Officials in New Zealand have admitted making a mistake after the Christchurch mosque attack suspect was allowed to send a handwritten letter from his Auckland prison cell.
The six-page letter written by Brenton Tarrant was posted on the controversial website 4chan earlier this week – a platform that contains threads on white supremacy.
It comes as suspected gunmen in the recent El Paso and Norway attacks cited Tarrant as inspiration for their own alleged assaults on the public.
The letter, which looks to have been written in pencil on a small notepad, is addressed to “Alan” in Russia.
Most of the letter is seemingly innocuous, and talks about a one-month trip Tarrant took to Russia in 2015. However he also warns that a “great conflict” is coming, and uses language that could be seen as a call to arms.
Corrections minister Kelvin Davis believes that the prison system should not have allowed Tarrant to send the letter, saying: “I have made myself clear that this cannot happen again.”
However, he also added that inmates in New Zealand have the right to send and receive post but some correspondences can be withheld from inmates – and had been in Tarrant’s case.
“We have never had to manage a prisoner like this before – and I have asked questions around whether our laws are now fit for purpose and asked for advice on what changes we may now need to make,” Mr Davis said.
In the letter, which is dated 4 July, Tarrant thanks “Alan” for the stamps he allegedly sent, saying they are the only two pieces of colour in an otherwise grey cell, adding he will have to hide them from guards.
He also cites Greek philosopher Plato, as well as others, as inspiration for his views, adding he “cannot go into any great detail about regrets or feelings as the guards will confiscate my letter if I do” and use it as evidence.
Opposition spokesman David Bennett said Mr Davis should demand immediate answers about how a such a letter could be sent from inside a maximum-security prison.
He said: “This man is accused of carrying out one of the most heinous crimes in New Zealand history.
“New Zealanders will be horrified that Corrections allowed him to send a letter which includes a call to action and has subsequently been posted online.”
The New Zealand corrections department said the law only allows prisons to withhold an inmate’s post in a “very limited” range of circumstances.
“On review, we acknowledge that this letter should have been withheld,” the department said.
“We have made changes to the management of this prisoner’s mail to ensure that our robust processes are as effective as we need them to be.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who vowed never to say the suspect’s name, said: “I think every New Zealander would have an expectation that this individual should not be able to share his hateful message from behind bars.”
Some 51 people were killed when two mosques were attacked in Christchurch on 15 March this year.
8chan, which is touted as a more radical version of 4chan, was taken offline earlier this month, after the suspected El Paso gunman, who allegedly killed 22 people on 3 August, posted a racist, anti-Latino essay on the site.
US Space Force mocked over new camouflage uniform | US News
The US Space Force has been mocked after proudly unveiling its new uniforms – featuring full woodland camouflage.
It posted an image of the gear on Twitter saying: “Space Force propels the @DeptofDefence into a new era dedicated to protecting US and national interests and security in space.”
However, the reaction to the new outfit has been less than complimentary – with most pointing out the design will not help troops blend in during space missions.
One person tweeted: “How many trees are you expecting to find in space?”
Another pointed out: “Space is black… I feel like this is an important distinction when designing a uniform.”
One Twitter critic suggested the president could learn a few things from Star Wars, pointing out: “The only explanation I have is that The #SpaceForce will be invading the forest moon of Endor.
“I doubt the US has learned that an occupying military has little chance of conquering the Ewoks.”
Following the vitriol directed at it, the United States Space Force posted a further statement, adding: “USSF is utilizing current Army/Air Force uniforms, saving costs of designing/producing a new one.”
Donald Trump launched the force last month, claiming “space is the world’s new war-fighting domain” as he signed off the $1.4trn (£1.08trn) National Defence Authorisation Act.
It is part of a package that also provides money for a US-Mexico border wall.
40-stone Islamic State leader Abu Abdul Bari arrested in Iraq and taken away in truck because he was too heavy for car | World News
A 40-stone Islamic State terrorist has been arrested in Iraq by a SWAT team, security officials have said.
Abu Abdul Bari, also known as Shifa al-Nima, was taken away on the back of a truck after his arrest in Mosul as the extremist, who weighs an estimated 40-stone (254kg), could not be transported in a car.
Pictures of Bari, who Iraqi police consider to be one of IS’s senior figures, on the vehicle wedged against a mounted machine gun have appeared online. He is also pictured at home.
It is unclear how he was removed from his hiding place.
Bari is an IS mufti, or expert in religious law, who issued fatwas that led to the deaths of scholars and clerics who refused to pledge allegiance to the terrorist group when it occupied the city, officials said.
During the group’s self-styled caliphate in 2014, he ordered the destruction of a mosque built at the site believed to be the burial place of the biblical prophet Jonah, who once had a notable encounter with a whale.
The Iraqi government’s security services announced the arrest in a statement, is has been reported.
The statement said the preacher, considered one of the top leaders of “IS gangs”, was known for “provocative speeches against the security forces”, the independent US military news outlet Stars and Stripes added.
Maajid Nawaz, founder of the London-based anti-extremism think Quilliam, said on Facebook that Bari “had to be taken by police in the back of a pick-up truck”.
Australia wildfires: Floods follows flames as warnings put in place | World News
After devastating bushfires across Australia the country is now facing a new threat – flooding.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms have hit parts of Australia‘s East coast – but downpours have brought relief and concern in equal measure.
While they have put out some of the fires that have burning for months, they have also left the area vulnerable to flooding.
New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory are both on flood watch, and flood warnings are in place for the Orara and Bellinger rivers on the north coast.
Severe thunderstorm warnings are in place in across parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory, with the Bureau of Meteorology warning of damaging wind and heavy rainfall.
A strong wind warning has been issued for the Byron, Illawarra and Batemans Coast regions.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have warned people not to attempt to get through the flood waters and to stay inside if at all possible.
They have also said people should avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm.
Rain in the states of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland have left some areas underwater and caused power cuts.
Up to 300mm of rain fell near the Gold Coast, closing major roads and local attractions.
Some areas saw triple the monthly rainfall in just one night, according to the weather bureau.
Brisbane resident Meg Fallon said: “It’s just beautiful listening to [the rain] on the roof, it’s just been so long since we’ve had it”.
Meteorologists say the rains are a one in 100 year event.
Australia’s wildfires are an annual occurrence, but the 2019/20 season has been particularly severe.
At least 28 people have been killed and tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.
More than 104,000 sq km of land has been scorched – an area bigger than South Korea.
Firefighters are still tackling around 100 fires which are still burning three months on.
The Australian Open is due to kick off in Melbourne on Monday, but organisers have said play will have to be suspended if air pollution caused by smoke exceeds dangerous levels.
Latest News2 days ago
Paddy Holohan: Ex-MMA fighter and Sinn Fein councillor apologises for Leo Varadkar remarks | World News
World1 week ago
Trump announces changes to environmental protection law
Politics1 week ago
Pelosi: I'll send articles of impeachment to the Senate 'when I'm ready'
Latest News1 week ago
<a href='https://news.sky.com/story/scorched-earth-how-the-australia-fires-compare-to-us-and-brazil-11904192'>Revealed: The true scale of the Australia fires</a>
World1 week ago
Zuckerberg expects ‘breakthrough augmented reality glasses’ this decade
Latest News1 week ago
‘Gay Jesus’ Netflix film ban overturned by Brazil’s supreme court | Ents & Arts News
World1 week ago
S&P 500 has up to 20% upside this year — but don’t buy just yet
Latest News1 week ago
Harry Hains: American Horror Story star dies aged 27 | Ents & Arts News