Todd Miller speaks with Truthout about his new book, Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security and about how the public is unaware that this country’s borders are being transformed into heavily militarized zones, north and south.
You’ve been reporting about the border for several years now, what made you decide to focus on border patrol and what surprised you the most in your findings?
One of the first acts of journalism that I did was photograph a crew from the U.S. Army corps of engineers when they were building the wall between Douglas and Agua Prieta in the late 1990s. That was when Border Patrol was concentrating agents and technology, and building walls in the urban areas along the 2,000 mile U.S. Mexico border. Then in 2001 I was working for a binational organization in Tucson, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora when 9/11 hit. With this, I witnessed first hand the advent of the homeland security era of the Border Patrol. The results of this have been nothing less than startling.
Hour 2: In recent years, the U.S. Border Patrol has expanded its reach into everything from surveillance to security at the Super Bowl. We’ll talk about the organization’s increased presence in our everyday lives with Todd Miller, author of Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security (City Lights Publishers).
Did you know that Customs and Border Protection is now the largest law enforcement agency in the US, spurring a huge border-industrial complex? Find out more about border protection by checking out this edition of APA!
Please, click on the link to go to the interview. We have a nice discussion about Border Patrol Nation.
The interview begins like this.. “Fear is big business, and managing that fear along our nation’s 5,000 border miles is a booming industry.”
See the entire interview, by Joanne Zuhl, here:
With the agility of a seasoned Border Patrol veteran, the woman rushed after the students. She caught up with them just before they entered the exhibition hall of the eighth annual Border Security Expo, reaching out and grabbing the nearest of them by the shoulder. Slightly out of breath, she said, “You can’t go in there, give me back your badges.”
The astonished students had barely caught a glimpse of the dazzling pavilion of science-fiction-style products in that exhibition hall at the Phoenix Convention Center. There, just beyond their view, more than 100 companies, including Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Verizon, were trying to sell the latest in futuristic border policing technology to anyone with the money to buy it.
Read the rest here on TomDispatch: http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175834/tomgram%3A_todd_miller%2C_the_creation_of_a_border_security_state
And please check out Tom Engelhardt’s introduction (which will appear when you click the above link) to see how you by purchasing the book you can support the great journalism produced by TomDispatch.
Texas Observer: You cover a lot of territory in this book. It’s a very thorough examination of how the notion of border security and the U.S. Border Patrol has changed since 9/11.
Todd Miller: Yes, I wanted to really focus on the expansion of the agency and what that means in one sense and also look at some of the not so obvious, yet powerful manifestations of the expansion.
See the entire interview done with Melissa del Bosque here:
“We talked with Author Todd Miller on his recently published book, Border Patrol Nation. The book gives first-hand encounters with people who are most involved with and impacted by the Border Patrol and the change into high-end technology, weapons, surveillance and prisons.”
In desert camouflage and combat helmets, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents kneel behind a white truck. One agent has his pistol aimed at an unseen enemy. Another has a semi-automatic assault rifle. In the distance stretches the brown desert landscape, the mountains, the expansive sky.
At first glance, the agents are alert and ready as if in combat theater in the Middle-East. At the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, and in the context of the persistent 30-year push of Mexico-U.S. border militarization, maybe this isn’t so far off. This CBP special response team—that in its trainingunleashes “torrents of fire”—is part of the United States’ largest federal law enforcement agency. With more than 60,000 agents, the Department of Homeland Security’s CBP has become a daunting domestic army.
The U.S. government often portrays CBP agents—especially the “men in green” of the Border Patrol—as professional warriors who “protect,” as former CBP chief David Aguilar puts it, “our way of life.” These agents are on the front lines fending off enemies of many shades, faces, and ideologies who are supposedly eager to penetrate the U.S. international boundary with malicious intentions. However, a Los Angeles Times article, which discusses an independent review by law enforcement experts on the U.S. Border Patrol’s use of deadly force, shows an entirely different reality.
Read the rest here at NACLA.