France is examining terrorist recruitment propaganda

AP News
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Posted: Feb 10, 2015 9:06 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — France is looking at the sophisticated propaganda, indoctrination and other methods used to recruit terrorists, including social media and video games, as part of its wide-ranging campaign to eradicate "the devastating force of terrorism," the country's justice minister said Tuesday.

Christiane Taubira told an open meeting of the U.N. Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee that following last month's attacks on the Charlie Hebdo weekly newspaper and a kosher supermarket that killed 20 people, including three gunmen, France is also asking what draws recruits to view terrible violence as "a noble cause."

And it is examining the fascination with crime and death, and the disparities between rich and poor that lead some people to believe they have no future, she said.

"We need to breathe life back into the principle of equality," Taubira said. "The promise of the (French) republic is that everyone has a chance. We need to keep that promise."

She said France is reinforcing measures to fight against racism and xenophobia, to protect victims and witnesses, to help people who agree to become informers, and to prevent the dissemination of terrorist material on social networks.

The French government is also taking action to dismantle terror networks to prevent would-be foreign fighters from joining terrorist groups and to prevent terrorists from entering the country, Taubira said, and "we have been able to dismantle around about 15 networks." She gave no details.

The government is doing research to detect signs of radicalization and setting up de-indoctrination programs, Taubira said.

France is also taking measures to protect the majority of prison inmates from succumbing to pressures from a minority of radicalized detainees, she said.

But Taubira said a national response will never be sufficient and international action is essential to combat the increase in terrorist attacks.

She pointed to a report by the London-based Institute for Economics and Peace in November which said there were nearly 10,000 terrorist attacks in 2013 — a 44 percent increase over 2012 — resulting in nearly 18,000 deaths. Its Global Terrorism Index showed two-thirds of the fatalities were from the Islamic State group, Boko Haram, al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Lithuania's U.N. Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaite, who chairs the Counter-Terrorism Committee, said the world must act faster and more forcefully to respond to changing terrorist threats.

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Associated Press Writer Cara Anna contributed to this report from the United Nations