundreds of far-right protesters have gathered at a “patriots” rally in Melbourne to protest against the African community in Australia. Members of the rally were reportedly seen in footage giving the Nazi salute, sparking outrage online.

That racist rally was organised by Australian neonazi Blair Cottrell, one of the inspirations for New Zealand mosque murderer Brenton Tarrant.

By Mike Head in Australia:

New Zealand fascist killer had known Australian far-right links

28 March 2019

Substantial evidence has emerged in recent days that Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian who gunned down 50 people in a premeditated attack on two mosques in New Zealand on March 15, had intensive links with far-right groups in Australia.

Despite claims by governments and state agencies that Tarrant was a “lone wolf” whose murderous plans could not have been detected, he had personal connections with a fascistic network in Australia, as well as across Europe and the US, to which he paid tribute in his manifesto.

During a 10-month period in 2016–17, Tarrant made more than 30 comments on the then publicly-available Facebook pages of two Australian far-right groups, the United Patriots Front (UPF) and the True Blue Crew, both notorious for inciting hostility toward Muslims and other immigrants.

Tarrant’s comments agitated for physical attacks on “communists”, “globalists” and “Marxists”, as well as Muslims. In one post, he hailed a 2016 UPF attack on counter-protesters in Melbourne. “Communists will get what communists get, I would love to be there holding one end of the rope when you get yours traitor”, he declared.

Although these Facebook pages were later shut down, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) “Background Briefing” program obtained an archive of the material. During the period in which Tarrant posted his comments, the UPF was prominently featured in the media and the state agencies would have been fully aware of its Facebook activity.

In another post, celebrating Trump’s victory in the 2016 US presidential election, Tarrant hailed UPF leader Blair Cottrell, a much-publicised far-right nationalist, as an “Emperor”. Cottrell had welcomed Trump’s election as the end to “political correctness” and “Marxism” in the US.

Tarrant agreed, commenting: “Simply one of the most important events in modern history.” He added: “Globalists and Marxists on suicide watch, patriots and nationalists triumphant—looking forward to Emperor Blair Cottrell coming soon.”

Months earlier, Tarrant had been ecstatic when Cottrell was broadcast on national television, making an appearance that effectively promoted his fascistic activities, which included a mock beheading of a pig to protest against a planned mosque.

In a personal message to Cottrell, Tarrant wrote: “Knocked it out of the park tonight Blair. Your retorts had me smiling, nodding, cheering and often laughing. Never believed we would have a true leader of the nationalist movement in Australia, and especially not so early in the game.”

There is no doubt that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the political surveillance agency, would have followed these exchanges. A government security consultant and former Australian diplomat, Neil Fergus, told the ABC that ASIO has been closely monitoring far-right groups for some time. It was “extremely active in this area.”

Almost certainly, ASIO has undercover agents or informants inside these networks. John Coyne, a researcher with the federal government-funded Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told the Australian that he began his career in the Australian Federal Police (AFP). One of his first assignments was to infiltrate far-right groups, which he described as “a very small cadre” of “hardcore right-wing extremists and white supremacists.”

A highly-connected former US State Department security consultant, Australian-born David Kilcullen, this week told another ABC program, “Four Corners”, that a number of far-right groups in Australia were “well known to the police and the security services” for “training in the bush, carrying out leafleting and graffiti activities and generally trying to raise awareness around white supremacists, or neo-Nazi ideology.”

“Four Corners” reported that Tarrant participated in Neo-Nazi forums that encourage and celebrate violent attacks on an internet message board called 8chan. The state agencies would have been well aware of this platform. ASIO and the other Australian intelligence forces are part of a US-led global surveillance web, referred to as the “Five Eyes”. As documented by WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, the network intercepts and analyses the telecommunications of millions of people worldwide.

“Four Corners” provided further evidence that Tarrant’s atrocity could have been prevented. On March 13—two days before the massacre—he flooded Facebook with posts on extreme right-wing themes and posted photos on twitter of guns and magazines covered with symbols of fascist ideology.

At midday on the day of the attack, he posted links to his manifesto on Facebook, and at 1:28 p.m.—12 minutes before he began shooting—he announced on 8chan “an attack against the invaders” and provided a link to his Facebook livestream. On his way to the Christchurch mosques, his GPS coordinates could even be heard on the livestream feed.

“Four Corners”, echoing the response of the Australian political and “security” establishment, concluded that Tarrant simply “flew under the radar” of the intelligence agencies. But the mounting evidence indicates that the state agencies either turned a blind eye to the violent activities and plans of Tarrant and other fascists, or wilfully ignored them.

Certainly there are close relations between the far-right groups and state agencies across Europe. In his manifesto, Tarrant boasted that fascist groups are deeply integrated into the state apparatus, the military and the police. He estimated that “hundreds of thousands” of European soldiers and police belong to “nationalist groups”.

On “Background Briefing”, Tarrant’s hero, Cottrell, baldly denied any personal knowledge of Tarrant. “I didn’t know who he was”, he said. “And you won’t find any evidence to the contrary.” However, he acknowledged that someone in the UPF could have met Tarrant, and admitted that Tarrant had made a donation to the UPF.

Cottrell is currently associated with a new far-right outfit, the Lads Society, which is trying to publicly distance itself from the massacre. In a statement last week, the organisation condemned “politically motivated violence” and said Tarrant “did not belong to any group and that he acted alone.” The documented record exposes this lie. It is likely Tarrant acted with the knowledge and support of at least elements of the fascistic network.

Nevertheless, cosy relations continue between the Lads Society and the state agencies. The group’s statement said it met with officers from ASIO and state police services about the Christchurch events, indicating they regard such far-right outfits as legitimate partners.

Like the Lads Society, politicians, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Labor Party leader Bill Shorten, have made hypocritical statements condemning racist violence. In reality, the political and media establishment has demonised Muslim refugees, alongside Chinese immigrants, as a threat, and blamed immigration for every social problem. They bear political responsibility for the political evolution of Tarrant, born in 1991, who grew up for his entire life in this reactionary political climate.

This 25 March 2019 video from Australia says about itself:

How the Christchurch terrorist used 8chan to connect and joke with neo-Nazis | Four Corners

Before a gunman shot dead 50 people at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, he posted about his plans on an 8chan message board. As the scale of the atrocity became clear, the neo-Nazi and white supremacist users of 8chan rejoiced.

By Tom Peters in New Zealand:

Why was the New Zealand terrorist attack not prevented?

27 March 2019

Monday’s episode of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Four Corners” program, “The Christchurch Massacre and the Rise of Right-wing Extremism,” raised serious unanswered questions about how fascist and white supremacist Brenton Tarrant was able to carry out his terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

On March 15, Tarrant, an Australian citizen, killed 50 people and injured 50 more using a semi-automatic rifle. He had spent at least two years planning the massacre in the small city of Dunedin, south of Christchurch, where he trained at a nearby rifle club, wrote his 74-page manifesto and communicated with fascists internationally, including on extreme right message boards on the 8chan website.

The attack has provoked widespread shock and anger in New Zealand, Australia and internationally. At vigils and rallies, many people have demanded to know how it could have happened. The state, however, has sought to severely restrict discussion of the most crucial questions, including the political roots of the massacre. In New Zealand, the censor’s office banned possession and distribution of Tarrant’s fascist manifesto, which outlines the gunman’s political motives and influences—including US President Donald Trump—and connections with extreme right-wing circles internationally.

Canberra and Wellington have refused to explain why the state did not prevent Tarrant’s attack despite his many public statements voicing hatred of immigrants, Muslims and socialists, including threats of violence. The New Zealand police and government insist that Tarrant flew “under the radar” and acted alone, despite his claims that he interacted with many extreme nationalist groups and had received a “blessing” for his attack from Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik.

“Four Corners” reporter Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop posed the question: “How did [Tarrant] manage to fly completely under the radar while planning a mass murder?” His report suggested that police and intelligence agencies had “underestimated” the threat of white supremacist attacks because they were focused on Islamic extremism; and that they are “drastically underfunded.”

Neither of these explanations stands up to scrutiny. As the “Four Corners” program itself noted, there have been numerous warnings about far-right extremism in Australia and New Zealand, and Christchurch has for decades been known as a centre of neo-Nazi activity.

There have been numerous acts of harassment, intimidation and threats against the city’s Muslim community, including the Al-Noor mosque targeted by Tarrant. In 2016 neo-Nazi Philip Arps was fined $800 for delivering a box of pigs’ heads to the mosque. Police have not explained why they did nothing to protect the mosque following this very clear threat.

Another 18-year-old man, who has not been publicly identified, has been charged with posting threats against the mosque on Facebook days before the massacre. Again, there has been no explanation of why police took no action until after the shooting.

For years, Tarrant posted comments on Facebook praising the fascist and anti-Islamic United Patriots Front in Australia and threatening to kill “Marxists and globalists”. Two days before his attack, “Four Corners” noted, the terrorist “flooded Facebook with posts on extreme right-wing themes… [and] posted photos on Twitter of guns and magazines covered with symbols of his fascist ideology.” None of this triggered any intervention by police.

The timeline of the day of the massacre raises an even more disturbing question: Why was Tarrant not stopped even after he publicly revealed his exact plans?

At midday, he posted links to his manifesto, which clearly identifies his targets, on Facebook. At 1:28 p.m. he shared the document on 8chan along with a message saying he would carry out an “attack against the invaders”, and links to a livestream video. Three minutes later he emailed his manifesto to 70 email addresses, including the prime minister’s office and media organisations. He began live-streaming while driving carefully to the first of two mosques. Tarrant was clearly not worried about being intercepted: his gun is visible in the car and his GPS navigation system can be clearly heard directing him to the first of two mosques. The attack began at 1:40 p.m.

As Robert Evans, an analyst from the Bellingcat think tank, told “Four Corners”, anyone monitoring the neo-Nazi forum would have seen Tarrant’s message and video and “could have reached out to law enforcement in New Zealand and warned them about what was going to happen and cut down the response time before armed police units arrived to intercept them, significantly.”

Instead, the gunman was able to carry out his attack calmly, at one point leaving the mosque, walking casually outside, then returning to shoot any injured people. A total of 41 people died at Al Noor mosque. Tarrant’s video ended after 17 minutes, while he was driving to the smaller Linwood mosque where he continued his killing spree. Tarrant was arrested 36 minutes after the first emergency call was made to police as the attack began, while on his way to a third mosque in Ashburton.

Evans described 8chan as “a 24-hour Klan or neo-Nazi rally where every now and then someone will leave in order to commit a violent attack.” The obvious question, which has not been raised in the media, is: were any of the millions of police and spies in New Zealand, Australia, the US, Europe and elsewhere monitoring the well-known far-right forum? And, if so, why did they apparently do nothing to stop the attack?

Neil Fergus, an analyst from the think tank Intelligent Risks, told “Four Corners” that the gunman’s social media posts should have sounded alarms, but New Zealand’s spy agencies were “not particularly well-served in terms of resources.”

This claim is utterly false. Like previous terrorist attacks internationally, including the September 11, 2001 attack in the US, the Christchurch atrocity is already being used to demand even more anti-democratic powers for New Zealand’s Security Intelligence Service (SIS), Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and the police. These agencies have received a vast increase in funding, personnel and technical capability over the past two decades. Legal restrictions on their ability to spy on the population are practically non-existent.

Security analyst Paul Buchanan told Radio NZ that in 2017, the year Tarrant moved to New Zealand, police conducted 7,000 warrantless searches, an extraordinary number for a country with fewer than five million people. The GCSB and SIS also have the power to conduct electronic surveillance of anyone in New Zealand under legislation pushed through in 2014, ostensibly aimed at combating terrorism.

The GCSB is part of the Five Eyes network, led by the US National Security Agency, which also includes the spy agencies of Australia, Britain and Canada. As whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed, the NSA and its partners spy on billions of communications all over the world and share information with each other.

There is no innocent explanation for the fact that these agencies, with multi-billion dollar budgets and vast powers and capabilities, failed to monitor Tarrant. The gunman travelled to several countries in Europe, as well as Pakistan, North Korea and, according to some reports, Afghanistan, countries that are under heavy surveillance.

Evans told “Four Corners” that if the gunman had registered as a firearms owner and was commenting on radical Islamic Facebook pages advocating holy war, “I think the governments of New Zealand and… Australia would absolutely have been looking into this person before the shooting.”

While Muslims, environmental groups, pacifist groups and others have been under heavy surveillance, the fascist networks in New Zealand and Australia have been allowed to operate without interference from the state.

The explanation for this is political: the anti-Marxism expressed by Tarrant and the fascist tendencies that inspired him are shared by the political establishment and the state. In his manifesto, Tarrant estimates that hundreds of thousands of members of the police and armed forces in Europe are members of far-right nationalist groups, a statement which raises questions about whether Tarrant had any contact with state agencies.

The main function of the spy agencies and the police over the past century has been to prevent the growth of a socialist movement in the working class. There are countless examples of police infiltration of socialist and leftist groups in the US, Australia and New Zealand, dating back to before the Russian Revolution.

The Christchurch attacks took place in a definite political context of economic breakdown, trade war and growing preparations for war by the US and its allies. Trump, in his violent rants against socialism, expresses openly the fears of the ruling class everywhere, which has been shaken by the upsurge in class struggle over the past year.

The political establishment has increasingly adopted the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim demagogy of the extreme right in order to divide the working class. Parties such as Australia’s One Nation and New Zealand First, which is a major part of the Labour-led government, have expressed racist and xenophobic views similar to those in Tarrant’s manifesto.

The attack in Christchurch must be taken as a sharp warning of the forces that are being prepared to be used against the working class. Workers and young people internationally must make their own political preparations by building a socialist movement to put an end to the capitalist system and its division of the world into nation-states, which is the source of nationalism, racism and war.

An arsonist set fire to the Islamic Center of Escondido, in north San Diego County in Southern California this past Sunday, leaving behind a note referencing the fascist terrorist rampage at two New Zealand mosques, which left 50 dead and as many injured just two weeks ago. There were seven people inside Masjid Dar ul Arqam when the incident occurred shortly after 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 24. One person who was awake at the time, spotted the flames and alerted the group, which was able to extinguish the fire before it spread: here.

Austrian racist, accomplice in Christchurch massacre?


This 26 March 2019 German language video says about itself (translated):

The Christchurch assassin donated money to the spokesman for the Austrian identitarian movement.

The video says that police suspects the ‘identitarians‘ of complicity in terrorism.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Police raid at Austrian right-wing nationalist‘s house because of Christchurch attack

In the investigation into the attack in Christchurch city in New Zealand, police raided a house in Austria. The search was at the house of Martin Sellner, leader of the right-nationalist Identitäre Bewegung Österreichs (IBÖ).

The Public Prosecution Service in Austria does not want to provide an explanation, but according to Sellner himself it has to do with a gift to his movement. The donation was by the 28-year-old right-wing extremist who is detained for shooting 50 mosque visitors in Christchurch this month. …

The money is … “an excessively high amount”. According to [Sellner], electronic devices were seized during the house search in Vienna.

The IBÖ of 30-year-old Sellner objects, eg, against what the movement calls “uncontrolled mass immigration” and is committed to preserving national identity. According to Austrian media, the suspect of the New Zealand massacre is known to have been in Austria last fall.

NZ SHOOTER HAD FINANCIAL LINK TO FAR RIGHT Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Wednesday said there was a financial link between the man who killed 50 people in mass shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the far-right Identitarian Movement in Austria. Martin Sellner, head of the Identitarian Movement — which says it wants to preserve Europe’s identity — received 1,500 euros ($1,690) in early 2018 from a donor with the same name as the man charged with murder following the Christchurch attack. [Reuters]