An assassin has to kill people

Suspect from Halle : Killing people and feeling sorry for themselves

Veronika Kracher is a freelance journalist and speaker specializing in feminism, anti-Semitism, alt-right and incels.

A 27-year-old neo-Nazi from Saxony-Anhalt, armed with firearms and grenades, tries to break into the synagogue in Halle an der Saale. His goal is to murder the more than 70 believers who have gathered there for prayer. When the plan fails, he arbitrarily kills two people. He has a smartphone mounted on his helmet: the deed is broadcast live on the streaming portal twitch.tv transfer. The video spreads in no time - especially on catchy right-hand pages like kiwifarms, 4chan, and its German-language offshoot kohlchan. It reveals the disturbing ideology of a new type of right-wing terrorism.

The recording begins with a statement made in English: "Hello, my name is Anon, and I believe the Holocaust never happened. Feminism is to blame for the falling birth rate in the West, which is the cause of mass immigration - and..." the root of these problems is the Jew. " According to his logic, Jews are to blame for the "Great Exchange". In doing so, he hits in the footsteps of the Christchurch assassin Brenton Tarrant, who had titled his manifesto, as well as the Identitarian Movement, which is also based in Halle and, albeit in far more elitist jargon, also warns of the "re-population".

In the idea of ​​the "Great Exchange", anti-Semitism, anti-feminism and racism merge into one: Jews are to blame for women turning to feminism and are responsible for transporting migrants to Europe.

But the perpetrator of Halle not only shares ideology with Tarrant or Anders Breivik, who with his attack on Utoya, which was carried out as a single perpetrator, has become a great role model for the new right-wing terrorist type. Tarrant and the El Paso assassin, who shot and killed 22 people in a racially motivated attack in August this year, broadcast their actions live on the Internet. And like the perpetrators in Christchurch, El Paso or the anti-Semitic attack on the synagogue in Poway, California, in April 2018, the perpetrator from Halle published a manifesto in which he outlined his plans, his choice of weapons and his motivation. Similar to Tarrant, it is peppered with allusions to the online culture of “chan” boards.

Right-wing terror staged as a computer game

Part of the manifesto is a list of so-called "Achievements" as they are to be achieved in video games. The live stream also evokes the character of a first-person shooter. There are pages with lists of "high scores": Which perpetrator killed the most people? Brenton Tarrant's published live stream was greeted with cynical statements like "Hit the highscore!" commented.

It's the "Gamification of Terror". Terrorism is being elevated to a kind of competitive game. Whoever shoots the most people wins. It is similarly commented on the Internet: The perpetrator is a "noob", i.e. a newcomer, because he "only" murdered two people. Other users on kohlchan or 4chan spin the conspiracy of a "false flag action", ie a deliberate deception, because the perpetrator would have acted so bumblingly. Viewing this livestream, the aesthetics of which you know from "Let's Play" videos on Youtube, paradoxically makes it easy to distance yourself from the crime - even though you are watching someone get shot.

The circumstances of the crime suggest that Halle's perpetrator was not an organized neo-Nazi. If he had moved in the circles of groups like "Ostkreuz" or "Combat 18", he would probably have had better weapons. There are many indications that he may act as a lone perpetrator, but that he is backed by an armada of online neo-Nazis, ideals and a general shift to the right in society. That he addressed his audience in English reveals that his recording was aimed at international visitors to online forums. Words used in the video and manifest are also taken from the vocabulary of the Internet-Right and Alt-Right movement. Through the live stream, the perpetrator rises to be a kind of YouTube star for a moment.

Violence as a result of hurt masculinity

And another aspect stands out: the perpetrator from Halle repeatedly dubbed himself a "loser" in his livestream. On the way to the kebab shop, where he will murder his second victim, he even apologizes to his audience: "I tried to kill a few Jews, and now I'm here, and then I'll die like the failure that I am "he explains. Elsewhere: "Fuck it. What do you want from a NEET?" In English-speaking countries, NEET is an acronym for "Not in employment, education, or training".

In other right-wing attacks, too, the perpetrators often portrayed a permanently offended man who feels threatened by anyone who is not the same as him - i.e. not of the same ethnic origin, not male or heterosexual. And this threat tries to be mastered through violence and terror. As a result of the attack, the assassin would probably no longer have been a “loser” in his own understanding, but rather was stylized into a hero in the right-wing scene.

Violence thus becomes reparation for an offense allegedly experienced by women, migrants and an imagined Jewish superiority. In the echo chamber of the Internet, you get confirmation of this ideology from all sides - without having to leave your own chair. It is imperative to take this new type of right-wing terrorism and the Internet as a propaganda and recruiting instrument for right-wing radicalism, which is represented on boards like kohlchan, seriously as a danger. The fight against it has to be more than lip service, it has to be waged consistently: also online.

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