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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
New Zealand Is Struggling After A Terror Rampage Struck The Islamic Community In Christchurch. Aired: 11-12n ET
Aired March 15, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
ROBYN CURNOW, ANCHOR, CNN: Hello and welcome. Thanks so much for joining us here at CNN. I'm Robyn Curnow.
So breaking this hour, a country in shock. New Zealand is struggling after a terror rampage struck the Islamic community in Christchurch. It was a mass shooting that began in one mosque, then the shooter moves to another, leaving at least 49 people dead dozens more wounded.
Now, the attack came during Friday prayers when the mosques were busy with worshipers. And it was also streamed live on social media along with a disturbing manifesto. Now, authorities say, three suspects are in custody. One is charged with murder and will appear in court in the coming hours. And at least one of the suspects is it to be an Australian.
Now, investigation say, none of them appeared on any security watch list. And they don't believe there any other suspects at this point, but caution that the investigation is ongoing. Now, witnesses are describing the horror they felt when the shooting erupted. I want you to take a listen as one man shared his experience and also how crucially he escaped. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I turned to open the door to the toilet and they started firing. And I said what was going on, and they just keep firing, firing. This small window I try to go out off then, but it was very hard. But I smashed the window. And the firing just kept going. When I just jumped into the fire, there was another door on the mosque. They see the people who are shooting from inside the mosque. And at the time, we jumped in and then run away. They just kept firing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Now, as I mentioned, the attack was apparently live streamed on Facebook. CNN has actually not verified that. But our Anna Coren watched this disturbing video. And she now describes the horrific images she saw. Here's Anna.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The gunman, an Australian citizen in his late 20s, had a camera strapped to his helmet. He drives to the mosque. He gets out of his car. He picks up several semiautomatic weapons. He walks into the mosque through the gate and starts firing at people standing outside, walks in those front doors and just mows down every single person in his path.
You can hear these people screaming, moaning, crying out for help. He reloads in a corridor, walks back out, and his killing spree continues. He is methodical. He is calculated. He is extremely calm. There wasn't an urgency. There was no panic from what you could see in the way that he moved.
He then walked outside the mosque on the pavement, starts firing in either direction at people who have obviously come out after hearing this rapid gunfire. He reloads at his car, walks back inside the mosque and continues his massacre.
There were bodies lying everywhere, dozens of bodies lying everywhere. And he walks up to those bodies and at point-blank range executes each and every one of them.
He then walks out, sees a woman on the pavement. He shoots her, walks up, fires at her head. And then gets into his car and drives off. He is firing out the window screen. He is firing out the passenger window.
This is the behavior, obviously, of a madman, of a deranged man, and yet he is just talking normally. He laughs at one point.
And then he reaches a pedestrian crossing and stops allowing these pedestrians to walk across the road. We presume from there, he has been driven to the second mosque.
The killing spree lasts six minutes in total. The video that was streamed live on Facebook went for 17 minutes. The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has asked that this video not be shared and not be shown. Police have reinforced this because it obviously is so gruesome, so graphic. It is not something that people want to see and it is also not a message that wants -- they want to be spread.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Okay. Anna Coren there. Thanks so much, Anna for that.
Now, New Zealand, of course, prides itself on being a diverse and tolerant society. And when the Prime Minister spoke about the attack, she said, it will not change the nation's values of compassion and kindness.
Here's Jacinda Ardern.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: For those of you who are watching at home tonight, and questioning how this could have happened here, we, New Zealand, we were not a target because we are a safe harbor for those who hate. We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism. We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things.
Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it. And those values, I can assure you, will not and cannot be shaken by this attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Now, meanwhile, police do not believe there are any more suspects at large. But they say the investigation is not yet done. And they're asking people to stay vigilant just in case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE BUSH, NEW ZEALAND POLICE COMMISSIONER: We believe not but of course there's a real heightened sense at the -- within the communities, people are being very vigilant. And I congratulate them and encourage that. But we have dealt with two bags that were left at Britomart, they have been detonated and we don't believe they were of any threat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Okay. So, none of the people arrested after the attack were on any security watch list. So let's talk about all of this with journalist, Blis Savidge. She is in Christchurch, New Zealand and joins us now.
Just talk us through, hi, good to see you. Thank you so much for bringing us the details of this terrible tragedy. If you could talk through where you are now and what people are saying where you are.
BLIS SAVIDGE, JOURNALIST: Yes. So right now, we're in front of the Christchurch Hospital. This is where a lot of the victims were taken. Over 40 people were injured, some ranging from minor juries of course to very critical.
It's less than a mile from where the first mosque shooting happened. So still very close. It's relatively quiet around here. It's about 4:00 in the morning. But things are starting to pick up. We're hearing more helicopters above us. We're seeing more police cars going back and forth. There are teams that appeared to be urban search and rescue. We can't confirm, but that's what it looks like to us.
So as morning starts to come around, it does appear that things are picking up. There's guards guarding the main entrance of this hospital heavily armed guards, patrolling all around. The street closures, there's a ton of street closures. We were trying to get a little bit closer to the mosque, the area where these attacks occurred. And we just -- we couldn't get any closer.
So they're definitely cracking down. And I expect to hear a lot more updates as the man who was arrested and charged with murder goes to court for his first appearance in the morning. And also as the police continue to have press conferences and released for information.
CURNOW: Yes, let's talk about that. It is 4:00 a.m. in the morning. And as New Zealand is waking up to the horror of this carnage. What do we know about the investigation? What happens next? And particularly this one man who seems to be responsible for all of these.
SAVIDGE: Yes. It's still really early on in the investigation. We don't have a lot of details other than from the fact that they did find some explosive devices attached to the cars. And so there were two more people arrested. Those people are still being detained.
As far as we know, they haven't been charged with anything yet. And then I don't think we're really going to know much more until we see his first court appearance tomorrow morning.
CURNOW: And let's talk about those who survived that are in the hospital, those who are family members of those who didn't. Have you managed to speak to any of them? I know some of them are talking to local media. What have they been saying?
SAVIDGE: Yes. We haven't been able to talk to anybody personally. There was a man who approached us who was personally affected but of course, his community was affected by this. He's a Pakistani Muslim man. And he wanted to share with us some positivity.
He wanted to tell us that even in the wake of this terrible tragedy that he hadn't lost hope in New Zealand and the people. And he just wanted to share that positive message that he didn't hold it against anybody and he still believes in the good faith of people. So there are still really positive reactions coming from everybody, even in this terrible tragedy.
CURNOW: And what more do we know about those that were targeted? It was Friday prayers. Just talk us through the large number of people who have been mowed down in their place of worship today.
SAVIDGE: Yes. The reports of the number of people haven't been confirmed. Some people say as many as 500 people, of course, Friday prayer is a very busy time at the mosque. So there was a lot of people in there, certainly an opportunistic time to commit such an atrocious crime.
CURNOW: And just give us some more understanding of the backlash or the feelings towards the fact that they seemed to be targeting the Muslim community by a white supremacist based on his manifesto, his writings. Is there a lot of anger?
SAVIDGE: I think more than anything people are just shocked, shocked that something like that could happen and then for such a hateful reason, especially in a country that, you know, even the Prime Minister said is so welcoming. They have a large immigrant and refugee population.
SAVIDGE: And it's been nothing but a welcoming country. And there's been no issues. So I think just shocked more than anything else.
CURNOW: And what happens next, burials, no doubt?
SAVIDGE: Yes. We haven't heard any more about what's next. Hopefully, we'll hear a little bit about that tomorrow and more about the victims and the families who have been affected by this.
CURNOW: And in these sorts of situations, the horror of the experience and the event often, you know, take the headlines but there are individual acts of heroism and bravery. What are you hearing about that?
SAVIDGE: Absolutely, we're hearing reports of people, you know, ambulances couldn't get as close to the scene in the amount of time that maybe was necessary. So you had people on the streets finding people who are injured, putting them in their cars, and driving them to the hospitals themselves.
You have people next door neighbors trying to just hold pressure to wounds, do anything that they can, shelter these people, anything that they can do to help these people who were so in need of help.
CURNOW: And this man, how did he get hold of a weapon like that? I know in that part of the world, it is very difficult to get guns particularly after the Tasmania shooting more than a few decades ago. How do you think he got that weapon and particularly even build IEDs, is there any sense from police on that?
SAVIDGE: Yes. There is still no official reports on anything like that. Some people are reporting or that they believe that it was probably an illegal weapon just because it is so hard to get that kind of gun here. Gun laws in New Zealand are pretty strict especially when it comes to semiautomatic, automatic weapons and any weapons, guns used here in New Zealand are really for hunting.
CURNOW: Okay. So still a lot of questions on that. Blis Savidge, reporting there live from Christchurch in New Zealand. Thanks so much. Keep us posted if there is any more information. Thanks, Blis.
Okay, so our breaking news coverage continues ahead. We will take a deeper look into the mass shootings at these mosques in New Zealand with a terrorism expert. As you can imagine, there are a lot of questions. And we're going to ask him and stay with us for that one.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
CURNOW: Thanks for joining us here at CNN. I'm Robyn Curnow in Atlanta. And I want to give you a quick recap of this major developing story
we're following right now. We know at least 49 people have been killed, dozens of others have been wounded in a terror attack and terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand. Now, police have three people in custody including one who is being charged with murder.
Now in the moments before the attack, a social media account that appears to belong to one of the attackers published an 87-page diatribe filled with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim hate.
Political leaders across the world now speaking out expressing disgust and anger of the attack and sympathy for the New Zealand Muslim community. And also leaders around the world are offering their condolences.
Just hours ago, the U.K. Parliament held a minute of silence to honor those who were killed or injured in the attack. And London's mayor, Sadiq Khan tweeted this. "Heartbreaking news from New Zealand this morning where innocent people have been murdered because of their faith. London stands with the people of Christchurch in the face of this horrific terror attack. London will always celebrate the diversity that some seek to destroy."
So I want to stay on the story and bring in our security analyst who has studied terror attacks for decades. Glenn Schoen joins me now from Hague in the Netherlands. Glenn, thank you so much for joining us.
As you look at the devastating event that took place in New Zealand in the last few hours, what strikes you from your expert opinion?
GLENN SCHOEN, SECURITY AND TERRORISM EXPERT: Well, this is a growing concern worldwide particularly in the western world. I was very sad to see it happen in that region of the world. But we've also heard in recent weeks from the United States and particularly also from Europe, the British Government, Dutch Government, German Government, express concern about right-wing violence being somewhat underrated in terms of its potential and particularly giving warnings of attacks led this - by an individual or by a very small group. And that a number of security services particularly now in Europe see this also as a rising concern in that part of the world.
CURNOW: So it is a global problem you say.
CURNOW: This is symptomatic of what we're seeing here of a global problem.
SCHOEN: Yes. Unfortunately, when we look at the M.O. and we look at, you know, how this has been carried out in New Zealand where a tragedy started today, we see a lot of similarities with similar actions. Whether we go all the way back to Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City or we go to Anders Breivik in Norway in 2011. We see a lot of similarities here in terms the M.O. of not just the operation but also trying to explain themselves driving towards ultimately what they are hoping for is confrontation between communities in a form of war, a holy war, a civil war, a racial war.
And you see, you know -- so a new application in the sense that with most of these incidents, it's been one place that they attacked with a very clear, if you will, a character to it, in this case, a mosque. We've also seen of course attacks on synagogues. But the fact that he went from one mosque to another mosque, here is an added factor of concern is something we haven't seen that much in the past. And the mobility factor here will also be a concern for law enforcement worldwide.
CURNOW: You know, we've often spoken on air about lone wolf attacks and they are sometimes referred to a different type of terrorism, but it's all the same in the end. I mean, extremism whichever way you look at it seems to be playing out and as dangerous as, you know, as we're seeing here which one man with a big gun and an ideology that he -- of hate.
SCHOEN: Yes, absolutely, Robyn. And one of the add-on worries with this type of violence, if you're looking at lone wolfs, is it's much harder to detect.
SCHOEN: And even though we know that right when extremists are even more active in social media and communications on the internet than even Jihadists or left-wing extremists or national extremists. We do notice that the people who actually carry out these attacks don't necessarily leave a lot of breadcrumbs unless authorities have some indication from somebody in a friendly circle that it's coming. It's very hard to detect this type of attack.
CURNOW: So what next? Do you expect this to grow? I know at least in the United States, the FBI, I think the numbers are quite staggering, 73% of many of the attacks or white supremacist attacks here. I mean, do you believe this is going to grow and how does it get stopped? Is it about rhetoric from the top? What does law enforcement do?
SCHOEN: Well, I think obviously, I certainly hope it will not, but that concern is there. We've seen in the past that they identified people who have carried out these kinds of attacks. The big example for law enforcement is Anders Breivik from Norway.
SCHOEN: A lot of people mention him carrying out other attacks subsequently, so the hope is that that will not happen here, but it's definitely a concern.
When we look at the prevention side, of course, there's all of the usual things, can we carry out the investigation properly? If we cycle that back a little bit in time, then we're looking at how good was the intervention, how fast was the alert, that sort of thing. But I think where this battle will be won ultimately is when we look at all of the prevention strategies.
And at this moment, when we look at extreme right-wing violence, there's not yet that many countries that have a very mature program on this. One of the few that has developed that in recent years is the United Kingdom. So I think after this incident it's also going to be a country with law enforcement and social community building. Other countries will be interested to see how they are counteracting it.
In many countries, that's still a very thin program including the United States, including France, including Germany and indeed Australia and New Zealand themselves.
CURNOW: Yes, you make an excellent point there. The problem is as serious as any other and particularly also the question then of social media and the internet and how that aids and abets this globalization. We're going to have a conversation with one of our correspondents, Samuel Burke in just a moment. But Glenn Schoen, thank you so much for giving us your expert opinion here. Fascinating to talk to you and really appreciate taking the time to talk to us here on CNN. Thank you.
SCHOEN: You're welcome.
CURNOW: Okay, so this horrific attack targeted Muslims during Friday prayers. Turkey's President joined other Muslims around the world to vehemently condemn the massacre. In Istanbul, people actually took to the streets and protest over the shootings. And President Erdogan said western countries must immediately take action against rising Islamophobia.
So let's get more reaction from our Arwa Damon who joins us now from Istanbul. Arwa, good to see you. Just talk us through the reaction there on the streets. Certainly, a lot of anger.
ARWA DAMON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: There is a lot of anger, Robyn. There's also a lot of really deep seeded sorrow with one man who I was talking to on the way over here saying that only an animal would carry out this kind of violence. And he himself was quick to say that it's important right now to not allow these kinds of attacks to further divide populations, to allow this kind of violence, to pit people against one another.
What we saw in Istanbul at one of the main mosques here was that worshippers who were there following the traditional Friday prayer also held a symbolic funeral for those who had died in these attacks. Prayers for those who had died in these attacks that were attended by some senior members of the Turkish Government.
And then, of course, Turkey's President referenced this in just about every single public appearance he had, vehemently condemning the attack of course. But also going on to try to rally nations of different faiths together or of whatever their faith may be to try to stand together against this sort of violence.
He spoke about the rise of Islamophobia and how at this stage would this attack had gone from sort of individual targeting to, as he was saying, the level of mass murder. And he was saying that there is a certain burden, especially on western countries to try to watch rhetoric, to try to watch what's happening within their own nations to a certain degree to try to prevent this sort of violence from happening in the future. Because to say that this has shaken the Muslim world at this stage will be something of an understatement, Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes, certainly. So is there an expectation that security is going to increase in mosques surround the world and that sort of thing?
DAMON: You know, I think one can always assume that following this kind of violence, people, countries, are generally on a greater state of alert at this stage. You know, Turkey itself is no stranger, unfortunately, sadly, to violence, to bombings. Although the situation has been relatively stable over the last few years. But that being said, there is a sense that certain greater security precautions may actually need to be taken -- Robyn.
CURNOW: And you've reported from around the world, Arwa, and you've seen firsthand and heard firsthand the sort of politics of hate, this amplification of hate that certainly have been increased over the last few years. This certainly plays into it. This is not isolated to, you know, the small country of New Zealand.
DAMON: No, it's not, Robyn. And we've seen various different terrorist organizations, various different individuals, no matter who it is it they are targeting really capitalize on the lot of the rhetoric that is out there, trying to further their own messages of hate, trying to further divide populations, trying to further instill fear and division within populations.
DAMON: And this, of course, does have repercussions, that does have reverberations because fear is very, very manipulative emotion. And to a certain degree, that is exactly what these various different -- whether they're individuals or terrorist organizations, no matter what they claim to subscribe to, that is really what they try to do. They try to instill fear, they try to instill divisions.
And I think one of the things that we need to try to confront really as members of the world is how do we go about not allowing that? How do we go about not allowing these attacks whether they are against the Muslim community, the Jewish community, the Christian community? How do we allow this type of violence to not permeate our day to day lives, to not permeate how it is that we relate to one another, how does that we talk and think of one another?
Because, when you look at what's happening around the world, when you look at the various different levels of rhetoric that exist out there, whether it's anti-immigrant rhetoric, whether it's anti-Semitic rhetoric, whether it's anti-Islamic rhetoric, there is so much hatred that is out there that to a certain degree really feeling it as it's being amplified by social media, that there is a certain burden on all of us to not allow that to manipulate our thinking, and to in fact try to counter it.
CURNOW: Yes. And to fight these politics of division one step at a time. Arwa Damon, always good to get your perspective there live from Istanbul. Thanks, Arwa.
Now, as the investigation continues in today's New Zealand mosque attacks, this is also looking into the role of social media. Arwa mentioned and so did our previous guests. An account that's reportedly belonged to a suspect contained a link to an 87-page anti- Muslim manifesto. And there was an apparent video of the attacks that was livestreamed on Facebook.
Well, Facebook issued a statement condemning the attacks as a horrendous act. It says it quickly removed the suspect's Facebook and Instagram accounts as well as the video. Facebook says it's also removing any praise or support for the attack. And it says it will continue working with the New Zealand police as the investigation continues.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May is calling on social media companies to act more quickly to remove terror content. The mosque attack was apparently as we said livestreamed on social media and videos continue to circulate. Don't click on them because you're part of it.
So let's talk about this with Samuel Burke standing by with a closer look at all of this. I want to talk about the responsibility of social media companies in just a moment but first, about some of these videos that are still out there. And how we must urge people not to click on them because by that, you know, you're becoming part of this terror, part of the attacks in many ways.
SAMUEL BURKE, TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Robyn, it is -- there is a vicious circle going on here because as we can see from this manifesto published online, the attacker was influenced by social media but the very video shows us that social media was part of his plan.
This was a body camera, it wasn't just simply picking up a phone and live broadcasting it. There had to have been steps taken to make that body cam in sync with the device that could send this out on Facebook.
I just want to put up on the screen what we know here. The facts about how social media played a role here because Facebook is saying that they quickly took the video down, but they're not saying exactly what that means. Was it during the attack which lasted for at least 17 minutes on Facebook Live or was it after? There -- we also know that this video is still to this very moment, Robyn available on all the major social media platforms -- Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
I saw one Twitter account that has 700,000 followers nearly sharing this video. And now to the next point which you were just making, a lot of times we say don't share this video. No, don't even watch it. If you watch it, the algorithms are conscious of that if you will. And they share it with even more people amplifying the possible radicalization here.
And finally -- and this is a very difficult one because it involves broadcasters, some TV news outlets appear to have shown the video in full, the raw video of it, Robyn. What happens when something like that happens, the algorithms get very confused because they see the banners and the logos like the ones right below me right now, of course, we're not airing this on CNN but that sounds the algorithms as well.
This is from a news organization, this is newsworthy. And so then Facebook, Twitter, YouTube may keep those videos up until human steps in. Well, that means it's been up there possibly for hours or longer, and then more and more people have seen that. Facebook has more than two billion users.
CURNOW: Despite all of that, despite the fact that algorithms are reading all of these messages, this was planned, this was an interpretation of this modern world that we live, and this is the reality. Surely, then though Facebook and all these companies still have to act faster.
CURNOW: And why didn't they?
BURKE: And that's the key -- that's the key point here. Clearly, the technology isn't up to par and clearly, the investment hasn't been enough. If Facebook were here, I'm sure they would tell you what they always tell me, we have more than 30,000 people working on these types of issues. But when you see the incredible profit that these companies have, they're clearly not investing enough. If this video can stay up for 17 minutes or if it stayed up for hours, we simply just don't know how long it stayed up.
So the investment, particularly from companies that are as wealthy as Facebook, clearly isn't living up to what they say are their own expectations. They always apologize but the apologies simply aren't enough when almost every terrorism expertise speak toward the people on the frontlines of this wars like Arwa Damon who was just on this program say that so much of the radicalization happens on social media.
CURNOW: It does indeed. Samuel Burke, thanks so much. A reality check from you. Appreciate it, Samuel.
So still ahead here at CNN, we will continue to bring you the very latest on this New Zealand investigation and also how the attack unfolded. Stay with us.
CURNOW: Thanks for joining us. I'm Robyn Curnow here in Atlanta, and we are indeed covering this breaking news out of New Zealand. A terror attack of two mosques in Central Christchurch has left 49
people dead and dozens more wounded. The shooter opened fire during Friday prayers and livestreamed the massacre on social media. It was a disturbing manifesto also that was posted online just before the attack.
Right now, we know three people are in custody. One is charged with murder and will appear in court in the coming hours. Police say none of the suspects were on any security watch list and they don't believe that there are any other suspects at large at this point. But they do caution that the investigation is ongoing.
Now again, this was a busy time at the mosques, so many of the witnesses are sharing their experiences. This man describes the moment terror struck. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMED NAZIR, NEW ZEALAND MOSQUE SHOOTING WITNESS: It was around 1:45, I was stopped to pray. I heard a big sound, the gun. And the second, I run, lots of people who were sitting on the floor. The gun was from the door. I run behind the mosque and I was sitting behind (inaudible) and rang to the police and the police take a long time so I get them, I climbed the wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: More now on how these attacks unfolded. So let's go to Nina dos Santos who has been following developments from London. She joins me now. Nina, I know you've also been checking up on a lot of these images and videos that came out of it. Sadly, there's a lot of detail of what unfolded.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: That's right, that's right. This 17-minute long video that was livestreamed onto Facebook is this attacker, the main suspect here, a 28-year-old Australian man we believe had a head cam mounted onto a helmet that he was wearing. And you can see in this video which CNN has chosen not to air, many broadcasters choosing not to air although as Samuel was telling you before the break, there are some broadcasters that have this footage. Very, very distressing pictures here with this attacker appearing to calmly drive up in his car.
You can see guns there near him, semi-automatic and automatic weaponry. And he has the music on before turning his car engine off. Then you can see him entering the mosque and then beginning his rampage. He appears to shoot for around about six minutes.
And what is so distressing about this is that the targets appeared to be indiscriminate in these mosques. He is shooting at men, women, children. He's also point blank shooting at people who are pleading for their lives even when they are on the floor injured.
And then, you can see him calmly emerging from this mosque and then moving on, targeting other people inside the pavement, nearby pedestrians who've come to the aid of people who've been hurt. And this just goes on and on and on for round about 17 minutes until he drives away. And you can hear the police sirens and the ambulances into that background arriving on the scene as this particular individual is driving away seemingly calmly here after this rampage.
Now, obviously, this is extremely distressing footage to watch. Facebook as you've just been hearing from Samuel who said that they are trying their best to take all copies of this off the internet. That seems to be at this point are a Herculean task.
And as Samuel was just saying before, it's really important for people to try not to watch this type of imagery largely because it affects the algorithms. It just exacerbates the problems and puts this video back onto the news feed. But it's also important to remember that it is very difficult not only possible to unwatch things like these when you have seen them.
And this goes to the heart of why this person may have decided to do this. In today's social media age where they are able to commit attacks like this and to stream them live, it again raises huge questions about the modus operandi and the motivation for somebody like this who decided very calmly to plan this and also to plan to stream this at the same time -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes. I mean we're certainly living in an age of viral terror. This is a reality but it's also a lone wolf. We've seen this profile, this pattern play out in very different places under different circumstances. And again, also we're seeing a pattern of a man who leaves behind an explanation of his thinking. It -- a lot of it is gobbledygook but a lot of this is, you know, a diatribe of political treaties that is terrifying in many ways.
DOS SANTOS: And also what's terrifying is that you and I will remember -- I remember actually anchoring a show at the time when Anders Breivik embarked upon his killing spree back in 2011, a killing spree that left 77 people dead.
I remember the first instance that we got an inkling that we got here at the CNN that that attack was taking place was an explosion that was taking place in Norway at the same time as he was embarking upon his killing spree on Utoya Island and the explosions were timed to coincide with that. The first image we got of that and this was back in 2011, Robyn, was actually via Twitter.
And the first videos that we got were passersby taking pictures of this particular explosion happening near the Prime Minister's residence in downtown Oslo and putting that on social media. And that at the time was video as well.
So it gives you an idea of how so many years apart, nearly eight years apart since Anders Breivik's shooting spree there that was so devastating, that has so many parallels of whats happened in New Zealand for its modus operandi, for its rationale, the character, the fact that this is a person who seemingly calmly had been stockpiling weaponry, calmly reloading, and then shooting people with devastating consequences.
The reality is, is that this is something that continues to be a problem for social media. And it also is something that continues to potentially incite copycat attacks because here is when it comes to the 87-page manifesto that it appears that this primary suspect in this New Zealand attack appears to have posted online to the same social media account that that video is disseminated from.
DOS SANTOS: There are many parallels to Anders Breviek's manifesto as well that he also wrote ahead of his shooting spree all those years ago. And so the question here will be for authorities is, what has changed in the meantime? And why haven't -- why hasn't the threat of this type of terrorism being given greater weight?
One of the things I want to raise, and you had a guest on your show earlier, Robyn, who quite rightfully pointed this out. One of the countries that have tried to sort of highlight the threats of right- wing terrorism is actually the United Kingdom.
What I can tell you is that just at the end of last year what we saw was the brief of right-wing terrorism and white supremacism terrorism be handed over to MI5, the domestic security services from the police. And that means that it is so important to national security these types of threats that they are given the same weighting as the potential threat coming from Northern Ireland.
Now, as you remember we saw those parcel bombs just last week, I had to cover those attacks as potential parcel bomb attacks as well. And so this means that at least, the United Kingdom is one of those countries that offers an interesting blueprint for taking this seriously and trying it's best to try and figure out some kind of solution, as you said, in this era of viral violence.
Now, this particular suspect is going to be charged tomorrow morning, he will be appearing in Christchurch court. And at the moment, authorities in New Zealand are trying to understand whether there's any link between those two other people who currently remain under arrest and various addresses that had been searched even as far as 225 kilometers away from Christchurch -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes. So you talked about how the U.K. is trying to deal with this. I mean, what are the parallels and the links between the rise of political extremism and the rise of nationalism and right-wing party across the world.
Australia, we are just seeing an example there of a leader, a senator who basically blames the victims, blames immigration for this. This is not unusual and it's not just isolated to Australia or New Zealand or even the U.S.
DOS SANTOS: It's not. You know, in Italy we've had very, very, very right-wing messages coming from people who are in government, two parties who are in government. We've had boats of stricken migrants turned back from Italian ports. We've had shootings targeting people who are asylum seekers and migrants in countries like this.
In the United Kingdom, one of the reasons where they decided to really take this problem under the wing of the Special Forces and MI5 is largely because, obviously, a British sitting member of Parliament was targeted by a right-wing violence extremist. Back in 2016, Jo Cox and she tragically lost her life leaving her husband and two young children. And that was just before, obviously, the referendum on staying inside or leaving the United Kingdom, the same as Brexit referendum that further divided this country.
Just a year and a half ago, we also saw somebody with right-wing intentions and anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim intentions targeting a mosque driving a van into the mosque in North London in Finsbury Park and that resulted in the loss of one life as well.
And there's been a lot of debate hasn't there, let's face it, Robyn over the last few years about what amounts to terrorism? Is it just Islamic terrorism of which we've seen in the United Kingdom in the last year and a half about a hundred thwarted attack?
Well, actually the amount of right-wing terrorism in this country has also been on the way up as well. But let me give you some statistics about that. In fact, between March 2017 and October 2018, four extreme right-wing alleged plots were thwarted in the U.K. That compares to 13 Islamist plots. And this is the country that over the last couple of years has faced four major terrorist attacks.
So, it gives you an idea that the scale of right-wing violence is rising, and authorities all around the world having to take that into account. The U.K. and New Zealand are part of the Five Eyes Agreement, and that involves sharing counterterrorism information on these types of events as well -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes. So they're going to be certainly meetings about that. Nina dos Santos, great to speak to you. Thanks for giving us all of that perspective. There's so much to talk about. Appreciate it so much.
Now, these shootings in Christchurch are as we've been saying, part of a global problem of right-wing extremism. Bobby Ghosh joins us now. He is a columnist and an editor with Bloomberg News.
Bobby, great to have you too with us. We talked too much sometimes in these times of terror. You were listening to Nina there, it's about division, cleavage, the politics of fear, and it crosses the spectrum. And this is what we're seeing in, you know, in a small country, in the southern hemisphere, there is globalization to what took place.
BOBBY GHOSH, COLUMNIST AND EDITOR, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Yes indeed. This is no longer -- you know, we have lost the right to be surprised by this anymore no matter where it happens. If it can happen in the United States and the United Kingdom, it can happen in Norway, it can happen in New Zealand, it can happen anywhere. The physical world is less important, the digital world where this
virus festers and grows and from where it spreads is more important in some ways. And so this fear, this threat, this rage exists everywhere. It exists on every one of our pockets, on our phones. We just have to type in the right sequence of letters and words and we can find it and that's the real danger here.
And so a lot of the focus now correctly is going to be on the unpleasant things that have been said and written and dispersed around the world on the internet. But I would also make the argument that this is a moment also to step back and think of some of the other words that also matter. The words of consolation, the words of inclusion that the victims need to hear.
And not just victims here in Christchurch, but victims -- but, you know, their community around the world. Muslims who live in the west, who live far from their original homelands who have worked very hard to integrate themselves into communities elsewhere. They need to hear from their friends, their neighbors as well.
We lived in a time when so many of our political leaders are failing us on this. Instead of applying a soothing balm at moments like this, too many of our leaders are sort of turning up the debate.
CURNOW: So how much responsibility do you lay at their feet? The rhetoric, the tone, the ugliness that we hear, conversations about immigration and division and the other. How much responsibility should be borne?
GHOSH: Well, quite a lot. I think words matter especially when words are spoken by people in positions of authority, people who can, should and do often or better and are saying these words for purely narrow political gains. They are absolutely responsible. They should repeatedly be called out on this. And not retroactively but in real- time when they're doing it.
But here's the thing, some of the more important things -- words that we need to hear, to me the words that resonated the most on this deeply, deeply unpleasant, deeply dark and tragic day were the words spoken by the Prime Minister of New Zealand. She said three words that matter very much. She said about the victim, she said, "They are us." And that's absolutely crucial that we say those words and communities around the world hear those words.
Those three words say much more about our values than any number of books, any number of toms can accommodate. And it's important -- you know, when there's an act of terror, when there's a Muslim act of terror, too many people say, well, while we're not hearing from the moderates, the moderates should speak up more, we should hear more from them. We only seem to hear from extremists.
Well, this applies in the reverse as well. This is the moment to hear much more from people like the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern and people like her saying those things, "They are us." These are not others. These are not foreigners. These are not different from us. They are us. CURNOW: As you look at the patterns that are emerging particularly on
the eyes of extremists, you know, on both sides, do you see double standards in the way the threat is dealt with or do you feel like this rise of right-wing white supremacist extremism and terrorism is starting to gather greater weight particularly when it comes to law enforcement for example?
GHOSH: Well, it is beginning. There have been double standards for a very long time. I think the seriousness of this is now beginning to dawn on politicians and law enforcement around the world. We need to see much more. And unfortunately it takes events like this to galvanize the action, but we need to see much more from law enforcement. We need them to show us that they are taking right-wing extremists in very, very seriously.
Now, in the United States, for instance, the Trump administration has cut back on some law enforcement monitoring investigation of right- wing sort of hate speech and the dissemination of this online. And that's very dangerous.
We've seen a significant reduction in Islamic terrorism in countries like the United States. Well, some of that -- some of the resources that will lock up there should now be made available to those who are investigating and monitoring right-wing hate speech and hateful sort of dissemination.
I think we need to see a lot more of that and we need to hear from our leaders that they are taking this seriously. And we need people who spread this kind of doctrine to understand that there are going to be consequences.
GHOSH: Not only for those who commit the horrific murders at the end of the line. Not only for this Australian and his conspirators in New Zealand if that's how it turns out to be. Not only them, but the people from whom they receive this ideology, who helped them -- who promoted this thought online. Those people need also to be brought to book and it has to be done with speed and it has to be done visibly so that they can be a cautionary tale for everybody else who thinks and would like to repeat what they do.
CURNOW: Bobby Ghosh, we're going to have to leave it there. Thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
You're watching CNN. More of our breaking news coverage just ahead.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
CURNOW: So, cities around the world are stepping up security at places of worship in the aftermath of mass shootings in two mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand. Now, extra security will be in place in London, New York, San Francisco, and cities across France. U.S. President Donald Trump sent out his condolences Friday morning, and British lawmakers held a minute of silence for the victims.
We're also learning that members of the Bangladesh national cricket team missed the attack by minutes. An ESPN reporter says they were just about to walk into one of the two mosques when gunshots rang out. And as we mentioned earlier, the rampage left at least 49 people dead, dozens of more people are injured. Three people we know are in police custody and one of them will face murder charges on Saturday.
Well, joining me is Alex Thomas, he has been following the story of the Bangladesh cricket team that narrowly avoided these terror attacks. Alex, just tell us what happened. What do we know?
ALEX THOMAS, HOST, WORLD SPORT: Well, Bangladesh turned up to the mosque at the Deans Avenue mosque. So this is the one that's right next to South Hagley Park, and that part contained Hagley Oval where they were due to play the third and final test match of their cricket series against New Zealand. When they turned up, the shooting had just started minutes before, they could hear the gunshots ringing out.
And one of the players described as if like a movie. He said, bloodied victims staggering out on the streets to escape the shooters. They all ducked down in their team bus.
THOMAS: Realized then that was possibly somewhere they could get trapped so they get off the bus, ran across the park to Hagley Oval where they were due to play this game.
That match has subsequently been called off for very obvious reasons. You can imagine how distressing it was for the players.
And in fact, one of the opening batsman Tamim Iqbal tweeted out, "Entire team got saved from active shooters. Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers."
I was at that very park barely more than a month ago filming for our monthly world rugby show, Robyn, and you could not get a more idyllic, peaceful inner city park. We went to an exhibition cricket match at the same ground, families lying out in the sun, having picnics, having a joyous occasion. You can imagine how that peace was shattered when the shooting began.
CURNOW: Okay, so just to reiterate, so the Bangladeshi cricket team were going to actually pray at Friday prayers at this one mosque which was right next to the cricket stadium next to the Oval, and they were just about to go in. Was anybody injured? Did they -- were they trying to help survivors? What do we know, Alex?
THOMAS: No. No one from the cricket team is injured as far as we know.
CURNOW: But it was very narrow.
THOMAS: Yes, there are around 17 players and staff on the bus itself. I mean, we've been reporting all day on how big an effect this had had. New Zealand is famous for its rugby culture, of course, the famous All Blacks double world champions in the men's game at the moment. Their women's team, world champion, too. Their biggest star is Sonny Bill Williams who converted to Islam a decade ago.
And I think we can show our viewers now the tearful message he posted on social media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SONNY BILL WILLIAMS, NEW ZEALAND RUGBY STAR: I just heard the news and I couldn't put into words how I'm feeling right now. Just sending my duas to the families. Apparently, there's close to 30 people dead. Just sending my duas and Inshallah to everyone that's been killed today in Christchurch. Your families, you can take.
Just -- yes, just sending my duas to your loved ones. Inshallah, you guys are all in paradise. And, you know, I'm just deeply, deeply saddened that this would happen in New Zealand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS: As far as New Zealand sport is concerned, Robyn, he is like the Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods, LeBron James of sports in that part of the world that like the rest of us really struggling to understand what's gone on.
CURNOW: Okay, thanks so much for that update. Alex Thomas, really appreciate it. Thank you.
So you're watching CNN. I'm Robyn Curnow. Our coverage of these mass shootings in New Zealand continues in just a moment. So stay with us. We'll be back to give you more information.