The emergence of a ubiquitous surveillance state may be symbolized by the National Security Agency (NSA), but according to journalist Todd Miller those in the United States should also be looking to the nation’s borders. It is there that a creeping militarization threatens – in the name of protecting the country – to encroach upon the civil liberties of everybody in the US.
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.”