Austrian media reports say Christchurch terrorist had more interactions with Identitarian leader Martin Sellner than previously known, including alleged plans to have a 'coffee or beer'.
Authorities in Austria investigating ties between the Christchurch Mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant and well known white identitarian activist Martin Sellner have announced that Sellner and Tarrant exchanged more emails than was previously known.
Austrian media is reporting that Sellner had deleted emails between himself and Tarrant just hours before authorities raided his home in March, but screenshots of the deleted emails were found on his computer. Sellner claims he saved the screenshots to present to police although he originally told authorities that his communication with Tarrant was limited to a "thank you note" for a 1500 euro donation Tarrant had gifted Sellners “Identitäre Bewegung Österreichs (IBÖ)” white identitarian organisation.
According to reports, one email from Sellner invited Tarrant to “have coffee or beer” if he were ever visiting Vienna. Tarrant reportedly booked a plane ticket to visit Austria the very next day, although Sellner is currently denying the two ever met face-to-face. Investigators in Austria continue to dig into Sellners communications with Tarrant to find the extent of their relationship.
In recent years Sellner has sought to expand the far right white Identitarian movement which was mostly confined to western Europe by collaborating with North American counterparts.
In May of 2017, Sellner teamed up with white supremacists from Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Canada and the United States in a campaign dubbed “Defend Europe”, an effort to intercept refugee boats and thwart Search and Rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea. Alt-right, far-right activist and former Rebel Media journalist Lauren Southern was also involved in the campaign.
A fundraiser for Defend Europe which was set up by Lauren Southern and promoted by Brittany Pettibone, a US based white identitarian activist and fiance of Sellner, met the goal of reaching $50,000, so the Defend Europe could acquire boats to bring in more participants to take on anti refugee actions off the Sicilian coast.
Along with other groups affiliated with the Far Right and identitarian movements in Europe and North America, Defend Europe and its allies took to social media to call for action, globally, against an “Islamic refugee invasion.” Defend Europe argued that white Christians had a moral duty to purify Europe.
This supposed “invasion of Europe” by dark skinned Muslim bodies is known as the “Great Replacement” theory and was often used by Tarrant in his internet posts and included in his manifesto.
Sellner and Pettibone, who are credited with popularising the US based white identitarian movement, are seeking to wed this summer in Idaho state and are currently engaged in a battle with the US government to reinstate US travel privileges to Sellner after they were revoked in light of the current investigation against Sellner in connection to Tarrant.
The Kootenai County Republican Committee in Idaho state picked up Pettibone's call and is currently pressuring the US government into allowing Sellner into the country.
Although Sellner is clearly being investigated in Austria, the chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Committee, Brent Regan wrote in a recent emailed statement to the media that "Martin Sellner had broken no law in Austria or the US and was not under any known investigation. Therefore, the motion encouraged the US government to “…reinstate Martin Sellner's travel privilege”.
In recent months, the US white identitarian group known as “Identity Evropa” has rebranded itself as the “American Identity Movement”.
According to recent leaks of Identity Evropa online chats published by independent media project “Unicorn Riot”, a group that has been tracking the rise of the far right in the US, the group was forced to rebrand after it was linked to several violent encounters including Charlottesville and was banned from social media platforms like Twitter. It was also revealed in the leaks that active duty members of both the US military and police force are included in the ranks of Identity Evropa.