Nathalie Goulet: Fighting terrorism also means fighting disinformation linked to artificial intelligence

The issue of terrorism, ubiquitous and constantly evolving, occupies a central position on the international agenda. Recently, during a visit to New York, Senator Nathalie Goulet, representative of Normandy, shared her thoughts on this global scourge and the actions needed to combat it.

The main objective of his visit to New York was to address the issue of terrorist financing. The senator stressed the importance of keeping this issue at the top of the global agenda, despite periods without terrorist attacks that can lead to a drop in vigilance. “As long as there are no attacks, we forget about terrorism, but the fight against terrorism is a daily battle,” he said.

“No Money for Terror”

Goulet spoke about “No money for Terror”, a global initiative aimed at combating the financing of terrorism. This initiative started in 2017 and is the result of the cooperation of several countries and international organizations, such as France, the United States, Saudi Arabia and INTERPOL.

The main objective of “No Money for Terror” is to strengthen international cooperation to prevent terrorists from having access to the financial resources necessary to carry out their activities. To do this, the initiative aims to improve the exchange of information between countries, strengthen financial regulation and promote the implementation of measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Asked about the recent attacks in Moscow, Goulet expressed her emotion: “This attack reaches a general climate of a world that has been completely turned upside down. We haven't had any major attacks in recent months. It's a painful awakening. »

Goulet highlighted the similarities with the tragic events at the Bataclan in Paris. The Bataclan is a famous entertainment venue which, in November 2015, was the scene of an Islamic State-linked terror attack that left 90 dead and many others injured.

“Obviously, for the French, it reminded us of the Bataclan on many levels, because of the location, the violence and obviously the delay in the arrival of help. It is a very big surprise that it hit here and now. (This shows) that the issues of terrorism are ongoing questions. We must have no moments of rest. The fight against terrorism is a daily struggle. »

Goulet spoke of the critical importance of information sharing between intelligence agencies, while warning against the spread of false information, “reaching the networks to offset real information” and media manipulation.

“The media are weapons of mass destruction,” he warned, stressing the importance of having reliable, and above all well-constructed, information to avoid falling into the trap of fake news today with social networks and paid channels here and there'.

For Goulet, it's not only of counter terrorism as it is, but media terrorism and disinformation also linked to artificial intelligence'.

The role of Saudi Arabia

A key point of discussion was Saudi Arabia's role “today an important player and reliable partner” in the fight against terrorism, to which the kingdom “pays enormous attention”, the senator insisted. The Kingdom, according to her, plays a key role in cooperation between countries to suppress the financing of terrorism.

“We need to stop being lazy and linking Saudi Arabia with terrorism 20 years ago for one reason or another. Mohammed bin Salman's Saudi Arabia is fighting terrorism. There is a financial intelligence agency in Riyadh copied from the French system to fight the financing of terrorism, which works very well,” insisted Nathalie Goulet, before arguing that “a few years ago, when the coalition had launched operations against the rebels Houthi, the whole world came in blaming Saudi Arabia and the coalition. This same world today realizes what is happening in the Red Sea and no one wants Hezbollah on its borders.

Necessary legislative framework

After his meeting with Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office, Goulet emphasized the importance of the parliamentary aspect in this fight, stressing the need for a stable legislative framework to address the challenges posed by crypto- assets, while promoting greater parliamentary cooperation, knowing, in his own words, “that when it comes to terrorism, the thief always runs faster than the policeman and faster than the legislator, which means a lot of lag behind creativity of criminals and terrorists. »

According to the senator who has made the fight against the financing of terrorism her main battle, we should “find ways to ensure that the huge cryptocurrency market does not benefit terrorists.” European parliaments are not well trained to understand all the issues surrounding crypto-assets, which correspond to a very new subject which, according to Goulet, includes “technology, economics, many interests and above all a lot of money . »

Financial delinquency

Asked about specific measures to strengthen international cooperation, Nathalie Goulet insisted on the need to fight financial crime: “We have to work hard on this because the financing of terrorist networks uses these financial crimes, especially drug and human trafficking. We talk about immigration, but we never talk about all the money that comes from these immigrants being robbed and used to feed other terrorist rings. If you buy a fake Lacoste shirt or a fake Dior bag or a fake Vuitton bag, it feeds the terrorist financing networks.”

According to Ms. Goulet, “every money laundering does not necessarily finance terrorism, but every financing of terrorism necessarily involves laundering, » Hence the importance of tightening banking regulations to combat money laundering.

Education as an instrument of struggle

On another level, Nathalie Goulet particularly insisted on the importance of promoting education to counter the spread of extremism in all its forms of “anti-Semitism, racism, extremism, knowing that terrorism is not only Islamic, but perhaps also far-right terrorism in a world that is very destabilized today and in which conspiracy plays an important role.”

Regarding France's role, Goulet highlighted the country's security efforts while calling for increased vigilance against acts of hate and extremism.

Goulet concluded by stressing the importance of “fighting extremism, against Islamophobia, against anti-Semitism. Anti-Muslim acts have recently increased 30-fold, » while anti-Semitic acts are also on the rise.

As eyes turn to this summer's Paris Olympics, Goulet concluded by reminding that “terrorism is a permanent issue in our lives from here on out and that we must remain very vigilant.”

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