The Identitarian Wannabe-Pirates

With the possible aim to end the current stagnation [1] of the far-right Austrian identitarians, members of the French, Italian, Austrian and German branches of the group met in Sicily claiming the have blocked an humanitarian rescue vessel. (In fact their rubber dinghy was almost immediately confiscated by the local authorities.) After their „glorious“ mission the identitarians launched a campaign called „Defend Europe“, which aims at stopping refugees in the Mediterranean. At least the German speaking identitarian use anti-Semitic prejudices to mobilise the supporters of the Pegida-Movement and other far right groups.
Among the far-right activists in Sicily were Martin Sellner (head of the Austrian identitarians), his brother Thomas Sellner and Luca Kerbl (head of the identiarians Styria). The German identitarians were among others represented by Mario Alexander Müller. Müller heads the most active branch of the German identitarians, called Kontrakultur Halle. Besides being convicted for assault and battery, Müller shows strong ties to the Ukrainian fascists of Azow. [2] The group of Europeans was supported by the Canadian „journalist“ Laura Southern.
The campaign’s aim is allegedly to raise money for a far-right pirate mission. I personally define it as a pirate mission, since the explicitly stated goals (interfering with ongoing rescue missions, blocking other vessels, deporting accidentally „saved“ refugees to North Africa) constitute a breach of international maritime law. A short primer in international maritime law with focus on rescue missions for refugees can be found in [3].
After the fundraising campaign on kickstarter failed, due to violation of the platforms policy, a combined effort of German antiracist and antifascist groups and persons affiliated with the Sleeping Giants Movement persuaded PayPal and the banks used by the identitarians to terminate the contracts. On Saturday, 25 June 2017, the identitarians announced the use of bitcoins for donations. Caused by the lack of technological understanding of the target group the amount of donations was below the expectations. Therefore, the far-right activists switched to the crowd-funding platform wesearchr, which has ties to US far-right groups and promotes the spread of propaganda. [4]

On 26 June the Austrian identitarians claimed to have obtained a boat suitable for their pirate-style operations near the Libyan coast. Said video was recorded on 18 June in Berlin, the day after their march in Berlin, which was advertised in several European countries, failed. Currently there is no proof that is vessel actually exists. There are several indications, that the whole campaign is in fact a scam to enrich a couple of far-right activists like Martin Sellner.

At first they claimed to need 50,000€ a ridiculously low amount of money to conduct their whole mission. After claiming to have obtained a ship, they want to raise additional 80,000 US-$ on wesearchr for equipment and fuel. Without considering potential losses due to closed accounts the identitarians‘ claims of money raised amount to roughly 90,000€ (own estimates).
At least to activists monitoring the identitarians in Austria and Germany this sounds familiar: Sellner previously announced an app for racists called „Patriot Peer“ [1,5]. An unknown amount of money was collected to finance the app. But for months there were no further comments on the current status. It has to be suspected that the leadership of the identitarians scammed their own supporters.

Even if the identitarians do something at the Mediterranean some pictures taken on board a chartered vessel or even dinghy will most likely be the only remains of „Defend Europe“.

Last but not least: Apparently the whole campaign attracts other people to join the identitarians. At least one former German navy soldier volunteered for this pirate-style mission. Said former soldier expresses his sympathies for different far-right groups, including the openly fascist network “Revolte auf Beton” [6], the unconstitutional german political party NPD and the identitarians (especially their most aggressive German branch Kontrakultur Halle).

tl;dr: The identitarian pirate-style mission “Defend Europe” is quite likely to be a scam.