The SF author Peter Watts has posted his account of his treatment by USA Border Patrol with additional information.
There is a lot of comment flying around on the blogosphere about this. Many of the comments I was going to make have already been made in this discussion by Jo Walton.
The area which I think has not gotten sufficient is why is this culture of authoritarianism, intimidation and militarization becoming so prevalent at the USA borders as well as the USA in general. For something this complex there are no simple answers however I think one place (out of many) to start the analysis is with the Drug War. It is difficult to see the Drug War as anything other that a serious mistake which has done much harm to the USA and the world in general. Unfortunately there are many individuals, organizations and companies who are feeding like leeches on the supply of government money that finances the Drug War. And do not expect the politicians who have made the supporting evermore draconian laws to suddenly have a sudden change the hubris and mendacity which has increasing become a hallmark of the political class.
So can things change for the better? In theory yes things can change for the better. Am I optimistic that they will change for the better? Not today; today I just sad and sick of the situation. It is all very depressing.