From 18-20 November, the Spanish city of Seville hosted the sixth Interpol
Counter-Terrorism Working Group Meeting on Foreign Terrorist Fighters. Interpol
is the world’s largest international police organisation.
According to the Interpol website,
the encounter was meant to enable participants from approximately 40 countries
“to exchange best practice on how to address and neutralize the threat posed by
ISIS and other terrorist groups using expertise gained in the wider conflict
zone as a platform to train and plan attacks against Western and other
Of particular concern are terrorists who, having departed from
Europe itself to join the fight, later bring their expertise back home.
An article about
the meeting in Spain’s El Pais newspaper reports Interpol’s calculation that,
of an estimated 25,000 international fighters, less than one-fourth have been
identified - the majority of them in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Hence the
apparent need for ever-tighter collaboration and information-sharing between
countries fighting on behalf of “civilization,” as Spanish Interior Minister
Jorge Fernandez Diaz characterised the
showdown at his inaugural address in Seville.
Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock stressed in his own
speech that “information is key to the police battle”. Two days later, it
seemed a key battle had already been won on that front; an Interpol news brief announced
that Stock had “welcomed the decision by European Union ministers for all EU
external border control points to be connected to Interpol’s global databases
and for automatic screening of travel documents to be introduced by March
In other words, welcome to the age of Even Bigger Brother - and
even smaller spaces in which human rights and civil liberties may be asserted. READ MORE
AT MIDDLE EAST EYE.