Christchurch Shooter Had Ties To Austrian Fascist. No, Not That One, Another One.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is looking into dissolving a hate group known as Identitäre Bewegung Österreichs (Identitarian Movement of Austria, or AIM) after authorities discovered that the man who carried out the recent massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, had donated $1,690 to their organization -- an unusually large amount compared to their other donations. As you probably know by now, "Identitarian" is the newfangled word all the white supremacists are using these days in order to distance themselves from the term "white supremacist."
The leader of the AIM is Martin Sellner, who has attracted attention in the States as well, notably being featured in an extremely unfortunate CNN article, back in 2016, of the "Look at this handsome, clean cut Nazi!" variety.
Sure, he's a white supremacist -- but have you noticed that he wears hipster glasses?
Authorities raided Sellner's house after the connection was discovered, confiscating electronic devices that might provide further links and communications with the shooter.
Sellner claims in YouTube videos that his only connection to the shooter was having "passively received" a donation from him back in 2018, and that the large amount was possibly even due to the shooter actually wanting to oppress "patriots" like himself.
This could be a plausible argument if the movement were entirely unrelated to the shooter's motives -- for instance, if he had donated to an animal shelter, no one could reasonably say that the animal shelter ought to be closed down or investigated. However, being that AIM is a notoriously Islamophobic organization, the shooter's target was a mosque, and his manifesto was filled with statements closely resembling the rhetoric of the IBO and other "Generation Identity" movements, it's reasonable to look into the extent of their relationship -- as well as the likelihood that their rhetoric could inspire further attacks.
It is also known that the shooter traveled to Austria and other places in Europe in late 2018, and authorities are investigating whether or not he met up with any fellow "identitarians" while he was there.
Since Sellner isn't quite as well known as some of his counterparts, it's worth giving a quick rundown on who he even is. He's been active in far-right circles since at least 2008, when he was a part of the Austrian neo-Nazi movement, which he claims to no longer be into (though mostly for PR reasons). Like many other white supremacist types, he came to prominence in 2016, around the time Donald Trump started to make fascism great again. Though he claims he and his group are non-violent, he is banned from carrying weapons in his home country due to his fondness for pepper-spraying liberal protesters.
He also claims his organization is not racist, often in the same breath that he says extremely racist (and completely batshit) things:
"My generation was never asked if we want this mass immigration, this Islamization and population replacement in this country," he explains over several cups of Viennese coffee. "We were born into a society that believes we are racist for simply saying that we are becoming a minority in our own country."
In a series of posts on YouTube, Sellner suggests white Christians are on the verge of "extinction," increasingly marginalized by growing numbers of migrants in what he calls the "Great Replacement."
"My biggest fear is that at some point demographics could kill democracy," he says, "that our society by mass immigration becomes such an ethnically fragmented society that a real democracy is not possible anymore because there is no common ground of values, history and identity."
Man, it sure is unfair of people to call someone a racist just because they say obviously racist things!
Sellner is currently engaged to American alt-right figure Brittany Pettibone -- who first made a name for herself back in 2016 spreading the ridiculous Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
The pair previously made headlines after being barred from entering the UK, along with their good friend Lauren Southern, for being gross anti-Muslim bigots.
Like Sellner, Pettibone also denies being a white supremacist or racist, despite regularly hanging around avowed white supremacists like Lauren Southern and saying things like this:
This is why civic nationalism isn't working and won't work, because of this. So it's based on the idea that as long as you have the same ideology and you love America and you believe in equality then it's gonna work. You know, all the bases of civic nationalism. But the left has made it where or, I don't even know what to call them anymore, these people have made it so we're not equal anymore because of the identity politics. You know, it's like a white straight guy can't even talk. His opinion's worthless. Do you understand what I'm trying to say, like why that would not then work? Because there's such an unequal balance throughout our country now of different groups. If you're an oppressed minority then you're automatically treated way better and so it can't work because of that. It's too divided now and so that's why I don't say I'm a civic nationalist because I don't think it can work.
Ah yes, she is being forced to be a white nationalist by liberals who are not nice enough to white dudes and too nice to minorities. Makes sense!
Here in America, we're never going to start going around "dissolving" groups of people, no matter how terrible they are -- that's not our bag and it shouldn't be. However! It's clear that these people and these groups are becoming more prominent and more powerful every day, and that they are inspiring their followers to do some pretty messed up shit. So we have an obligation to work twice as hard to diminish their influence, and to use our voices as much as possible to yell at law enforcement to do more to monitor extremists who are likely to turn violent or who are openly talking about turning violent online.
Oh, and it would also be pretty swell if GOP officials could, you know, not appoint them to the party as "associate delegates." At the very least.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse