In my view, the most lucid commentary on yesterday’s mosque shooting in Christchurch comes from international security analyst Dr Paul G Buchanan, director of 36th Parallel Assessments. The latter is a non-partisan non-governmental geopolitical risk and strategic analysis consultancy located in Auckland, New Zealand.
Buchanan, an American expatriate, is a former intelligence and defense policy analyst and consultant to US government security agencies.
As quoted in a Radio New Zealand interview, Buchanan points out that automatic and semi-automatic weapons are extremely hard to come by in New Zealand without a license. “The weapon, from what I can tell, may have been modified. It takes some technical skills to modify a hunting weapon into something that’s semi-automatic. [The shooter] had high capacity magazines and may have used a bump stock which was used by the Las Vegas shooter.
Buchanana adds that the shooter’s skill set indicates he is either ex-military or has learned from someone else who might be ex-military.
His comments also suggest New Zealand intelligence dropped the ball in devoting the “bulk of” of intelligence gathering and prevention efforts at New Zealand’s Islamic community, rather than right-wing extremists.
“Let’s be very clear,” he continues, “Christchurch has a very active white supremacist (ie anti-Maori, anti Muslim, anti-immigrant) community. A community that has attacked refugees and people of color on multiple occasions over the last 20 years. This is the worst of them.”
Buchanan also mentions the shooter was on numerous global right-wing platforms, including the platform that was used by the synagogue shooter in Pittsburgh last year.
“Why wasn’t he flagged earlier and this whole episode prevented?” he asks.
After several close encounters with the overt anti-Maori racism pervasive in New Zealand’s law enforcement community, I feel compelled to ask the question more directly: Do NZ security services fail to monitor and clamp down on right wing white supremacists because they possibly share some of the same views?
For me the most distressing aspect of this atrocity is Brenton Tarrant (the alleged shooter), who livestreamed the shootings on social media, being cheered on by at least 100 white supremacists worldwide, including a number who live in New Zealand.
Tarrant was arraigned in court this morning on a charge of murder.