Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
CNN International: One Of New Zealand's Darkest Days; Christchurch Mass Shooting Coverage; Boeing Pauses Delivery of 737 Max Planes; DUP Cites There's Been Progress Made in Brexit Talks with U.K. Government; At Least 49 Dead in Attacks in New Zealand Mosques; Man Charged with Murder in New Zealand Attacks Due in Court; Mayor of Christchurch Speaks After Mosque Terror Attacks; New Zealand Mosque Attack Increases Scrutiny on Social Media. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired March 15, 2019 - 15:00 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER, NEW ZEALAND: This is and will be one of New Zealand's darkest days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JULIA CHATTERLEY, ANCHOR, CNN: After the dark, comes the dawn. The sun has risen in Christchurch, New Zealand, a city which is mourning the worst terror attack in the country's history, and while there are questions, sadness and anger, today there's also defiance, togetherness and resolve.
Good evening. I'm Julia Chatterley. At least 49 people are dead, 20 are seriously injured in mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Security at places of worship around the world have been stepped up. Here's what we know this hour.
One man in his late 20s has been charged with murder. He's due to appear in court shortly. Two other people remain in custody. Police do not believe there are other suspects. The shooter streamed the attack live on social media platforms. Witnesses say the shootings lasted 10 or 15 minutes. One man described how he escaped.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHMOUD NASSIR, WITNESS TO MOSQUE SHOOTINGS: I would hide behind the cars and under the cars and then when we see the fighting is still on, we tried to jump to the fence, and then we hide the next house to the mosque on this side, and the fighting was on and on, you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Let's go live now to Christchurch, Emma Cropper is there. She's a reporter with News Hub. Emma, thank you so much for joining us. It's a community I can only imagine in shock, a nation in shock, too. How are people reacting this morning? EMMA CROPPER, REPORTER, NEWS HUB: Yes, people are just waking up here
in Christchurch and they will be in utter disbelief about the events that unfolded here in Christchurch yesterday afternoon.
This is unheard of, anything like this to happen not only in Christchurch but here in New Zealand. It's certainly something we wouldn't even would consider would happen here in New Zealand.
Things are being guarded by police. We know there's been 49 people dead and that has been killed, and there are dozens still in Christchurch Hospital at the moment. Two of those are in a critical condition. One is a 4-year-old who has been transferred up to Auckland which is in the north island of New Zealand where there's a special children's hospital there, so people here, they are in complete, complete shock about what has happened.
CHATTERLEY: Emma, what do we know about the ongoing investigation at this stage? I mean, the police have said that they are not looking for anybody else, but there may have been other people involved. What do we know in terms of the investigation?
CROPPER: There's still very much an ongoing investigation. As we know, police took four people into custody. One of those has been released and another of those people has been charged with murder. He's in his late 20s, and he is due to appear today in a local courthouse here in Christchurch.
Now, due to legal restrictions here in New Zealand, it is likely that a lot of information around who he is and what actually happened will likely be suppressed, so there's not much we may be able to tell you about what has happened.
Late last night here in New Zealand, police actually sent in on a place in Dunedin about four hours south of where we are here in Christchurch. It was a property they said was a location of interest and they believed was linked to the firearms incident here in Christchurch.
Yesterday, residents around that property were actually evacuated from their homes overnight while police centered their investigations at that property. So certainly, very much an ongoing situation. There are many roads closed and seeing guards in place here in Christchurch today as police piece together what has happened.
CHATTERLEY: And what about for the community here, Emma, because everything I've heard throughout the day is that this is a tolerant country, a welcoming community. There was no silos within the community in terms of religion here. Are they pulling together in light of what we've seen in the events of the last 24 hours?
CROPPER: Yes, I mean, New Zealand, we pride ourselves here in New Zealand on being so welcoming, on being a safe country, so something like this is just out of the blue of what has happened.
Just to give you an idea of how strong the people here in Christchurch are. If you walk down the street, people will stop you and ask you if you are doing okay. I was walking down a footpath and was stopped by several people just checking in, and it just kind of shows what people they are like here in Christchurch.
CROPPER: They just support each other in times of trouble like this, but certainly I've never been in a position or anything this has ever happened because it's unprecedented in our country that anything like this would ever happen, but they sure are resilient, resilient people, but they will be certainly in shock and disbelief today as they realize what has happened and unfolded here in New Zealand.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, a community in shock. Emma, thank you so much for joining us. Emma Cropper there. New Zealand's police commissioner says none of the suspects were on any security watch lists. Mike Bush said he'll be looking back to make sure that officials didn't miss any signs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE BUSH, POLICE COMMISSIONER, NEW ZEALAND: No agency had any information about these people, and I can also tell you that I've been in contact with my Australian colleagues. They have no information on them at all either. And they are assisting with our inquiries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Joining us now, Josh Campbell who served at the FBI. He is also a CNN law enforcement analyst with us now. Josh, great to have you with us, too. Does that surprise you in light of how pre- meditated, organized, it was livestreamed, the attack was livestreamed on social media. Does it surprise you that none of these individuals were known to security forces, on no lists, zero information about anything like this?
JOSH CAMPBELL, LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, CNN: Well, this is in the sense that you have an attack here that was very sophisticated in nature, where you had this pre-meditation, this planning. We're talking about two separate locations so that would have required planning and plotting and then also as you mentioned the fact that they were actually streaming this, and there was a report of a possible IED that was involved that didn't detonate.
Again, all of that is planning and pre-meditation. I could tell you that the question of whether someone is known to law enforcement is always a first question that comes to light whenever we see these types of incidents because law enforcement officers want to determine did they miss something? Was there a tip? Something they should have followed up on?
We've seen a number of incidents in the past where that was the case, so you want to go back and look through your holdings, but also this will help investigators determine who this person's associates are. Are there other people out there that may have been involved? That may have been known? These law enforcement and intelligence databases are full of information or derogatory information about people, so that's always the first place you look.
That said, there have been a number of incidents where people just aren't on the radar of law enforcement, especially when you're talking about a domestic terrorism type of incident, one that's not inspired by an international terrorism group. It's very hard for intelligence services to actually detect certain communications and to get up on those people if it's truly home grown.
So this is the Herculean task that law enforcement officers try to face. How do you stop an attack if these people haven't done something wrong yet?
CHATTERLEY: But the police forces as we have said, "Look, they are not actively searching for anybody else here," but what next as far as what they are looking at here because they have raised the threat level in the country for the first time ever. You have to assume they are worried about perhaps retaliation, copycat incidents, too? Is that also a heightened fear at this stage?
CAMPBELL: It is indeed, and this is a very multi-faceted investigation, so you have the two crime scenes. You have investigators that are going through those, processing the scene and trying to gather evidence. You have another set of officers that would be talking to witnesses, trying to glean exactly what people saw.
Again, they are now at the point where, you know, we're hearing some of the reporting there that they are confident that they don't think that there are other people out there. Otherwise, you would see this continued state of high alert and lockdown as they searched for people. The fact that they released the lockdown, police tells us that they don't think that there's an emergent threat.
But as they gather all of this information, again, they are trying to figure out not only why the person did what he did, but are there others out there that may have been involved. And that is again the challenge that law enforcement faces is how do you look at this investigation and do a thorough job in determining what happened while also stopping the next up and then as you mentioned, law enforcement officers around the world we have seen are now sending assets and resources to places of worship out of precaution for the precise reason that you mentioned.
If there are other depraved individuals out there who may try to do a copycat or inspired by what they are seeing here, that's not to say that they won't act, and law enforcement officers need to obviously be prepared for that.
CHATTERLEY: Josh, I think something that's come out of conversations that I've had throughout the day is that there's a lot of money, time and energy invested in tracking religious fundamentalists of whatever form around the world but particularly in places like the United States, and actually there's a gap that this kind of rhetoric, far right, alt-right, whatever you want to call it, whether it's on social media or beyond. Can you identify a gap that we simply don't name this, we are not tackling this, we're not creating lists in the same way that perhaps we tackle other things?
CAMPBELL: Yes, absolutely, and one need only look to the laws, for example, in the United States, so we have international terrorism laws, so if someone is part of a group like ISIS or Al Qaeda or some type of inspired home-grown extremist, there are laws on the books where they can charge someone and prosecute them and send them to jail for a long period of time.
CAMPBELL: There is not a domestic terrorism statute, for example, so if you're a far right or a far left for that matter, an individual who is prone to violence and you act on that for a political reason, there's not even a law to keep up with that, so there's certainly a gap, and I think as you mentioned part of the reason why I think until this, you know, obviously, very tragic incident overnight is the incidents that we've seen that are more internationally inspired have obviously provided, presented a large loss of life, large attacks which really captivate the attention of the public.
But you do have these one-offs and two-offs of these people that are, you know, right wing extremists that are out there committing violence. I think, as this incident shows today with just an incredible number, a sad number of people that were killed, this shows that this is just as violent of a threat that's out there, and we can imagine the law enforcement officers will now be trying to determine as far as their domain goes where do they need to be searching resources? How do they need to be addressing this threat?
CHATTERLEY: It's a gap that needs closing. Josh Campbell, thank you so much for that.
CAMPBELL: Thanks, Julia.
CHATTERLEY: International condemnation of the attack has been swift. Theresa May called it despicable and said the U.K. stands shoulder to shoulder with New Zealand and with Muslims around the world. Donald Tusk said the brutal attack in Christchurch will never diminish the tolerance and decency that New Zealand is famous for. The German Foreign Minister condemned the, quote, "savage crime," and added, "When people are murdered solely because of their religion, this is an attack on us all," and Donald Trump is expected to speak with New Zealand's Prime Minister this hour.
Earlier he tweeted his, "Warmest sympathy and best wishes go out after the horrible massacres." Chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward is with us here. Clarissa, you've been talking about this all day. Let's take a step back and talk about what we saw here, a 17- minute video capturing the events that took place or at least some of the events, a manifesto released beforehand justifying in some way the actions that were taken. What do you make of this?
CLARISSA WARDD, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: I think this is the new terrorist that we see, and we have seen ISIS implementing some of these tactics as well. The new terrorist is the all about selfies. They are all about livestreaming, sharing their abhorrent psychotic acts to vast audiences often on the internet, on the dark web.
They create these networks often in the dark web, as I said, in order to exchange information, exchange memes, tropes. If you actually go through all 87 pages of this, and I hope you don't have to as I did, you see a lot of these current themes emerging, that we have seen repeated over and over again on the internet, certain specific cases that they focus on.
The basic underbelly of this is white supremacist ideology that we're all too well acquainted with, that we have seen with the likes of Anders Breivik in Norway or Dylann Roof in the United States, the belief that Muslims and migrants are invading white culture, that they are replacing white people because they are reproducing at a higher rate and perhaps most disconcertingly, the very clear explicit aim of this manifesto is to create a wedge in societies, to provoke a retaliatory reaction, presumably from someone within the Muslim community, and foment more hate, more bloodshed, ratchet up tensions with the goal of having an all-out bloody conflict.
CHATTERLEY: You were just listening to that conversation there where we were saying, look, it's very easy in a way to isolate the terrorism, and we call it that when it's a religious group, religious fundamentalist of whatever kind, but when we're talking about this, white supremacy, it's become more and more mainstream. It's used by political party leaders, in certain cases by world leaders.
Do you see this as a watershed moment perhaps where we suddenly acknowledge now that this is something increasingly dangerous?
WARD: I think there has been a resistance for a lot of politicians to confront the very real threat that extremists, right wing ideology poses, not just on the dark web, but actually in mosques and in the main streams, and you cannot talk about the rise of this threat, the rise of these attacks without looking at the broader zeitgeist, without looking at the tone of political rhetoric that we are hearing in the mainstream today.
We've actually seen an Australian senator, a right wing senator, coming out today and essentially laying the foot of the blame here on the Muslims and on the fact that people feel uncomfortable with having Muslims in their country. That kind of rhetoric only emboldens people to give air and give the -- give out these hideous views which traditionally were seen, Julia, as being taboo, as being unacceptable and as being hate speech.
CHATTERLEY: I mean, there's so much fear on all sides, and this plays into it.
CHATTERLEY: And we're seeing a sort of escalation actually of that. How do we de-escalate?
WARD: I think the most important thing that we have seen a lot of today as you just read out are strong condemnations.
WARD: A recognition that there's a real problem. I think people will be curious to hear what President Trump says during his conversation with New Zealand's Prime Minister. Will he come out emphatically and acknowledge that there is a terrorism problem on the far right side as well? And I think that Muslims would like to feel that they have broad support across the west that people understand this is not an issue of Islamic terrorism, but no, there is an issue of terrorism and extremism and it exists in many different pockets of society and it cannot be tolerated.
CHATTERLEY: The Turkish President says the exact same thing and this needs to be called what it is and that's terrorism and it needs to be widely, more widely accepted. Clarissa, thank you for that. Clarissa Ward there.
All right, we're going to take a quick break, but coming up, as Christchurch comes to terms with the appalling attacks, we'll share stories from those who saw what happened and talk about the response of the Muslim community. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the mosque attacks in New Zealand. At least 49 people were killed and 20 left seriously injured. Horrific stories have emerged from eyewitnesses who described scenes of chaos and terror.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard the fighting, and it was from the main entrance, the main entrance of the building, and then everybody just run to the back doors just to save themselves. I don't know how many people died.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a terrible thing to witness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When most the people just jumping and the people waiting outside, they run away from the mosque, they say, "What's going on?" I said, "Just run away," and they keep fighting inside. We just run away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard a big sound, the gun, and the second one I heard, so I ran. There were lots of people who were sitting on the floor. The gun was from the door. I ran behind the mosque.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I drive past the mosque, and there were a lot of bodies outside, so we've just been waiting here since just to see if our son is all right, but he's not answering his phone.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHATTERLEY: The attacks have left a peaceful nation in a state of
shock. Tributes are being left as Christchurch mourns its victims. On Twitter, the New Zealand Prime Minister said of migrant communities, they are us, among those in those communities, there is a sense of bewilderment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YASMIN ALI, CHRISTCHURCH RESIDENT: You don't think something like this could happen in New Zealand, in Christchurch of all places. We're such a small community. We're so kind and loving, so I just don't understand why someone would hurt us like this and in such a way. Just like an animal. Like why would you treat us like that? We've done nothing, nothing wrong to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: President Trump says he's spoken with the Prime Minister of New Zealand. In a tweet, President Trump said "The United States stands in solidarity with New Zealand and is prepared to offer assistance."
Bobby Ghosh joins us now. He is editor and columnist at Bloomberg and a commentators on Middle East and Muslim affairs. Great to have you with us, Bobby. We have seen an international reaction in the same vein actually as the New Zealand Prime Minister, this is not us, not in my name.
BOBBY GHOSH, EDITOR AND COLUMNIST, BLOOMBERG: Yes, and her embracing the victims and saying they are us. That's a very powerful message and one that's worth keeping in mind and amplifying over the next several days, not just in New Zealand, although that's the most important, but all around the world where Muslim communities are and are feeling today under a certain amount of fear because as we've learned, could happen anywhere. This could happen -- and it has happened in London. It has happened in the United States.
I am reassured reading about communities in New York, my home, and yours now, where worshippers going to a mosque today were greeted by people of other communities, Jewish communities as a sign of solidarity. That's a wonderful thing, and we need a lot more of that, and we need to cling to that.
We live in a time when too many of our political leaders don't show the courage of living up to our values and are constantly even on occasions like this dog whistling to their right wing support base.
If our politicians won't step up, then we have to do it ourselves as a community, and we should be willing to do it, and we should embrace the challenge.
CHATTERLEY: I mean, we should make the point that there's a huge leap in the distinction between hateful language and the behavior and the actions of what we saw in the last 24 hours, but it is heightened. The rhetoric is heightened, and you quite rightly point out there are political leaders, political parties using this kind of language, and we don't talk about it as being terrorism. How does -- I mean, we're using the Muslim community because that's what was targeted in this case but it's happened elsewhere, in other communities. Does it need to be called what it is and that's terrorism?
GHOSH: Well, absolutely. It needs to be called what it, and I'm glad that on this occasion, right from the beginning in most of the media that I've seen, the word has been used forthrightly and immediately as it ought to be. You're right. Other communities have been attacked. We saw that with the synagogue attack in the U.S., and we need to also call out the -- what you could call a whole infrastructure of hate that exists, much of it digitally, but not all of it digitally.
We often focus on the perpetrators and I guess that's natural, on the perpetrators of the crime, the person pulling the trigger, the person sort of exploding the bomb, but we have to look at the whole support structure around them that enable their thinking that provided the encouragement, the intellectual support if you like for them to go and do what they did.
CHATTERLEY: Okay, you raise a brilliant point which is the radicalization. I mean, we talk about this a lot in terms of religious extremism. We don't often talk about it in other areas. How is this radicalization happening? And you also pointed to the internet, to social media, and this was such a huge part of what we saw in this attack, too, talk to me about this.
GHOSH: Well, it's -- we've known about this for a while now, and with each one of these atrocities, we learn a little more, and it feels like with each one of these atrocities, the people committing them are breaking through another and sort of pushing the envelope even further. This one was livestreamed which is hideous and ghastly, but it's time our law enforcement agencies around the world began to take this very seriously and apply and put enormous resources behind tracking down these obscure corners of what we now call the dark web, 4Chan, 8chan -- all of these places.
We've known about them for a while, and for a while, they have been protected by our own values of free speech, and we now need to get farther than that and figure out ways where we can protect free speech, but we can also protect ourselves from this hatred spilling out from the ether into the real world.
CHATTERLEY: There's a line there somewhere, and we have to find it. Bobby, thank you so much. Bobby Ghosh there.
All right, we're going to take a quick break here, but as New Zealand is waking up to another difficult day, a man has been charged with murder for these attacks and is due in court. We will have a live report from Christchurch, next.
CHATTERLEY: Hello. I'm Julia Chatterly, and our coverage of the terror attacks in New Zealand continues in a moment. First though, the headlines on CNN this hour.
New Zealand is shocked after the worst mass shootings in its history. At least 49 people were massacred at two mosques during Friday's prayers. Authorities have charged a 28-year-old man with murder. He's due in court soon. They say he left behind pages of online rantings full of anti-Muslim and white supremacist ideology.
Donald Trump is set to veto an attempt by Congress to block his declaration of a national emergency. The U.S. President is due to speak any moment now at the White House. This will be the first time he's used the presidential veto power.
North Korea's Deputy Foreign Minister tells reporters that the country is considering suspending denuclearization talks with the United States. Choe Son-hui said the country has no intention of agreeing to terms put forth by the United States.
Last month in Hanoi, according to the Russian state news agency, TASS, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un failed to reach an agreement at the Summit in Vietnam.
Boeing has paused delivery of its 737 MAX aircraft. This after the U.S. regulators decided to ground the planes. Boeing will continue to build the 737 MAX as it finalizes a software fix designed to make the plane safer.
A Northern Irish party that could hold the key to getting Theresa May's Brexit plan approved, says progress has been made. Leaders from the Democratic Unionist Party held talks with British ministers on Friday.
The DUP has so far refused to back the Prime Minister's plans over fears they would isolate Northern Ireland from the U.K. One of New Zealand's darkest days is how Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the terror attacks that rocked Christchurch on Friday.
Forty nine people lost their lives in two Mosques, many more were injured. As authorities tried to piece together how something so brutal and sickening could have happened in New Zealand, Anna Coren has this report.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Abhorrent, unprecedented, sickening. No words seem enough as the world attempts to come to terms with Friday's mass shooting in New Zealand of all places.
JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER, NEW ZEALAND: This and will be one of New Zealand's darkest days.
COREN: Terrorist attack worshippers attending prayers at the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques in Christchurch. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard they're you know, fighting and it was
from the main entrance, the main entrance of the building, and then everybody, just run towards the back doors just to save themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see the people, they're shooting from inside the Mosques, and at the time, we jumped in and out of the way, just keep firing.
COREN: For most, there was no warning. Scores were killed, dozens injured, the confusion and chaos lasting for hours as authority --
MAYOR LIANNE DALZIEL, CHRISTCHUCH, SOUTH ISLAND: And then there's the wider community of --
CHATTERLEY: And the mayor of Christchurch is speaking now. Let's just listen in.
DALZIEL: Everyone has been touched in some way, shape or form. And the messages that I've had overnight have been a desire to come together as a community and to reach out and offer solidarity to our community, a Muslim community, a part of our community.
We are a very diverse city in Christchurch. We have welcomed new people into our city. We are talking about people in the city who have lived here for years and years and years. They are our friends, they are our neighbors.
We embrace them at this time, and I know that I speak for all of the people in Christchurch when I say how much we want to come together to support them. So we want to work together with those communities, to ensure that we do this appropriately and in support and give them the time and the space that they need to deal with the immediate issues at hand.
We still have injured people in the hospital. So we will find a time and a place for us to come together and to share their sense of grief and loss, but also to share that sense of love, compassion and support that we feel for these communities. The next thing is that people have said that they want to lay floral tribute or other tributes in memory and in respect of those who have died.
And so we have made available the botanic garden wall along Ralston Ave of such center. The reason we chose that place is because it's close to the hospital, very close to the hospital. And so there's a direct connection with the people whose lives have been lost, and we know that the police still have cordons on the two Mosques, and we do want to ask people to stay away from those places.
We will ensure that those tributes are made available to the community at an appropriate time. The next thing that has come through is a strong desire also to contribute money. There are people who are offering financial support that want to help out. I know that victim support have set up an immediate help line fund for supporting the family members. CHATTERLEY: So we're going to leave that press conference with the
mayor of Christchurch in New Zealand speaking there, just saying that we're a diverse city, we're embracing the Muslim community, they are our friends and our neighbors.
We'll continue to bring you any further headlines from that, but for now, we are expecting a 28-year-old man who has been charged with murder to soon appear in Christchurch District court. Journalist Blis Savidge is outside the courthouse for us.
[15:35:00] Blis, great to have you with us. I know you've been reporting throughout the night, just bring us up to speed of what we can expect in the coming hours when this individual appears in court.
BLIS SAVIDGE, JOURNALIST: Yes, so there's still a lot of -- a lot of questions and not a lot of answers, but the suspect is due to appear in court in the next 30 minutes really. It's really picked up around here, a lot of media, and I don't know if you can see behind me, a good crowd over here, waiting by the door.
And also it seems like a few members of the public have showed up as well, so everybody eagerly awaiting to see if we're going to get a glimpse of this suspect. I know the authorities, although they was social media before and there was a name talked about, authorities are now being very tight-lipped about releasing any sort of suspects name, so it's not being named at this moment.
And we'll just have to wait and see. Until then, some people think they might already be inside the building, so we may not even get to see him coming inside the building, but of course, we're going to have more answers very shortly.
CHATTERLEY: As you said, lots of unknowns here, Blis. Just how are people reacting? As you said, there's members of the public there, there's this press there, it's obviously a community that's still just coming to grips with what's happened -- actually, Blis, we're going to leave you there and go back to the mayor's press conference. Blis Savidge there, thank you for that. Let's listen in more again to the mayor.
DALZIEL: Numbers of people who have been killed. There will have to be a large number of funerals, there are very specific requirements in terms of Muslim funerals, and the council is working very closely with the communities to ensure that there are proper places available for preparation and for appropriate graves to be dug. They are being dug today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How shocked are you that this happened in your city?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How shocked are you that this happened in your city?
DALZIEL: I'm very shocked that it has happened here, but I'm shocked that it's happened in New Zealand. If this had happened in any other city in this country, I would be equally shocked. And I think the reason that we have been targeted, and this was, as I understand it, a deliberate decision to target our city and our country, was because we are a safe city and a safe country. And that was the message.
So -- and my response to the choice of Christchurch by this terrorist individual who chooses to terrorize our city, it is an act of cowardice that he has performed. It is something that we'll -- I guess there are no words to describe the revulsion that I feel for the -- the propaganda that he wanted to bring with us, and I will not give voice to that propaganda.
His was the voice of hate, and the only way that communities can respond to the voice of hate is to come together in love, compassion and kindness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you concerned about future extremism of this in Christchurch?
DALZIEL: I haven't been so consumed at all. I've obviously only been the mayor of Christchurch for the last five and a half years, and prior to that though, I was a member of parliament for over 20 years and 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you spoken to the mayor of Dunedin?
DALZIEL: No, I haven't spoken to the mayor of Dunedin, I've heard this morning that -- on the radio that there is an interest in a property in Dunedin. I've spoken to the Prime Minister, I've spoken to the Minister of Police, I've spoken to the Minister of Civil Defense.
So I certainly have reached out, I've received messages from almost every mayor in the city, and actually a number of mayors from around the world have contacted me as well to share their sense of horror and compassion for our city.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This seems to be a well-planned and I think coordinated attack. Was it like involved improvised explosive devices that the administration has that we know of.
DALZIEL: I heard the commissioner of police correct that statement last night. There was -- there were two devices in one car is what he said.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this was planned -- we're hearing maybe a number of years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel updating the media this morning on the situation in her city. We are expecting --
CHATTERLEY: OK, we will leave that there. That was the mayor of Christchurch speaking there. We'll be back in a short while, stay with us.
[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to the show. We were just listening to the mayor of Christchurch speaking, some very poignant comments. She said "this was a deliberate decision to target a safe city in a safe country. It was a message from a voice of hate."
David Huebner served as the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand from 2009 to 2014, and he joins us now. Ambassador, thank you so much for joining us on the show. You've made your views very clear on social media. You said you're heartbroken, but your response to what we've seen here, particularly in this city and in this country.
DAVID HUEBNER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NEW ZEALAND: Well, Julia, thank you for having me. Yes, yesterday was a horrific day for me. One of the great blessings of my life was being able to spend five years in a wonderful country surrounded by wonderful people, and to see this happen, particularly in a city like Christchurch is heartbreaking.
CHATTERLEY: David, what policy response do we need to see because we've had this discussion numerous times throughout the day that we are very quick to condemn terrorism that comes from religious extremists. But when we're talking about rhetoric, language, this kind of violence that's justified by fear of immigration, by fear of the Muslim and the Islamic community, greater action needs to be taken. Would you agree with that?
HUEBNER: I would, but I would suggest that political action is very difficult. What we need is moral action. We need to hold not only ourselves, but those around us to a higher standard. There is so much hypocrisy in the debate about such issues.
Now, I was thinking last night that when a Mexican migrant commits a crime, we need to build a wall. When a Muslim commits a crime, people want to ban them from the country, but when a straight white nationalist commits a crime, too many people point and say it was just him.
We need to really think about how we react to these things, and I think that debate has to start in schools and houses of worship and around the dinner table, not in the halls of a parliament.
[15:45:00] CHATTERLEY: You're pointing a finger there to some degree at the president of the United States. His rhetoric regarding building a wall.
HUEBNER: Oh, absolutely. There are many people who will say don't politicize, and I agree with that. People should not use tragedy to score political points. But I also think that those who would say we should never talk in the moment about cause, effect and prevention are not really thinking of the interests of the victims of a tragedy.
They're looking to defer indefinitely a very necessary conversation about how we present and how we evaluate our own actions and how our actions and our words might influence others, including people with disturbed minds.
CHATTERLEY: I agree with you about the political points scoring. We need to understand how connected hate, rhetoric, language then becomes something like this which is so extreme, and I think we have to separate these two things. David, what should be --
HUEBNER: Absolutely --
CHATTERLEY: The takeaway --
HUEBNER: Absolutely --
CHATTERLEY: What should be the takeaway of something so tragic as we've seen in the last 12 hours in New Zealand?
HUEBNER: Well, I think there are a few takeaways. Just to mention two, we need to be sensitive to the fact that this can happen anywhere in a global environment with global media and free travel, there is no community immune from this.
And number two, we need to really stop and think about the messages we convey and about those we consider us, and those we consider them. And that self-reflection is very difficult, but it's at the core of the solution here. And if I may, I'll give you an example.
One of the members of the American Congress tweeted something which I think he probably believed was supportive, but what he said was there is no need for violence. We have legislatures and courts to deal with controversies. Now what does that say?
Does it say we should be excluding and suing and legislating against Muslims? That's a very counterproductive message, and we need to really look at what people say and have conversations with them about the impact of their words. On "Kiwi News" last night, I saw a report, an interview with somebody who I respect greatly who emphasized several times that these two Mosques were peaceful Mosques.
That should not be said. It need not be said. When there was the attack in Pittsburgh and the attack in Charleston, I heard no one say this was a peaceful synagogue or this was a peaceful church. So I think where we start is where the takeaway is, we need to think more about the words we use and how those words convey negative messages and may influence people, and that starts even with the most well- intentioned people.
CHATTERLEY: I couldn't agree more, sir, and this wasn't violence, it was terrorism. Thank you so much for joining --
HUEBNER: Absolutely --
CHATTERLEY: Us, ambassador, thank you for that. HUEBNER: Thank you for having me.
CHATTERLEY: All right. When we return, social media companies are scrambling to halt the spread of a graphic video linked to Friday's attacks. We'll discuss, stay with CNN.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHATTERLEY: We're continuing to cover the horrific attacks on two Mosques in New Zealand on Friday. The shooter appears to have live- streamed the attack on Facebook. CNN has not independently verified the footage. The Prime Minister of New Zealand is urging people not to watch the video.
The U.K. is calling for social media companies to act faster in taking down offensive content. The British Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted "you need to do more, YouTube, Google, Facebook and Twitter to stop violent extremism being promoted on your platforms. Take some ownership."
Donie O'Sullivan has a new response from Facebook and he joins me now from New York. Danny, great to have you with us, what is Facebook saying here?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Hey, Julia, there's a couple of problems here and challenges for Facebook. Firstly, the video was streamed live on Facebook when the attack was taking place, we believe for up to 17 minutes and maybe then some.
Facebook says that they were made aware of the video by police in New Zealand. So I think a lot of people are going to be asking why even in the first place could Facebook not find this before the police in New Zealand could? I mean, in the past -- in the past hour, Facebook have told us they have been working around the clock to take down copies of this video.
They are urging Facebook users to report any copies of this video they see posted on the platform, and they said they're moving all copies of the video into a database which will help them prevent any -- you know, more instances of the video popping up on the platform.
And the past year, we've heard a lot from Mark Zuckerberg and from Facebook about how serious they are taking content moderation. They said they're hiring thousands of moderators, they're spending millions on artificial intelligence, but I think the big question here is if they're taking all these steps, how can they not, you know, find a video which is so graphic in nature, which has gunshots and have to wait for the police to tell them about it?
CHATTERLEY: A critical question, Donie O'Sullivan, thank you so much for that. We're now joined by Lucinda Creighton; she's former Irish Minister of State for European Affairs, she's also a senior adviser at the Counter Extremism Project; an international policy organization. And Lucinda joins us from Dublin. Lucinda, thank you so much for
making the time for us this evening. You're adamant for all the investment in greater moderation, policing, they're not doing enough here.
LUCINDA CREIGHTON, FORMER IRISH MINISTER FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS: No, I think the key problem here is that there's absolutely no transparency, and there's no international standard by which these tech platforms operate. So they're basically assure policy-makers and legislators that they're doing their best.
They continually issue apologies after events such as this. And remember, that every single terrorist attack which has occurred in Europe over the last five or six years, every single one of them has had a link to online radicalization, online recruitment or instructions.
So bomb-making videos, et cetera, and those same videos keep on reappearing, so the tech companies, you know, say they're doing something but in fact they're not. And they're certainly not doing enough, and we don't know precisely what they're doing, we don't know how they're removing the content, we don't know what they're removing, we don't know how much they're removing.
None of that is made available, and certainly in the case of -- and the EU authorities, you know, whether it's the European Commission or EU governments in member states, they don't know how much content is being removed or what the criteria is that's being applied by the likes of Facebook, Google, YouTube, et cetera.
[15:55:00] And so this is a huge problem, every time one of these terrorist attacks occurs, they wring their hands, they say they're sorry, they say they'll do better, but they're not putting in place the safeguards that they should do, and there is technology available, hushing technology, which you know, can be applied to prevent the re-posting and the re-upload of this type of terrorist content, but they're not deploying it.
And you know, I don't know how many times these tech companies are going to say they're sorry before they really start doing something about it and indeed before policy-makers start to take it seriously and regulate them in a transparent fashion.
CHATTERLEY: And that's the key, where does the onus lie here? Is it on the users? Is it on Facebook? Is it on governments to regulate this better because I think we need to accept that social media has been weaponized here. It's been used to communicate by individuals like this, it's been used to radicalize at times individuals like this.
It's just one part of what we're seeing here. Where does the onus lie, Lucinda?
CREIGHTON: Well, it lies on all three, if you like. Of course --
CHATTERLEY: Yes -- CREIGHTON: Individuals are responsible for their -- but we know the
terrorist organizations are going to continue recruiting potential other terrorists. So, you know, that's the challenge that we have to combat. We can't rely on those organizations to suddenly, you know, develop a moral compass and start doing what they're doing.
And the tech platforms are facilitating this, so they need to put in place measures, but I think, you know, increasingly, it's become clear that these tech organizations are not competent --
CHATTERLEY: Yes --
CREIGHTON: And not willing about regulating --
CHATTERLEY: Yes --
CREIGHTON: So they have pleaded --
CHATTERLEY: Everyone --
CREIGHTON: They've pleaded --
CHATTERLEY: Everyone has to act --
CREIGHTON: They pleaded -- yes, they pleaded with the U.S. governments, they spent millions and millions of dollars lobbying against regulation every year, and they're pleading with the EU authorities not regularly, and I have to say the one person who is providing leadership here --
CHATTERLEY: Lucinda --
CREIGHTON: Is Commissioner --
CHATTERLEY: Lucinda, we have to wrap it there, but thank you so much for joining us on the show today and giving us your insights. Thank you for that. All right, we're expecting the New Zealand Prime Minister to make a statement any moment now. We also expect the terror suspect to arrive at the courthouse any minute, too.
Our breaking news coverage continues in just a few moments time with Hala Gorani. For now, I'm Julia Chatterley in London, stay with CNN.