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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Police: 49 Dead In Attacks On New Zealand Mosques. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired March 15, 2019 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:17] JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Julia Chatterley in London where we're following breaking news out of New Zealand. A man in his late 20s has been charged with murder after shootings at two mosques in the City of Christchurch. At least 49 people were killed and dozens are injured including young children.
The prime minister has described it as a terrorist act. Two other people are in custody, police are trying to determine if they have any involvement. Police say two improvised explosive devices were attached to a vehicle but did not explode. One device has been disabled and authorities say they are working on the other.
One gunman was wearing a body cam and live streamed the violence on social media. Police are imploring people not to share the distressing and graphic footage. And right now, about 350 kilometers south of Christchurch, police are searching an area of interest in the town of Dunedin, they've evacuated surrounding properties. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says this has been one of New Zealand's darkest days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: For those of you who are watching at home tonight and questioning how this could have happened here, we, New Zealand, we were not a target because we are a safe harbor for those who hate. We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism. We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: CNN's Anna Coren is in Hong Kong and has been reporting on this story now for many hours. Anna, thank you for joining us.
Let's just start by telling our viewers what we know about the main suspect here and the individual that's been charged with murder overnight?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Julia, we understand that the main suspect, the gunman is a 28-year-old Australian man. His name was on social media, however, police refusing to confirm his name. So we are not going with his name at this stage, but he has been charged with murder. He is going to appear in court in Christchurch tomorrow morning.
Two others have also been arrested and police are working out their connection to this massacre. But at this stage, we can presume that the violence, that the killing spree that unfolded was the act of this one man, this Australian man. We know that there are 49 people who have been killed. Dozens of others have been injured, seriously injured, obviously, they're suffering gunshot wounds, so we can expect the death toll to rise.
But we speak about this gunman, he had a camera strapped to his helmet, and he live streamed this 17-minute act. The killing spree itself lasted for six minutes, but it was absolutely horrendous. The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, she said that there is no place for these extremist views, this extremist violence, this is not New Zealand. You know, New Zealand is a beautiful country of 5 million people, they're welcoming, they're loving. They open their borders to migrants and to Muslims.
They provide sanctuary and a safe home for these people who have fled war zones. So for this terror to descend on Christchurch today, it has without doubt just rocked the foundations of this nation.
CHATTERLEY: And Anna, CNN has made a decision not to show any of this 17-minute footage. We're imploring viewers not to share it, not to even watch it and help to spread any form of message of pure hate here, Anna, but I know you have watched it. I mean, you've been describing in pretty graphic detail and I do think it helps to understand the mentality of the person that we are dealing with here.
Please can you just give us a sense of what you saw?
COREN: Julia, you're witnessing somebody who is murdering people in cold blood. You know, this is not a movie, this is not a video game. This is somebody who is coolly, calmly, very -- you know, calculatedly walking through this mosque, this first mosque, the mosque where there were 200, 300 people there for Friday prayers and just mowing people down.
[09:05:02] The video that he streamed, it starts with him driving to the mosque. There is music playing, he parks his car, you can see that there are at least three semiautomatic weapons in the passenger side, he's holding another one, he walks to the back of the car, opens up the boot. There are another two semiautomatic weapons there. There are magazines of ammunition. There are jerry cans of fuel. He walks calmly to the mosque, walks through the gates, starts firing at people standing outside, walks through the front doors and just mows down every single person in his path.
You can hear people screaming, mourning, crying out for help and he doesn't flint. He does not stop. There is no panic from what you can see. He is there to execute everyone in his sight. He does these for several minutes. He pulls into a corridor, reloads, comes out again, continues killing, walks outside. And obviously with all of this, this gunfire going on, people have come out of their homes. And suddenly he's picking off bystanders on the pavement, one direction then the other direction. He goes back to his car, gets more ammunition, returns to the mosque firing the whole time.
I mean he would have spent hundreds of magazines in this six-minute killing spree. And this is the beat that is just chilling. There are bodies slumped throughout the mosque, dozens of bodies. And whether these people were dead, whether these people were injured, playing dead, trying to hide from this crazed gunman, he then goes up to each body and at close range, executes every single one of them.
He walks outside the mosque, he sees a woman, he fires at her, walks up to her. She is screaming out for help, help me, help me. He shoots her in the head. And then he walks back to his car, he drives away. He shoots out the windscreen. He shoots out the passenger window indiscriminately. You can hear the police sirens heading towards the mosque. And we presume from that point, he then heads to the second mosque to carry out the next attack.
CHATTERLEY: Anna Coren, we'll come back to you later on the show. Thank you for that.
One witness says seeing others hid under cars and try to jump a fence to escape while others say, all he could do is pray.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHMOUD NASSIR, WITNESS: We heard, you know, the firing and it comes from the main entrance, the main entrance of the building. And then everybody just run toward the back doors just to save themselves. We saw many injured bullets and arm and ran into the -- on the gear, men, women like that. The others lying in the door and I don't know how many people died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was thinking that he must run out of bullets, you know. So what I did was to basically waiting for that and praying to God over please, let this guy run out of bullets. And when he stop first time I went, one guy was out just beside the wall, and what he did was he told me no, no and then I -- I went basically where I was. And next thing, the guy came and shoot this guy who follow me to get out. There was that moment and I know that guy. And he shoot them stay and at ease.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: All right, let's talk more about this. Will Geddes is managing director if the International Corporate Protection and he joins us now for some analysis. He advice his governments and build corporations on counterterrorism.
Well, great to have you with us right now. The New Zealand government has said, there's no active threat remaining, but they've asked people to be vigilant. They almost say it's been hours of the mourning now in New Zealand, but they ask people to stay at home. They're clearly worried. What are they worried about now?
WILL GEDDES, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CORPORATE PROTECTION: Well, I think, you know, that's taking a very sensible precaution and not in raising the threat level to high, so it's going blotchy from low to high.
CHATTERLEY: For the first time ever.
GEDDES: For the time ever with this particular instant. But I think also until they can bust them out and further investigate whether there are any connections between the key perpetrator. And I say the key perpetrator because that's your correspondent was saying, four people were arrested, three are still being processed but one is definitively been charged with murder tomorrow morning in Christchurch Court.
Now, they have to ascertain as much as they possibly can, especially because this key perpetrator wasn't known to both New Zealand intelligence or to Australian intelligence bearing in mind that he was Australian-born.
CHATTERLEY: Does that surprise you in light of what we've seen, 17- minute video live streamed uploaded to social media that a manifesto that he also produced before he carried out these attacks allegedly as well? Does that surprise you that he was unknown to security forces?
GEDDES: It doesn't entirely. One of the biggest challenges we have with far-right extremism groups and particularly those that have on a violence agenda is they can be amongst us.
[09:10:04] They can be also, you know, pretty much hiding in plain sight. Now, I've been describing this quite a lot today as what we called the long fuse type of terrorists which means that is a plan that is culminated and developed over a period of time. And then the actual detonation of that fuse is done in a very relatively short period.
So in terms of the postings that we've seen on social media, manifestos, all the communications and the setting this up of the Facebook live, this was done in a very sufficient period of time. However, there was inevitably some level of vast reconnaissance or preplanning reconnaissance undertaken before hand. Having watched the video myself, he knows exactly where he's going.
CHATTERLEY: What's your observation having watched the video? I mean we were hearing in incredibly graphic detail there from Anna. What took place there? What type of individual is radicalized to this extent? And are they a lone actor or is there a risk here too when we start investigating further? And clearly at very early stages of the investigation here whether he, they, acted alone or part of a bigger cell perhaps too?
GEDDES: Well, we're seeing a lot of signatures and similarities and hallmarks if you like to the Anders Breivik situation in Norway that we saw some years ago. My guts at the moment and it is purely my guts at the moment is that this is potentially a lone wolf actor. And this is an individual that has basically comes up this plan themselves. And they've look to implement to themselves. But watching the video, this is someone who knows exactly what they're doing. They're absolutely cold and clinical in their execution of these civilians and these poor innocent people within the mosques. He knows exactly where he's going and he progressively executes, as your correspondent was saying earlier. Each and every single one of them, even those that have actually been injured or trying to escape, he then systematically goes over and executes them as well. This person has rehearsed this I would say a number of times whether that'd be on a range or more importantly probably more in their head in the lead-up to this actual attack.
CHATTERLEY: It's interesting that you made the comparison there with happened in Norway. I mean, this is another country where they've never raised the threat level to high, seen as incredibly tolerant country in comparison to others. Even as Anna has made the comparison to Australia itself in fact, we'll see a very close neighbor here, the choice.
GEDDES: Well for many, it's going to be part of this resistance operating in a territory where it doesn't have as sophisticated as intelligence systems now bearing in minds that New Zealand is part of the Five Eyes partners alongside Australia, Canada, the United States and the U.K. They don't have the same counterterrorism capability that their four other partners have. And the terrorists will always look at the opportunities to carry out the attack for as long as they possibly can before apprehension.
Now, New Zealand does have some great capabilities in terms of not only their police force but also very much in their special forces. The New Zealand SAS is based on the same model as Australian SAS and already here in the U.K. SAS.
CHATTERLEY: There were two explosive devices. One, I mentioned in the introduction that was disarmed, what does that say to you too perhaps about what was being planned here, the extent of it? What this individual could ultimately have done if not apprehended when he appeared to be?
GEDDES: Yes, it's difficult to say. And again, speculation on my party.
CHATTERLEY: I know.
GEDDES: And the two IEDs that were discovered, these improvised explosive devices were both on the same vehicle, now whether that vehicle was going to be parked in a crowded area as we saw with Anders Breivik when he pulled up an IED within the Oslo Center, city center, and then went on carrying his attack elsewhere, the same could have perhaps being planned for this particular instance. And again it is speculation, but it comes down to how those devices were constructed. Do they have detonators? How they would be detonated? Would it be physically or would it -- it could have been remotely?
CHATTERLEY: You know, the most alarming thing that you said to me in this whole discussion is the fact that you're not surprised that this person was not on any security records, no flags have been raised. When you see and you look at the response around the world, and people are stepping up security at the mosques around the world, is that what you would be advising governments at this moment? GEDDES: Well yes. I mean I think counterterrorism entities have been advising key religious sites, particularly in the Muslim community for recruitments for the attacks by far-right extremist.
GEDDES: Here in the U.K., the last time we saw standing was the Finsbury Park Mosque in 2017. That's not to say, those threats I'm going to prevail or continue to happen as we've seen in New Zealand.
CHATTERLEY: Well, great to have you with us. Thank you so much for that.
All right, we're going to take a quick break here but still ahead, New Zealand's flag has been lowered to half-staff as the nation mourns today's attacks. Our special coverage of the Christchurch mass shootings continues. Stay with us.
[09:17:56] CHATTERLEY: Police in several countries say they are stepping up security at mosques after the terror attacks in New Zealand. At least 49 people were killed in shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch. A man who has been charged with murder and two other people are in custody in connection with the attacks. New Zealand's Prime Minister is condemning the attacks, saying that the suspect's extremist views "Have no place in New Zealand or the world."
In the meantime, authorities are urging Muslims in New Zealand to stay away from places of worship as survivors speak out about what they saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I turned to open the door to the toilet and they started firing and I say what's gong on and they just keep firing and firing. This small window, we tried to go to them, but I was leave behind. But I smashed the window and the firing just keep going. When I just jump in fire, that was outside another door in the mosque, I see the people, they're shooting from inside the mosque. And at the time I jumped in and then run away as he keep firing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: It's been one of New Zealand's darkest days. Those words from the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressing her shock and sadness following Friday's attacks. Chris Lynch, a reporter in New Zealand, described the impact that this has had on his community.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS LYNCH, NEW ZEALAND REPORTER: I think we all feel just so deflected. We feel like our city has gone through tale again and it continues to go through hell. We feel defeated. I have been describing the mosque since I was the exist like the friendly neighborhood, the friendly neighbor because as always played quite an important role in the community, opens up its doors to the people of Christchurch to show that it is trained spirit to visit by and look are being near me. A couple of young people have filmed me before but people are just generous, lovely people. There is a sense that you want to know what goes on there.
[09:20:00] And it's not a closed off environment that you often hear on some sensational kind of reports in other countries. It's a very friendly mosque. The same with the mosque in line although it doesn't specifically look like what you would call a mosque. It's so much more a hall, a community hall environment. But once again, we are talking about the lovely, friendly family-oriented people. And that's why this is not just a shocked. It's a -- it's an absolute tragedy for everybody. We don't really have guns in this country.
One thing that we are quite proud of is to say it takes when we hear other mass shooting, we ultimately think of America or northern parts of Europe. This is just very foreign to us. We don't hear guns. It's not usual for us to hear guns. We are a strong hunting country, but that's as far as it goes. The right to bear arms is just not in our nature.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Bobby Ghosh joins me now. He is editor and columnist at Bloomberg and a commentator on Muslim affairs.
Bobby, great to have you here.
BOBBY GHOSH, BLOOMBERG EDITOR AND COLUMNIST: Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: Actually to hear Chris Lynch say that there, this is not something that you would expect to happen in our country in this community. We expect it to happen somewhere else in the world.
GHOSH: Well that's the lesson we've seen now. We used to believe five, 10 years ago that some parts of the world will more evolved than others. The Scandinavians, the New Zealanders, Australians, these are more inclusive communities, more tolerant. But what we've learned is that these hatreds can lurk everywhere. And they now travel through the computer, through the internet and they can be anywhere.
Even in a country, as Chris said there, where there are very strict gun laws, people can be fired by hate, get their hands on weapons and then go and commit to these kinds of terrorist attacks. It is now -- we can no longer afford to be surprised. We can no longer have the luxury of thinking that any part of the world is now safe from this particularly nasty train of bigotry, of hatred of Islamaphobia.
CHATTERLEY: I mean how do you fight that? You've mentioned so many important points there. One the spread of extremism over the internet, over social media and obviously that played a role in this too with the live streaming of this heinous attack and the spreading of that then on social media. But also how do you contain the spread of this kind of hatred and sentiment when you have political leaders, world leaders spreading a message of anti-immigration? Never mind anti-religion of some --
GHOSH: Well so many of them are openly racist. So much of -- the bigotry is now expressed plainly and without any effort to couch them in sort of analogies that's being spoken plainly and around the world. And we live in this incredibly dangerous and difficult time. So it's all the more importance of those medias who will speak to progressive values like a Prime Minister Ardern. It's important for them to speak louder for us a bit closer attention. Those political leaders will speak out, must now speak louder, must now speak with actions as well as with words.
And it becomes -- it become a necessity for all kinds of other people in the community to come together, religious people -- you know, leaders of society, business leaders, people from all other walks of life to now step up and say their piece. I'm just coming from Central London, from Trafalgar Square, the whole square is shutdown today because children have taken a day off school to travel to come to the city and tell grownups that they care about the environment.
Maybe they -- maybe we need to hear more from those kinds of voices. I'm sure, there's a lot of parents today in London who are worried about their children being out there on a day like this. But we need these voices. We need them to speak unambiguously and to drown out both digitally online, but as well as in the real world, as well as on television to drown out the sounds and the trumpet of hate that is spreading all over the world.
CHATTERLEY: I mean people can read extremist messages and can absorb them. It doesn't mean they necessarily go out and perpetrate the kind of attack that we're talking about that happened in New Zealand overnight. But this is a specific attack on the Muslim community.
GHOSH: It was more than that. This is a terrorist attack. This is clearly planned. This -- the people from two different countries where involved. New Zealanders, Australians, two different attacks, different mosques, they had to arrange to get their hands on the weapons that are not easy to get in New Zealand. This is carefully planned attack. And we will find out in the days and hours to come just how much detail went in. How much the -- typically when things like this happen as we've learned in the past, these people tend, people who hate like this, tend to project their hatred over a long period of time. This is not someone who just one day spent
GHOSH: We will find. We're already seeing that online, this was a person at least the Australian person was saying hateful things.
[09:25:06] Should it have set off alarm bells among the police and among sort of anti-terrorism, the groups in the Australian government and the New Zealand government. We have to assess these things. We cannot -- we can no longer pretend that this is a lone wolf, that this is one person who happened to just sort some trigger went in their brain and they went out. This is carefully plan. This is more than one individual. This -- we have to ask ourselves, should we have seen this coming?
CHATTERLEY: These extremists in all religion --
CHATTERLEY: -- on all sides and there's fear as well on all sides. So at a moment like this -- and you kind of touched upon it already, how should people react and how come we learn from it as you've alluded to here? Perhaps even if we can't anticipate one individual with incredibly extremist views and the ability and will to act on them, how can we try to prevent this?
GHOSH: We communities have to work together. So it already sounds like judging by what Chris said there, it already sounds like the community around these two mosques are beginning to rally, are beginning to show solidarity with each other across religious lines. And that is very, very important.
GHOSH: And for us journalists, we do need to hype, to sort of draw more attention to those kinds of gestures. And the law enforcement has to put their hand up and take responsibility.
Look, you're right, there is extremism in many religions, in many faiths, and there is extremism outside of religion as well. But if you are a Muslim extremists and a terrorists today anywhere in the world, you know what the potential consequences for your actions are.
We have sent as a world, as a world community in Muslim states and none Muslim states alike. We have sent the unambiguous message about if you do these things, bad things will happen to you. And that's all -- not just if you take up the gun, but if you are involved in transmitting hate speech, if you are involved in trying to recruit other people to do harmful things. There are punishments. Same kinds of the punishments have to now being -- be applied to people who are using the web to spread hatred of other kinds too.
CHATTERLEY: This is such an important point. The same isolation of the behavior in certain parts of the extremists in certain religions also needs to apply to those that operates on the far-right and spread hatred too.
GHOSH: All kinds of hatred. This is -- we can't allow, because the gap of hatred to action and --
CHATTERLEY: To violence.
GHOSH: -- and beside to this, so small in our world today. We -- the margins are very too small. We have to have an unambiguous message both in terms of political messaging but also law enforcement.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, this doesn't represent all this or us Bobby. Thank you, Bobby Ghosh there.
GHOSH: Thank you. CHATTERLEY: All right, still ahead, the heroes of Christchurch. New Zealand's first responders arrived at the scene of both the mosque shootings within minutes and helped save lives. Their story, next.
[09:31:32] CHATTERLEY: We continue to follow the shocking news from New Zealand where 49 people have been killed and dozens injured in shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch. The Prime Minister has described it as a terrorist attack.
A man in his late 20s has been charged with murder, two other people remain in custody. Police are trying to determine if they have any involvement. New Zealand's police commissioner says the suspects were not previously known to authorities. The emergency response to the attack was led by New Zealand's St. John Ambulance Service. We spoke earlier to Peter Bradley who heads it. He describes to us how the events unfolded.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PETER BRADLEY, ST. JOHN CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER: We were called to a call of multiple shootings at 1:53 New Zealand time and we had ambulances on the scene within a matter of minutes. And, you know, a sort of terrible situation and scenario for the emergency service responders to come across when they arrived. And here, over the proceeding hours we've transported dozens of patients to hospital. And there's clearly a number of fatalities. And the injury is ranging from the gunshot wounds to the head and the face and arms, legs and torso and soft tissue injuries as people tried to escape and make their escape.
And we had over 20 ambulances responded, over 50 to 60 ambulance staff involved. And yes, all patients taken to the Christchurch Emergency Department where they're now are being treated in ICU and were about to -- they're about to review if any of those patients require transport to other hospitals to relieve some pressure on a very hardworking ED in Christchurch.
CHATTERLEY: Are you talking about the fact that nothing like this has ever happened in this country? And you -- certainly, Christchurch has been dealing with other thing as wildfires and earthquake and now this. How would you describe the feeling there after something like this?
BRADLEY: Well, I was -- see with the ambulance service prior to coming back to New Zealand. And so I personally went through a number of terrorists attacks as chief executive over there. And so returning to New Zealand little did I think that we'd ever see a similar scenario in this beautiful country of ours. So yes, it's been -- it's an absolute tragedy and shocking to everyone, all 5 million of us who live in this beautiful place.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: The head of the St. John Ambulance Service of New Zealand, Peter Bradley speaking there.
A total of 48 people and that includes children have been admitted to the Christchurch hospital, 20 are seriously injured. Journalist Blis Savidge is at the scene for.
Blis, thank you so much for joining us. What more can you tell us about those that are being treated in the hospital behind you?
BLIS SAVIDGE, JOURNALIST: So there's still not a lot of official information being released at this moment, but we are in the -- in front of a hospital right now. And there's a lot of security. There's arms guards in front of the door which is pretty unusual for this country, because generally New Zealand police don't carry gun. So to see police officers with large guns is quite shocking in itself.
So there's -- yes, more than 40 people more being treated from minor wounds to really severe critical wounds. We are seeing that that good bit of people coming in and out, can't confirm for sure, whether that's family or friends. Certainly a lot of law enforcement here. But it's still having a very large impact on the city.
[09:35:03] And not just the city, but country as we touched on before. This is a country that not only doesn't have a lot of gun violence. They have a very low violent crime rate in general. So something like this happening for people who live here is unheard of. I have talked to a lot of local people who say, you know, mass shooting, Christchurch, New Zealand those are words that just they don't know go together. So for people to kind of wrap their mind around that I think it's really tough.
CHATTERLEY: I think everybody around the world, Blis, is just trying to understand what happened here, the shocked. Thank you so much again for joining us here. Can you give us a sense of any information about children? Were there children involved here? I mean we've got reports of children with gunshot wounds. Is that what you were hearing there too?
SAVIDGE: Yes, that's what I'm hearing as well. Yes, reports of children as young as 3 years old gunshot wounds being taken to the hospitals. Yes.
CHATTERLEY: And what about for the community as you mentioned? I mean this is your community too. You said it had a huge impact on people, they're shocked. It's simply not something that even the doctors and the nurses have really had to deal with?
SAVIDGE: Yes, I think we have to commend all the first responders out here. Certainly, this is not something that anybody in New Zealand has seen. Certainly, the first time for a lot of the first responders, so the bravery that they've shown in just dealing with this has to be so traumatic and so grateful for everything that they did. The quick responses to save as many people as they could and just get everybody as safe as possible even shutting down a lot of the places in the city and making sure to protect the rest of the city as well.
CHATTERLEY: Blis Savidge in Christchurch there. Thank you. And we wish all those well in the hospital behind her.
All right, coming up, prayers and condolences are being offered from around the world after the terrorist attacks in Christchurch. Stay with us, more on the story after this.
[09:40:18] MOHAN IBN IBRAHIM, EYEWITNESS: One of the safest country. Muslim are safe here, never had any issues, never seen anything. I have been living here for five years. Suddenly, today, I can just recall what I have seen on my eyes and what I just saw the people who are like dying and injured. So I don't know where else would be the safest to be, you know, to lived in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: The voice of a survivor of the New Zealand mosque attacks expressing his shock that such an atrocity could happen in a country that seemed so safe.
All right. Let me bring you up to speed of what we know right now. The attacks happened at two mosques in Christchurch both of them for the people attending Friday prayers. Forty-nine people are dead and dozens more are wounded including young children. Three people are now in custody in connection with the attack. A man in his late 20s has been charged with murder. Police also found two improvised explosive devices in a car.
Joining me now is CNN's Chief International Correspondent, Clarissa Ward. Clarissa, thank you for joining us. You've covered examples of far-right extremism all over the world particularly in Europe, tell me what you saw and what resonated with you in the huge manifesto that was published before these attack commands.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So we've been pouring over this this morning. It's 87 pages essentially of hatred, rants. Much of it very typical of what you would expect and what we have seen when we have done stories that focused on the far right, the sorts of means and tropes that have become very common that are sort of shared by these insiders. A lot of kind of nod and a wink to other people who will pick up on the references to obscure battles fought in the 1800s between the Ottoman Empire, lots of references to the crusades.
He talks about how the reborn knights of the Templar group he describes. He says they gave their blessing to this operation. And that's very interesting to me, Julia, because if you look at the rhetoric of ISIS as well, they talk a lot about westerners as crusaders. An interesting to me that both of these sort of equally apparent extremist ideologists on very different sides of this chasm are implementing the same sort of language. And it's language that is really aimed at creating divisions, at sowing discord, at provoking retaliation.
When you go through this 87-page manifesto, it's quite clear even when he's being playful almost at times, that it is written with the intent of provoking some kind of a retaliation, of escalating tensions, of creating if you like a clash of civilizations or cultures or an all- out conflict.
CHATTERLEY: And attempt to divide society.
CHATTERLEY: But almost using the same kind of language, the tone, the use of history.
WARD: Yes. And not even just the same language, it's the very same idea. If you look at one of Al-Qaeda's sort of founding manuals, the management of savagery or if you look at ISIS's idea of eliminating the gray zone, this is all about using brutal acts of vicious violence in wanton terrorist attacks that are so extreme that they end up polarizing societies. They end up ripping apart the very fabric of society.
The other thing that was very interesting and that stock out when you're going through this and hearing this talk of there's an invasion of Muslim immigrants, there's -- we're being replaced, our culture is being replaced, they're outbreeding us. And it's very disturbing and concerning to see that a lot of these ideas in recent years have actually become more common in public mainstream right wing discourse. That, I think, is particularly concerning in this day and age, because there's a sense that things that were once taboo to say not only regarding Muslims, I should say, regarding migrants, regarding Rome, regarding Jewish people that it is now considered politically OK to see --
CHATTERLEY: It's mainstream.
WARD: It's become more mainstream. You can't say that that causes something like this to happen, but certainly it's worth exploring whether this sort of broader atmosphere is contributing to violent attacks of this nature.
CHATTERLEY: How do we deescalate? Because when you also, in your work, you've spoken in this case to the Muslim community? I mean, we were talking earlier on in the show that this extremist on many sides when you look at religion, that outside of religion as well.
[09:45:01] When you look at something like this where it appears that at least in this case two sides are learning from each other, and not sort of facilitating the hatred and the anger. How do you stop that?
WARD: I think one thing that's very important for Muslims who I have been speaking to, what they want to hear right now in the strongest terms is condemnation from every level of civil society, from every western government that makes it very clear in the same way that a mea culpa is demanded often of Muslims when these extremist groups carry out attacks in the name of ISIS. They want to see the same kind of action being taken against right-wing extremists when it's coming from their own backyards.
And so, it's necessary right now to have a sense that all extremists' ideologies and all terrorist attacks are treated on an even footing, and that we sort of get rid of this idea that it's associated to any one religion. There is no religion in terrorism. Terrorism is a brutal tactic --
WARD: -- that has been implemented and used by many groups for many years.
CHATTERLEY: Abuse of religion.
CHATTERLEY: Clarissa, thank you for that.
WARD: Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: Clarissa Ward there.
There's been global condemnation of the attacks in New Zealand. Queen Elizabeth who is New Zealand's Head of State said, "I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the family and friends of those who have lost their lives." She also pay tribute to the emergency services.
Donald Trump, U.S. President tweeted, "My warmest sympathy and best wishes go out to those people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the mosques. Forty-nine innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all."
The British Prime Minister said, "On behalf of the U.K., my deepest condolences to the people of New Zealand after the horrifying terrorist attack in Christchurch. My thoughts with all of those affected by this sickening act of violence." Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said, "Shocked and strongly condemn the Christchurch, New Zealand, terrorist attack on mosques. This reaffirms what we have always maintained that terrorism does not have a religion. Prayers go to the victims and their families."
The Turkish President tweeting, "On behalf of my country, I offer my condolences to the Islamic world and the people of New Zealand who have been targeted by this deplorable act. The latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia." While the archbishop of Canterbury said, "Profound sympathy for the victims and relatives of the New Zealand terrorism. Let all Christians pray for healing of people, interfaith relations and New Zealand itself. Jesus calls us to welcome strangers and love our neighbor, however, different."
The people around the world express condolences. Video of the attack is livestream continues to circulate online. We bring you more on the mass shootings in New Zealand including a look at the role of social media. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [09:50:30] CHATTERLEY: To our top story the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. At least 49 people are dead, dozens are wounded, including children. The attacker wore a body cam and broadcast the massacre live on Facebook. Police are urging people to stop sharing, stop watching the video online. A man in his like 20s has been charged with murder and he's due to appear in court on Saturday. Police also searching an area of interest in the town of Dunedin that evacuators surrounding properties.
CNN's Anna Coren is in Hong Kong for us on the story. Anna, you described already in the show the graphic detail of the recording that you watched. Just talk through once again the individual, the suspect that's now been charged in relation to this heinous crime, and what you saw in terms his actions.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Julia, he is a 28-year-old Australian citizen who we are learning from the Australian news outlets, comes from the town of Grafton in Northern New South Wales. It's a sleepy timber town that certainly will be inundated with international media trying to work out what went wrong with this certain individual.
We believe that he moved to New Zealand a short time ago. But as far as other details as to his background and what he has done in his adult life, we just don't know. We don't know where, along the line, he has become radicalized. But clearly, this is somebody who now subscribes to that white supremacist right-wing ideology which was illustrated in the manifesto that was written and released on social media.
He is appearing in court in Christchurch tomorrow morning. No doubt, he will be surrounded by police heavily armed, no doubt there will be many, many angry people. But as we have discussed, Julia, you know, New Zealand is a peace loving, welcoming country. They don't see these sorts of acts of violence. They don't see gun violence. Let alone mass shootings on this sort of scale.
That video that you referred to which he live streamed on his camera attached to his helmet, it was some of the most horrific video that I have ever seen in my 20-plus years of reporting. It was like watching a movie, somebody just executing people in front of him in cold blood. But this was for real. And it was happening.
He walks into the mosque, he's heavily armed, he starts firing, mowing down people, these people who are there to pray and -- for Friday prayers, and it just goes on, this killing spree goes on to the next six minutes. He makes sure that every single person in that mosque is dead. He leaves, gets in his car, drives off, and you hear those police sirens heading to the mosque. And we believe from that point, Julia, he was heading to the second mosque to kill even more people.
CHATTERLEY: OK. Anna Coren, thank you so much once again for joining us.
As Anna mentioned, one of the many horrifying details to emerge from this is that the violence was live streamed on the attacker's Facebook page. And not just that, the video continues to be available and to circulate online.
Samuel Burke joins us now. Samuel, the obvious thing, it was live streamed, so initially, it's going live, it's tough to control, but why can't Facebook now control this?
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And what's incredibly fascinating here is that it shows not just in the way that he's been influenced by social media, the way that our reporters have been laying out for you over this past hour, but also that it was part of his plan, the fact that Anna Coren just mentioned that he had a body cam, it's not just as simple as holding up your phone and livestream and that means that there was thought going into how am I going to connect the body camera that I'm wearing to a device that will then livestream this for dozens, hundreds, thousands, maybe millions and billions of people to see on these platforms.
I want to just put up on the screen what we know so far the facts about how social media and live streaming was involved in this incident. Number one, Facebook says it quickly took down the original livestream video, but quickly is very relative. This is a video that lasted 17 minutes, and Facebook won't say whether they took it down while it was happening or after it happened.
[09:55:12] Next, the video is on all of the major social media platforms right now, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. One account, Julia, had 700,000 followers I saw on Twitter that was sharing this. Next, you'll also see that getting to a point that you made at the top of this report, people often say don't share the video, just watching the video helps contribute to the spread of the video, and therefore, you are helping to spread radicalization.
With few view of a video, one is on social media, the algorithms picks it up, and the next person doesn't calculating on this as read to show this to more people. And lastly and perhaps the most important part here really gets the answering the core of your question, how come the video is still up? Well, some TV broadcasters have decided news agency decided to air this. Once that video is up, and then people shared that news video on social media, the hashing that goes on, that's when the video is tagged and said to be OK, let's not show it anymore, the algorithms get confused and think that this is the news where the event that must be up.
CHATTERLEY: My whole show has been about the difference in the western treatment of extremism versus treatment of extremist in the faith of Islam. We're going to talk in the next hour about the different treatment on social media and how we tackle both of these things. We'll be back.
Samuel Burke, thank you for that.
OK, our coverage of the breaking news out of New Zealand continues after this short break. Stay with CNN.