Letter 111ImagePolice officers near Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, two days after it was attacked in March.CreditCreditAdam Dean for The New York TimesThe Australia Letter is a weekly newsletter from our Australia bureau. Sign up to get it by email. This week’s issue is written by Damien Cave, the Australia bureau chief.______It’s been three months nearly to the day since a gunman invaded two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, shooting and killing 51 people and wounding 40 more.On Friday, the man charged with the crime, an Australian named Brenton Tarrant, pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges tied to the massacre.For New Zealand, the case is a confounding challenge on many fronts. Even just logistically, the case is a struggle, with up to 91 families represented and only 80 seats in the public gallery of the courtroom in downtown Christchurch a short drive from where the mass shooting occurred.Legally, there are all kinds of unanswered questions. Mr. Tarrant had planned to represent himself, but two prominent defense attorneys from Auckland are now arguing on his behalf with funding from New Zealand’s legal aid program. Experts told Charlotte Graham-McLay, our reporter who was in court, that they aren’t sure what defense Mr. Tarrant will mount given the evidence, including witness accounts and video the shooter streamed live online.For Australia, too, the case will be closely watched for clues of responsibility. Mr. Tarrant grew up in rural New South Wales and was connected to hate groups here and in Europe.And while there hasn’t been much attention paid to that kind of radicalization in Australia as of yet (we’ll have more on that in an article next week), Christchurch has in fact spurred a broader conversation worldwide about radicalization and the internet.The deeper question many of us are asking is the obvious one: How does this happen? How does someone develop so much hate, and how do we stop it from continuing?Kevin Roose, who frequently writes for us about technology and extremism, provided some insights this week through a fascinating case study of a college dropout who was radicalized in part through YouTube. Kevin managed to get his complete YouTube history, which let him map the videos and ideas that are on-ramps for hate, and the way that YouTubes algorithms push further and further into extremism.For a counterpoint, Ross Douthat, one of our Opinion columnists, argues that looking only at technology overlooks the root causes of the alienation that produces populism and pushes angry young men into the comment threads of hatemongers.Many moderate conservatives, he argues, maintain that “populism is a reaction to the breakdown of community outside the liberal metropole, a breakdown that the fiscally conservative-socially liberal ‘centrism’ of our leaders has worsened or left unaddressed.”In an echo of Australia’s last election, especially concerning the votes in Queensland that shifted toward One Nation, he adds that “far-right personalities attract people by offering an escape from the airlessness of liberalism, a chance to rebel against its cultural hegemony and increasing ideological conformism.”Perhaps what we’re seeing now reflects not a failure on the right, he notes, but rather a failure of the left “to create something that seems more compelling to fugitives from liberalism than the Spirit of the Reddit Thread.”It’s an interesting piece, as is Kevin’s investigation. I can see elements of truth in both.But what do you think? How much do you think social media and internet radicalization are to blame for white supremacy, and how much has to do with broader issues of class and community breakdown? Where should society and government focus to turn things around?Shoot us an email at nytaustralia@nytimes.com.Now here are our stories of the week, and a selection of your comments on secrecy.______Australia and New ZealandImageOne of three Chinese military ships that docked in Sydney Harbor last week. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was a reciprocal visit, but many Australians were surprised at their presence.CreditBianca De Marchi/EPA, via Shutterstock• As China Looms, Australia’s Military Refocuses on Pacific Neighbors The U.S. has long counted on Australia to help maintain stability in the Asia-Pacific. Now, with China’s rise, Australia faces a new calculation.• New Zealand Court, Blocking Extradition, Is Latest to Rebuke China’s Judiciary A New Zealand court blocked a murder suspect’s extradition to China. In a strongly worded ruling, the court ordered the country’s government to consider human rights risks in China before deciding that the suspect should be sent there.• New Zealand Mosque Killing Suspect Pleads Not Guilty Brenton Tarrant is accused of killing 51 people and wounding dozens more as they worshiped at two mosques in New Zealand on March 15.• Australia, in a Victory for Coal, Clears the Way for a Disputed Mine The final permit from regulators in Queensland came less than a month after a conservative coalition that champions coal won in national elections.• Sam Kerr Can’t Stop Scoring The 25-year-old Australian striker has scored the most goals in both the United States’ and Australia’s soccer leagues two years in a row. And she leads the National Women’s Soccer League in scoring again this season. So what’s the essence of Kerr’s magic? We broke down her playbook.• Ashleigh Barty Wins the French Open for Her First Grand Slam Singles Title She’s the first Australian woman to win the French Open since Margaret Court in 1973. The 23-year-old is also a popular tennis ambassador in Indigenous communities back home, following in the lead of Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who also worked hard to promote the game._______Hong Kong EruptsImageDemonstrators clash with riot police officers outside the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong on Wednesday.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York TimesOn Wednesday, Hong Kong police launched tear gas and rubber bullets in an effort to disperse tens of thousands of protesters who forced lawmakers to postpone a debate on legislation to allow extraditions to mainland China — a measure Hong Kong residents fear would subject them to the whims of the Communist Party.Some context to keep you informed as the crisis plays out:• Not a Sequel: The protests against laws infringing personal freedoms echo events back in 2003. But this time, Beijing may not back down.• The Xi Factor: The battle in Hong Kong reflects the risks of President Xi Jinping’s domineering approach to rule.• See the Streets: Check out these photos from this week’s demonstrations, which have produced some of the city’s biggest shows of dissent in years. We have reporters and photographers on the ground throughout the city.______Around The TimesImageLouis Armstrong, 1953.CreditPhoto Illustration by Sean Freeman & Eve Steben for The New York Times. Source photograph: Library of Congress, via Diomedia
• The Day the Music Burned It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business — and almost nobody knew. This is the story of the 2008 Universal fire.• Opinion | Smash the Wellness Industry “The diet industry is a virus, and viruses are smart. It has survived all these decades by adapting, but it’s as dangerous as ever,” writes Jessica Knoll. “In 2019, dieting presents itself as wellness and clean eating, duping modern feminists to participate under the guise of health.”• We Read 150 Privacy Policies. They Were an Incomprehensible Disaster. Have you ever really read and understood an entire privacy policy? Our analysis showed the average policy took 18 minutes to read and required a university-level reading ability.• 6 Places in Europe Offering Shelter From the Crowds How good is sharing a magical travel moment with hundreds of other tourists jostling for the best view? Skip the obvious destinations for these equally beautiful alternatives, minus the hordes…. And Over To YouIn last week’s Australia Letter (Australia: Relaxed, Sunny and Secretive?) we asked you whether the federal police went too far in seizing records and documents from journalists. We received a record number of responses, so thank you greatly for your passionate and smart contributions. Here’s a selection of some thoughts you contributed:Under the guise of ‘national security’It’s not just a question of the Australian Government going too far in seizing records and documents from journalists. It really is a question of how/why the Australian people have allowed this to occur. Why have we let the government and their agencies have these extraordinary intrusive, anti-democratic powers. Under the guise of ‘national security’ the government has either been granted or taken power far beyond what is reasonable and necessary.— Ken VolpeIndividual versus community rightsAustralians are more comfortable with government than Americans. There’s a libertarian streak that exists Down Under especially with the descents of the settlers of the Bush (and in Queensland in general) but it’s nothing like the Don’t Tread on Me sentiments that pervade America nationwide. It’s much harder to sue in either Australia or Canada compared to the U.S. There are fewer lawyers per capita!So I’m not so surprised about the government raid on the journalist’s office. Your point of view, which strikes me as very liberal American, comes through quite clearly in the reporting. It has as well in other pieces you’ve written (especially on race relations in Oz). I’m probably more in sympathy with the Aussie balance between individual and community rights, so I find your tilt irritating at times.— Lawrence DillerAn Australian Bill of Rights?We need protection for journalists and their sources. At least the warrants on which such raids are legally based should be scrutinised, approved and issued by a judge of a superior court, in this case the Federal Court of Australia. This needs to be legislated immediately. And then a Bill of Rights protecting journalists and their sources.— Michael GreenWhen secrecy becomes routineAustralian government’s use of secrecy seems to have escalated since 9/11 and those forms of secrecy previously used only in war time and justified in terms of national security are now used routinely and daily. The secrecy about off-shore matters and refugees is a case in point, and Australians have accepted that secrecy in a shamefully docile manner along with the extraordinary cruelty toward refugees. Men like Dutton revel in the power that gives him as did John Howard. Australian democracy is in trouble in my view.— Bronwyn DaviesWhat if the “proper channels” are broken?In Australia, we like everyone to go through the “proper channels,” the last channel being the press which usually reports on court and administrative decisions rather than investigate itself. But, what if the proper channels are inaccessible or broken? Then the weak have to live with injustice in silence and the strong get impunity, make millions and keep doing what they were doing.— Kay Wilson


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