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Through A Mirror, Darkly?

Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006 1:54 AM

Picture if you will ...

A democratic nation. A leader who faces suspicions of election fraud. And a state of emergency in the wake of an alleged coup.

Is this the plot of a Star Wars film? A conspiracy theory starring George W. Bush?


It's the Philippines.

"This is my warning to those conspiring against the country: the full force of the law will fall on your betrayal," warned Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The government revoked all permits for rallies and demonstrations, closed schools and warned the media not to 'recklessly' air rebel propaganda. Officials emphasized, however, that civil liberties would be respected.

Listen to the rhetoric. Observe the drumbeat of fear. Note the similarities to our own country's shunting of protesters into 'free-speech zones,' even as we are told our civil liberties are being respected.

Disbelief. It can't happen here, I hear people saying.

The only way to make sure is to ask questions. To challenge assertions made when covert surveillance programs are revealed to exist outside of the law. To demand accountability from elected representatives and the Oval Office when our values are discarded or diminished in pursuit of an enemy defined more through our fears than through facts.

Because it can and will happen here if we allow it.

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