Sunday, 8 May 2011

Anti-Frontex days planned in Poland

A WEEK of activities against the European border agency, Frontex, is being staged in Poland from May 15 to 23.

Says the campaign website: "The agency has their seat in Warsaw, Poland, from where it directs its activities.

"It is a common misconception that Frontex is an actual border police, with a staff in uniform tasked to physically police the borders of the EU.

"Rather, Frontex is a coordinating mechanism of the European Union organizing the cooperation of the border police bodies of the member states of the EU.

"In this respect, Frontex is like a meta border police: it is both above and behind the everyday practices of border guards.

"To this end, Frontex combines a lot of tasks and activities in one body that in the traditional nation state have been kept separate.

"There is an intelligence service component: Frontex actively monitors and pools data about all that is going on at the external borders of the EU, so that predictions to movements of migration can be made.

"Frontex refers to this as risk analysis, a whole department at the headquarters in Warsaw is busy with this and well connected to its national counterparts in Europe.

"There is also a research division, which – in cooperation with military industries and universities – pushes for the high-tech-sci-fi border of the 21st century.

"Current plans include real-time surveillance of the border on all levels, including live satellite imagery, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV aka drones, usually deployed in war zones like Afghanistan and Iraq) for close-ups, and all other tools at the disposal of a border guard: radar, cameras, etc. Another project is the introduction of biometric identity checks at all border crossings.

"The main focus of Frontex, however, is the coordination of cooperation at the actual border, as they refer to it. Since the agency became operational, Frontex has organized so called 'joint operations', in which EU member states invite other EU member states to send border guard personal and equipment for a joint policing of the borders.

"Recently, Frontex has also been more involved in the organization and financing of mass deportations, where a whole plane is chartered and refugees from all over Europe are collectively deported to their assumed countries of origin. In 2009, Frontex did more than 30 such flights, removing more than 1.500 people from European territory."