by Sara Paretsky
To read the complete article (with a picture of the author and
an excerpt from the book), click on-- http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=12760
In her latest novel, Blacklist, author Sara Paretsky throws her popular heroine V.I. Warshawski
smack up against the Patriot Act. In this guest column, she explains why.
I don稚 know when I
started feeling afraid. It might have been in October 2001 when I read about a 55-year-old Pakistani waiter who died after
weeks in a U.S. prison. His crime: overstaying his visa. He hadn稚 been allowed to call his family, his consulate, or
a lawyer. The government ・my government ・agreed he had no connection with terrorists, but we continued to hold
him until he died.
Or it might have been the following month, when I saw reports that the FBI had picked up 61-year-old
Barry Reingold in San Francisco, for saying 釘ush has nothing to be proud of. He痴 a servant of the big oil companies
and his only interest in the Middle East is oil.・ Reingold told the FBI he thought he had a right to free speech. The
agents said he did, but told him they were still writing a report on him.
I only know that by a year ago, when I was
working on my novel Blacklist, I was definitely scared. That was when news stories emerged about police seizing a man in a
New Jersey library for reading foreign language pages on the Web. They held him for three days without charging him, without
letting him call his wife or a lawyer, before deciding that he wasn稚 doing anything subversive. ...
Nowadays, to search your home or office, all any law officer, has to do is tell a judge you are part of an investigation
which may have links to terrorism. The Patriot Act says they don稚 have to prove you have any links to terrorism, or
to any other crimes. ... Kind of like Alice in Wonderland: 的値l be Judge, I値l
be Jury, said cunning old Fury, I値l try the whole case and condemn you to death.・ ...
Paretsky is the author of eleven other novels, including the bestselling Tunnel Vision, Guardian Angel, and Burn Marks. She
lives in Chicago with her husband.
Copyright Center for American Progress