New Zealand Pycroft’s petrels, video


This 10 August 2019 video says about itself:

Pycroft’s petrel – New Zealand Bird of the Week

Inhabiting small islands off of the North Island coast, Pycroft’s petrels are most certainly a beautiful bird!

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New Zealanders against Trump’s prisons for immigrating


Karen and other New Zealanders demonstrating against United States President Trump's imprisonment of immigrants

By Tom Peters in New Zealand:

Protest in New Zealand against US brutality towards refugees

8 July 2019

Between 50 and 100 people, including students and workers, gathered outside the US embassy in Wellington last Thursday to protest against the appalling and inhuman conditions in US concentration camps, which are being filled with tens of thousands of refugees by the Trump administration.

The rally, called by Amnesty International (AI) and Mums 4 Refugees to coincide with the US Independence Day, demonstrated the growing international outrage and disgust at the brutal treatment of immigrants and refugees, including children. Several of those in attendance strongly criticised the New Zealand government, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, for being complicit in attacks on immigrants and refugees.

The gathering was one of several that have been held in support of immigrants since the March 15 Christchurch terrorist attack in which fascist Brenton Tarrant, an admirer of Donald Trump, killed 51 Muslim worshippers.

It followed a vigil the day before, also outside the US embassy, organised by Free Assange NZ as part of the global fight to free Julian Assange. The Trump administration is seeking to imprison the WikiLeaks founder on espionage charges for the “crime” of revealing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The corporate media ignored both events. Along with the political establishment, the media is seeking to bury discussion about the political roots of the Christchurch atrocity, including the culpability of the US, Australian and New Zealand governments in promoting war, racism and xenophobia.

Annaliese Johnston from Amnesty International told the gathering that people fleeing persecution and violence have “been met with imprisonment, oppression, hunger.” Children had been separated from their parents and “forced to sleep on concrete floors”, without access to soap and blankets. “The multiple visits that have happened over the last few weeks have found what can only be described as completely inhumane and illegal conditions”, she said.

Johnston explained that AI had documented how humanitarian volunteers, members of clergy, journalists and lawyers had “been subjected to a campaign of intimidation, harassment and illegal imprisonment by the US government, only for seeking to help these people… and for exposing the US administration’s actions.”

AI members distributed a petition to be presented to US ambassador Scott Brown calling for “an immediate investigation” into the conditions on the border detention facilities. Johnson also called for people to “write to your local MP because I think we need the New Zealand government to speak up publicly on this.”

… While Ardern has been glorified by the global media for supposedly showing “kindness” and “compassion” in her response to the Christchurch terrorist attack, her Labour Party-NZ First-Greens coalition government has in fact strengthened the military and intelligence alliance with US imperialism.

Gayaal Iddamalgoda, from the Migrant and Refugee Rights Campaign, added that “Australia, New Zealand’s ally, is committing the same atrocity against asylum seekers” as Trump. The Ardern government, he added, had set aside funds to stop asylum seeker boats from reaching New Zealand, something that has never happened.

Sarah Jane Teurakura Parton from Mums 4 Refugees described the Ardern government as “complicit” in attacks on asylum seekers. She noted that Labour MPs, including Paul Eagle, Poto Williams, Louisa Wall and Jamie Strange, were photographed in the US embassy celebrating Independence Day with ambassador Brown, “while children are dying in concentration camps along the southern US border.” She explained that Brown, a Trump-appointee and former Republican senator, had campaigned throughout his political career against rights for undocumented migrants.

Parton noted that the Labour Party had “campaigned on an anti-immigration platform,” and scapegoated people with “Chinese sounding names” for the housing crisis prior to the 2017 election.

She tried, somewhat feebly, to defend the US Democratic Party, saying that although former president Obama’s anti-immigrant policies were “terrible,” his administration was “trying to make it better.” In reality, Obama deported more people than any previous president and the Democrats have supported the Trump administration by approving billions of dollars for the fascistic border agencies.

Socialist Equality Group members spoke with some of those in attendance, distributed the WSWS perspective “No to concentration camps in America!” and promoted the SEG’s July 14 rally to demand freedom for Assange and whistleblower
Chelsea Manning.

Oliver

Oliver, a gardener, said “children shouldn’t be held in horrendous conditions. Everyone deserves a fair shot at life and not to be kept in a bad situation with no way forward. I think Trump is a monster. He doesn’t have any social conscience.” He added that the Democrats were “not doing very much at all” to oppose Trump. He noted that there were “economic causes” for the refugee crisis, including US corporations “putting Third World farmers out of business” with unfair trading practices.

Olivia, a political science student, said that describing the immigrant detention facilities as concentration camps “isn’t hyperbole.” She noted that “the Holocaust did start with this sort of discrimination. We need to learn from history. Look at the systematic discrimination against Jewish people in Nazi Germany and Europe. They didn’t just wake up one day and find they were being all of a sudden murdered by the millions.”

Olivia said the Trump administration was seeking to “scapegoat” migrants for “economic inequality and hardships in America, when it’s just the system and they really need to have a hard look at that inequality.”

Karen, whose family had immigrated to New Zealand from South Africa, was “disappointed and angry” that the Labour government and other parties had not criticised the US concentration camps. She agreed that the Christchurch terrorist had been “emboldened” by Trump, adding that Trump was “not just an overseas issue” but was setting “a precedent for people across the world to lean into fascism.”

Karen also believed nationalism and racism were being promoted to divert attention from “class and wealth disparity”. Poor people were being “manipulated into thinking that if you push down another group, you will be okay, that if other people suffer then you will have a better life.”

Jordan

Jordan, who is self-employed, said the treatment of migrants by the US was “one step towards fascism. It’s very scary to put yourself in the shoes of a child that’s going through that. I think people like us, who are in more of a privileged position, should say something about it.”

Jordan also believed the current period was similar to the 1920s and 1930s, with rising interest in socialism among young people as well as the growth of the far right. “The gap between the rich and the poor is becoming larger and larger and the easiest thing to do is to point to a scapegoat,” he said. “Now it’s immigrants, before that it was Jews.”

In appearances on two Sunday television interview programs, a top aide to President Trump on immigration issues said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was preparing to deport all one million immigrants who have been issued final removal orders by federal immigration judges: here.

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.

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.

A study published July 17 in the Journal of Applied Ecology is the first description of how to use data collected before and after a protected area is implemented to measure its effectiveness. Data collected beforehand can help predict how much fish populations are expected to increase. Then scientists can compare it to data collected after the MPA is in place to help determine whether adjustments are needed, such as changing the size or enforcement levels of an MPA: here.