tv BBC World News America PBS December 19, 2016 3:59pm-4:29pm PST
>> this is "bbc world news america." funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation. newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good. kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and aruba tourism authority. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the island with warm, sunny days, cooling trade winds, and the
crystal blue caribbean sea. nonstop flights are available from most major airports. more information for your vacation planning is available at aruba.com. >> and now, "bbc world news america." laura: this is "bbc world news america." reporting from washington, i am laura trevelyan. an attack on the busy christmas market in berlin. nine are dead and dozens injured. russia's ambassador to turkey's shot dead in ankara. moscow says it is an attempt to spoil ties between the countries. the gunman has been killed. and thousands more are bused out of the syrian city of aleppo, including nearly 50 orphans who sent out a desperate message for help.
welcome to our viewers on public television in america and also around the globe. we come on air with breaking news from germany, where nine people have been killed and dozens injured in an attack on a christmas market in the heart of berlin. police say a truck crashed into the market located in the central square. officials say the incident bears all the hallmarks of a possible terror attack. but don't rule out it could have been an accident. it is reported that the suspect believed to be the driver of the truck has been arrested. the bbc's berlin correspondent jenny hill has the latest. jenny: sirens, panic in the heart of berlin. this the immediate aftermath of what police suspect was a deliberate attack. the truck plowed into one of the city's biggest christmas markets . moments before these pictures were taken, people were eating, drinking, shopping.
>> as we were leaving, the large truck came through. it went just passed me, past my girlfriend. i think it missed me by three meters. it came to the side of the barrier and carried on asked us. -- past us. jenny: the driver of the lorry,, which has polish license plates, fled on foot. there was a second man in the truck who died at the scene. so many questions, but for now, such shock. at least 50 people were injured. it is feared the death toll could yet rise. >> it is terrible to witness this. i had hoped we would never experience something like this in berlin. police on the ground are doing everything they can. they are working with fire crews and hospitals and are making sure the injured are being taken care of. the situation here is under control. now the experts have to do their work and hopefully on the basis
of that we can determine what happened here tonight. such: horror enough that an event should unfold less than a week before christmas pick that there is fear, too, because if, as police believe come this was a deliberate attack, it is possible that what may also emerge is this combat terrorists have succeeded striking again in one of europe's capital cities. joined me a brief time ago from the scene of the crash. what are authorities saying how --ut what happened back out saying now about what happened? jenny: they are trying to keep an open mind. they are saying this could be a traffic accident. but they are also saying this could well have been deliberately planned and they cannot rule out that it may have been an act of terrorism. earlier this evening, hundreds of thousands of people came down to one of berlin's business markets expecting to enjoy festivities with no idea that at
some point during the evening this truck, which i think you will be able to make out behind me, came plowing in and amongst people andand sending them flying, bodies scattered underneath the christmas lights. just moments before people have been eating and drinking and enjoying the atmosphere. there is a great deal of questions to be answered. in the meantime, there are a lot of people in hospital tonight, at least 50 injured. we saw some of them were taken away by ambulance, some of them clearly in a bad state indeed. at the moment we know that nine people were killed tonight. it may yet be that the death toll will rise further. laura: can you describe the mood in berlin tonight after this has happened at one of berlin's beloved christmas markets? jenny: as you would expect, there is great shock. there is also a subdued atmosphere here. i think that is because for some time now people in germany have
feared that it is christmas markets, and there are thousands of them, very vulnerable to a terrorist attack. this country has been on the state of high alert since the summer, when germany witnessed the first experience of what were thought to be the first two i.s. terror-inspired attacks on its soil. authorities have been concerned about security at christmas markets but they are difficult to police and an attack like this, if that is what it is proved to be, exactly the kind of attack that authorities have feared for a long time. laura: jenny, what kind of note are the authorities trying to strike tonight? this is obviously very serious but they do not want to panic people, do they? jenny: no, and for example, at one point this evening, the driver of the truck actually left the scene on foot. he fled on foot. it was around an hour or so before police arrested a man they say they believe to be the driver.
during that time, they actually tweeted they wanted people to stay indoors in berlin, which gives you a sense of just what they were thinking, that this was part of an attack, possibly a coordinated attack. i must say that people are erring on the side of caution. there is a sense they are investigating several different lines of inquiry here, one of which may turn out to be that this is a simple traffic accident with deadly and tragic consequences. on the other hand, they say it is still plausible indeed that this was deliberately planned. laura: jenny hill in berlin, thank you. for more on tonight's attack, i was joined a short time ago by daveed gartenstein-ross from the foundation for defense of democracies. what is your reaction to this truck ramming into a market where so many were gathered? daveed: it is tragic.
obviously, it is treated as a terrorist attack. every indication is that is delivered, but christmas markets are so ubiquitous in europe. they are what i think of when i think of germany in december. they are a soft target, representative of the christian heritage. that is why isis, for example, is what people are thinking of when they see what has occurred. laura: the u.s. state department issued a warning in the last month. tell us more about the warning. daveed: they issued a warning saying that christmas markets could be targeted, and just three days ago we saw a christmas market targeted by a 12-year-old boy, an iraqi-german boy who left not one but 2 mail bombs in the market. they failed to detonate, fortunately, but he was arrested after attempting the attack a couple of times. laura: of course, we don't yet fully know if this is a
terrorist attack but it has the hallmarks of what happened in nice last summer. daveed: it certainly does. for that reason, it seems to have the hallmarks of terrorism, it seems to be deliver it, it -- it seems to be deliberate, it is being treated that way. looking at what is going on elsewhere in the world, jordan in particular, where you have the awful attack on a frequent tourist destination, it has the hallmarks of previous isis attacks, where they do surge attacks in multiple theaters at the same time as a show of strength. they did that notably during ramadan where they had this unprecedented bloody wave. as they are losing ground in syria and iraq, it makes sense for them to try to carry out terrorist attacks abroad to show they are a potent force. laura: much as the intelligence authorities might anticipate something like a christmas market is a soft target, how can one guard against attacks like this if this turns out to be an attack?
daveed: that is the nature of soft targets, they are difficult to protect. same thing with the anticipation that american malls could be attacked, something we have talked about for a while, but ultimately, if you securitize malls, it defeats the purpose. you want them to be places people can go into. same thing with the markets in europe. the whole purpose is that it is open-air, friendly place for people to go to, and the more securitized it is, the more you defeat the purpose of the market in the first place. laura: france and belgium have seen planned and sophisticated attacks. what is the threat level assessed at in germany? daveed: there is certainly a threat level. there are cells that have been broken up. this year you had a number of different attacks. the one that could have been worse was a suicide bombing outside a concert had 15 people injured, but it could have been much worse.
there have been knife attacks on trains, axe attacks. it has been more low-level, with seemingly at least one plot that was going to be coordinated similar to what we saw in france and belgium. laura: daveed gartenstein-ross, thank you for joining us. a woman who was at the market tweeted an image of the crash after it hit. she joined me short time ago. i asked her what she saw. >> yes, good evening. we were very, very lucky, to be honest. we arrived in berlin earlier today, first time i have ever been. we were just looking forward to the festivities and what the christmas market has on offer. we were waiting, sort of looking around at the lights and waiting to go back to the hotel when we heard an almighty bang.
we looked around and saw the lights being torn down from above us, and the hut in front of us that we bought from completely crushed by the lorry. it was eight feet in front of us. we were incredibly, incredibly lucky. laura: i'm glad to hear that. tell us how crowded was the market when the truck hit. >> you know, it is monday evening, so there are plenty of tourists there like myself, and people walking through on their way back from work, people coming to see what is happening. there were lots of people around. there were lots of people working there. it was a busy place. laura: and can you describe how people reacted once the truck rammed into the christmas market? >> yes, so i think we were all in a state of shock, really,
because we heard the bang and saw the lights coming down and everybody just turned to look. none of us really knew what was going on. we just didn't know what to do. it all went deathly quiet, once the truck passed by. all you could hear were cries and screams and creaks of the buildings that had been hit. we sat there not knowing if we were safe to leave, safer to stay. we weren't sure what to do. laura: can you explain the path that the truck took? did it career away from you in the market? >> we were sat with the huts and the pathway in front of us left to right, and that is the path
the lorry took. we were in the square of the christmas market. there were 2 busy roads on either side of it, but it wasn't a case of it could have veered off the road. it came through the middle of the market. there is no pathway off the road through there. it was very frightening. laura: thank you for coming on to the bbc and describing the incredibly harrowing experience. we appreciate you sharing your story for us. thank you. just a short time ago, the white house released a statement saying it condemned in the strongest terms what appears to be a terrorist attack in berlin. it said u.s. authorities had been in touch with german officials and stand ready to provide assistance in investigating this horrific incident. here on the bbc, we will bring you full coverage of the latest developments on what happened in the christmas market in berlin. you can look at our website, listen to bbc radio, and stay
news." "bbc world today's other major story, the russian ambassador to turkey has been shot and killed. andrei karlov was addressing a meeting in ankara when a man shot him several times in the back, shouting "don't forget aleppo! revenge!" the gunman was an off-duty turkish police officer. the attack follows days of protests in turkey over russia's role in syria. our correspondent mark lowen has the latest. mark: russia's ambassador to turkey opening an exhibition in ankara. waiting behind him, his assassin. as andrei karlov speaks, the gunman opens fire, killing the ambassador. >> allahu akbar! mark: he screamed, "allahu akbar," god is greatest, before in turkish, "don't forget about aleppo. so long as they aren't safe, you won't taste safety either."
as the attacker was shot dead by police, the ambassador was rushed to hospital. his wife was let out, clearly shaken. soon after, andrei karlov succumbed to his injuries. the gunman was named by the authorities as a turkish police officer, born in 1994. he had been working for the riot police for two and half years. his sister and mother have been detained. 62-year-old andrei karlov had 40 years of diplomatic experience -- ambassador in ankara since 2016. he handled difficult relations. russia and turkey have been on opposite sides of syria's war, but a recent rapprochement between the two halted the fighting in aleppo. president erdogan said it would not be thrown off course. president erdogan: i describe this attack on russia's ambassador as an attack on turkey, an attack on the turkey state and nation. after the incident, i talked to mr. putin. we agreed this is a provocation
and there isn't any dispute. mark: president putin called the attack a ploy to wreck the syrian peace process. syria's war has killed hundreds of thousands. it has just had another deadly impact. laura: markkula went reporting there. -- mark lowen reporting that could president elected donald trump has released a statement on the murder of russia's ambassador to turkey, in which he says "today we offer our condolences to family and loved ones of andrei karlov, who was assassinated by radical islamic terrorists hit it is a violation of all rules of civilized order and must be universally condemned." that statement by president-elect donald trump. the diplomatic channel between russia and turkey is one of the most important in this event conflict. a deal toagreed on evacuate east aleppo, where thousands of civilians and rebel fighters have been trapped.
the united nations security council has called for the immediate deployment of observers in aleppo and more people were brought out, trapped in0 children an orphanage. jeremy bowen reports. jeremy: noisy demonstrations in turkey over the weekend condemned russia's support of the assad regime. throughout the war, turkey has been on the other side, backing the rebels. the protests were organized, but it could be that the man who killed the russian ambassador acted alone. he seems to have been part of a sense of national and religious humiliation among some turks after russia's decisive action. turkey shot down a russian warplane it said violated its airspace not long after russia's intervention over a year ago. but since then, turkey and russia have tried to avoid clashes. too much is at stake. both say the assassination won't change the warmer relationship.
these are russian special forces troops in syria. the turkish equivalents are in the country, too, mainly preoccupied with the kurds. but there is an obvious rivalry between 2 major powers to intervene on opposite sides in the syrian war. andrei karlov, the late russian ambassador, accompanied his president on trips in the region. he died in the fallout from mr. putin's decision to make russia a power in the middle east again. also paying a heavy price are syrians, being bused out of eastern aleppo into an uncertain future. more than half of syria's prewar population has been displaced by the war. the evacuation from eastern aleppo has been so difficult to arrange because of all the factors that make the war in syria so hard to solve. it isn't just about doing a deal between those who support the regime and those who don't. foreign powers had intervened in syria and have their own rivalries that go above and
beyond the war, and they have the biggest say. in new york, the un security council passed a new resolution calling for monitors to watch over what is happening and proper access for humanitarian aid in aleppo. it may be too little too late. and it is not clear how soon it can be implemented, if at all. >> right now it is an important step that i think a couple days ago people would not have thought the russian federation would have allowed to go through the council, but until it is implemented, it is just a piece of paper. jeremy: the syrians, closely allied with russia, are deep creases issues that are deeply suspicious of western motives. >> we oppose the attempts of some member states to draft and submit under humanitarian cover a crafty and vague terms that tolerate more than one interpretation. jeremy: the fall of aleppo does
not end this complex, unpredictable war. the fight for syria creates an crisis. the assassination in turkey is the latest, and there is still no coherent international desire to bring peace any closer. laura: jeremy bowen reporting there. from syria to brexit to the u.s. presidential election, 2016 has been a year like no other. just a short time ago, donald trump surpassed 270 votes needed in the electoral college to clinch the presidency. it has been a campaign and your with talk about fake news and post truth politics. here is our special correspondent alan little. alan: how does america get its news? how does it know who or what to trust? traditionally news has come from places like this.
it still rolls off the machinery of the predigital age. you find conflicting opinions in its pages, diversity of news. it offers its readers a shared public reality come within which they can disagree, dispute, and challenge each other. but does that guiding journalistic purpose also now belong to a fading predigital age? >> i think of the mission here as both chronicle the life of the community and also to try to help it move through its challenges. when i grew up and went to college they always had us challenging ourselves to look at where the message came from. i don't know if people want to know that anymore. this is when i think, and that is interesting to me but also terrifying. allan: traditional journalism is losing its power to the internet and the echo chamber of social media. there are 2 americas now, each
listening to some preferred new sources. 2 parallel public realities. what do we have here? >> something we see frequently on social media, a quotation treated to donald trump, "people" magazine, 1998, saying "if i were to run, i would run as a republican, they are the dumbest voters who believe anything on fox news." allan: sounds authentic. >> but he never said this. it is a made up quote. allan: fake news has infiltrated u.s. politics. online, made up stories look like a real ones, and they confirm what you already believe. >> this is a fake news website. "pope francis endorses donald trump for president, releases statement." this was shared like a million
times on social media. debunking of that fake piece was shared 30,000 times. allan: are there also 2 britains, each with their own parallel truths? remember this claim made by the campaign to leave the eu? this is what it looks like now. new colors. the hundred 50 million pounds a week for the nhs is gone, just like it is gone from the national discourse. is this britain's version of poetry politics? -- puts truth politics? there is still a shared public reality in british politics, a common square where news is generated and consumed. but it is gone in america and it could go here, too. the dangers to democracy are obvious. >> if you want to have a vision of the future, look to russia, where one of the things under vladimir putin has been creating a regime where no one can know anything and keeping people in a
fog of uncertainty. aneone trying to create atmosphere in which there are no experts, nobody can know anything. you better let a strong man take charge. allan: that is not great for democracy. >> terrible, terrible for democracy. and terrible for journalism. allan: democracies also value freedom of speech, the right to say things others find offensive. who in the new media landscape is to police what is valid and what is fake, what is true and what is post-truth? 2016 has given the question of urgency. -- new urgency. laura: a reminder of our top story tonight -- a truck crashed into a christmas market in the heart of berlin, germany, killing at least nine people and injuring dozens. officials say the incident bears all the hallmarks of a possible terror attack, but warned it still could be an accident. that brings today's broadcast to a close them up but you can find much more on all the day's news at our website.
from all of us here at "bbc world news america," thanks, and please tune in tomorrow. >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation. newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good. kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and aruba tourism authority. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the island with warm, sunny days, cooling trade winds, and the
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