Before a mass shooter killed 51 people and injured 49 others in two Christchurch mosques in mid-March, he released an 87-page racist screed — titled "The Great Replacement" — that quickly found its way onto 8chan before New Zealand authorities could shut it down.
Now, while the shooter remains in jail, his writings are being sold as a hardcover book for $4 a copy on the anonymous messaging service Telegram by a neo-Nazi in Ukraine who hopes to spread the ideology off the internet and across the Ukrainian-speaking world.
The shooter’s manifesto, cited as inspiration for the mass shootings at an El Paso Walmart and at a synagogue in California, as well as an attempted attack on a mosque in Norway, was written in English and has been translated into a number of other languages, but the publisher of this version claims it's the only hard copy out there. This week, advertisements for the book started showing up on Ukrainian right-wing channels across Telegram.
The book is being sold by the administrator of a Ukrainian far-right channel on Telegram with more than 1,000 subscribers, called “Brenton Tarrant’s lads.” The admin goes by the name “Hitler Himself.”
The channel, created on March 17, 2019, two days after the Christchurch shootings, openly glorifies the manifesto and the shooter with various white-power memes, videos, and images explicitly encouraging violence against Jews and people of color. The channel also features original lyrics and links to songs found on Soundcloud, all of which aim to expand the white power movement.
“I do not make money on this. If someone doesn't have shekels to spare — take the layout and print this out on your own, not a problem,” the channel admin wrote. “The idea is to give paper versions to everyone in a row, on birthdays, wedding anniversaries and baptisms of children. In the first place, the inhabitants, to open their eyes to our cruel world."
The latest posts on the Telegram channel include PDF attachments of a letter that the Christchurch shooter was able to send out of a high-security prison in New Zealand to someone in Russia. It praises Russia and encourages violence.
The creator of The Great Replacement hardcover and admin of the channel refused to be interviewed by VICE News, saying he wasn't interested in answering questions to a “kike journalist” who worked for a “lie-production factory.”
Inspiration for murder
The New Zealand manifesto has been cited as inspiration for a number of recent mass shootings. The latest in a succession of extremists to reference the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto was a Norwegian white nationalist who attempted to incite a massacre in a mosque on Aug. 10 in Oslo.
That was just days after the killer in El Paso wrote in his own manifesto: “In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” And he proceeded to killed 31 people. The young man who opened fire at a synagogue in Poway, California, in April also referenced the New Zealand shooter, and cited the October 2018 Tree of Life synagogue shooting and Hitler.
All three aggrieved white men believe in the theory of “white replacement,” or the idea that all white people are being “replaced” by immigrants from non-white countries (either by birth rates or immigration) and that a group of people has deliberately arranged for this replacement to take place. They most often put the blame on Jews.
Anders Breivik, the Norwegian who killed 77 people in Oslo in 2011 and left a 1,500-page screed expressing a fear of white ethnic replacement by migrants from North Africa and the Middle East, is cited as the Christchurch shooter’s biggest inspiration.
But besides inspiring the manifestos of white supremacist shooters, the rambling document has been quietly spreading through white supremacy and neo-Nazi internet communities around the world.
The administrator of the Christchurch shooter’s fan-page channel, shortly after creating the channel and congratulating his white brothers, outlined his intentions.
“I was inspired by the Brenton Tarrant Manifesto to create this channel, after reading which I decided to translate it and spread the manifesto and everything related to it,” the admin wrote.
A hardcover edition
The first mention of a printed version of the book came on May 14 of this year. Shortly after, he explained that they had found a publisher willing to print it. By the third week of June, the first samples of the Ukrainian translation of "The Great Replacement" had been printed. The admin claimed they weren't interested in profiting from the sales but just wanted the manifesto’s ideas to be spread.
More than once, the admin asked the group, “Have you read the manifesto to a friend yet?"
By the end of June, pictures of the book placed next to Hitler's "Mein Kampf," drawings of swastikas, and semi-automatic rifles began to surface on the channel. Once, the administrator uploaded a photo of “the happy owners of the first copy” of the Ukrainian version.
The photo features 7 men dressed in what looks like military attire, each holding a hardcover copy, and some holding their hands up in the Sieg Heil salute. On another occasion, the admin bragged that a foreign reader had just ordered the book. On August 9, he wrote that he had sent eight copies out in one day.
Bellingcat, an investigative journalism website, also found advertisements for the hard copy on another Ukrainian Telegram channel belonging to Karpatska Sich, a group of fighters who define themselves as “a right-wing nationalist movement whose fighters are united by the common ideas of the national revival of Ukraine and a powerful traditionalist Europe.”
“We urge all sincere nationalists to purchase the only available Ukrainian translation of the manifesto of the hero of national resistance, Brenton Tarrant,” the group posted last week “He, along with like-minded men, launched a desperate attack on aliens in New Zealand in their temple, which resulted in the murder of many dozens of uninvited aliens.”
Cover: Posted by the administrator of the Telegram page “Brenton Tarrant Lad’s” who described this as “the happy owners of the first copy” of the Ukrainian version of The Great Replacement. (Telegram)