Accused Christchurch mosque shooter's manifesto printed, distributed by neo-Nazi

1:24 pm on 22 August 2019

The accused Christchurch gunman's manifesto is being republished in paperback and sold through an instant messaging app.

Tributes and flowers left outside Al-Noor Mosque in Christchurch after the terror attacks.

Tributes and flowers left outside Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch after the terror attacks. Photo: RNZ / Isra'a Emhail

A neo-Nazi in Ukraine is distributing the document through an online messaging app channel set up two days after the 15 March attacks.

The forum openly praises Brenton Tarrant and since a few months ago has been used as a platform to distribute a Ukrainian-translated version of his manifesto.

Independent Research Solutions researcher Ben Elley, who has studied the rise of the alt-right online, said it was not surprising the document was bring traded.

"I haven't seen the manifesto redistributed a great deal on 4chan or 8chan but there are a lot of people there who are definitely fans of the accused and so would be pretty keen to get a hold of it."

In June, the channel's administrator told forums' more than 1000 subscribers he had found a publisher who could make copies of the manifesto.

He thanked a follower for the idea to produce it as a book but said he wasn't making money from the scheme and encouraged those who couldn't pay for one to print their own.

"I do not make money on this... take the layout and print on your own, not a problem. The idea is to give paper versions to everyone in a row, on Birthdays, wedding anniversaries and baptisms of children."

Since then, a series of photos of people posing with a paperback copy of the manifesto have been posted in the forum.

In one, a line of seven men stand holding a copy in front of them while another captures the book next to a pair of child's hands playing with a small toy truck.

The Chief Censor David Shanks, who classified the manifesto as objectionable in March, said the distribution was concerning.

"It's incredibly disappointing to see a platform that can be accessed by New Zealanders making available publications that are unlawful in this country."

He said the document had the potential to incite violence.

"It is a terrorist promotional document. It's not going to persuade or harm most people who read it but it's not for most people. It's been created specifically for those people who are on a pathway to radicalisation."

Ben Elley said the accused's manifesto was treated by the far-right as an important document.

"They take him very seriously and are very pleased with what is he accused of having done. It's not clear necessarily whether they are likely to go out and do the same things themselves or not but they've certainly treated the attack here in Christchurch as being a component of their ideology and a result of it."

But acting head of the Islamic Women's Council, Anjum Rahman, said there was no doubt the manifesto's spread was dangerous and pointed to several mass shootings in the United States that had referenced the 15 March attacks.

"It's extremely disturbing. We know that it has been used as motivation to take further life so the importance of dealing with this is very very high."

She said it highlighted the need for action like the Christchurch Call but she wanted the Government to approach Ukrainian authorities to identify those involved and shut down any far-right platforms.

"We can't as a nation deal with this on our own and that's why the work around the Christchurch Call and any other work around international agreements is so important."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned the sale of the manifesto but said her hands were tied.

"It's more than a concern, it's abhorrent and disgusting but it is being sold in a jurisdiction over which we have no control. It just demonstrates the difficulty we have now in this current environment of dealing with the spread of what we in New Zealand would consider objectionable material."