DrNew Zealand’s reaction to the March 15, 2019 attack in Christchurch is considered a global model for a reason. First and foremost, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stood out because of the high level of sympathy she showed for the 40 survivors of the attack and the relatives of the 51 people who died. With the ban on semi-automatic weapons and other changes in gun laws, it showed determination. Just ten days after the attack, Ardern also commissioned an independent commission to investigate the attacks on two mosques. Before the attack, the authorities were supposed to relentlessly scrutinize the workings of the potential failures and errors that could have prevented a successful intervention against far-right Australian Brenton Tarrant.
More than 20 months later, the commission’s investigation report was published Tuesday. New Zealand is no longer a model in this respect. The report concluded that the work of the security services and other security agencies was largely insufficient. He pointed to errors in issuing a New Zealand arms license to the Australians and then “lax” dealing with the sale of semi-automatic weapons. In addition, according to the report, the authorities have been researching too much about the threat posed by the Islamists and not enough to right-wing extremists. Only since the year before the attack have they dealt closely with terrorism from the right.
Prejudice against Jews and indigenous people
So the prime minister apologized on Tuesday to the victims. The Muslim community has been subjected to excessive suspicion. However, the commission ruled in its report that the secret services could have prevented the attack. A coincidence could have led to the discovery of the killer, who originally came from Grafton, Australia. According to the report, the right-wing extremist lived in “social isolation” in New Zealand and had not raised any suspicion. The only tangible evidence of his action was the email with his “statement” that Tarrant sent to the prime minister’s office only eight minutes earlier.
Accordingly, the commission concluded that the authorities had responded adequately. Moreover, in its 800-page report, the commission hardly ignored a single detail that could have contributed to the attacker’s radicalization. Accordingly, Tarrant, born in October 1990, was lonely who expressed his racial bias against Jews and Indigenous Australians from an early age. His life was marked by the divorce of his parents, the violent follow-up relationship with his mother and the premature death of his father. Tarrant, who until then was the only professional activity as a trainer at a gym, has funded years of travel around the world from his legacy. As he has long been known, he has also visited the historical sites of the Christian-Muslim struggle in Eastern Europe.
The report records four major trips between 2014 and 2018, taking it across Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. Tarrant’s racist and anti-Islam worldview appears to have already been strengthened at this point. The video platform Youtube is said to have played a prominent role in his extremism. He was in related internet forum 4chan for the first time at the age of 14. In the Facebook groups of well-known Australian right-wing extremists, he left comments under the pseudonym “Barry Harry Tarry” criticizing Muslim schools. Since arriving in New Zealand in August 2017, his life appears to have been totally focused on preparing for his bloody act. He obtained a gun license, set up his own arsenal and became a member of a rifle club.
Self-harm with a firearm
Previously unknown details related to an incident in which the Australian injured himself a few months before the crime, apparently trying to solve a problem with a weapon. The hospital did not report the gun to the police, as New Zealand law does not require this.
The report also reveals that Tarrant not only transferred an amount of money to the well-known Austrian right-wing extremist Martin Selner, with whom he also had contact via email, but also donated small amounts of Bitcoin to the “identity movement in Germany”. It was probably a symbolic nod, not only because bitcoins are worth just over 100 euros as things look, but also because of the date of conversion: April 20, 2018, was Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
However, not all of the information available to the committee has been made public. For example, the terrorist’s interrogation has been withheld. In the report, the committee formulates 44 policy recommendations. These include improvements in the war against terrorism, arms licensing, support for survivors and families of victims, and the way New Zealand should deal with the increasingly diverse backgrounds of the population. In a joint statement, the imams of the two mosques in Christchurch expressed hope that all recommendations would be implemented. And they demanded that “this report must be followed by change.” We have 800 pages of kind words – we must now see that they translated into powerful action. “