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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
New Zealand Mosque Attacks Kill 49, Wounds Dozens; Interview with Helen Clark, Labour Party, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand: Social Media Used to Broadcast Terrorism; Police: 49 Dead In Attacks On New Zealand Mosques; Body Cam Video Of New Zealand Attack Was Live-streamed; Mosque Attack Increases Scrutiny On Social Media. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired March 15, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: An act of unprecedented violence and one of New Zealand's darkest days. 49 people are dead. 20 more are seriously
wounded after mass shootings at two different mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. Friday prayers in the Muslim community. When both
mosques were packed with worshippers. This carefully planned attack has shocked the world. New Zealand prides itself on being a diverse and
tolerant society. The whole thing was live streamed on social media. A 28-year-old man has been arrested and charged with murder. Many of the
victims were taken to Christchurch hospital not far from where the first shooting happened. What more can you tell us about the victims, Bliss?
BLISS SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't have any official information on the victims. It's about 6:00 a.m. we're seeing a lot more movement. A
lot of staff coming into the hospital. A lot more police presence. There's supposed to be a court hearing. The man charged with murder will
have his first court appearance in a few hours. There's going be a few more press conferences. That's when we will start hearing about the
victims of this and really putting the light on the people whose lives were tragically cut short in this awful act.
GORANI: Are hospitals saying how many people they are treating at this stage?
SAVIDGE: The last confirmed number we had was about 48 people. Some of those injures ranging from more minor to very critical. One person died
while in the hospital. Those are the latest numbers we have so far.
GORANI: All right. 49 people confirmed dead in this massacre or massacres, I should say, on two mosques. Thanks very much, Bliss. CNN's
Anna Coren has more details on how this harrowing attack unfolded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Abhorrent, unprecedented, sickening. No word is enough as the world comes to term with Friday's mass
shooting in New Zealand.
JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: There is one of the its darkest days.
COREN: Terrorists attacked worshipers attending prayers of the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And because from the main entrance of the building. From the back doors just to save themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See the people shooting from inside the mosques and at time jump in.
COREN: For most, there was no warning. Scores were killed and dozens injured.
The confusion and chaos lasting for hours as authorities kept the city on lockdown.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I drive past the mosque and there were a lot of bodies outside. We've been waiting here just to see if our son is all
right. He's not answering his phone.
COREN: A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder in connection with the attacks. Other arrests were made and authorities are trying to
determine if those people were involved. An 87-page manifesto was posted on social media. In it pages and pages of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim
rhetoric. Instructions for an attack.
ARDERN: This is can now only be described as a terrorist attack.
COREN: One that was partially broadcast on social media. Streamed from a helmet camera showing the gunman on a killing spree.
MIKE BUSH, NEW ZEALAND POLICE COMMISSIONER: I've seen social media footage. It's very disturbing. It shouldn't be in public domain and we
are doing everything we can to remove it.
COREN: Facebook says it removed the video after it was alerted to it by New Zealand police. As authorities continue to paste together how such a
brutal attack could have taken place in tolerant and prosperous and remote New Zealand. Officials have made clear that the hatred that may have
driven the attackers will not be allowed to endure.
ARDERN: Many of those who will have been directly affected by the shooting may be migrants to New Zealand. They may even be refugees here. They have
chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. Anna
Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[13:05:00] GORANI: The person was among the population. He was not on any watch list. New Zealand is a small country with a population of fewer than
five million people. It seems the entire nation is in shock after these harrowing events. I'm joined by former Prime Minister of New Zealand,
Helen Clark. What is your reaction to these events in your country today?
HELEN CLARK, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF NEW ZEALAND: When I woke up to the messages, I was in total disbelief. This is not the New Zealand we know.
We are peaceful, tolerant, diverse. We don't have this kind of thing happening and there it was. A terrible mass shooting with so many innocent
people at Friday prayers killed and so many others injured. We are all in a state of shock about this.
GORANI: You are in a state of shock and I have heard a lot of New Zealanders say the same thing. This is not what we are bout. But the
reality is this suspect was living among ordinary New Zealanders. This ideology of hate, of white supremacy exists there as well as in other
countries. Why do you think the signs were missed? Why do you think people are in such shock today?
CLARK: This man was not on any watch list. He has accomplices. They were not on any watch list. Undoubtedly after people come to terms with the
effects that happened, many questions will be raised as to why weren't they on any watch list? Did they keep their powder dry? Was their material on
social media that the platforms should have stopped? Or that police or intelligence agencies should have seen? All those questions must be asked.
GORANI: Are you worried this might not be an isolated event? There could be copy cat attack, that type of thing in.
CLARK: Well, one is always worried about that. We watch the series of horribly tragic shootings in the United States which often appear to have
copy cat elements. I think New Zealanders will be very alert right now to any sign of anything might be repeated.
GORANI: The current Prime Minister, she said this was a well-planned terrorist attack in one of New Zealand's darkest days. I want to remind
our viewers what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARDERN: Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand. They may even be refugees here.
They have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.
They have no place in New Zealand. There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: How much do you think some of the Islamic phobic rhetoric has contributed to the radicalization of some people who believe these attacks
CLARK: I think this discourse tragically is international. It's perpetrated through social media. Platforms are very slow to remove
things. These crazy people do network. I fear that we're one of the aspects of globalization is the wide propagation of these very extreme and
GORANI: You can say that's the case for ISIS or for Islamic extremist groups. In this case you have mainstream politicians who are embracing
this rhetoric and spreading it. One Australian sitting senator tweeted something that many considered very abhorrent. Blaming Muslim immigration
for this violence. Blaming the victim for the take on the Muslim community.
CLARK: That's a ridiculous statement. Right now, we have to come to terms with the fact that more people were killed in a single day than in the last
year in New Zealand. This is a very, very bleak time for us.
[13:10:00] GORANI: What needs to happen, Mrs. Clark, going forward to make sure this doesn't happen again? You mentioned the suspects were not
on watch lists. What does that tell you that perhaps officials or law enforcement or intelligence agencies are not aware enough of the threat
that these white supremacist groups pose?
CLARK: I think those questions will be asked. At the point, I don't have enough information to know whether these people were active on social
media. It does appear to have been some links drawn with the Norwegian mass murder who killed the 70 young people. Such wake up calls is this a
very real threat. They need to be equipped the fight and politicians will have to vote the resources to help them do that. I think it will provoke
reflection on tightening of the gun laws which I would support. Our laws are more stringent than those of the USA but not as stringent for Australia
and Europe. New Zealand has work to do there.
GORANI: Thanks so much for joining us live on the program this evening. Reacting to this horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch.
As the investigation into these attacks continue, as investigators are looking into the role social media may have played. Helen Clark was
talking a lot about that, about how some of this ideology is spread online and shared online.
Apparent video of one of the attacks was live streamed on Facebook, an account that belonged to the suspect contained a link to a 87-page anti-
Muslim manifesto. Nina Dos Santos, what can you tell me about this and all the crazy conspiracy theories and hate in it directed and Muslim and
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: It's a rant. It's about 17,000 words long, this document. In it this individual call himself an average white
man. He says he's Australian but of European origin and he's been motivated to conduct an attack because of some of the terrorist attacks
he's seen taking place over the last few years in Europe. It appears he claims he's been in contact with the far-right terrorists in Norway who
killed nearly 77 people back in 2011. If first images we saw were videos on social media. It goes to show that several years on, here we are
talking about the role of social media in helping to disseminate some of this far right imagery.
GORANI: Was he part of a group. Was he a lone wolf? Three other men were arrested.
DOS SANTOS: What we know is authorities have arrested three people. There are explosives found in cars nearby and other firearm devices. They
searched various addresses. We're waiting to hear whether those searches yielded more information. Authorities haven't linked to these individuals.
Because of the wait of information posted live as this individual, the main perpetrator, conducted this attack was posted on his Facebook page. He's
the focus of this investigation. This manifesto he posted on the same account seems to say he's been planning this attack for three months. He
specifically chose New Zealand because it's such a peaceful place. The last time they saw a mass gun attack was in 1990. This has left the world
shocked because it's a peaceful and tolerant place. He wanted revenge for immigrants and quote Muslims who he believes have invaded European
countries. This is not a European citizen. There are lessons that can be learned from Europe especially when it comes to tackling far right
terrorism, here in the UK, the U.K. has taken much tougher stance on far- right terrorism since the end of last year. Saying the far-right terrorism should be investigated by MI5. The domestic security services. They have
the best methods investigating it.
[13:15:00] GORANI: Let's hope that allows them to hone in on some of these threats. This guy wasn't on any watch list and killing almost 50 people.
Thanks very much. Our breaking news coverage continues. How Muslim leaders are responding to the terrorist attacks in New Zealand. More on
the victims. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Muslim countries around the world are strongly condemning this terrorist attack which targeted Muslims. The Turkish President said the
deplorable act is the latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia. Talk to us a bit about what was said but reaction from other Muslim
countries as well.
ARWA DAMON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Understandably we are hearing some very strong condemnation from the entire region. President
Erdogan's comments quite pointed especially talking about Islamophobia. He went on the say it's long been watched and also encouraged in the world.
It's crossed the line from individual harassment into mass murder. Then he went onto say we call on the entire world especially western countries to
take measures against this course of events which threatens the entire mankind.
That call on western nations, that is something that we were also hearing from people that we have been talking to today in Istanbul. The sense
there's been this significant rise of anti-Islamic, anti-Islamic world, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric especially coming from western
nations. They need to do something to try to stem this hatred. We saw after Friday prayers something of a commemoration of a funeral for those
who had died in that horrific New Zealand attack. People here really feeling this to very core as it's been felt throughout the world. One taxi
driver saying we cannot allow this kind of violence to further divide us, Hala.
GORANI: Thanks very much. Other world leaders are offering their condolences. Earlier today the U.K. Parliament held a minute of silence to
honor those killed or injured in the attack. It's kind of an empty chamber. Has to be said, certainly emptier than when Brexit votes were
taken. London Mayor Sadiq Khan spoke to reporters a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR; UK: We fill the ripples of hatred. We feel the ripples of sorrow for our brothers and sisters in Christchurch. Let us be
under no illusion, this was a terrorists' attack on innocent men, women and children. The deliberately targeted because the faith they belong to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: London is among several cities around world stepping up security at mosques. We spoke to worshipers in east London at Friday prayers
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very sad. It's not nice thing. It shouldn't be like that. We are all human beings. Muslim, Christian, any belief, they
respect their religion, so it is really hopeful thing, shouldn't happen like this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The community are feeling very emotional. Very shocked. A sense of fear to be honest with you because the fact is people
are going to pray. It is Friday today. We're all still here. We're not giving up hope because the fact is, someone that is really a terrorist, to
be honest with you, why should we stop doing what we do and being who we are?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: One of New Zealand's famous Muslim s the rugby stars, Sonny Bill Williams, he posted this response on social media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SONNY BILL WILLIAMS, RUGBY STAR: Just heard the news. I can't put it into words how I'm feeling right now. Jus there's close to 30 people dead.
Everyone that's been killed today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Terrorists attacks in New Zealand are very, very rare. Horrific massacres like this. Very, very rare. Even though the alleged gunman is
Australian, our next guest says New Zealand is not immune to far right extremism.
Professor Paul Spoonley, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University, New Zealand. He is also the
author of "Politics of Nostalgia -- Racism and The Extreme Right in New Zealand."
You're the right person to speak to. Were there warning signs that were missed here. These suspects were not on any watch list. Was there
complacency from intelligence agencies?
PAUL SPOONLEY, PRO VICE-CHANCELLOR FOR THE COLLEGE OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES AT MASSEY UNIVERSITY, NEW ZEALAND: I think there is,
unfortunately, for Australia and New Zealand security agencies. If you look at this guy, I didn't know this guy. I do watch these activists
around New Zealand. I wasn't aware of this guy. Looking back and we have the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to pick up he held strong views about
Islam and Muslims and was to be active in some way. He didn't specify what until the day. I think there were signs that we missed.
GORANI: What about the gun laws? That was a question during our editorial meeting. They are much stricter in the United States and New Zealand. How
do you get ahold of that?
SPOONLEY: How did he get around those? Who supplied him with the guns? Those are some of the questions we're going to have to ask. Those are very
GORANI: We don't know whether or not he was a lone wolf or operate within a cell. We do know two other people were arrested. If this is an
extremist group that organized this and carried out this attack, what does that tell us about where far right extremist extremists, how they are
operating in a country like New Zealand?
SPOONLEY: We do have far right extremist extremists. They are small in terms of our politics. They haven't acted violently before. It's very
unusual. The international reach of these views and activities. When you look at his manifesto. It's quite clear he's influenced by what others
have done in other countries.
[13:25:00] GORANI: You mentioned in his manifesto, he mentioned the American man Dylann Roof who killed black worshippers in a church a few
years ago. Is it the internet? It is like is. The internet is used to radicalize and among whites the same trend is at play?
SPOONLEY: Absolutely. In New Zealand we're very permissive. We're a free speech society. We had a debate last year when two Canadian activists came
to New Zealand and one of them was very much Islamophobic in his views. I think we have got to go back and look at that. You have to ask questions
about the online platform. He videoed what he was doing and posted that on Facebook. Facebook claimed
they bring down content within 24 hours. Is 24 hours enough?
GORANI: As you know, this video all you have to do is slap a banner on it, slow mo it, edit differently, put a different color correction on and it
slips through the algorithm. It's impossible to police every platform. It took us two seconds to log onto Facebook and find a version of it. I
watched the first 30, 40 seconds. I don't want that imprinted on my brain any longer than that. How much do you think politician rhetoric is playing
into this? Does this give permission, does this give license for some of these extremists to go that one step further and carry out attacks rather
than just spew their hate online.
SPOONLEY: I think it does. That is not particularly New Zealand, we don't have anti-Muslim politicians in this country.
GORANI: But world wide you do. Twitter and speeches that are broadcast online and television. You hear politicians say we have a Muslim problem.
There's a Muslim invasion. Muslim immigration is destroying your identity. All of that at some point build up and cause some sort of explosion in some
SPOONLEY: The permissive environment we find in countries like New Zealand I would suggest in the U.S. does provide a context. Whether or not there
is a direct line causation and for major politicians to identify Muslims and Islam to demonize them, identify them as a problem, whether there is a
green light or whether there are other things in play. We don't know whether this guy has mental health issues. So, some of that needs to come
GORANI: I can tell you right now, people are watching are going to say professor Spoonley, here you go with the mental health thing when it's a
Muslim committing acts of terrorism. We bypass that straight away and go to the evil of intentions. You would be criticized. You understand.
SPOONLEY: I would agree with those criticisms. It's still early hours and days here. There's lots of things we need to find out. I was not raising
that as an excuse. I was raising that as a question. There's a whole series of questions you asked me about gun laws and whether or not there
are things that green light activity. Those are important questions that we need to find out exactly what's in play. We must condemn it.
GORANI: Thanks so much for joining us. Really appreciate your time.
Still to come, video from the New Zealand gunman's body cam is still being shared online. Didn't take me long with our Samuel Burke to find a version
of it. Taking it down from social media is proving to be mission impossible. We'll tell you why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[13:30:59] JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: Christchurch was the home of these victims. For many, this may not have been the place they
were born. In fact, for many, New Zealand was a choice, a place they actively came to and committed themselves to, the place they were raising
their families, where they were part of communities that they loved and who loved them.
It was a place that many came to for its safety. A place where they were free to practice their culture and their religion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: New Zealand's prime minister addressing something her country has never dealt with before. It's around
6:30 in the morning there. And we can only imagine how New Zealand is coming to terms with the worst mass shooting in its history waking up to
What we can't imagine, however, is this. Survivors and loved ones of the victims preparing to face a new day without their family members. Forty-
nine people were killed. Dozens more are wounded including very young children. They would have been taken to the mosque by parents or
grandparents who wanted to teach them about Islam. Processing grief of such a sudden and unjust kind is, in itself, unthinkable.
But for those affected in New Zealand, another emotion is impending upon them. Fear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YASMIN ALI, CHRISTCHURCH RESIDENT: We have hold the fatalities, family friends that we've known for 19 years. Dead. People who therefore my
engagement to be. What terrifies me is that there's people out there that are enjoying this or they're OK with this and they support this and pushes
their cause even more. And I'm really scared for our future. I'm terrified. I don't know if I'm going to be feeling safe walking by myself
wearing my head scarf and I've never felt that way before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, we still know very little about the victims of this horrific attack, but the Red Cross has published a list of people who are missing.
It gives the option for individuals to mark themselves "I am alive."
Those you see there in green. Those in orange are still unaccounted for. Their ages range from 14 years old to 68 years old. They're listed as born
in many, many different countries. Several are from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
In the past couple of hours, the Pakistani foreign ministry has confirmed there are five Pakistanis missing. People are also listed from the
Philippines, Egypt, Turkey, Somalia, and Syria.
People who like Prime Minister Ardern said might have fled from conflict to find a safe haven in New Zealand and ended up caught up in this massacre.
What made this whole incident even more horrible was the fact that it was being live-streamed from the body cam of one of the attackers. We're
following the lead of the New Zealand prime minister and urging people not to watch and share copies of the video. It only gives the killers the
platform they want.
But our correspondent Anna Coren did watch the video. We watched a section of it, a little stupid of it as well, as part of our job and this is what
Anna Coren saw.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He starts in his car. He drives to the mosque. It's the car they're playing music. He parks. You
can see all these semi-automatic weapons in the passenger seat. He then goes to the booth. He opens it. You can see magazines. You can see more
guns. Jerrycans which we presume was filled with fuel.
He walks slowly to the gates of the mosque. He walks in. He starts firing. He gets to the front door, continues to fire, mowing down anybody
in his path. You can hear these people who were there for Friday prayers. They are screaming. They are moaning. Calling out for help. And he is
not flinching. He is continuing to execute these people. You see them falling, slumping to the ground.
He reloads in the corridor. The killing spree continues for a few more minutes. He then walks out onto the pavement. Obviously, by this stage,
people have heard this rapid gunfire which has never heard of in Christchurch in New Zealand. And he then starts picking off people on the
pavement. These bystanders.
He goes back to the car, reloads, walks back into the mosque. The killing spree continues.
[13:35:09] And this is the part that is just chilling. There are these bodies slumped on the ground, dozens of them. And he goes up to each of
those bodies at point-blank range and executes every single one of them.
So even if these people were playing dead or hiding, there was no chance of them ever getting out of this place alive.
He walks out slowly, methodically. He's not in a rush. He sees a woman on a pavement. She's standing there. He shoots her from a distance. Walks
up to her and then -- and then shoots her in the head.
He then gets back into his car. Music blaring. You can hear him talking. He's laughing at some stage. He starts firing out the wind screen out the
passenger window. Indiscriminately shooting at bystanders.
And what is so bizarre is that he then gets to a pedestrian crossing and there are these people walking past and he stops for them. And then drives
on. Drives on to what we assume was the next location, that second mosque where even more people were killed.
GORANI: Now, it's one thing for us to say don't watch the video, but it's something else trying to actually take it down off of social media. And
that's proven close to impossible.
The social media company say they're doing what they can. In a statement, the head of Facebook New Zealand said it has removed both the shooter's
Facebook and Instagram accounts as well as the video. And it's also removing any praise or support for the attack itself, as soon as they
Samuel Burke is her. So Facebook is saying they took it down. But we found versions of it on Facebook, didn't we?
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Facebook and everywhere else quite frankly. But we have to stop and take a step back to
think about the fact that he was using a body cam. He didn't just pick up his phone and start Facebook living.
He had to have planned this. Because to connect a body camera, an action cameras or sometimes called to a phone and then broadcast, it shows that
this was part of the tools, his weaponization.
So I do just want to put up on the screen exactly what we know about how social media played a role here. Starting with the fact that, yes,
Facebook says it quickly took down the original live stream video, but they won't tell us how fast. Does that mean during the live stream? Because it
was up for at least 17 minutes or was it hours afterward.
On top of that, I still see right before the show, I checked. I still see it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
GORANI: How do you search for it though? I mean, if they said they took it down, how do you find if so quickly on Facebook? Do you search for it
BURKE: It's pretty easy. Sadly, oftentimes just a misspelling means that people kind of on the darker web will be able to locate it. But I do just
want to continue going there because to your point when people say, well, don't share the video. Even watching the video helps spread this. Because
algorithms want the see what's popular with people.
So even just looking at it once, you're helping spread what's likely going to be used to radicalize other people. And this is perhaps the most
important parts, to understand how come these places can take down a YouTube video with a song copyrighted by a famous artist but not a video
Some T.V. broadcaster, news outlets, if you have shown this video. So what that does is the algorithm which says, OK. This video has been taking
down. Let's not put it back up.
Once it sees banners like the ones that we have on CNN, even though we're not sowing it, once it sees the logo that we have down here and said, oh,
this is a news video so maybe it's newsworthy. Let's wait until a human comes in and sees it. But by that time, Facebook has billions of people
that may have seen it.
GORANI: And also, if you just, in some way, modify the original video. I mean, whether it's with a banner or you can slo-mo parts of it then it
could slip through the algorithm as well, right? I mean, if you modify it in anyway.
BURKE: Absolutely, Hala. Small modification can make a big difference. And that really gets us to the bigger question here. These companies have
huge profits. They have billions in revenue. Billions of users and I take them at their word when they say they don't want these videos on their
platform. I believe that. And it's not good for their profits either.
But if they're making this amount of money, clearly, the amount of money that they're spending to try and stop this is not working. If Facebook
were here, they probably tell you, we have 30,000 people around the globe. With the amount of money that they have, maybe they need 60,000 people.
Every time we get into one of these situations, terrorism experts always tell me, people are being radicalized on social media left, right and
center. Far right, far left, extremists. Clearly, that's what's happened here as evidenced by his manifesto. There is a problem that social media
has created and has not fixed.
GORANI: All right. Samuel Burke, thanks very much.
A White House spokesperson says President Donald Trump has made it very clear that the New Zealand massacre was a terrorist attack. He hasn't
publicly said that though.
Trump tweeted today that his warmest sympathy and best wishes go out to New Zealand after the horrible massacres. Kaitlan Collins is in Washington
So I think people, after they saw Donald Trump Junior's tweet sort of blaming the media for wanting to share this video, they were -- they were
all waiting to see if the president would say something and he finally did.
[13:40:04] KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And right now, that's not an argument we've heard from White House officials. We
actually just heard from a spokesman who said that the president is planning on speaking with the prime minister of New Zealand before he signs
that veto later today. That first one of his presidency.
And he's going to call the prime minister New Zealand to express his sympathies, his condolences. A little bit more of what we heard from the
president and his tweet and from his spokespeople in those statements that followed what the president said.
Now, they said that other officials here in the White House have been speaking with their counterparts in New Zealand, but clearly, the two
leaders have not spoken yet. Yet, they say that call is on the way.
So this is going to raise questions of how the White House is going to respond overall. Because we've seen a slew of texts from them. A slew of
statements so far, saying that they're here, they're willing to assist as well as from State Department officials and the national security adviser.
So you can expect the president to potentially take questions. That event later on is going to have the cameras in the room. There's going to be
reporters. There's a chance the president elaborates this a little more. But that will be the first time that we hear from him in person since this
terrorist attack occurred.
GORANI: All right. We'll keep an eye on that. Thank you, Kaitlan Collins in the White House.
Still to come, a nation grapples with hatred and terrorism. The latest on those mass shootings in New Zealand. Our breaking news coverage continues.
What inspires these white supremacists? How is their ideology shared online and spread even outside their own borders? We'll be right back.
GORANI: More now on our top story this hour. Friday prayer turned into terror in New Zealand. At least 49 people are dead, slain in mass
shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.
Authorities have charged the 28-year-old man with murder and he's due in court in the coming hours. The suspected attacker left behind pages of
online rantings. They're full of anti-Muslim rhetoric and white supremacists ideology.
Wajahat Ali is a contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times. He joins me now. You tweeted in the hours following the massacres that the
shooter was inspired by right-wing ideological infrastructure that recruits online. Could you expand on that?
WAJAHAT ALI, CONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER, NEW YORK TIMES: Sure. This is an ideology of white supremacy that anchors these desperate white nationalist
movements that have grown and risen in America and Europe in the past 10 years.
Specifically, in America, the number one domestic terror threat, Hala, is actually white supremacist terror plots. We oftentimes hear about Muslims,
but that's number one domestic terror threat. And specifically, they find recruitment radicalization and promotion of their ideas online.
If you look at this individual who committed this act, I said it's like white ISIS. And people might roll their eyes but counterterrorism experts
don't. Because the DNA is very similar. If you look at the path towards radicalization or the grievances of a person who joins ISIS or white
supremacist groups, it's the same, angry, lonely, disaffected, usually men and women who find an online community and then find purpose through an
ideology of violent supremacy. And they have this romantic notions of being a hero who wants to preserve a culture of goodness.
[13:45:16] The gray areas removed, it's us versus them. And then they recruit and promote using online tools, which you just talked about in the
previous segment. And voila, I mean, sounds like this gentleman right now, you think I was talking by an ISIS recruit, but no, it's this New Zealand
shooter who killed 49 people while they were at Jumu'ah Friday prayer.
Which for those who are watching, it's the equivalent of Sunday mass for Muslims. Right now, at this time, in America, families are out in mosques
and 49 people in New Zealand, for them, that was their last prayer.
GORANI: But I wonder, I realize that, especially in terms of white men feeling like their civilization, their culture is under attack. And then
the same ways, sometimes, young Muslim men feel this way when they join the extremist groups like ISIS and others.
But with ISIS, you have a clearly well-funded and organized structure to arm and help supply explosives or whatever the tool.
In the case of white supremacist, I mean, I guess these question have to be asked as well. Because New Zealand has pretty strict gun laws and this
suspect went in with very, very sophisticated weaponry. So we're going to have to ask ourselves, where did he get the funding and the training to do
ALI: But also white power movements have been organized. They've been weaponizing, they've been radicalizing in America, in Europe.
And also, this was very troubling. White supremacists ideologies no longer fringe, Hala. It's been mainstreamed through elected officials both
America and in Europe.
I'll give you an example. One of the great fears in angering conspiracy theorists of white supremacist, and it was mentioned in this manifesto is
the replacements theory. It's the great conspiracy of white genocide. That Jews were part of a global cabal are actually using immigrants and
Muslims and black people to weaken white men and subordinate them.
If this sounds familiar, and this was exactly the ideology that Donald Trump used in the promotion of the Soros conspiracy theory. George Soros,
Hungarian-Jewish billionaire was funding the caravan of what criminals and rapists and Middle Eastern suspects and Mexicans to what invade America.
Connect the dots.
It has been mainstreamed in America, at least, through a right-wing echo chamber and also through the president down to Congressman Steve King who
openly has said that he believes in the replacement theory.
This is also happening in Europe, Hala. Builders, the national front, UKIP. And so it's not just fringe anymore.
And when it gets to online, you find everything, the ideology, the partners, the community, the recruitment, the promotion.
GORANI: So you think politician rhetoric, Islamophobic rhetoric coming from political leaders is also fueling this?
ALI: But of course, it has increased the hostile climate, not just towards Muslims, but also Sikhs, black Christians. And I'll give you an example,
look in his own manifesto, the New Zealand shooter. When he talked about Trump. He said that he is what? A symbol of white identity and he shares
a common plan. What is that common plan that he could possibly share with this New Zealand shooter?
And Donald Trump, when it came to Charlottesville, he said there were very fine people. And what did the people marching in Charlottesville say, the
Jews will not replace us.
GORANI: Well, today, he did tweet out that he condemn these massacres on the mosques. He didn't call it terrorism. But he'll speaking with Jacinda
Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister.
You say, and one of the things you also wrote, is that we should take this very seriously. Why do you -- why do you think we should take it very
seriously at this stage? Is it more of a threat now than it was a few years ago and if so, why?
ALI: Yes. Just follow the experts, the counter terrorism experts, the FBI, Southern Poverty Law Center in America, for example, right-wing
groups, anti-immigrant groups, anti-black groups, white supremacists, groups have increased in the last 10 years since the election of Barack
The number one domestic terror threat in America in the past 10 years are not Muslim extremists, although they are a problem. It's White
supremacists groups. The number of terror plots in the last 10 years, the most have been due to white supremacists.
Just a few weeks ago, people forgot, Christopher Hasson, coast guard lieutenant who was inspired by Anders Breivik in 2011. Remember, wrote a
manifesto similarly saying to what this gentleman said that he wants to punish Europe for being pro-immigrant and Muslims. This guy wanted to kill
as many people as possible. And he called himself -- and it was referred to as a domestic terrorist.
This is white supremacy in its death rattle. And we're witnessing the death rattle of white supremacy transforming into a death march. And you
just saw it in the 2018 midterm elections and you just saw it in the 2016 elections through the wall, the Muslim ban and all this economic anxiety
which now, study after study says, Hala, was not economic anxiety but racial anxiety. It's going to get worse.
[13:50:08] GORANI: Wajahat Ali, thanks very much for joining us.
Contributing editor -- or a writer, I should say, to the New York Times op- ed pages. Appreciate your time this day -- on the aftermath of this terrible incident in New Zealand.
There's more to come including our coverage of that terrorist attack. Big tech and media companies under scrutiny now after publishing video of the
horrific attack. How did the media cover this? How could they have done better? Stay with CNN. We'll be right back.
GORANI: One of the disturbing parts of the mass shootings in New Zealand is that the suspect live streamed the whole thing on Facebook. Even worse,
some special media and other outlets published the video.
Hadas Gold joins me now. We were just talking about the Daily Mail, among others. They had a gift of the first few moments of that body cam video
but they took that down.
HADAS GOLD, CNN MEDIA & BUSINESS REPORTER: Right. So when you went to the Daily Mail's website earlier today, it would auto play, actually what
seemed like a short clip from the moment and it ended right as we he's clearly aiming at the doorway. It looks like somebody might actually be in
that doorway, but then it ends and kind of repeats itself.
But this is an issue that you see with a lot of media organizations and big events, especially now that we all have cameras in our hands at all times.
Sometimes there's some very newsworthy but very disturbing images and videos that can come out. And media has to balance sort of what's
newsworthy versus in some way perpetuating what the shooter or what terrorist is trying to do by sharing those images.
And we did see some media seem to sort of step on it a little bit today. The Daily Mail came out and acknowledged that they made a mistake and took
off that video.
GORANI: They linked to the manifesto.
GOLD: Yes. They also published a manifesto. They said that that was done in error. We saw other organizations also who ran into this where they
posted either clips or images.
But I did see most of those organizations, for example, like the New York Post also posted just a screen grab of the moment where he's aiming the gun
somewhere. They took that down and they replaced it because they think that they're starting to see sort of a shift in media where they don't want
to do certain things like show images or say the names of perpetrators of these sort of crimes and they're heeding what the New Zealand police had
asked and what the prime minister of New Zealand had which is please, don't share this video.
GORANI: Right. And also, I think in U.S. mass shootings, it's understood among media organizations that you don't show the dead bodies and you don't
show the moment that they're killed. Even if you have that.
So maybe in this case because it was a terrorist attack and in a faraway country, as far as media organizations here and then the U.S. are
concerned, maybe those rules didn't immediately apply?
GOLD: Well, it is so stunning to see that video so up close. And we so barely see it like that. And I do -- there is also an element if you want
people to read. I mean, these are for-profit businesses. They'll say, no, we respect what's going on. But they want to have the clicks on this as
But luckily, a lot of them are good -- it's good that a lot of them took this down and indeed heed these warnings. But one of them, the Sun tabloid
actually said, well, this is available everywhere else so we edited it and made it so that people can see what this horrible person did.
But there's a lot of critics out there who say that is not moral or ethical to do as a journalist. You can watch the video, you can describe what
happened, but you don't have to show the video itself.
GORANI: All right. Hadas Gold, thanks very much. That is a debate certainly that we'll continue to have when it comes to how much to show,
when to show it.
[13:55:02] Thank you for watching. Amanpour is next. I'll see you in a couple of hours with more special coverage on this Friday evening. We'll
be right back.