Sara Paretsky on the Patriot Act

Mystery author Sara Paretsky has on her webpage the text of a speech she gave on the Patriot Act. An excerpt:

We have today a government that mixes silence with lies.

We have a government that has by fiat sealed presidential papers from public view. We have a government that will not reveal the names of the people who created America’s energy policy — your policy and mine — because they claim that naming their advisors will undermine national security. We have a government that is trying to set up a Soviet style system of citizens spying and reporting on each other — whose first consequence was to shut down the Interstate highway to trap three medical students.

We have a government that in the past winter tapped the home phones and e-mails of UN delegates from Chile, Mexico, Pakistan and Cameroon, to see how they might vote in the UN on invading Iraq.

We have a government that is setting up an office called Information Operations, designed to plant false stories in foreign news outlets to help sway world opinion in favor of its actions. This operation was shot down a year ago and Donald Rumsfeld promised it was gone for good. It’s back now under a new name, with a promise of $250 million in funding from Illinois’s own representative Henry Hyde.

We have a government that instituted a Global Gag Rule, forbidding foreign governments to discuss abortion with their own citizens – a rule, by the way, which directly caused the death of 9500 women and 154,000 infants in third world countries in the two years since the Gag rule was implemented.

We have a government that released forged documents to make its case that Iraq has nuclear weapons.

We have a government that has ordered libraries to destroy a whole series of public reports that it doesn’t want the public to read.

And we have a U.S. press is acquiescing easily with the government’s desire for silence in all these arenas.