Collaborating Authors

From the Web to Real Life: The Growing Threat of Online-Bred Right-Wing Extremism

Der Spiegel International

At around 1:30 p.m. on a recent Friday afternoon, some people on 8chan, an online message board, watched a mass murder unfold. Brenton Tarrant had just announced he would carry out a deadly attack and stream it live on Facebook. The first fans quickly voiced their support. "Good luck," one user wrote; another: "Sounds fun." A third person wrote that it was the "best start to a weekend ever." When Tarrant's head-mounted camera showed him murdering the first person at the entrance to the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand -- someone who had just greeted him kindly -- a fourth person wrote, "Holy fuck nice shootin." Around 200 Facebook users watched through their smartphones, tablets or computers as the 28-year-old got out of his car, opened his trunk where he kept his weapons, and began killing 50 people in and around two mosques. His victims included children, like the 3-year-old Mucad Ibrahim; students, like the 14-year-old Sayyad Milne; men, like the father Khaled Mustafa, and women, like Husne Ara Parvin, who was gunned down while trying to protect her wheelchair-bound husband. A mass killing of Muslims, documented in real time, filmed in the style of a first-person-shooter video game and cheered on like a football match. "This is how we win," a fifth person wrote. It's hard to imagine a greater contempt for humanity. None of the 200 users flagged the video to Facebook, and thousands of people have watched the livestream after the fact. The social network, whose CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, likes to brag about the tens of thousands of moderators on its payroll who constantly monitor content, didn't notice anything at first. Facebook didn't receive the first notice until 12 minutes after the livestream ended.

New Zealand mosque attacks: Who is Brenton Tarrant?

Al Jazeera

Melbourne, Australia - The Australian man allegedly responsible for live streaming a massacre of Muslims as they prayed in New Zealand mosques was not previously known to security agencies in Australia or New Zealand, authorities said. Brenton Tarrant, 28, accused of carrying out attacks on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday that resulted in the deaths of at least 50 people, including children, appeared in court on Saturday charged with murder. Tarrant, described by Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison as an "extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist", expressed admiration for other violent white nationalists and his intention to "create an atmosphere of fear" and to "incite violence" against Muslims. Bob Parker, a former Christchurch mayor, said it was unclear why security agencies weren't aware of the threat Tarrant posed. "I think there are questions to be asked about why this wasn't picked up by authorities. There does seem to be a significant amount of information that was put online sometime before this attack took place, and it does not seem to have rung alarm bells in the right places," Parker told Al Jazeera.

It's Time to Confront the Threat of Right-Wing Terrorism

The New Yorker

Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the twenty-eight-year-old Australian who allegedly carried out a racially motivated gun massacre, in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, appeared in court on Saturday morning and was charged with one count of murder. According to a report from the New Zealand Herald, Tarrant "appeared in white prison clothing, with manacled hands, and barefoot. He smirked when media photographed him in the dock, flanked by two police officers." He didn't enter a plea and was remanded in custody. The court hearing, at the Christchurch district court, was closed to the public, but the judge allowed some members of the media to report on the proceedings.

Far-Right Terrorism: Deadly Attack Exposes Lapses in German Security Apparatus

Der Spiegel International

The day before this week's anti-Semitic attacks on a synagogue in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, some of the country's most important criminal prosecutors met in Berlin. Germany's federal prosecutor general attended the meeting as well as his counterparts at the state level and the federal justice minister. In the light-flooded inner courtyard of the German Historical Museum, they discussed what the German judiciary could do to fight right-wing violence. Tweets about the event featured the hashtag #unantastbar, or inviolable, the decisive word in Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the German constitution that addresses human dignity. Federal Prosecutor General Peter Frank had a message for the guests, which he recited in a calm, measured tone, though his message was anything but: He told them that right-wing extremist lone perpetrators often do not act alone. Even when they commit acts of violence by themselves, they are part of a virtual community that cheers the murders they commit on the internet. What the country's highest prosecutor described is no less than a new form of terrorism. The crimes are committed by purported "lone wolves," who have largely isolated themselves from the outside world and become radicalized -- through the internet, for example. But Frank's statement can also be interpreted to mean that these wolves are part of a growing pack -- a globally networked movement of right-wing extremist hate. In hindsight, the prosecutor general's words seem eerily prescient. Less than 24 hours after the conference, a lone wolf let his hatred run free. Equipped with black boots, a helmet and an olive camouflage jacket, Stephan Balliet, 27, attempted to storm a synagogue in the city of Halle.

Right-Wing Terrorism Has Gone Global


Right-wing violence is usually considered a dangerous form of domestic terrorism, but the horrific attack on two mosques in New Zealand on Friday shows its growing international dimensions. Brenton Tarrant, an Australian man, reportedly traveled to New Zealand, where he allegedly killed 49 worshippers at two mosques, wounding dozens of others. In addition, Tarrant appears to have been inspired by a 2011 attack in Norway, praised current U.S. political figures, and drew on U.S.-based social media platforms to spread his message. Just as jihadis look to figures like al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or the Paris attackers as they plan their own violence, white nationalists like Tarrant now look globally before they strike. Anders Breivik, who killed eight people in a car bombing in Oslo and then 69 more in a sustained shooting attack on a summer camp for youth members of Norway's Labor Party, wrote a 1,500 page manifesto he posted online before carrying out his massacre.