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Erdogan rages at Europe; threatens to flood Europe with refugees

Outraged by European Parliament’s decision to freeze Turkey’s EU accession talks, Turkish President Erdogan threatens to flood Europe with refugees in retaliation.

Alexander Mercouris

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Even as he doubles down on his increasingly aggressive policies in Syria, Turkish President Erdogan is now cranking up for a further furious row with the EU.

Though some Turkish officials appear to have wanted to downplay the European Parliament’s resolution on freezing Turkey negotiations to join the EU, Erdogan himself has responded with predictable fury, accusing the EU of “betrayal” and threatening to flood the EU with refugees if the decision is not quickly reversed.  Some of Erdogan’s language is – diplomatically speaking – off the scale

“Some 30-40 votes for ‘no’ and 400-500 votes for ‘yes.’ What would happen if all of you voted ‘yes?’ You never treated humanity honestly and you did not look after people fairly. You did not pick up babies when they washed ashore on the Mediterranean. We are the ones who are feeding around 3.5 million refugees in this country.

You did not keep your promises. When 50,000 refugees turned up at the Kapıkule [border gate] you cried out and began to say ‘What will we do when Turkey opens the border gates?’ Look, if you go further, those border gates will be opened. You should know that.”

Just a few months ago, after the refugee crisis broke, certain supposedly knowledgeable commentators in the Western media said it was all a wicked plot by Russian President Putin to flood Europe with refugees in order to undermine German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  No evidence for that bizarre claim was ever produced because of course there is none.  Erdogan’s latest comments however show who really does think of using refugees in this way.

Putting all that aside, Erdogan for once has a measure of justice on his side. 

Turkey entered into an association agreement with the EU back in 1963 and formally applied to join in 1987.  Since then it has had to watch in frustration as it is repeatedly put to the back of the queue as a seemingly endless procession of formerly Communist East European states have been allowed to join ahead of it. 

Given the key role Turkey played on the Western side in the Cold War, for a proud nation this must be beyond frustrating.

It hasn’t helped that whilst pretending to welcome Turkey’s eventual EU membership, EU political leaders are barely able to conceal their strong prejudice against Turkey, and their quiet but firmly held belief – widely shared by the European public – that as an Islamic state Turkey simply does not belong in a union made up of the states of once Christian Europe.

Understandably enough many Turks have come to feel that Turkey has been led up the garden path, kept perpetually onside and persuaded to subordinate itself to Western policies it has no inherent interest in and avoiding engagement with neighbours that are arguably culturally more compatible allies such as the Central Asian states, Russia and Iran, in return for a promise of EU membership which is not intended seriously, and which will never be fulfilled.

Beyond this Erdogan has a further personal reason for resentment. 

The European Parliament’s resolution was supposedly triggered by his supposed overreaction to the failed coup in Turkey, with the European Parliament criticising the actions Erdogan has taken to crush his opponents by jailing so many thousands of them.

As the democratically elected leader of Turkey Erdogan will have undoubtedly noticed that this European concern for his opponents was not matched by a comparable concern for him when the coup against him in July appeared to be about to succeed. 

Not only did European and Western governments remain silent and fail to signal their support for him – in contrast to the Russian and Iranian governments which did – but if it is true that several European states refused his aircraft landing rights, then it is not difficult to understand why he might feel that the true sympathies of most European leaders were with his opponents rather than with him. 

In such a context it is easy to see how Erdogan might interpret European expressions of “concern” for the fate of these people as further confirmation of where Europe’s true sympathies lie.

I would add that if Erdogan’s gaze stretches – as it probably does – across the Black Sea at Europe’s response to the crisis in Ukraine then he cannot have failed to notice that the EU not only welcomed a coup which overthrew a democratically elected President, but that it continues to support a government which gained power through that coup, and which harshly oppresses the former supporters of the overthrown President.  If Erdogan dwells on all this (as from to time he probably does) then the parallels with his own situation must seem too close for comfort.

Having said all this, whilst it is possible in this case to make excuses for Erdogan, his quarrel with the EU is a further case study of the shocking mess he has made of Turkey’s foreign policy. 

Whereas Erdogan at one time promised a “no problems” foreign policy with his neighbours, and as recently as this June was talking of Turkey’s need to sort out the problems it had with some of them in its own interests, he now finds himself in conflict with Egypt, Iraq and Syria, at war with the Kurds in Syria, in profound disagreement with Iran over Iraq and Syria, and on bad terms with the EU.  His relations with Russia meanwhile are not mending as quickly as Erdogan apparently hoped, again because of disagreement between him and Russia about Syria.

To add to Erdogan’s problems his personal relations with US President Obama are by his own account very bad, whilst what his relations with President elect Donald Trump will be like is as yet unknown.

The only important countries in Turkey’s region that Erdogan is presently on good terms with are Israel – with which he once quarrelled and which doesn’t trust him – and with Saudi Arabia, which has repeatedly shown itself a false friend, and which is militarily weak.

The trouble is that though Erdogan shows at times some understanding of Turkey’s limited power and that this makes it simply impossible for him to conduct the sort of grandiose ‘neo-Ottoman’ foreign policy he hankers after, his vanity and his inordinate ambition always in the end prevent him from acting on this understanding. 

Thus when he says things like “the world is bigger than five” – as he did in his comments today – he is purporting to place Turkey – and by extension himself – on the same level as the five Great Powers of the UN Security Council – an impossible ambition, and one which explains why Turkish foreign policy is the mess it currently is.

Can any good however come from all this? 

In one respect Erdogan’s habit of getting into quarrels with everyone around him may have done Turkey some good.  If the fantasy of Turkey integrating itself into Europe and joining the EU is now finally and conclusively buried, then that can only be a good thing. Turkey would in that case finally be free to conduct a foreign policy free of illusions, pitched to its own interests, rather than one constantly intended to please someone else whose promises to Turkey are never fulfilled. 

Should that happen there may some day be a Turkish statesman who makes the most of it.  However that person is most unlikely to be Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Clapper Turns On Brennan: “John And His Rhetoric Have Become An Issue”

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper threw former CIA Director John Brennan under the bus on Sunday.

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Via Zerohedge


Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper threw former CIA Director John Brennan under the bus on Sunday, telling CNN‘s “State of the Union” that “John and his rhetoric have become an issue in and of itself,” adding “John is subtle like a freight train and he’s gonna say what’s on his mind.”

Somebody wants to keep their security clearance…

Brennan’s latest “rhetoric,” of course, is his Sunday morning threat to sue the Trump administration following the stripping of his security clearance.

That said, Clapper empathized with Brennan over shared concerns regarding what they say is a threat to the United States from the Trump administration.

“I think that the common denominator among all of us [in the intelligence community] that have been speaking up … is genuine concern about the jeopardy and threats to our institutions,” said Clapper.

Brennan’s increasingly inflammatory commentary of late has also drawn the attention of Congressional GOP. On Thursday, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) slammed Brennan for “purport[ing] to know, as fact, that the Trump campaign colluded with a foreign power.”

If his statement is based on intelligence he has seen since leaving office, it constitutes an intelligence breach. If he has some other personal knowledge of or evidence of collusion, it should be disclosed to the special counsel, not The New York Times,” said Burr, who added that Trump had the “full authority” to rescind Brennan’s clearance if the former CIA Director’s statements were “purely politicial and based on conjecture.”

President Trump promptly tweeted Burr’s statement:

On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC‘s “Rachel Maddow Show,” Brennan defiantly stood behind his statement that Trump committed treason during the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which he called “nothing short of treasonous,” before walking it back moments later.

“After Helsinki, you were stark, and even a little bit scary in your criticism of his behavior. You said it rose to treason,” said Maddow.

“I said it was nothing short of treasonous,” replied Brennan.

Maddow pushed back: “In this current controversy, that specific comment has been singled out by a number of people as a comment that maybe, by you, crossed the line, that was maybe –.”

“Crossed what line?” Brennan responded.

Maddow said that she wasn’t going to question Brennan’s right to his remarks, though then asked “But do you stand by that consideration, and can you explain, can you elaborate what you mean by treasonous? It’s a very serious allegation.”

Brennan answered: “I know what the Russians did in interfering in the election. I have 100% confidence in what they did. And for Mr. Trump to stand on that stage in Helsinki, with all the world’s eyes upon him, and to basically [say] he wouldn’t — he doesn’t understand why would the Russians interfere in the election. He’s given Mr. Putin and the Russians a pass time after time after time, and he keeps referring to this whole investigation as a witch hunt, as bogus, as — and to me, this was an attack against the foundational principle of our great republic, which is, the right of all Americans to choose their elected leaders. And for Mr. Trump to so cavalierly just dismiss that, yes, sometimes my Irish comes out, and — in my tweets, and I did say that it rises to and exceeds the level of high crimes and misdemeanors and is nothing short of treasonous. … I didn’t mean that he committed treason, but it was a term that I used, nothing short of treasonous.

Is Brennan starting to come apart at the seams.

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Afghanistan: The War That Shames America

After 17 bloody years, the longest war in US history continues without relent or purpose in Afghanistan.

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Authored by Eric Margolis via EricMargolis.com:


There, a valiant, fiercely-independent people, the Pashtun (Pathan) mountain tribes, have battled the full  might of the US Empire to a stalemate that has so far cost American taxpayers $4 trillion, and 2,371 dead and 20,320 wounded soldiers.  No one knows how many Afghans have died. The number is kept secret.

Pashtun tribesmen in the Taliban alliance and their allies are fighting to oust all foreign troops from Afghanistan and evict the western-imposed and backed puppet regime in Kabul that pretends to be the nation’s legitimate government.  Withdraw foreign troops and the Kabul regime would last for only days.

The whole thing smells of the Vietnam War.  Lessons so painfully learned by America in that conflict have been completely forgotten and the same mistakes repeated.  The lies and happy talk from politicians, generals and media continue apace.

This week, Taliban forces occupied the important strategic city of Ghazni on the road from Peshawar to Kabul.  It took three days and massive air attacks by US B-1 heavy bombers, Apache helicopter gun ships, A-10 ground attack aircraft, and massed warplanes from US bases in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar and the 5th US Fleet to finally drive back the Taliban assault.  Taliban also overran key military targets in Kabul and the countryside, killing hundreds of government troops in a sort of Afghan Tet offensive.

Afghan regime police and army units put up feeble resistance or ran away.   Parts of Ghazni were left in ruins.  It was a huge embarrassment to the US imperial generals and their Afghan satraps who had claimed ‘the corner in Afghanistan has finally been turned.’

Efforts by the Trump administration to bomb Taliban into submission have clearly failed.   US commanders fear using American ground troops in battle lest they suffer serious casualties.  Meanwhile, the US is running low on bombs.

Roads are now so dangerous for the occupiers that most movement must be by air.  Taliban is estimated to permanently control almost 50% of Afghanistan.  That number would rise to 100% were it not for omnipresent US air power.  Taliban rules the night.

Taliban are not and never were ‘terrorists’ as Washington’s war propaganda falsely claimed.  I was there at the creation of the movement – a group of Afghan religious students armed by Pakistan whose goal was to stop post-civil war banditry, the mass rape of women, and to fight the Afghan Communists.  When Taliban gained power, it eliminated 95% of the rampant Afghanistan opium-heroin trade. After the US invaded, allied to the old Afghan Communists and northern Tajik tribes, opium-heroin production soared to record levels.  Today, US-occupied Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium, morphine and heroin.

US occupation authorities claim drug production is run by Taliban.  This is another big lie.  The Afghan warlords who support the regime of President Ashraf Ghani entirely control the production and export of drugs.  The army and secret police get a big cut.  How else would trucks packed with drugs get across the border into Pakistan and Central Asia?

The United States has inadvertently become one of the world’s leading drug dealers.  This is one of the most shameful legacies of the Afghan War.  But just one.  Watching the world’s greatest power bomb and ravage little Afghanistan, a nation so poor that some of its people can’t afford sandals, is a huge dishonor for Americans.

Even so, the Pashtun defeated the invading armies of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, the Mogul Emperors and the mighty British Raj.  The US looks to be next in the Graveyard of Empires.

Nobody in Washington can enunciate a good reason for continuing the colonial war in Afghanistan.  One hears talk of minerals, women’s rights and democracy as a pretext for keeping US forces in Afghanistan. All nonsense.  A possible real reason is to deny influence over Afghanistan, though the Chinese are too smart to grab this poisoned cup.  They have more than enough with their rebellious Uighur Muslims.

Interestingly, the so-called ‘terrorist training camps’ supposedly found in Afghanistan in 2001 were actually guerilla training camps run by Pakistani intelligence to train Kashmiri rebels and CIA-run camps for exiled Uighur fighters from China.

The canard that the US had to invade Afghanistan to get at Osama bin Laden, alleged author of the 9/11 attacks, is untrue.  The attacks were made by Saudis and mounted from Hamburg and Madrid, not Afghanistan.  I’m not even sure bin Laden was behind the attacks.

My late friend and journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave shared my doubts and insisted that the Taliban leader Mullah Omar offered to turn bin Laden over to a court in a Muslim nation to prove his guilt or innocence.

President George Bush, caught sleeping on guard duty and humiliated, had to find an easy target for revenge – and that was Afghanistan.

Copyright  Eric S. Margolis   2018.

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The CIA Owns the US and European Media

The CIA invented fake news.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Authored by Paul Craig Roberts:


William Blum shares with us his correspondence with Washington Post presstitute Michael Birnbaum. As you can tell from Birnbaum’s replies, he comes across as either very stupid or as a CIA asset.

When I received my briefing as staff associate, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which required top secret clearance, I was told by senior members of the staff that the Washington Post was a CIA asset. Watching the Washington Post’s takedown of President Richard Nixon with the orchestrated Watergate story, that became obvious. President Nixon had made too many overtures to the Soviets and too many arms limitations agreements, and he opened to China. Watching President Nixon’s peace initiatives water down the threat level from the Soviet Union and Maoist China, the military/security complex saw a threat to its budget and power and decided that Nixon had to go. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy had resulted in far too much skepticism about the Warren Commission Report, so the CIA decided to use the Washington Post to get rid of Nixon. To keep the clueless American left hating Nixon, the CIA used its assets in the leftwing to keep Nixon blamed for the Vietnam war, a war that Nixon inherited and did not want.

The CIA knew that Nixon’s problem was that he could not exit the war without losing his conservative base, which was convinced of the nonsensical “Domino Theory.” I have always wondered if the CIA concocted the “Domino Theory,” as it so well served them. Unable to get rid of the war “with honor,” Nixon was driven to brutal methods to force the North Vietnamese to accept a situation that he could depart without defeat and soiling America’s “honor” and losing his conservative support base. The North Vietnamese wouldn’t bend, but the US Congress did, and so the CIA succeeded in discrediting among both the leftwing and righwing Nixon’s war management. With no one to defend him, Nixon was an easy target for the CIA.

Here is Blum’s exchange with Birnbaum. It is possible that Birnbaum is neither stupid nor a CIA asset, but just a person wanting to hold on to a job. The last thing he can afford to do is to disabuse readers of the “Russian Threat” when Bezos’ Amazon and Washington Post properties are dependent on the CIA’s annual subsidy of $600 million disquised as a “contract.”https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-20/cia-washington-post-and-russia-what-youre-not-being-told

The Anti-Empire Report # 159
Willian Blum

The mind of the mass media: Email exchange between myself and a leading Washington Post foreign policy reporter:
July 18, 2018

Dear Mr. Birnbaum,
You write Trump “made no mention of Russia’s adventures in Ukraine”. Well, neither he nor Putin nor you made any mention of America’s adventures in the Ukraine, which resulted in the overthrow of the Ukrainian government in 2014, which led to the justified Russian adventure. Therefore …?
If Russia overthrew the Mexican government would you blame the US for taking some action in Mexico?
William Blum

Dear Mr. Blum,
Thanks for your note. “America’s adventures in the Ukraine”: what are you talking about? Last time I checked, it was Ukrainians in the streets of Kiev who caused Yanukovych to turn tail and run. Whether or not that was a good thing, we can leave aside, but it wasn’t the Americans who did it.
It is, however, Russian special forces who fanned out across Crimea in February and March 2014, according to Putin, and Russians who came down from Moscow who stoked conflict in eastern Ukraine in the months after, according to their own accounts.
Best, Michael Birnbaum

To MB,
I can scarcely believe your reply. Do you read nothing but the Post? Do you not know of high State Dept official Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador in Ukraine in Maidan Square to encourage the protesters? She spoke of 5 billion (sic) dollars given to aid the protesters who were soon to overthrow the govt. She and the US Amb. spoke openly of who to choose as the next president. And he’s the one who became president. This is all on tape. I guess you never watch Russia Today (RT). God forbid! I read the Post every day. You should watch RT once in a while.
William Blum

To WB,
I was the Moscow bureau chief of the newspaper; I reported extensively in Ukraine in the months and years following the protests. My observations are not based on reading. RT is not a credible news outlet, but I certainly do read far beyond our own pages, and of course I talk to the actual actors on the ground myself – that’s my job.
And: yes, of course Nuland was in the Maidan – but encouraging the protests, as she clearly did, is not the same as sparking them or directing them, nor is playing favorites with potential successors, as she clearly did, the same as being directly responsible for overthrowing the government. I’m not saying the United States wasn’t involved in trying to shape events. So were Russia and the European Union. But Ukrainians were in the driver’s seat the whole way through. I know the guy who posted the first Facebook call to protest Yanukovych in November 2013; he’s not an American agent. RT, meanwhile, reports fabrications and terrible falsehoods all the time. By all means consume a healthy and varied media diet – don’t stop at the US mainstream media. But ask yourself how often RT reports critically on the Russian government, and consider how that lacuna shapes the rest of their reporting. You will find plenty of reporting in the Washington Post that is critical of the US government and US foreign policy in general, and decisions in Ukraine and the Ukrainian government in specific. Our aim is to be fair, without picking sides.
Best, Michael Birnbaum

======================= end of exchange =======================

Right, the United States doesn’t play indispensable roles in changes of foreign governments; never has, never will; even when they offer billions of dollars; even when they pick the new president, which, apparently, is not the same as picking sides. It should be noticed that Mr Birnbaum offers not a single example to back up his extremist claim that RT “reports fabrications and terrible falsehoods all the time.” “All the time”, no less! That should make it easy to give some examples.

For the record, I think RT is much less biased than the Post on international affairs. And, yes, it’s bias, not “fake news” that’s the main problem – Cold-War/anti-Communist/anti-Russian bias that Americans have been raised with for a full century. RT defends Russia against the countless mindless attacks from the West. Who else is there to do that? Should not the Western media be held accountable for what they broadcast? Americans are so unaccustomed to hearing the Russian side defended, or hearing it at all, that when they do it can seem rather weird.

To the casual observer, THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA indictments of July 14 of Russian intelligence agents (GRU) reinforced the argument that the Soviet government interfered in the US 2016 presidential election. Regard these indictments in proper perspective and we find that election interference is only listed as a supposed objective, with charges actually being for unlawful cyber operations, identity theft, and conspiracy to launder money by American individuals unconnected to the Russian government. So … we’re still waiting for some evidence of actual Russian interference in the election aimed at determining the winner.

The Russians did it (cont.)
Each day I spend about three hours reading the Washington Post. Amongst other things I’m looking for evidence – real, legal, courtroom-quality evidence, or at least something logical and rational – to pin down those awful Russkis for their many recent crimes, from influencing the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election to use of a nerve agent in the UK. But I do not find such evidence.

Each day brings headlines like these:

“U.S. to add economic sanctions on Russia: Attack with nerve agent on former spy in England forces White House to act”

“Is Russia exploiting new Facebook goal?”

“Experts: Trump team lacks urgency on Russian threat”

These are all from the same day, August 9, which led me to thinking of doing this article, but similar stories can be found any day in the Post and in major newspapers anywhere in America. None of the articles begins to explain how Russia did these things, or even WHY. Motivation appears to have become a lost pursuit in the American mass media. The one thing sometimes mentioned, which I think may have some credibility, is Russia’s preference of Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. But this doesn’t begin to explain how Russia could pull off any of the electoral magic it’s accused of, which would be feasible only if the United States were a backward, Third World, Banana Republic.

There’s the Facebook ads, as well as all the other ads … The people who are influenced by this story – have they read many of the actual ads? Many are pro-Clinton or anti-Trump; many are both; many are neither. It’s one big mess, the only rational explanation of this which I’ve read is that they come from money-making websites, “click-bait” sites as they’re known, which earn money simply by attracting visitors.

As to the nerve agents, it makes more sense if the UK or the CIA did it to make the Russians look bad, because the anti-Russian scandal which followed was totally predictable. Why would Russia choose the time of the World Cup in Moscow – of which all of Russia was immensely proud – to bring such notoriety down upon their head? But that would have been an ideal time for their enemies to want to embarrass them.

However, I have no doubt that the great majority of Americans who follow the news each day believe the official stories about the Russians. They’re particularly impressed with the fact that every US intelligence agency supports the official stories. They would not be impressed at all if told that a dozen Russian intelligence agencies all disputed the charges. Group-think is alive and well all over the world. As is Cold War II.

But we’re the Good Guys, ain’t we?

For a defender of US foreign policy there’s very little that causes extreme heartburn more than someone implying a “moral equivalence” between American behavior and that of Russia. That was the case during Cold War I and it’s the same now in Cold War II. It just drives them up the wall.

After the United States passed a law last year requiring TV station RT (Russia Today) to register as a “foreign agent”, the Russians passed their own law allowing authorities to require foreign media to register as a “foreign agent”. Senator John McCain denounced the new Russian law, saying there is “no equivalence” between RT and networks such as Voice of America, CNN and the BBC, whose journalists “seek the truth, debunk lies, and hold governments accountable.” By contrast, he said, “RT’s propagandists debunk the truth, spread lies, and seek to undermine democratic governments in order to further Vladimir Putin’s agenda.”

And here is Tom Malinowski, former Assistant Secretary of State for democracy, human rights and labor (2014-2017) – last year he reported that Putin had “charged that the U.S. government had interfered ‘aggressively’ in Russia’s 2012 presidential vote,” claiming that Washington had “gathered opposition forces and financed them.” Putin, wrote Malinowski, “apparently got President Trump to agree to a mutual commitment that neither country would interfere in the other’s elections.”

“Is this moral equivalence fair?” Malinowski asked and answered: “In short, no. Russia’s interference in the United States’ 2016 election could not have been more different from what the United States does to promote democracy in other countries.”

How do you satirize such officials and such high-school beliefs?

We also have the case of the US government agency, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which has interfered in more elections than the CIA or God. Indeed, the man who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, Allen Weinstein, declared in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” On April 12, 2018 the presidents of two of NED’s wings wrote: “A specious narrative has come back into circulation: that Moscow’s campaign of political warfare is no different from U.S.-supported democracy assistance.”

“Democracy assistance”, you see, is what they call NED’s election-interferences and government-overthrows. The authors continue: “This narrative is churned out by propaganda outlets such as RT and Sputnik [radio station]. … it is deployed by isolationists who propound a U.S. retreat from global leadership.”

“Isolationists” is what conservatives call critics of US foreign policy whose arguments they can’t easily dismiss, so they imply that such people just don’t want the US to be involved in anything abroad.

And “global leadership” is what they call being first in election-interferences and government-overthrows.

https://williamblum.org/aer/read/159

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