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September 11th 20 Years Later: Surveillance, Policing, and Torture

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September 11th, 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. In today’s program, we turn our attention not to the tragedy of 9/11 itself, but to 9/11 as an inflection point in U.S. culture and policy in two areas: domestic surveillance in the form of fusion centers, and the government and public regard of the use of torture in the War on Terror.

The Dept of Homeland Security created secretive spy centers across the U.S. in the wake of 9/11 where federal agencies and local agencies could share information on terrorist threats. But, after a series of leaks from law enforcement websites, it became clear that fusion centers were really targeting protesters and the poor. We take a look at a bill in Maine, which would defund its state’s fusion center, setting a precedent for other centers across the country.

And, we hear from a leading scholar on the anti-torture history of the War on Terror.


  • Brendan McQuade, Author of Pacifying the Homeland: Intelligence Fusion and Mass Supervision.
  • Matthew Guariglia, Policy Analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  • Dr. Lisa Hajjar, Professor of Sociology, UC Santa Barbara and Author of The War in Court: The Inside Story of the Fight Against Torture in the War on Terror.


Making Contact Staff

  • Host: Anita Johnson

  • Executive Director: Sonya Green

  • Staff Producers: Anita Johnson, Monica Lopez, Salima Hamirani

Music Credits:

Bio Unit, Industrial Zone, Disquiet, Nultiel Records, 2021

Bio Unit, Steppe, Disquiet, Nultiel Records, 2021

Johnny Ripper, San Soucis, Soundtrack for a Film that Doesn’t Exist, N/A, 2012

Xylo Ziko – “Fireflies”

Storby – “Whatever”

Xylo Ziko – “Last Light”

Blue Dot Sessions – “Di Breun”

Xylo Ziko – “Submersible”

Author: Radio Project

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