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War of the Worlds — the masks are ripped away in Syria

In recent weeks, the battle for Aleppo has exposed the true heart of contemporary global politics with vivid clarity.

Andrey Fomin

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Submitted by Oriental Review

The US Air Force’s duplicitous September 17 attack on Syrian army positions near Deir ez-Zor, the hysterical outcry against Russia that erupted from the Pentagon, the US State Department’s undisguised threats against the Russian contingent in Syria, the Western media’s candid reports about arms shipments to al-Nusra militants, and the phantasmagoric drama in the UN Security Council on October 8 all point to just one thing: there are no international coalitions against ISIL- there is only the Russian army and its allies who are taking a stand against the international terrorism used as a tool by the US and NATO.

The contours of today’s biggest international conflict are clear. But still not everyone understands its core and causes. The conventional wisdom – that a decrepit global hegemon was unable to export “democracy” into a stable nation and now finds itself at a dead end – does not actually explain very much.

But why did that stumbling block turn out to be Syria, which is certainly not the most significant country in the world? Why isn’t it, for example, Egypt that is under attack, where “fighters for democracy” from the Muslim Brotherhood have been unable to consolidate their victory and have even had to cede power to the powerful and far from pro-American government?

Why is Russia the country that is standing up to the aggressor? After all, Russia was on the verge of collapse not so long ago and is in no way a major competitor to the Western economy. And why is the United States pushing so fiercely to raise the stakes, driving the planet to the brink of a third world war?
And yes, of course, many Middle East experts can rattle off a whole list of potential answers to all these “whys.” But upon careful analysis it becomes clear that they are only the footnotes to what is actually the main reason.

The first and most frequent argument cited is the oil and gas factor. Allegedly, the surfeit of reserves in Syria has made that country a desirable goal for the West, which – in the wake of Iraq and Libya – could cash in on Syria’s hydrocarbons, now that it has wiped out the local government. But in fact there are only 2.5 billion barrels of proven reserves of that oil in Syria, which is 0.1% of the global total.

And that is clearly not enough to explain the outbreak of a terrorist intervention in Syria: if the West were only focused on oil, it would be more logical to orchestrate such an export of democracy into Venezuela, which sits on 17.5% of the world’s reserves.

It is also surmised that the rationale for the aggression could be traced back to Damascus’s 2009 refusal to allow a gas pipeline running from Qatar to Europe to cross its borders. But that would also be an overstatement. That disagreement might have been a motivation for the Qataris, but hardly the West. That gas-pipeline project is itself so risky that it could perhaps have served as a bluff or pretext, but not as a serious reason to launch a multi-year terrorist campaign against Assad.

There has been a popular trend in recent years to examine any conflict for traces of oil and to blame those hydrocarbon deposits for all tribulations, but that is an oversimplification and is similar to the monetarist approach to the economy, in which all the complexities of economic relations are evaluated exclusively in terms of debits and credits.

With regard to global politics however, oil is only meaningful as a tool (although an important one) for safeguarding interests and reaching geopolitical goals: Hitler was desperate to reach the oil fields in Baku, not for their own sake, but to cut off Moscow’s access and thus deal a death blow to the USSR.
It is unacceptable to conflate tools and goals because this creates a distraction from the truth.

Far less significant as an explanation of the war in Syria – which is on the verge of blowing up into a global conflict – are the arguments citing, for example, the legitimate internal animosities within Syria and within the region, or the spread of Islamism and the collapse of the state in Iraq, a country that is now a breeding ground for the growth of extremism, or the confrontation between Sunnis and Shiites or Saudi Arabia and Iran, or overpopulation in the region, or water shortages, etc.

All of this, in varying degrees of course, contributes to the severity of the conflict, but it does not at all explain why troops from dozens of countries – including two of the most powerful, the US and Russia – are currently active in Syria.

There is a much more convincing explanation of the current strife in Syria, although it is not considered sufficiently scholarly. The wreckage of that country is of vital urgency to the supranational elites in order to fan the flames of chaos in the Middle East, which will make it possible to spread the forces of destabilization across all of Eurasia and help topple the alternative centers of economic power – especially China and Russia.

Supposedly the Federal Reserve cannot survive an inundation of debt, and the war in Syria is being used as a tool to destabilize any competitors in this economic showdown.

And indeed it was the Chinese economy that in 2014 outstripped America’s GDP, and it would seem that between these two economic behemoths – one falling and one rising – a military and political struggle had to ensue. Both American as well as Chinese political analysts have had a lot to say about this in recent years.

However, during the Syrian conflict – and this is an incontestable fact – China has kept itself far from the fray. For five whole years – and even during the current flare-up – Beijing has maintained its usual neutrality, merely lamenting the suffering of the Syrians and issuing condemnations of terrorism.

In economic terms Russia does not pose a genuine threat to the US, but in Syria it is indeed the Russian army that is the Americans’ biggest foe – the Chinese don’t figure into it at all there.

And looking at the situation geographically, the conflict in Syria could spread the contagion of ISIL into the Russian Caucasus (through a direct corridor that passes through Turkey) far more quickly than such a plague could enter, say, China’s more distant Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. By that logic, it would be smarter to promote ISIL in Afghanistan or Pakistan, a better starting point for funneling the terrorist chaos into China.

Moreover, it is quite safe to assume that if Russia were not such a significant geopolitical player today, Beijing would not have entered into a confrontation with the US over Syria, but would have instead come to an agreement with the West even on the basis of a compromise that was not very advantageous for China, taking the historical long view to bet on the inevitable attenuation of Western civilization.

For Russia however, the conflict with the West has absolutely nothing to do with economics. It is inane to suggest that the Russian economy, despite all its genuine progress over the past 15 years, poses a threat to the US global economy, in which China still plays an integral part.

Yes, geopolitical associations such as BRICS could potentially topple the currency system established at the Jamaica Conference, as well as the Washington consensus, but again this is not economic competition, but the financial projection of a military and political showdown.

But what is at its core? Why is Russia once again at the epicenter of a global conflict that is threatening to boil over? Why has the Russian state – which underwent a painful transformation in the late 20th century from which it has yet to fully recover – been forced to withstand the attack of a hegemon that steers international developments and possesses far more advanced tools of confrontation?

To understand the essence of what is happening, one must ultimately acknowledge that the actions of those in the top echelon of Western civilization – not the clerks laboring at the State Department and Pentagon, but the true managers of the Pax Americana global project, who are viewed as utter pragmatists – are in fact dictated by very specific ideals and ultimate goals.

Their words about American exceptionalism as the ideal free society, the beacon of democracy, and the Earth’s last hope are more than just nice catchphrases and advertising jingles – they represent their sense of themselves as a special force on this planet. Back in the 18th century, Jonathan Edwards declared that Americans had taken the place of the Jews as God’s chosen people. And even America’s Founding Fathers saw in their work the culmination of the history of the world.

By the 20th century, Ronald Reagan, who accused the Soviet Union of being an “evil empire,” was clearly claiming the role of the “good empire” for the US. In this sense, the Bushes, the Clintons, and Obama are not inventing anything new, only using different words to express this very American messianism.

A natural expression of this ideology can be seen throughout the foreign policy of the modern US as “an exporter of democracy” and the world’s referee and policeman. The seizure of resources, oil, and gas – as well as financial rewards – are just bonuses and a tool to help attain these ideals.

The key concept is “freedom,” around which the remainder of the construct of “exclusivity” is built. This is communicated as human freedom (i.e., as a blessing), but actually the “rulers of the world” understand this as freedom of capital, i.e., a policy of “anything goes” for homo economicus. According to them, the ideal world should be a market for goods and services, in which a human being is himself both of these. Money becomes the equivalent of every manifestation of the universe as well as its primary essence.

Everything that is designated as pragmatism is actually derived from this “monetary” understanding of life.
However, the expansion of money – in a spatial and a spiritual dimension – is not restricted to today’s profits but pursues its main goal at any cost, which is to utterly engulf the world and reformat mankind into a financial mechanism (that process itself is known as progress, which is analogous to the development of technology).

Is it worth even explaining that “freedom” and “progress” as understood in this way are utterly at odds with the entire 2,000-year path of Christianity and are lethal for humanity?

As a matter of fact, in recent decades Western civilization has moved toward a total rejection of Christianity under the guise of “tolerance” and toward the promotion of depravity under the guise of “gay rights”, while Russia has become the primary champion of traditional values and faiths.

Is it simply a coincidence that the onset of this major battle between the “freedom of capital” and “freedom of the soul” is coming to a head on Syrian soil where the Christian world took its first steps? Christianity was born amidst those rocks of the Middle Eastern Mediterranean region, and hundreds of years later we are seeing attempts to bury it there.

Interestingly, the ISIL ideologues, who were trained in the US prisons to selectively abuse the Quran verses, enjoy citing hadith 6924, which describes a battle between Good and Evil in the Syrian town of Dabiq. Are they – like those who hang upon their every word with gaping mouths – aware that they are merely the deceived cannon-fodder of the Devil in the Last Battle?

Are the multitudes who each day chomp away at the vacuous chewing gum known as CNN capable of grasping that history is not propelled by oil or fleeting interests, but by a battle between opposing principles, two forces that are pulling humanity in different directions – one down into the Gehenna and the other up to the Land o’ the Leal?

It is odd but true: over the course of the last few centuries only one power – Russia – has planted herself squarely in the path of those who declare themselves to be a “great blessing”, a “pure race”, or a “beacon of democracy” while seeking to subjugate humanity.

Historians can spend all the time they want trying to convince us of the objectivity of the emergence of Hitler and his eastern campaign, that the US and Great Britain did not notice his Nazi mischief and then carelessly helped the German economy by furnishing it with loans, but it is obvious that Hitler, like today’s ISIL, had been carefully groomed for an offensive against Russia. And after the Soviet army destroyed Hitler’s army, they were ready to do “the unthinkable” – to attack the USSR. They never took that plunge.

But in the initial postwar years they used the prospect of their atomic bomb to intimidate Moscow.
It is daft to try to explain away such infamy as merely the consequence of the standoff between the communist and capitalist systems, because as we saw after the collapse of the Soviet Union – communism was no more, but Russia was still the enemy.

“To save the world from the unmitigated spread of evil” – such is the global mission and the fate of the Russian nation and the Russian state as a historical phenomenon. This fate was not chosen, but Russia is destined to once again save the world from destruction – otherwise she would no longer be Russia.

This in no way implies the infallibility or exceptionalism of Russians themselves, since the battle is taking place within them as well, but it confers upon that nation a special responsibility for the fate of the whole world. The fact of this mission explains the irrational, savage hatred of Russia and of Russians that inflames the global “superclass” and that is reflected in the terabytes of militant propaganda they pay for each day.

It is important for all rational citizens of the world to understand that when they watch the news from Syria, the real issue is not about Assad or Syria as such, nor even about the national interests of a nation state. The issue is about the metaphysical standoff between the two principles of this universe. It is about the war of the worlds. In which every citizen will have to make his own existential choice.

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Social media purge continues, as platforms operate as publishers (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 80.

Alex Christoforou

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Following the suspension of Alex Jones, Twitter has also moved to restrict Jones’ Infowars account.

BuzzFeed News is reporting that the Infowars account will be restricted from tweeting, but will still be able to browse Twitter and send direct messages to other users, while users will still be able to view the account.

The move, which essentially puts the account in read-only mode, comes less than a day after Twitter temporarily limited Infowars proprietor Alex Jones for a week after he tweeted a link to a video in which he called on his supporters to get their “battle rifles” ready. That video, which was shared on Twitter-owned live streaming service Periscope, was also shared by Infowars earlier on Wednesday.

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that Infowars’ account, which has more than 430,000 followers, will be prevented from tweeting, retweeting, liking or following other users during a seven-day window. The account will stay online, allowing users to view it during that period.

Via Zerohedge

On Tuesday, Twitter suspended the conspiracy theorist and blogger for violating the social media company’s policies, in a stark reversal for Jack Dorsey who previously bucked the trend by other tech giants to muzzle the Infowars creator.

As CNET first reported, Jones’ account was put in “read only” mode and will be blocked from posting on Twitter for seven days because of an offending tweet, the company said. While Twitter declined to comment on the content that violated its policies, a Twitter spokesperson told CNN the content which prompted the suspension was a video published Tuesday in which he said, “now is time to act on the enemy before they do a false flag.”

A Twitter spokesperson wouldn’t say what would get Jones or Infowars permanently suspended, however they noted “We look at [the] volume and nature of violations before suspending an account,” according to Buzzfeed.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the latest twists and turns in the vicious social media purge of conservative right and libertarian accounts. Platforms are acting like publishers and this may mean the end of monopoly social media services.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Meanwhile, in a censorship move against Libertarian commentary, Ron Paul Institute director Daniel McAdams and Antiwar editor Scott Horton were suspended by Twitter for simply retweeting. Justin Raimondo informs…

Target Liberty reports

Update from Justin:

Neither @scotthortonshow nor @DanielLMcAdams have been reinstated. You can see their tweets: they can’t tweet.

RW

Daniel McAdams explain what happened…

Robert I can give you an update from my perspective regarding what happened:

Yesterday on Twitter, former US diplomat Peter Van Buren (@WeMeantWell) took members of the mainstream media to task for swallowing and printing government lies without even bothering to check them out. He said as a former US government official (turned whistleblower) he also lied to the press on behalf of the government and was astonished that the press swallowed each one, hook, line and sinker.

Several corporate media hacks and in particular one employee of an NGO funded by George Soros — a fellow called Jonathan Katz — piled on Peter, accusing him of all manner of treachery. When Peter ended one response with a sarcastic reference to zombie attacks – “I hope a MAGA guy eats your face” — which is obviously a joke, Katz replied that he is reporting Peter for promoting violence.

So he and his buddies ganged up on Peter and got him banned. Scott Horton and I were incensed over the ban, which seemed to us totally arbitrary. There was no threat of violence and it was no different than millions of Tweets all the time. So Scott and I both joined in and criticized Katz for running off to the authorities in attempt to get someone banned rather than just walk away from the debate.

Katz then did his usual routine and ran to the authorities and had Scott and me banned. Mine was for, as Twitter informed me, because “you may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.” There is no way at all that my Tweet violated the above rule. In no way did I harass or threaten based on those criteria. I merely strongly criticized Katz for running to the authorities to get Peter banned.

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“I’m Not A Racist, But I’m A Nationalist”: Why Sweden Faces A Historic Election Upset

Sweden is set to have a political earthquake in September.

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Via Zerohedge


“Trains and hospitals don’t work, but immigration continues,” Roger Mathson, a retired vegetable oil factory worker in Sweden, told Bloomberg on the same day as the violent, coordinated rampage by masked gangs of youths across five Swedish cities.

We noted earlier that Swedish politicians were quick to react with anti-immigrant party ‘Sweden Democrats’ seeing a surge in the polls ahead of the September 9th election.

“I’m not a racist, but I’m a nationalist,” Mathson said. “I don’t like seeing the town square full of Niqab-clad ladies and people fighting with each other.”

Is Sweden set to have its own political earthquake in September, where general elections could end a century of Social Democratic dominance and bring to power a little known (on the world stage), but the now hugely popular nationalist party often dubbed far-right and right-wing populist, called Sweden Democrats?

Sweden, a historically largely homogeneous population of 10 million, took in an astounding 600,000 refugees over the past five years, and after Swedes across various cities looked out their windows Tuesday to see cars exploding, smoke filling the skies, and possibly armed masked men hurling explosives around busy parking lots, it appears they’ve had enough.

Over the past years of their rise as a political force in Swedish politics, the country’s media have routinely labelled the Sweden Democrats as “racists” and “Nazis” due to their seemingly single issue focus of anti-immigration and strong Euroscepticism.

A poll at the start of this week indicated the Sweden Democrats slid back to third place after topping three previous polls as the September election nears; however, Tuesday’s national crisis and what could legitimately be dubbed a serious domestic terror threat is likely to boost their popularity.

Bloomberg’s profile of their leader, Jimmie Akesson, echoes the tone of establishment Swedish media in the way they commonly cast the movement, beginning as follows:

Viking rock music and whole pigs roasting on spits drew thousands of Swedes to a festival hosted by nationalists poised to deliver their country’s biggest political upheaval in a century.

The Sweden Democrats have been led since 2005 by a clean-cut and bespectacled man, Jimmie Akesson. He’s gentrified a party that traces its roots back to the country’s neo-Nazi, white supremacist fringe. Some polls now show the group may become the biggest in Sweden’s parliament after general elections on Sept. 9. Such an outcome would end 100 years of Social Democratic dominance.

The group’s popularity began surging after the 2015 immigration crisis began, which first hit Europe’s southern Mediterranean shores and quickly moved northward as shocking wave after wave of migrants came.

Jimmie Akesson (right). Image source: Getty via Daily Express

Akesson emphasizes something akin to a “Sweden-first” platform which European media often compares to Trump’s “America First”; and the party has long been accused of preaching forced assimilation into Swedish culture to be become a citizen.

Bloomberg’s report surveys opinions at a large political rally held in Akkeson’s hometown of Solvesborg, and some of the statements are sure to be increasingly common sentiment after this week’s coordinated multi-city attack:

At his party’s festival, Akesson revved up the crowd by slamming the establishment’s failures, calling the last two governments the worst in Swedish history. T-shirts calling for a Swexit, or an exit from the EU, were exchanged as bands played nationalist tunes.

Ted Lorentsson, a retiree from the island of Tjorn, said he’s an enthusiastic backer of the Sweden Democrats. “I think they want to improve elderly care, health care, child care,” he said. “Bring back the old Sweden.” But he also acknowledges his view has led to disagreement within his family as his daughter recoils at what she feels is the “Hitler”-like rhetoric.

No doubt, the media and Eurocrats in Brussels will take simple, innocent statements from elderly retirees like “bring back the old Sweden” as nothing short of declaration of a race war, but such views will only solidify after this week.

Another Sweden Democrat supporter, a 60-year old woman who works at a distillery, told Bloomberg, “I think you need to start seeing the whole picture in Sweden and save the original Swedish population,” she said. “I’m not racist, because I’m a realist.”

Sweden’s two biggest parties, the Social Democrats and Moderates, are now feeling the pressure as Swedes increasingly worry about key issues preached by Akesson like immigration, law and order, and health care – seen as under threat by a mass influx of immigrants that the system can’t handle.

Bloomberg explains further:

But even young voters are turning their backs on the establishment. One potential SD supporter is law student Oscar Persson. Though he hasn’t yet decided how he’ll vote, he says it’s time for the mainstream parties to stop treating the Sweden Democrats like a pariah. “This game they are playing now, where the other parties don’t want to talk to them but still want their support, is something I don’t really understand,” he said.

Akesson has managed to entice voters from both sides of the political spectrum with a message of more welfare, lower taxes and savings based on immigration cuts.

With many Swedes now saying immigration has “gone too far” and as this week’s events have once again thrust the issue before both a national and global audience, the next round of polling will mostly like put Sweden’s conservative-right movements on top

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The Turkish Emerging Market Timebomb

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s populist economic policies have finally caught up to him.

The Duran

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Authored by Jim O’Neill, originally on Project Syndicate:


As the Turkish lira continues to depreciate against the dollar, fears of a classic emerging-market crisis have come to the fore. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s populist economic policies have finally caught up to him, and sooner or later, he will have to make nice with his country’s traditional Western allies.

Turkey’s falling currency and deteriorating financial conditions lend credence, at least for some people, to the notion that “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” I suspect that many Western policymakers, in particular, are not entirely unhappy about Turkey’s plight.

To veteran economic observers, Turkey’s troubles are almost a textbook case of an emerging-market flop. It is August, after all, and back in the 1990s, one could barely go a single year without some kind of financial crisis striking in the dog days of summer.

But more to the point, Turkey has a large, persistent current-account deficit, and a belligerent leader who does not realize – or refuses to acknowledge – that his populist economic policies are unsustainable. Moreover, Turkey has become increasingly dependent on overseas investors (and probably some wealthy domestic investors, too).

Given these slowly gestating factors, markets have long assumed that Turkey was headed for a currency crisis. In fact, such worries were widespread as far back as the fall of 2013, when I was in Istanbul interviewing business and financial leaders for a BBC Radio series on emerging economies. At that time, markets were beginning to fear that monetary-policy normalization and an end to quantitative easing in the United States would have dire consequences globally. The Turkish lira has been flirting with disaster ever since.

Now that the crisis has finally come to pass, it is Turkey’s population that will bear the brunt of it. The country must drastically tighten its domestic monetary policy, curtail foreign borrowing, and prepare for the likelihood of a full-blown economic recession, during which time domestic saving will slowly have to be rebuilt.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s leadership will both complicate matters and give Turkey some leverage. Erdoğan has  constitutional powers, reducing those of the parliament, and undercutting the independence of monetary and fiscal policymaking. And to top it off, he seems to be reveling in an escalating feud with US President Donald Trump’s administration over Turkey’s imprisonment of an American pastor and purchase of a Russian S-400 missile-defense system.

This is a dangerous brew for the leader of an emerging economy to imbibe, particularly when the United States itself has embarked on a Ronald Reagan-style fiscal expansion that has pushed the US Federal Reserve to raise interest rates faster than it would have otherwise. Given the unlikelihood of some external source of funding emerging, Erdoğan will eventually have to back down on some of his unorthodox policies. My guess is that we’ll see a return to a more conventional monetary policy, and possibly a new fiscal-policy framework.

As for Turkey’s leverage in the current crisis, it is worth remembering that the country has a large and youthful population, and thus the potential to grow into a much larger economy in the future. It also enjoys a privileged geographic position at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia, which means that many major players have a stake in ensuring its stability. Indeed, many Europeans still hold out hope that Turkey will embrace Western-style capitalism, despite the damage that Erdoğan has done to the country’s European Union accession bid.

Among the regional powers, Russia is sometimes mentioned as a potential savior for Turkey. There is no doubt that Russian President Vladimir Putin would love to use Turkey’s crisis to pull it even further away from its NATO allies. But Erdoğan and his advisers would be deeply mistaken to think that Russia can fill Turkey’s financial void. A Kremlin intervention would do little for Turkey, and would likely exacerbate Russia’s own .

The other two potential patrons are Qatar and, of course, China. But while Qatar, one of Turkey’s closest Gulf allies, could provide financial aid, it does not ultimately have the wherewithal to pull Turkey out of its crisis singlehandedly.

As for China, though it will not want to waste the opportunity to increase its influence vis-à-vis Turkey, it is not the country’s style to step into such a volatile situation, much less assume responsibility for solving the problem. The more likely outcome – as we are seeing in Greece – is that China will unleash its companies to pursue investment opportunities after the dust settles.

That means that Turkey’s economic salvation lies with its conventional Western allies: the US and the EU (particularly France and Germany). On August 13, a White House spokesperson confirmed that the Trump administration is watching the financial-market response to Turkey’s crisis “very closely.” The last thing that Trump wants is a crumbling world economy and a massive dollar rally, which could derail his domestic economic ambitions. So a classic Trump “trade” is probably there for Erdoğan, if he is willing to come to the negotiating table.

Likewise, some of Europe’s biggest and most fragile banks have significant exposure to Turkey. Combine that with the ongoing political crisis over migration, and you have a recipe for deeper destabilization within the EU. I, for one, cannot imagine that European leaders will sit by and do nothing while Turkey implodes on their border.

Despite his escalating rhetoric, Erdoğan may soon find that he has little choice but to abandon his isolationist and antagonistic policies of the last few years. If he does, many investors may look back next year and wish that they had snapped up a few lira when they had the chance.

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