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New Zealand Mosque Attacks Suspect Appears in Court; Suspected Shooter Purportedly Posted Anti-Muslim Manifesto; Interviews with Interview with Levi West, Charles Sturt University; Salam Al-Marayati, Muslim Public Affairs Council; Randy Blazak, Oregon Coalition against Hate Crime, on Rise of White Nationalism; Work on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Black Boxes Begins; Facebook Alerted to Suspected Shooter's Live Stream by Police. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired March 16, 2019 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Thank you for joining us. You're watching CNN's breaking news coverage of the terror attacks in New Zealand. I'm Cyril Vanier. Let's get you caught up on what we know so far.
At least 49 people were killed, dozens more were wounded in attacks on two mosques Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand. The suspect livestreamed the assault on Facebook and left behind a long, hate- filled manifesto; 36 minutes after the first call of shot fired went to police, that suspect was taken into custody. It lasted 36 minutes.
Here is the video. He resisted arrest and he had explosives in his vehicle. Saturday he made his first court appearance and was publicly named 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, an Australian citizen. He stood silently and smirked as he was charged with one count of murder.
Police say there will be more charges. He remains in custody until his next court appearance scheduled for April.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said he had a gun license and she is already promising gun law reform.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: I can tell you one thing right now, our gun laws will change. There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017. Now is the time for change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: At this hour, my colleague, Ivan Watson, joins us. He's live from Christchurch, New Zealand -- Ivan.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Cyril. It is indeed an overcast and somber day here in Christchurch. The day after this massacre that has so shocked the city of just under 400,000 people in New Zealand.
I'm currently in front of Christchurch Hospital, which, of course, was treating scores of people, some horrifically wounded from the attacks at two mosques in the city. One of the mosques, not very far from where I'm standing, across the park here.
As you drive around this medium-sized city, you see signs of mourning; at a location across this park, flowers lined up against the fence. People expressing solidarity for their fellow citizens from the Muslim community, so traumatized by this gun attack, an act of terror, as the prime minister has called it, taking place during Friday prayers in two crowded mosques.
This has been described as the deadliest day in the small country's history. Back to you, Cyril.
VANIER: I will speak to you in a moment. But we do want to talk to Marc Greenhill. He's news director at the New Zealand website Stuff. And he joins us from Christchurch.
First of all, can you tell us about that moment when the suspect appeared in court?
He did not say a word but there were still a lot of information to glean just from his demeanor alone.
MARC GREENHILL, "STUFF": Yes, obviously, his appearance today was a very brief one. Yes, it seemed that he had a very muted expression and very little was said. He has only at this stage been charged with one count of murder.
But police has said that is likely to change at his next court appearance.
VANIER: As far as the investigation is concerned, the prime minister has been fairly forthcoming but has also deflected some answers, saying the police will give more information.
When do we expect to have more?
GREENHILL: It's very early in the investigation to make determinations about how many people were involved, the police so far saying that there is one shooter, even though two other people were arrested. They are currently interviewing the people to see what connection they may have had.
VANIER: What do we know about that?
GREENHILL: Very little. Nothing has been released about those people at all. So initially it was four arrested, one person has been released without charge. They may have just been sort of caught up in the moment. But very little is known about the two other people. But at this
stage, the police saying they really only have one suspect in terms of the shooting at both --
GREENHILL: -- mosques.
VANIER: New Zealand is 5 million people, the proportion of people who declare -- self-declare as Muslims or identify as Muslims, is about 1 percent.
Can you help us understand what has been, until now, the relationship between the Muslim community and the rest of the country?
GREENHILL: Yes, in New Zealand, there is no obvious undercurrent of racial tension with the Muslim people. A lot have come here as refugees from other countries to escape persecution and war.
So for this to happen to them in this country, it's really shocking and upsetting because they expected to be safe here.
VANIER: And prime minister Jacinda Ardern said exactly that. She said they are us.
Can you try to describe the feeling, the overall feeling in New Zealand today, 24 hours removed from this happening?
GREENHILL: Yes, there's been a huge outpouring of grief and shock from the New Zealand people. There's been vigils today; thousands have been out laying flowers in Christchurch specifically. There's been floral tributes, people at cordon, on social media there are a lot of posts from people denouncing this attack, saying that this does not represent New Zealand and our way of life. We are a peaceful country and people come here, expecting to be protected from hate crimes.
VANIER: Marc Greenhill, thank you so much for your time, good to talk to you.
GILBERT: Thank you.
VANIER: Ivan Watson in Christchurch, New Zealand, I want to throw back to you, one of those -- you were going to tell us more about the witnesses, the people who actually saw all of this unfold.
WATSON: That's right. We've been learning more in the hours since this horrific attacks about the terrifying moments inside those two mosques where Friday prayers were underway, when deadly gunfire erupted. Take a listen to what one survivor had to say about those terrifying moments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was sitting out just beside a wall and what he did was, he told me no. And I went back again where I was. And next thing, the guy came and shoot this guy, who told me not to get out.
The blood is sticking on me and splashing my knee and I'm thinking, oh, my God, oh, my God, it's going to happen to me now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: And of course, we have learned that some of the victims include people from an array of countries, Turkey, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Jordan, Palestinians and so on. And the government has promised to assist with consular duties, with people in trying to return people and their bodies back to their countries.
We've also heard from the police here about their investigation. Again, they have arrested three people and the police commissioner describes the urgent and possibly quite dangerous moments when a key suspect was arrested. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMMISSIONER MIKE BUSH, NEW ZEALAND POLICE: That person was not willing to be arrested. Again, I think probably you've seen some of that live video. There was live audio coming back to my command center in Wellington of that apprehension.
And, I can tell you, as I was listening to that, the person was non- compliant. We also believe that not only were there IEDs in the vehicle, so it was a very dangerous maneuver, there also firearms in that vehicle.
So our staff, who were well equipped, did engage with that person and, again, put themselves in real danger to keep the community safe from fear of their harm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: Now the police say it took them 36 minutes from the moment that they first got an emergency call to the moment of that apprehension, which was caught on video by passersby.
To help me explain a little bit more about this deadly act of terror, I'm going to turn now to Levi West. He's director of terrorism studies at Charles Sturt University in Canberra, Australia.
Thank you for joining us, Mr. West. I guess the first question, this has been described as an act of terror.
Has New Zealand or its neighbor, Australia, ever seen something on this scale before?
LEVI WEST, CHARLES STURT UNIVERSITY: Not on this scale and certainly not in terms of terrorism. In Australia many years ago we witnessed a large-scale mass shooting, it was the catalyst for our very strict gun laws. That was in Tasmania.
But nothing comes close to this scale of incident, the number of lives lost. So I think for both New Zealand and particularly because of its population size but Australia as well, the level of --
WEST: -- shock and surprise with this matters is particularly acute.
WATSON: Let me ask you about the key suspect who was brought into court, charged with murder and authorities say he is likely to face more charges as well; named Brenton Harrison Tarrant, an Australian citizen and believed to have streamed the first moments of this despicable act of violence on social media.
Is that breaking precedent -- ?
WEST: We've seen Facebook streaming before. There was an incident in France before when a jihadist terrorist forced his way into the house of a police officer and killed the police officer and his wife and livestreamed the incident online. So that's not the first time this has happened. It's the first time I believe it's been done by rightwing terrorists.
But the role of technology in term generally but especially in the re- emergence of far-right and rightwing terrorism is a really important component of what happened. You can see he spent a lot of time on HN and on other sites like that, on the Internet, that he's used Twitter and he has used Facebook to stream the incident and it has been discussed and celebrated on HN and Reddit and other platforms like that.
So the role technology is spreading ideology, and increasingly in the operational aspects of an attack, it's a huge component and an increasingly provide a challenge.
WATSON: How would you describe the suspected terrorist and the ideology that seemed to have motivated him, that seems to be attracting some support from extremist fringes?
WEST: He is clearly a white supremacist. He self identified in this manifesto as a fascist, amongst other things. So at the highest level, he is a fascist. Those are the ideas that animate people like this, people like Dylann Roof in the United States, people like Anders Breivik. Their ideas are fascist.
They then manifested their ideas through white supremacy, not specifically neo-Nazi or specifically anti-Semitic or specifically anti-Muslim but certainly white supremacist.
So one of the big changes that we've seen in terrorism generally over the last 4-5 years, has been the resurgence of rightwing extremism and activity general in the extremist pace. And there's a spike in the actual terrorist incidents motivated by white supremacist and general far-right and fascist ideas.
It presents a number of particularly acute challenges for counterterrorism, capability, the politics that surround are much more difficult for Western democracies to manage. You have support bases that may or may not agree with the violence but may agree with some of the ideas that are being discussed.
There are people who are a long way away from being extremists or terrorists who may have very firm anti-immigration positions. So that makes the condemnation of the politics associated with incidents like exceedingly difficult for political leaders.
WATSON: The authorities here have said that this individual, the suspect, was not on any watchlist, had no criminal history in New Zealand nor in Australia. Remind viewers that there are two other people arrested and currently being investigated by the New Zealand police.
But the New Zealand prime minister has been quick to announce that she intends to make changes in New Zealand gun control laws in response to this. The key suspect was found with five firearms. He had a license to carry them, even though he is not a citizen of this country. He was also found with improvised explosive devices.
What could tightening up gun control laws in New Zealand do to protect the population here?
WEST: That's difficult to get in discussions with American media. But gun control laws makes it harder to get your hands on firearms. Australia did it in response to a large-scale firearm incident many years ago. And the frequency of mass shootings collapsed almost instantaneously.
There was a structured buyback program. It drastically decreased the number of particularly automatic and semi-automatic firearms available generally. You can still get your hands on illicit weapons. That's -- there is little that you can do to control that. But if you decrease overall numbers of firearms and you make it more difficult to get firearms, there some analysis around at the moment that suggests that one of the reasons that this individual went to New Zealand is because it was easier to obtain a firearm in New Zealand than it was in Australia.
WEST: So if you make it more difficult to get your hands on the firearms, you put an extra layer of difficulty between someone who wants to do something like this and his capacity to do it.
WATSON: And those are questions that will likely be explored. The main suspect did appear in court, charged with murder and will not be appearing again in court until April 5th. Levi West, director of terrorism studies at Charles Sturt University in Canberra, thank you very much for your time.
Cyril, that's the latest from here in Christchurch.
VANIER: Ivan, thank you. Really interesting interview with Levi West. It's interesting if you compare the authorities' reaction in New Zealand, as far as gun control is concerned, to what we see here in the United States, any talk of gun law, that's super sensitive and, under this administration, has immediately been shut down, very different picture that we're seeing where you are in New Zealand.
News of the Christchurch shooting spread quickly around the world and the world responded. Coming up, we will get global reaction to the tragedy. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIHAD AWAD, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: We condemn this horrific attack as a terrorist attack, motivated and carried out by white supremacists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Shock, disbelief, outrage: worldwide reaction has been swift and unconditional to the horrific deaths of 49 people on Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 28-year-old Australian man accused of opening fire at two mosques stood before a judge less than 24 hours later. He did not speak. Police arrested him 35 minutes after the first shots were fired. His next court appearance is April 5th. There will be more charges. Currently he faces one count of murder.
Around the globe, world leaders are expressing their shock and sadness over the New Zealand attack. From the U.K. prime minister, Theresa May, she had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Through terror attacks that have taken place on U.K. soil, we know only too well the pain that such horrifying attacks can cause. As New Zealand has stood by us, so we stand shoulder to shoulder with them and with Muslims in New Zealand, here in the U.K. and around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: That international outpouring of sympathy and emotion spread to Turkey, a country that has seen its share of religious violence. Arwa Damon has that part of the story from Istanbul.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There has been so much shock at every level year here in the region and widespread condemnation from just about anyone who you will talk to.
DAMON: In Turkey, following Friday prayers in Istanbul at one of the main mosques, people held a commemoration, something of a funeral in absentia for those who had perished in that horrific New Zealand attack.
And Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had some pretty pointed comments, saying that this was, by and large, a result of rising Islamophobia. He said that Islamophobia has long been watched and even encouraged in the world and now after this attack has crossed the line from individual harassment to resulting in mass murder.
Then he went on to try to urge nations to come together, calling on the entire world and especially Western countries, he said, to take measures against these types of events, which threaten all of mankind.
That was a sentiment that we heard from normal people that we were just talking to. A cabdriver was telling me that as heartbroken and horrified as he was over all of this, he also went on to emphasize that people should not allow this kind of hatred, these kinds of horrific attacks to foment even further divisions because Whether it is terrorist organizations or whether it's individuals, whether it's a result of Islamophobia or rising anti-immigration rhetoric or anti any sort of religion that's out there, there is so much hatred that all of us as individuals have a duty and responsibility to try to stand against this, prevent this kind of violence from taking place once more -- Arwa Damon, CNN, Istanbul.
VANIER: Here in the U.S., president Donald Trump is once again taking heat on his comments on white nationalism, this time for downplaying global threat to the racist ideology after it was revealed that the suspect in the New Zealand attacks apparently held white nationalist views.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that white nationalism is a rising threat around the world?
TRUMP: I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. I guess, if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that's the case. I don't know enough about it yet. They're just learning about the person and the people involved. But it's certainly a terrible thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: All right, Salam Al-Marayati joins me. He's the president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council here in the United States, joins us now live from Los Angeles.
How do you respond to what the president said?
SALAM AL-MARAYATI, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: Well, absolutely, he is wrong. In fact in 2017, the Trump administration rescinded a grant that was actually being offered by the Obama administration, his predecessor, of over 400,000 dollars for a group called Life after Hate, which was supposed to be involved in prevention, intervention and rehabilitation of white supremacists.
So obviously the president does not consider this to be an issue; whereas, I think we all see from Charleston to Pittsburgh to Quebec and so many other areas, Oak Creek, that it has become a major threat to our national security.
And our law enforcement should have this as a priority in their national security policy. And there needs to be some more effort, in terms of intervening, with these individuals who are being radicalized and going down that path of violence.
VANIER: The White House communications director had to deal with criticism of the president's own account of his answer to that question. Here's what she said.
MERCEDES SCHLAPP, ASSISTANT TO THE U.S. PRESIDENT: It's outrageous to even make that connection between this deranged individual that committed this evil crime, to the president, who has repeatedly condemned bigotry, racism and has made it very clear that this is a terrorist attack. And we are there to support and stand with the people of New Zealand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: All right, so the White House wants no part of this criticism. They say we have offered messages of support, don't trace any of this back to us in any way, shape or form.
AL-MARAYATI: Political rhetoric is the fuel that is sparked by radicalization. And right-wing propaganda has been spilled, through the airwaves and through social media, so that deranged people like this gentleman from New Zealand act upon it and they go and they kill innocent people while they are worshipping.
It has happened too many times. Our worship is supposed to be done with our creator at a time of serenity, at a time of tranquility, at a time seeking peace with God. And yet, you have individuals now, who are coming in and spraying bullets on these worshippers -- it has got to stop.
How do we stop this?
VANIER: How do you stem the hate that fuels these acts?
AL-MARAYATI: It's the same with ISIS related terrorism, with individuals who act upon that madness, that terrorist ideology. It is the father or the mother, or the sister or the friend or the teacher that has to intervene.
So something has to be done about this. You can't just say that nobody is responsible. If there are conspiracy theories about Muslims -- and they abound through our political rhetoric today -- if nothing is being done with responsible speech to push back against the hate speech against Islam and Muslims, then I'm afraid we will have more situations like this.
And Pittsburgh was a perfect example. There are conspiracy theories against both Jews and Muslims -- and by the way, I just want to say, that there was an outpour of support from the Jewish community today. There were over 200 people in our mosque as we were praying. There were Jews and Christians and Buddhists and Hindus with us. There was law enforcement with us. That is --
VANIER: As there were Muslims standing by the Jewish community in Pittsburgh in their time of hurt and their time of need. And I'm glad you bring it up because we also have to separate the trees from the woods and understand that these minority incidents, as hurtful as they are, are minority incidents.
But you said something which I actually find a little depressing, you said you have to address the root cause of it, when I asked you how you stem the hate. And you said you have to deal with it the way we dealt with ISIS.
But in my modest opinion, Western countries in particular were not good at combating ISIS ideologies. That was not something they did well.
AL-MARAYATI: Well, they did not do well because it was heavy-handed law enforcement that was used to deal with the problem as opposed to bringing in intervention programs and rehabilitation programs. I think we need both.
At the end of the day, you're going to have to have a law enforcement strategy and you are going to have to have a strategy that empowers communities to deal with individuals that go down that path of violence.
There was no record about this guy, as was stated in your report. So it is up to the people to deal with these situations. And that means we need resources and ways to identify problems with individuals that go down that path of radicalization.
VANIER: Yes. He was posting his hateful speech on the dark corners of the Web, where you and I and most people do not want to go and have nothing to do there.
VANIER: Sorry, go ahead.
AL-MARAYATI: But I assure you, somebody knew about that. And someone should've done something about that. When you look back, you would find clues or traces, where, if someone had intervened at that time, either they would have brought that person to justice or they would've found a program to rehabilitate the person.
VANIER: And you know, that's exactly what the New Zealand prime minister has been saying, she's been saying we have to look at this and maybe divert resources in that direction.
Salam Al-Marayati, thank you so much for joining us on the show.
AL-MARAYATI: Thank you. My pleasure.
VANIER: After the break, the motives of the alleged New Zealand gunmen laid out in black and white. His so-called manifesto, propaganda document -- when we come back.
WATSON: Welcome back to CNN breaking news coverage of the deadly mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. I'm Ivan Watson in Christchurch.
VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier from the CNN Center in Atlanta. And I want to update you on the latest on the massacre.
The man suspected of killing 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch appeared in court on Saturday; 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, that's his name. He remained silent as he was charged with murder, this video blurred on court orders.
He will remain in custody until his next court appearance in April. Tarrant's face blurred, as I've said, judge's orders. Police say he was taken into custody 36 minutes after the first call came in about shots being fired. He resisted arrest. Two other people were also in custody. Police are trying to determine if they were directly involved in the massacre.
We now have information on one of the victims. Haji Daoud Nabi was born in Afghanistan and moved to Christchurch in 1977 as an asylum seeker. He was apparently running about 10 minutes late for the service and the attack was going on when he arrived at the mosque.
The Red Cross has published a list of people who are still missing; it gives the options for individuals to mark themselves, "I am alive." And those you see there in green; those in orange are still unaccounted for. Their ages ranged from 14 years old to 68. They're listed as born in many different countries, several from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. In the past couple of hours, the Pakistani foreign ministry has
confirmed that there are five Pakistanis missing. People are also listed missing from the Philistines, from Egypt, Turkey, Somalia, Syria. And people who, As Prime Minister Ardern said, may have fled from conflict to find a safe haven in New Zealand.
Let's go back to Ivan Watson in Christchurch.
WATSON: Thank you, Cyril.
I'm in Christchurch. I'm in front of Christchurch Hospital and this institution had to treat so many victims of the deadly shootings that took place during Friday prayers at these two mosques in Christchurch, not far from where I'm standing right now.
The latest update from the hospital officials were that they were treating some 39 patients, at least 11 in the intensive care unit; victims ranged from children to the elderly.
As you mentioned, Cyril, citizens from around the world as well as citizens of New Zealand. The prime minister of New Zealand has called this an act of terror, the deadliest day in this small country's history.
It has come clearly as a shock to this community and to this country, where people tell me, we thought these mass shootings were something that happened far, far away, oceans away in countries like the U.S., where they are, sadly, almost a monthly affair.
So considerable shock here in local media, on local news. You can turn on to rolling coverage and see not only that mosques have been urged to shut down as a security precaution in the wake of these deadly attacks by the authorities, but we're also seeing outpouring of support coming from other New Zealanders to their fellow citizens from the Muslim community, hearing about churches, for example, opening their doors to allow Muslims to come in and pray there since their places of worship have been urged to close down.
Again, as a security precaution in the wake of this series of unprecedented attacks, that said, we are hearing from some members of the Muslim community here, that they are quite concerned and, of course, traumatized, by this incident. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YASMIN ALI, RESIDENT OF CHRISTCHURCH: We had four fatalities, family friends that we've known for 19 years. They're people who were there for engagements.
ALI: What terrifies me at that there are people out there that are enjoying this but they are OK with this and they support this and it 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 headscarf. And I've never felt that way before. (END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: Those are hard words for any New Zealander to hear at this moment from one of their fellow citizens. Here in Christchurch, this is New Zealand's second largest city, under 400,000 people. And the mayor has been speaking to the public. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR LIANNE DALZIEL, CHRISTCHURCH, SOUTH ISLAND: This sort of extremism is not something that we've seen here.
But he is not from here. He came here, he came here with hate in his heart and intention to kill in his mind. So he did not develop his hatred here. He came here to perform this act of terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: Now the investigation, much of them revolving around a key suspect, a citizen of Australia named Brenton Tarrant, who appeared in court earlier today. So far he has been charged with one count of murder, though the authorities say they anticipate that he will face additional charges on top of that.
And there has been considerable attention spent to the fact that, in addition to the accusations that he carried out these attacks, that he made a point of posting this all on social media as well. My colleague, Alex Marquardt, takes a look at a manifesto that has been attributed to this key suspect.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a diatribe filled with hate, anger and vows of revenge, 87 neatly formatted pages of ranting about immigrants, minorities and Muslims. More than 16,000 words that the 28-year old who says his name is Brenton Tarrant posted on social media shortly before the attack.
The attacker calls immigrants "invaders" and says immigration must be crushed and, like other white nationalists, he falsely claimed there's a genocide of white people underway.
It's the kinds of toxic message heard in Charlottesville and from the Charleston massacre shooter, Dylann Roof. The New Zealand shooter referenced Roof's attack in his manifesto. Norwegian mass murderer Andres Brevik, who killed 77, mostly children, is held up as an inspiration.
ARDERN: There are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact have no place in the world.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): The U.S. president is also referenced one, calling President Trump "a symbol of renewed white identity" though he says he doesn't consider Trump a leader. The suspect claims to not belong to any organization and decided to carry out the shooting, which he admits is terrorism, on his own.
An attack he said that he'd been thinking about for two years and chose the targeted mosques three months ago. He expresses no remorse for those he planned to kill, even the children.
With white nationalism growing in the U.S. and in Europe, the gunman points to a number of global events that fueled his hate, including a terror attack in Sweden's capital in 2017, when an asylum seeker plowed a truck into a crowd, killing five.
MARQUARDT: New Zealand is usually a calm and peaceful place. That's why he chose to carry out that attack there, to show that nowhere is safe. As for the choice of the weapons used in the slaughter, guns, it was made specifically to rile up the debate here in this country, the United States, over the Second Amendment -- Alexander Marquardt, CNN, Washington.
WATSON: In addition to the suspect who has been charged with murder and is expected to appear in court on April 5th, New Zealand police have arrested two other individuals and are currently investigating those people. We will bring you more information on them as we learn more from the authorities.
In the meantime, the police have issued a statement here, calling on anyone who has any information about the Christchurch attacks to come forward, offering a website where that information can be shared.
So very much the investigation phase is still underway. And the key suspect here was an Australian citizen who was not living in Christchurch. He was actually living another town called Dunedin, which is 225 miles --
WATSON: -- away from here. And we do know the authorities have searched an address located in that town in connection with these attacks. So the investigation still very much underway, to try to learn more about how this was carried out and how to better protect the population here.
From Christchurch here, I am Ivan Watson, passing it back to you.
VANIER: Ivan, thank you for all those updates. The investigation still in its very early phase. The prime minister, while she has been forthcoming with the information she has with the media, she has also made it clear that there is a lot more to come from the police.
We don't know exactly when we might get an update from the New Zealand police or the New Zealand commissioner on that.
One of the things that we want to address this hour is the extremism parts of the story. We are joined by Randy Blazak. He's the chairman of the Oregon Coalition against Hate Crime and a sociologist of extremism. We have many questions for you this hour.
What about this case stands out to you?
RANDY BLAZAK, OREGON COALITION AGAINST HATE CRIME: In a way what stands out is what doesn't stand out. How typical it is to the previous attacks we've had, from Quebec City and Oslo and Charleston and Pittsburgh. There's a real pattern that's emerging, I hate to say this, Cyril, but we have had so many of these case that there's now sort of a profile. And this really fits that profile.
VANIER: Do you agree with the idea that rightwing extremism is on the rise globally?
BLAZAK: Yes, we've seen it nationally in this country, in the United States but we've also see versions of it in Europe and even in Australia. It's sort of new to New Zealand, I think, but we're seeing this emerging trend as the world demographic spins and changes and shifts and moves away from kind of a white-centric world of European Americans. And there are some people that are managing that change and there's some people, including the folks who are wrestling with the Brexit issue, that are trying to push back against it.
And this is sort of the extreme version of that pushback but we're seeing this extremism pop all over the place. And it's been kind of occupying the dark corners of the Web for the last few years. But now it's really starting to spill out.
I think it does a disservice to not understand the real threat here. I think we are challenged in this country a little bit by the comments our president made today about -- downplaying the actual threat level that's going on here because it is very real. And the role model is Timothy McVeigh from 1994, the Oklahoma City bomber. He kind of created the profile for this type of attack and the vision and the motivation for it.
So it is, sad to say, something that we will probably see more of.
VANIER: I want to go back to something that you said earlier in your answer there, as I understand your answer, you say this essentially is an outgrowth of changing demographics, of more diverse societies and changing immigration patterns, is that right?
BLAZAK: Yes. It's inevitable that the world changes its complexion and is embracing of that mostly in the world, especially in places like New Zealand and Canada. But there are also places where is an incredible amount of resistance to that because they feel like -- and this is the term that was used in the manifesto -- this notion of white genocide, that somehow white people will disappear or white people are an endangered species.
There's all this kind of apocalyptic language, which is very germane to the extreme right-wing movement. They always feel that the sky is about to fall at any minute so we have to act now.
But this is the new way of spinning this notion of white genocide and they look at immigration patterns and changing demographics and birth rates and they see a future that doesn't look as white as it did in the Past to them. And they feel like they have to act.
VANIER: Where do you fall on the role played by the current U.S. president in all of this?
On the one hand, you can look at its vocabulary; he campaigned against "invasion" from migrants coming across the southern border and those are the words that you also find in the propaganda document left behind by the main suspect. He refers to migrants as invaders.
So you can look at that and say, well, that's exhibit A and some people are tempted to connect dots. Or you can look at other aspects of the evidence. You can say Anders Breivik murdered more than 100 people well before Donald Trump was president.
BLAZAK: Yes. I have written a great deal on this particular topic and I'm going to say what I think a lot of people are saying, which is either President Trump is a willing enabler of these extremists, a kind of Manchurian of the alt-right or he is completely clueless of how his rhetoric inflames them.
As someone who spends a little too much time monitoring their dark world, they see him, for better or worse, as advancing their cause, with his Muslim bans and his building of walls.
And they see him advancing their cause more than any Klansman or neo- Nazi ever could.
BLAZAK: So he may be completely clueless as to the role that he plays and I have a feeling that's the situation. But they really see it as a golden opportunity. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have their extremist views suddenly not so extreme and be part of the mainstream political dialogue.
And that goes for things that are happening in Poland, things are happening in Britain. There are varying versions of this nationalist populism popping up all over the world.
VANIER: And to be clear, the main suspect actually referenced the U.S. president Donald Trump in his manifesto; he said he saw a symbol of white nationalism there and a common cause but he also said, is he a good leader and do I support his policies? No.
So let's be very clear for our viewers here, there isn't like 100 percent alignment of views, not at all. That's not what we're saying.
Randy Blazak, thank you so much for joining us on the show, we really appreciate your insights into this topic you know very well.
BLAZAK: My pleasure.
VANIER: And we will continue to continue developments in New Zealand. We are also following the latest on the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. So coming up on that, investigators are one step closer to finding out what happened. The so-called black boxes are starting to give up their secrets. We will have a report from France on what happens next.
VANIER: CNN has learned that the data are now being downloaded from the cockpit and flight recorders of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. The process could be completed over the next day or so. Once analyzed, investigators hope they will discover why the Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed soon after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board.
CNN's Oren Liebermann has the latest on this.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Work here has begun to inspect the so-called black boxes, the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, and to begin to download the data from those recorders that will give investigators a far better insight into what happened with the pilots on board Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 as well as what was happening with the plane itself and all of its systems.
If all goes well, this process could be concluded as early as Saturday night or sometime on Sunday. But a source here close to the investigation cautioned us that if there's any damage to the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder, it could take longer.
And this is a slow and painstaking process. It begins with a visual inspection of the boxes themselves, then opening them up, removing the electrical components that record all of the data and the voices, then inspecting those components one at a time.
Finally you can begin to download the data. When that has concluded and all that data has been downloaded, it's up to the Ethiopian authorities what they want to do next and who they want to turn to for an analysis of what happened on board that plane.
The could use the BEA here behind me, French aviation investigation authorities. Or they could go to the NTSB or one of the other handful of groups around the world able to analyze that data --
LIEBERMANN: -- and to glean from the information so crucial at this point to the investigation. That decision rests with Ethiopian authorities as the entire world looks to see what happened on board that plane.
Meanwhile, countries around the world have grounded the 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9, waiting to see what happens with the investigation. The FAA has now joined that, as has Boeing, who has said they will continue to construct the airplane but they will pause deliveries as they monitor the situation.
Meanwhile we have learned that, shortly after takeoff of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, the pilot radioed in that he was experiencing problems and was returning for a landing. "The New York Times" has reported a bit more detail, saying that the pilot radioed in, "Break, break, request back to home and requests a vector for landing."
Air traffic controllers diverted two flights to try to give that pilot as much leeway as possible to try to make it back to the airport. But just a couple minutes later, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed, killing all on board.
The investigation now focusing here on the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data reporter to try to pull the information to help investigators to understand exactly what happened on board that led to such a terrible ending -- Oren Liebermann, CNN, Paris.
VANIER: U.S. president Donald Trump has signed the first veto of his presidency. On Friday he rejected a resolution which included votes from his own party to block his emergency declaration on the southern border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To defend the safety and security of all Americans I will be signing and issuing a formal veto of this reckless resolution, I've the duty to veto it and I'm very proud to veto. It
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Mr. Trump's veto sends the resolution back to the U.S. House of Representatives, which is expected to pick it up after a weeklong recess but the House is not supposed to have enough support to override the veto.
All right. I want to go back to Christchurch, New Zealand, where my colleague, Ivan Watson is standing by. We will do that shortly -- after this.
VANIER: For those of you just joining us, here's an update on the massacre in New Zealand.
The 28-year-old Australian citizen suspected of killing 49 and wounding dozens more has appeared in court. Brenton Tarrant was been charged with one count of murder and police say more charges will follow. The country's prime minister said Tarrant used five guns, including
two semiautomatic weapons and two shotguns. The prime minister also said that he had a gun license so that the weapons that he used to carry this out he owned legally.
Police say he was taken into custody 36 minutes after the first call came in about shots fired. You see the video of the arrest there and he did resist arrest.
In the wake of the attacks, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern went on Twitter to condemn the assault and defend the victims.
"What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence," she wrote.
"It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities. New Zealand is their home -- they are us."
Now "They are us," those three words quickly --
VANIER: -- became not only a national but also a worldwide trending hashtag. Many New Zealanders tweeted along the lines of Ryan McCarvill, "Gunmen, we're not a nation of religions and races, we're a community united. You attacked me and my family when you fired upon Christchurch and we will never forgive you #TheyAreUs."
Worldwide now, the British Columbia legislature posted on their Twitter feed, "The Canadian flag flies at half-mast today in memory of all victims of the New Zealand shooting. Our thoughts and condolences to all Muslim communities #TheyAreUs.
The Australian rugby team, North Queensland Cowboys, also tweeted, saying, "Our hearts are hurting for our New Zealand family. #TheyAreUs."
And American country music star Tim McGraw posted, "We are deeply saddened by the horrific news out of New Zealand and we stand with all our friends there against hatred of any kind "TheyAreUs."
Before we close the show I want to go back to Ivan Watson, who's in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Ivan, we are getting new information about the suspect; in particular, the fact that he traveled to Turkey.
WATSON: That is right. The authorities here in New Zealand say that the key suspect, who faced one charge of murder in court today, Brenton Tarrant, that he had traveled extensively. And CNN has now learned from a senior Turkish official that he had spent significant periods of time, on more than one occasion, in Turkey, visiting there.
Turkey is believed to have had victims among those in the mosque shootings here in Christchurch on Friday. A senior Turkish official telling CNN that they will now be investigating the suspect's movement and contacts while he was in Turkey.
Another point is that he was an Australian citizen and that the Australian police from New South Wales say that they have been in contact with his family and that the family is cooperating with the authorities. He was originally from Grafton, Australia.
VANIER: Ivan Watson live in Christchurch, New Zealand, it is almost 8:00 pm where you are, 3:00 am here in Atlanta. We will continue our breaking news coverage at the top of the hour with Ivan Watson and Natalie Allen. Join us then.