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New Zealand Mosque Attacks Suspect Appears in Court; Suspected Shooter Purportedly Posted Anti-Muslim Manifesto; Interview with Talha Ahmad, Muslim Council of Britain, on Global Muslim Community's Condemnation of Christchurch Attacks; Facebook Alerted to Suspected Shooter's Live Stream by Police; Interview with Brett Lee, Internet Safe Education, on Weaponization of Social Media; Work on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Black Boxes Begins. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired March 16, 2019 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. We continue our breaking news coverage. Welcome to viewers here in the United States and around the world.
IVAN WATSON, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Ivan Watson broadcasting from Christchurch, New Zealand, with the continuing special coverage of the aftermath of the deadly terror attacks here in this city.
HOWELL: Ivan, thank you so much.
First I want to recap viewers on what we know following the terror attacks that left so many in New Zealand in the grip of shock and horror. At least 49 people are dead and dozens more wounded. At last check, 39 people remain in hospital and 11 of those in intensive care.
The wounded are from 2 years old to their 60s. As for the man who attacked the worshippers, he appeared in court as you see there; 28- year-old Brenton Tarrant remained silent. He smirked as he was charged with one count of murder was charged against him. His next court date is in April.
Two other people are also in custody. Police are trying to determine if they were directly involved in the massacre. Also here in this video, you see the moment the suspect was taken into custody.
Police say Tarrant resisted arrest. He also had explosives in his vehicle and officers put them themselves in great danger in keeping the community safe. The prime minister gave more details about the arrest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: I want to acknowledge firstly that the police responded immediately to the call that they received relating to the attack. The individual charged was in custody 36 minutes from receiving the first call. The offender was mobile; there were two other firearms in the vehicle
that the offender was in and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: We're also learning a bit more of the victims. The Jordanian foreign minister says at least three of its citizens were killed and four wounded. A 5-year-old Jordanian girl was critically injured and has undergone surgery.
We are learning about Haji Daoud Nabi. He 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.
CNN is live in New Zealand. Our senior international correspondent Ivan Watson leading our coverage outside the hospital in Christchurch.
WATSON: Thank you, George. It is after 10:00 pm here in Christchurch. The authorities were urging residents of this city to stay indoors as of this morning as an extra security precaution. They extended that to mosques across the country, urging them to stay closed for fear that they could be targeted as well.
As a first time visitor to the city, it is a relatively small city; a population under 400,000. The streets seem to be fairly quiet. It is eerie, considering some of the eyewitness accounts of some seeing the actual gunman in the street with his weapons.
It is eerie to imagine him in the streets of this city, operating so openly and potentially taking so many lives.
WATSON: Many more wounded and some of them fighting for their lives here in Christchurch Hospital. In the minutes and hours after the attack first took place, the New Zealand police were issuing messages to the community, trying to protect people and assure them that they were working on trying to catch any of the suspected terrorists behind this attack.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAILA HASSAN, NEW ZEALAND POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: As a Muslim and as a leader in the New Zealand police, I am horrified about the events that unfolded in Christchurch yesterday. I want our Muslim and Christchurch community, our brothers and sisters, to know we share your grief and we are here to continue to support you throughout this heartbreaking time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[05:05:00] WATSON: Now there have been condemnations pouring in from around the world about these deadly terror attacks as well as expressions of sympathy for the many victims, the growing list of victims, in fact.
Joining me now from the United Kingdom is the Talha Ahmad, the national counselor from the Muslim Council of Britain and the co-chair of Stand Up to Racism.
A question to you now. These attacks were carried out in two mosques, two places of worship during Muslim Friday prayers. By some accounts, a gunman opening fire on worshippers as they were quite literally kneeling in prayer.
It must be an absolute nightmare to fellow Muslims around the world -- your thoughts.
TALHA AHMAD, MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN: Absolutely. This terrorist attack would shock anybody. A premeditated, planned attack, aimed at people when engaged in devotion and to worship to God.
For it to take place in New Zealand makes it worse because, when you think of New Zealand, you do not think of a country where something like this could ever happen. Some will say it wasn't entirely surprising. The place may be, the timing may be. But a growing anti- Muslim sentiment in many countries in the Western world. He made it known what his motives were and why he targeted these people.
WATSON: You are referring to the key suspect, Brenton Tarrant a 28- year-old Australian. He was arrested on Friday, brought to a court here in Christchurch on Saturday and charged with murder. He has been linked to some extremist right-wing commentaries, a rambling manifesto, that did seem to espouse Islamophobia.
Do you see Islamophobia, do you see this kind of ideology growing in the United Kingdom and other countries?
AHMAD: Absolutely. Throughout the Western world, we have seen a rise of anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia. This is not about ideas and ideals of Islam. They dislike Muslims because they see them as The Other, not belonging to these societies.
When you look at the popular narrative, even among some mainstream influential politicians, we see that Muslims are often spoken of as The Other, as people that need to be contained and their freedoms curtailed in many respects.
So the question we have to ask is that, when are we going to take any kind of singling of any group of people, in this case, Muslims; whenever any group of people is spoken of as The Other, spoken in a derogatory manner simply because of who they are, not because of the ideas and the ideals they hold but because of their faith or their race or sexual orientation, whenever a group of people are marginalized, we have to take that head-on.
For too long, when it came to Muslims, we did not see that happen. WATSON: And what measures would you like people to take, who may be deeply disturbed by this attack, to challenge the kind of ideology that may have inspired it?
AHMAD: I think Muslims around the world, Muslims in the U.K., for example, would be anxious, having seen what happened in Christchurch because the views espoused by Tarrant is not uncommon. A significant portion have a small mind to that. But there are a growing number of people who espouse those views in the U.K.
I am looking to see governments, society and mainstream politicians taking concrete steps to reassure Muslim communities and other communities that find themselves in those positions.
To give you an example, I would have expected the British prime minister, for example, to visit a place of worship or a Muslim institution to show her solidarity, which hasn't happened.
In the same way, I would want to see in a government taking more drastic measures. In this case, the suspect was not known to the police before, was not really within the radar of the security services. But I think that's not because he had no previous travel. It is simply the views he espoused --
AHMAD: -- were not seen as a threat. I think it is about time that governments around the world, especially in the Western world, start taking anti-Muslim bigotry far more seriously and as a genuine threat.
WATSON: All right. That's Talal Ahmad, speaking to us live from the U.K. Thank you very much for your insight there.
I do have to say that one of the precautions that the New Zealand police issued was for mosques to close their doors in the wake of Friday's deadly attacks to protect them in case they could once again be targeted.
We have seen in the local media in New Zealand that churches have opened their doors to Muslims and members of other faiths offering people a place for worship and contemplation in the wake of these deadly terror attacks.
Turning back to my colleague, George Howell, at CNN Center.
HOWELL: Ivan, thank you so much.
Keep in mind social media was part of the attack in Christchurch before and even during the mass shootings.
What can and can't be done to keep hate off those social networks?
We'll look into that for you.
Also the singing and prayers and many tears. Our coverage continues from New Zealand right after the break. (MUSIC PLAYING)
HOWELL: This is the scene earlier from New York's one World Trade Center. You see the spire there, lit in red and blue, showing solidarity with the people of New Zealand after the killings that took place at two mosques in Christchurch.
This building, the tallest in the Western Hemisphere, it itself is a powerful symbol of hope that stands on the site where the Twin Towers fell on 9/11.
Updating our breaking news this hour out of New Zealand, the suspected gunman who massacred dozens of people appeared before a judge in Christchurch on Saturday. Police captured him 36 minutes after the shooting started; 49 people were killed in those attacks, 39 others are still in the hospital at this point and 11 are in intensive care.
New Zealand's prime minister says extra police officers have been assigned to recover the bodies and process the crime scene with care and sensitivity to Islamic culture and custom.
HOWELL: We have Ivan Watson outside the hospital in Christchurch.
WATSON: Thank you, George. It is Islamic tradition across the Middle East to bury someone on the day of their passing.
That has not been the case here; as of this morning, the New Zealand prime minister said they were working to remove some of the victims' bodies from the mosque where they were gunned down, to give you an indicator of indication of how difficult this process has been, agony for the relatives of the victims here.
Politicians are asking for social media to do more to stop extremism on their sites in the wake of the deadly terror attack. Facebook says it already polices its platform. But video of the attack stayed online for hours before it was pulled on other sites. Samuel Burke has more from London.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is truly a vicious cycle; not only was the attacker influenced by social media, evident from the manifesto he linked to on Twitter, the fact that a body camera was used to broadcast live on Facebook shows that social media was a part of the attacker's planning.
Now Facebook says it quickly took down the original video; we don't know if quickly meant during the 17 minutes that it was broadcast live on Facebook or if it was a long time after the video was already available for many to see. Plus, many, many hours after the attack, the video could still be
found on major social media platforms. In fact, it was shared by a Twitter account with nearly 700,000 followers.
You'll hear people say, don't share the video online. But even just watching it spreads the recording on the Internet; that's because algorithms count how many people are watching and then show it to more and more users.
And it is troubling that some TV news outlets even showed the raw video. And that confuses the algorithms, which should be automatically taking the video down once it is flagged.
That's because when it sees logos and news graphics from a media organization, that tells the algorithms that this is something that could be journalistically sound, so then we have to wait for a human moderator to come down and take the video away.
Now if you look at this Facebook page, posted long after the attacks, it warns about graphic content but simply has a video button that says uncover to click and see it.
For its part, Facebook says quote, "New Zealand police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the live stream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video. We're also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we are aware."
Clearly not fast enough on a platform with billions of users and billions in revenue -- I'm Samuel Burke. Back to you.
WATSON: All right. Now I'll go to Brett Lee, a cyber security consultant and the founder of Internet Safe Education, coming to us live from Brisbane, Australia.
Thank you for joining me, Brett.
This question, how do you police the Internet?
How do you censor social media with so many users online?
What is your reaction to what the big social media sites have said in the wake of the terror attack?
BRETT LEE, INTERNET SAFE EDUCATION: I think it is another timely reminder. We have been through this before many times. Look, it is not only the number of people but the business model. That was talked about by your last presenter.
It is the business model, whereby ultimately they are a corporation, no matter which platform, particularly the major ones, they exist to make money. It will be impossible for them to introduce identity verification and to actually physically monitor and monitor content that hits the Internet. For instance, approximately 300 hours of YouTube video uploaded every
minute. That will not ever be monitored by human beings. As we have seen algorithms are good and they do police it. But I think we have seen in the past these major companies that have slipped under the radar and it takes instances like this to highlight the deficiencies, where they have been answerable to nobody.
Until something happens, every decision they make is to suit themselves. I know governments and communities are rallying together to make these companies more accountable. It is about time, with the amount of information shared, which becomes advertising space. Unfortunately, being a corporation, that will probably always be their main focus.
LEE: In their defense, I certainly don't think they set things up to purposely cause issues or problems within the world. But they are certainly not there, as they used to say, make the world a better place.
WATSON: You know, Brett, terrorists, by their very nature, they are trying to create a sensation. They are trying -- there is incredible symbolism with their acts of violence. ISIS used the Internet to spread their violence that shocked the world. Now this suspected right-wing terrorist appeared to have done something quite similar.
Is this the paradigm for acts of political violence going into the future, using social media to distribute their shocking and, frankly, deeply disturbing images?
LEE: It is a powerful and effective tool because it reaches so many people. The Internet has brought all aspects of our world together in a split second. That video, that footage shown of the tragic incident that occurred in New Zealand, that will be up there forever now.
Facebook can go and close accounts and can take things down but there will be multiple copies with that and potentially that could be shared for all of time. For a turn of a better phrase, the damage is already done.
Now I believe and, from my experience, I've arrested a lot of people for doing the wrong thing on the Internet. But the vast majority of people use it for good. But the other side to that is -- and the price we will pay -- is because it can be used for these reasons as well. So it will always be a balance.
I think it will be incredibly difficult to wind it back much now to make a big difference. But maybe I'm wrong. I can't predict the future. But we have created, I suppose, a bit of a beast that is there for the use of people who do want to spread these messages of hate.
WATSON: Your words, "bit of a beast." You studied this field.
How quickly did you start to see the suspect's images start to spread on social media on Friday?
LEE: Almost instantly. I was actually working in Melbourne. You know, I have a number of apps on my phone and it was actually pushed to me. So it's not only the fact that I was able to get access to it, it was virtually pushed to me. It was in my pocket. So as I pulled it out, I was being exposed to this content, like a lot of people in the world would be exposed to it.
WATSON: A very chilling scenario. Brett Lee, thank you for sharing your insight, from Brisbane, Internet security expert -- excuse me. I almost dropped my notes here. Thank you again for your insight here.
While social media and the Internet can be used to spread images of terror and violence, they have also been used to spread messages of support and love and unity here in New Zealand and around the world in the wake of these deadly terror attacks.
George, back to you at the CNN Center.
HOWELL: Ivan, a look at people coming together. We just saw those messages, which are so important given what happened there.
In the wake of the attacks in New Zealand, the U.S. president, Donald Trump, downplayed the global threat of white nationalists even after it was revealed that the gunman apparently held white supremacist views. The president was asked about the attacks as he issued the first veto of his presidency. Our Jim Acosta has this.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Surrounded by supporters, the president turned of veto into the day's main event, officially rejecting a bipartisan measure in Congress that rebuked Mr. Trump for trying to use a national emergency declaration to go around lawmakers to build his border wall.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it.
ACOSTA: The president also sounded off on the mosque terror attack in New Zealand.
TRUMP: It's a horrible, horrible thing. I told the prime minister that the United States is with them all the way.
ACOSTA: Earlier in the day, the president offered his condolences, tweeting: "My warmest sympathy and best wishes go out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the mosques."
But the president's critics question whether that response should have been more forceful in condemning the attack allegedly carried out by a right-wing extremist. Mr. Trump was asked by reporters whether he thinks white nationalism is a rising threat.
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 --
TRUMP: -- the person and the people involved. But it's certainly a terrible thing.
ACOSTA: As a candidate, Mr. Trump once called for a ban on Muslims coming into the U.S., a campaign promise the administration later tried to turn into policy.
TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.
ACOSTA: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said thoughts and prayers are not enough, adding that attacks like the one in New Zealand are now all too common.
BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They are on the rise around the Western world. They're on the rise right here in this country. They're part of a larger disease of intolerance that has taken hold in what was thought to be the most tolerant, most open, most welcoming country the world had ever known.
ACOSTA: Before the mosque attack, authorities say the killer in New Zealand wrote a long manifesto expressing his anti-Muslim and anti- immigration views, even describing the president as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.
Top White House officials are blasting the notion that the president's rhetoric had anything to do with the violence in New Zealand.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: He says, I'm not a conservative, I'm not a Nazi. Sounds like he's an eco-terrorist. And he certainly absolutely is ruthless killer. And he's to blame.
ACOSTA: But just this week, questions are being raised about whether the president's rhetoric simply crosses the line.
In an interview with the conservative Breitbart Web site, Mr. Trump bragged about his support coming from -- quote -- "tough people," saying: "I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump. I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough until they go to a certain point. And then it would be very bad, very bad."
Democrats say the president is playing with fire.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CONN.), MEMBER, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I interpret that kind of comment as a danger to peaceful transition of power in our democracy.
That's one of the fundamental principles of our Constitution, that we have that kind of peaceful transition of power and respect for the rule of law, which that kind of comment utterly betrays it. ACOSTA: The president said he hadn't read the manifesto so he declined to weigh on all of that. But as for the president's claim that white nationalism is not rising, he may want to consider recent FBI figures showing right-wing extremism is a growing concern with the neo-Nazi violence on the streets of Charlottesville to the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh last year, now the mosque attack in New Zealand. It is a threat that cannot be denied -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
HOWELL: Jim, thank you.
News of the New Zealand shootings spread quickly and the world responded quickly. We take a look at the global reaction ahead for you.
And as we go to break, the world mourns with New Zealand. The mayor of Paris orders the lights to be switched off at the Eiffel Tower, honoring the victims.
WATSON: Hello. Welcome to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Ivan Watson in Christchurch, New Zealand.
HOWELL: I'm George Howell live at the CNN Center in Atlanta.
We'll get back to you, Ivan, in a moment.
First on the massacre in New Zealand. The man suspected of killing 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch, you see him there in court. He appeared on Saturday, 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant. He remained silent as he was charged with murder. He will remain in jail until the next court date in April. His face blurred due to court restrictions.
Police captured Tarrant 36 minutes after the first call of shots fired. He resisted arrest. Two others are in custody and police are trying to determine if they were directly involved in the massacre.
Our Ivan Watson is live -- we just lost Ivan. We will get back to him shortly.
This is the scene there. You saw the moment, as we pull that video back up. Investigators saying he resisted arrest. Investigators also saying that they put themselves at great risk trying to detain him and, of course, keeping that community safe.
Joining me now is Peter Neumann. He is the director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence.
Good to have you on with us. We were just talking about the moment of the arrest. Certainly very important that happened and as quickly as officers could do it. Let's talk about what happened, these two attacks on two mosques and so many people killed.
What do you make of the motive behind all this?
PETER NEUMANN, INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF RADICALIZATION AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE: Having read the manifesto that the attacker produced before the attack I think it is very clear. In the manifesto, he asks himself questions. He asks him, is this a racist attack. He answers yes. He asks himself, is this Islamophobic attack. He answers yes.
He asks himself if this is an anti-immigrant attack and again the answer is yes. Based on what he has written about his own attack, I don't think there is any doubt at all what he intended to do.
There's this entire rhetoric about invaders coming into Western countries. There is the rhetoric of the Crusades and wanting to fight Islam back. He sees himself as a crusader, who is part of the global army, fighting against the alleged invasion of Islam. It is actually, in a frightening way, quite coherent if you look at the totality of the document.
HOWELL: I'm curious to get your reaction because we have heard from leaders around the world about what happened in New Zealand. And the response of the U.S. president has also drawn some criticism when he was asked about white nationalism and whether it is on the rise.
Your thoughts about his response?
NEUMANN: I think empirically he is wrong. And even in the United States, we have seen documented both by the government and by groups like the ADL a steady rise in far-right groups and white nationalist groups and incidents of hate crime of the past few years.
This did not start with Donald Trump. It started before but it has continued under him. So it is quite wrong to say this is not a threat. It is, in fact, a growing threat. But he is right in saying it is not an isolated threat. It is important to keep in mind that --
NEUMANN: -- different types of extremism, whether jihadists or far- right extremists, are feeding off each other. Even in Christchurch, we saw the attacker referencing previous jihadist attacks and framing his own attack as sort of revenge for what had gone on before.
So it is important to fight all sorts of extremism and not to focus on one single thing because they all feed off each other.
HOWELL: To your point there, there is always so much talk of radicalization, especially you remember the many years of the fight against ISIS and the concern of radicalization. But radicalization when it comes to home-grown terrorism, just as big of a threat, isn't it?
NEUMANN: It is. I personally believe it is a result of the deep polarization that a lot of Western societies have undergone in previous years. It has been a polarization and radicalization of the fringes of society. But it has also been a polarization and radicalization of the mainstream of society.
So when politicians nowadays talk about invaders and when they talk about a threat coming from the outside when they talk about having to defend oneself, having to defend one's culture and one's culture is under existential threat, this is language, this is a discourse which, even 10 years ago, we would have thought belonged to the far right extreme.
Now it has become almost mainstream. And I do think that is a factor that has contributed to the situation we see. It is not the cause. It is not the only explanation but it is a factor, no doubt.
HOWELL: Peter, I'm curious to ask you. We talk about radicalization and talk about the groups like white nationalists, et cetera.
What do you say are the solutions?
How do you defeat radicalization?
And how do you reach out to people before they go too far?
NEUMANN: I think one point is very important, which is words matter. I think everyone who is in the mainstream has to be very conscious of what their rhetoric causes and what kind of conclusions people can draw from the sort of extreme rhetoric that we sometimes even see in the mainstream.
The second point is about the Internet. A lot of these groups and white nationalists are very active in virtual subcultures, not necessarily only on the mainstream platforms like Facebook and Twitter, also in more fringe platforms like 4chan or HN. I do think our security agencies have to tackle that more seriously. They have to be present there because white nationalists are networking transnationally in these places.
The third point is about policy. I do think there needs to be funding, priority and attention to this threat as much as to the jihadist threat.
HOWELL: Peter Neumann, we appreciate your insight and perspective. Thank you again.
NEUMANN: Thank you very much.
HOWELL: I believe we now do have our senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, live in Christchurch just outside the hospital there and leading our coverage.
WATSON: Thank you, George. Much of the focus of the investigation right now is on one key suspect, who appeared in a Christchurch court earlier on Saturday, charged with murder. He is a 28-year-old Australian named Brenton Tarrant.
Now the Australian and New Zealand authorities say he had no previous criminal record. The FBI has said it is searching its database for further information on this man, who is said to travel extensively internationally prior to his implication of the act of terror.
It appears there is a link, possibly, to Turkey at this time. It is from Turkey that I'm now joined by CNN's senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon.
Arwa, what are Turkish officials telling you about the 28-year-old Australian?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ivan, according to one senior Turkish official, this individual traveled to Turkey on numerous occasions and may have also traveled to different countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.
What Turkish authorities are now trying to investigate is exactly what his motives and aims and objectives may have been while in Turkey and what his movements were and who he may have met with. The Turkish state broadcaster TRT citing officials said those trips occurred in 2016. Some were brief but one lasted up to 43 days.
This is really all part of different snippets of information that are beginning to come together --
DAMON: -- to try to get a better understanding of what this individual's motives may have been on a broader scale perhaps. Perhaps he had other intentions to carry out other acts of violence. That is exactly what investigators are trying to determine at this stage.
Keeping in mind, this hideous, hideous assault has shaken not just Turks to their very core but Muslims and others as well across the world, Ivan.
WATSON: Thank you very much. It has certainly been a devastating act of violence here in New Zealand, where people tell you, these types of shooting massacres are something that happen oceans away from our peaceful shores. And that sadly has turned out differently in the wake of the last 36 hours. Arwa Damon, live from Istanbul. Thank you very much.
George, back to you at CNN Center.
HOWELL: Ivan, thank you. We continue to follow the developments there in New Zealand.
We are also following the latest on the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. The so-called black boxes are starting to shed light on what led up to the crash. We will have more on that from France where the boxes are being reviewed. Stay with us.
HOWELL: We are following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and the process of accessing data from the flight and cockpit recorders has already started in a facility near Paris. "The New York Times" reports the pilot experienced problems almost immediately after takeoff. According to "The Times," air traffic controllers saw the plane pitching --
HOWELL: wildly up and down and accelerating to abnormal speed. Our Oren Liebermann is following the story live in France.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: George, BEA investigators, that's the French aviation investigators, are here inspecting and beginning to look into and download that data from the two black boxes, the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.
If all goes well, that could be done tonight or tomorrow. But if the black boxes suffered damage, that process could be prolonged.
Once the data is downloaded, that becomes the function of analyzing that data and gleaning the information.
What does it tell us about the pilots and the plane itself, its systems and mechanics. And that is where the meat of this investigation will turn.
"The New York Times" reports that a piece found at the crash site in Ethiopian -- it s called a jackscrew -- may be key here and may link this crash to the Lion Air crash back in October of the same 737 MAX 8 airplane.
What is a jackscrew?
It is a piece that positions the stabilizer in flight and, at the crash site, "The New York Times: is reporting that the trajectory was found that the stabilizer would have put the plane in a nose-down position, making it go very fast and forcing it to dive.
Right after takeoff, that would be both very unusual and incredibly dangerous. There are a number of things that could put the stabilizer in that position and compel the plane to fly nose down. One could be the pilot or the auto pilot but crucially the MCAS is another option. That's the automated system intended to help a pilot avoid a low-speed stall.
It is that system that investigators are looking at in the Lion Air crash from Indonesia back in October. If that becomes a focus of this investigation, that could be a big problem for Boeing as it tries to figure out why two of the planes perhaps suffered the same problem with the same system, causing a crash just minutes after takeoff. George, this is all now a slow process and part of that question about
the MCAS is speculation as the investigation continues. The most important data is right behind me in the building with BEA investigators, downloading that data from the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.
HOWELL: Oren, a slow process.
Any hint of how long this could take, when they may be complete?
LIEBERMANN: It's a question of what condition the black boxes are in. The flight data recorder, we know from a source close to the investigation, appeared to be in good condition. That is based on a visual inspection. It could be looks good but it may have suffered damage.
Before the data is downloaded, it is a deliberate, methodical process to examine every electrical component there and see what condition it is in. If they are damaged, it becomes a matter of, can you repair it.
Anything can slow this process down and it is already a methodical, slow process to begin with. If all goes well, the data could be downloaded this weekend and then it has to be analyzed. The data on its own is raw data. It doesn't give any information of itself.
The Ethiopian authorities will decide then who analyzes that data. It could be the French, the BEA here behind me; it could be the Americans, the NTSB. Or they could go somewhere else. We do know that the NTSB, the FAA and Boeing all have representatives here, observers of the prices, as they try to download that data from the recorders.
HOWELL: Oren Liebermann live in France. Oren, thank you.
We continue following the attacks that happened in New Zealand. That massacre that shocked the country and stunned the entire world. In a moment, how the world is paying tribute.
WATSON: Welcome back to our special coverage of the aftermath of deadly terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. You are looking at live images of flowers that well-wishers have placed for the 49 people killed in Friday's attacks and many more wounded, some of them fighting for their lives in Christchurch Hospital right next to me here. We're seeing other shows of support -- and this is really a nation
that is grieving right now -- people lighting candles, issuing statements on social media as well. Some of the shows of support and solidarity are pouring in from around the world, as you will see in this report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MORRISON, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: As family members with our New Zealand cousins today. We grieve. We are shocked, we are appalled, we are outraged. But I particularly want to express my sincere prayers and thoughts for those New Zealanders and indeed Australians of Islamic faith today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). We are here to deliver a very simple message: it was an act of extremism and boundless horror and violence. All of us decry that unacceptable and unspeakable act.
JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, U.K. LABOUR PARTY: Communities come together, communities support each other and we are happy with our diversity in our society.
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS: Colleagues, I propose a minute of silence, starting now.
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: As far as we are concerned, our diversity is a strength, not a weakness, we don't simply tolerate it; we celebrate it, we embrace it and we respect it.
ANNE GUEGUEN, FRENCH DEPUTY AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. (from captions): The members of the Security Council express their deepest condolences --
GUEGUEN (from captions): -- to the families and loved ones of those killed and they express their solidarity to the people and the government of New Zealand.
I ask those present to now rise for a minute of silence as tribute for the victims.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: And here on this street corner in Christchurch, we have seen a candlelight vigil. We have seen complete strangers embracing each other, a show basically that an attack on one community in the country is an attack on all New Zealanders, something touching indeed to see for a first time visitor -- George Howell, back to you at CNN Center.
HOWELL: Ivan, absolutely. So much taken from your coverage today. You really get a sense of how people are coming together and how people are coping with this terrible, terrible tragedy that played out there, New Zealand making it clear this is not New Zealand.
Ivan, thank you for your coverage. If you would like to help the victims of the Christchurch shooting,
CNN has vetted organizations that are collecting donations. You can find the list on cnn.com/impact.
Thank you for joining us. I'm George Howell. "NEW DAY" is next.