Terror in Chch

Police warn of payments linked to far-right soldier

A Police Financial Intelligence Unit document distributed to financial institutions in February warns of payments linked to the far-right soldier arrested in December, Marc Daalder reports

A far-right soldier arrested in December was referenced in a police document warning of financial transactions linked to extremism. The document, written up by the Police Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and distributed to a number of financial institutions throughout the country, was leaked onto far-right Telegram channels last week.

Among warnings of commonplace markers of extremist-linked transactions is a reference to a New Zealand-based YouTube channel. Newsroom has discovered this channel and an accompanying Patreon crowdfunding page were run by the far-right soldier arrested in December.

The soldier was charged in January with two offences: an "unauthorised disclosure of information" that is "likely to prejudice the security or defence of New Zealand" and "accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose" to obtain "any property, privilege, service, pecuniary advantage, benefit, or valuable consideration".

The Patreon was launched on February 15, 2019 and had as many as 14 monthly payees by November. It currently has just two. One of the videos on the YouTube channel introduces the player as Herr Wolf, a pseudonym the soldier used on Reddit and to appear on far-right podcasts.

Patreon has previously been used to crowdfund far-right activities, although the platform cracked down on high-profile alt-right figures like Milo Yiannopoulos and YouTuber Sargon of Akkad in December 2018. In the leaked FIU document, Police warn that funds could be moved through Patreon.

On Sunday, police announced the arrest of a 19-year-old woman in relation to the leak of the FIU document. She has been charged with unlawful possession of police property and has interim name suppression.

A police spokesperson said FIU head Detective Inspector Craig Hamilton said "that enquiries into the dissemination of the Police document are ongoing and there's no further comment we can make at this time".

The NZDF declined to comment for this article.

Soldier was co-founder of white nationalist Dominion Movement

After the soldier was charged, Stuff reported that he was a co-founder of the Dominion Movement, a far-right organisation that closed up shop after the March 15 terror attack.

The man has been in the military for at least five years. His friends and family have been interviewed by counter-terrorism detectives from the Combined Threat Assessment Group (CTAG). 

The arrest took place on the morning of December 13. At 11:16 AM, an NZDF-run Linton community page wrote: "I’m sure you are aware of the presence of the New Zealand Police today in the Linton Housing area and on Camp. I can confirm that a soldier has been arrested."

"I understand this may have caused concern for some people and I would like to assure you all there is no threat to the public or personnel."

Stuff reported at the time "that an antique explosive dating back to World War I had been found", during the arrest and that the accused was questioned by police after the Christchurch terror attack, while he was in the military.

Tweets racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic

The soldier also ran a racist Twitter page after his arrest. On the Twitter profile, the man has ranted against Jews, Māori and gay people and self-identified as a Nazi.

The soldier's account, which was shut down on January 31, tweeted more than a thousand times since it began posting on December 29.

Two other social media accounts, including a Reddit account, belonging to the accused, were removed between December 18 and December 29. An NZDF spokesperson told Newsroom that the military "has not been involved in the deactivation of the social media accounts of the accused", but declined to say whether the soldier had been released or otherwise given access to the internet.

In numerous tweets, the soldier references eugenics-based conspiracy theories for the racial origins of Jews, says gay people deserve to be punched and dismisses Māori people as savages. After a Wellington synagogue was vandalised with neo-Nazi graffiti, the man claimed without evidence that the synagogue members themselves were responsible.

In one tweet, the man writes simply, "I'm racist". In another, he says he is a Nazi.

Unclear why soldier allowed internet access

A spokesperson for the New Zealand Defence Force declined to comment on the account. "We won’t be commenting further at this point as charges are laid against the accused," the spokesperson said.

It remains unclear why the individual had access to the internet given the crimes he has been charged with relate to his computer use. He is under open arrest which, according to the Manual of Armed Forces Law, "involves only such restraint as may be necessary to ensure a continued presence".

"A member of the Armed Forces under open arrest is to remain in uniform except when in his or her quarters. The member is to attend such parades or musters as may be required. The member is not to consume alcohol. He or she may perform his or her normal duties."

The Defence Force refused to clarify whether any restrictions had been placed on the soldier, directing Newsroom to the above statement.

Links to far-right "monastic order"

On December 14, a far-right bodybuilding group called Wargus Christi posted in its Telegram channel that "one of our boys has been arrested for reasons still unknown. They have him in custody at the moment".

A user believed to be Wargus Christi's leader, Daniel Waring, later added that the person was in "military prison".

Wargus Christi was started by neo-Nazi Waring in September. In 2010, Waring was convicted of vandalising a church in Feilding and told police that he was a member of Blood and Honour, a neo-Nazi skinhead group that is banned in Spain, Germany and Russia and considered a terrorist organisation by Canada. Waring later denied that he was a member of the group.

Wargus Christi claims it is a "martial-monastic Christian brotherhood" and mixes Crusades-inspired Christian extremist imagery with modern far-right memes.

The group's Facebook page regularly engaged in homophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism and Islamophobia, such as an October 15 post in which it declared, "like Islam, Judaism is a diametrical enemy of Christ". The page was removed after Newsroom reported the arrest in December.

A post shared on the group's public-facing Telegram channel states that Jews "killed the son of God and [are] the child of Satan". In a private Telegram chat, a member wrote, "Satan simply works through the jews (and women+gays)".

The accused soldier had "liked" Wargus Christi's Facebook page and claimed they were a member of the now-defunct far-right Dominion Movement in a Reddit post five days after the Christchurch terror attack.

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