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Archive for the ‘World Events’ Category

Honduras…

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

honduras

Well, here is what I’ve learned about Honduras, thus far… Please note this article will probably be revised as information is gathered, and I will note such changes with (*) and time.

  • President Manuel Zelaya wanted to change the constitution to allow him to run for president and possibly be elected to a 2nd term.
  • *UPDATE 16:03 PDT President Manuel Zelaya wanted to hold a national poll that asked citizens if they wish to include a referendum on new Constitutional Conventions on the November election ballots.
  • The Honduran legislature, courts and military said the polling was illegal, and seized polling boxes.  They also declared it illegal for citizens to even participate in the poll.
  • Zelaya, despite threats by the military to remove him from office, re-seized the polling boxes.
  • The military removed him from office and exiled him to Costa Rica.
  • The legislature, courts and military all claim that he was removed legally.
  • The newly appointed president, Roberto Micheletti, Speaker of the House, was appointed as President to serve the rest of Zelaya’s term.
  • Practically the entire rest of the world has opposed Micheletti’s appointment and demanded Zelaya’s reinstatement as president.
  • Micheletti says if Zelaya returns, he will be arrested.
  • Zelaya is planning a return to Honduras on Thursday, apparently.  He plans to proceed with the polling.

Sounds to me like there will be some updates soon, as it seems like a fairly tenuous situation.

~Gatekeeper.

*Update 16:03 PDT: According to The Narcosphere,

Right-wing Echo Chamber

El Heraldo’s (A conservative paper in Honduras) constant campaign against Zelaya and the opinion poll is far from isolated; Honduras’ conservative right-wing media is pulling out all the stops to discredit Zelaya and those who are pushing for a new Constitution.By far the biggest lie being promulgated by the Honduran press is that Zelaya wants a new constitution so that he can be re-elected (Honduran presidents can by law only serve one term).  This lie has been repeated so often in the Honduran press that it is now internationally considered to be a fact.”

Voltairenet.org says

“Are we to believe that the United States had no role in coordinating with Vasquez (head of the Honduran military) and the coup plotters? The U.S. has had longstanding military ties to the Honduran armed forces, particularly during the Contra War in Nicaragua during the 1980s. The White House, needless to say, has rejected claims that the U.S. played a role.”

Twitter, once again, is not making it much easier, as Honduran Micheletti supporters pump their views into the Twitter-sphere.  I’m also not discounting the idea of an intelligence-agency disinformation campaign.

President Obama is denouncing the ouster, but the US establishment has much to gain from it, as, Zelaya supports ALBA, (Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas – a proposed alternative to the U.S.-sponsored Free Trade Area of the Americas).

Venezuelan Analysis says ALBA differs from the FTAA “in that it advocates a socially-oriented trade block rather than one strictly based on the logic of deregulated profit maximization. ALBA appeals to the egalitarian principles of justice and equality that are innate in human beings, the well-being of the most dispossessed sectors of society, and a reinvigorated sense of solidarity toward the underdeveloped countries of the western hemisphere, so that with the required assistance, they can enter into trade negotiations on more favorable terms than has been the case under the dictates of developed countries.”

UPDATE 23:41 PDT: It is interesting to note that there is a dispute as to WHAT exactly Manuel Zelaya was trying to change by holding a new Constitutional Congress.  His opponents say he was trying to consolidate power and extend his presidential term.  Zelaya says that Honduras’ social problems are rooted in its constitution.  He claims he is not seeking re-election.

The Honduran congress and courts say that Zelaya was breaking the law by planning his referendum.  Funny how the law works, as, they only created a law on June 22nd of THIS YEAR, barring such referendums from taking place 180 days before or after an election.  A Pre-emptive strike of sorts.  They essentially changed the law to entrap him because they knew he was planning on holding the referendum.

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More on the Iran elections/protests…

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Hey there again,

I was thinking more about Iran, reading up on a lot of different articles from many different news sources, and I want to clarify a few things…

I really do admire the Iranian progressives for what they are doing, even though I believe what they are fighting for is to overturn an election result that they simply do not agree with.  I am not claiming that there was NO election fraud.  How many elections in our own country have been spotless, and absolutely devoid of any funny business?  I think that while America seems to be a benchmark in how democracies can be run, we’re also a prime example of how concepts like “freedom, liberty, democracy” get mangled up and bastardized by the powerful.

What these mostly young, urban progressives are doing is admirable, fighting religious oppression, demanding the ability to make their own choices in their lives instead of following an aged and, in their minds, obsolete, hierarchy.  Imagine, however, if the right-wingers in this country decided to drop everything and take to the streets because they don’t want Obama as president.  Not that they aren’t doing that on Faux news anyway… I mean, political attacks and character assassinations don’t have to come in the form of personal confrontation, and that right-wing machine that is in place knows they don’t have to lift a damn finger to play into the fears and predjudices of their rabid followers.

In Iran, being who I am, I would probably be supporting the anti-establishment movement, but let’s get something straight – Mousavi is not exactly a progressive in all the ways that Americans see progressivism.  He did help to overthrow the monarchy (yes, and a lot of good that did, right?) in the Islamic Revolution, and that’s all well and good – it makes him a prime candidate to be held up as a revolutionary, which he certainly was back in the 80′s… the results are arguable.  Overthrowing the monarchy put more power into the hands of politicians, which, as just about every story of political revolution goes, ended up giving another small group of people a vast sense of entitlement on how the government should be run, ending in yet another regime of some sort that doesn’t seem to care much at all about the will of the people.

Today, obviously, the political landscape is different than it was in the 80′s.  Iran has one of the youngest voting populations in the world.  More people are getting college degrees, more people are living in the cities.  Despite all this, the fact of the matter is that most voters are rural, poor conservatives.  The very admirable, very vocal minority of progressive Iranians, are still outnumbered nearly 2 to 1.

The problem now isn’t who they will elect – that has already been decided and I highly doubt that it will be overturned – but how, now, do they calm things down and get back to business-as-usual?  There is a huge information gap in Iran.  HUGE.  The same goes for disinformation.  With the advent of the internet we are all subject to information overload and we have to parse it.  With SO MUCH information, and disinformation out there, how does one aptly do that?  The Iranians with access to computers are flooding social networking sites.  Western media has an interest in propogating the angle of the progressives.  I have addressed this in my previous blog post, but it is worth re-iterating: One of the biggest issues in this election was the privatization of Iranian oil.  The rural Iranians basically have ZERO to benefit from this, while the urban populations would see more jobs, more development, more advancement in their eyes.

While I, as a semi-urbanite, on the surface, think “why don’t all Iranians want modernization?”  That obviously has to do with my American predjudice.  Modernization doesn’t mean progress for everyone, and THAT is the thing that everyone needs to keep in mind. There is a very real difference of philosophy between rural and urban Iranians, and that the election results reflected that divide.

I seriously hope that a peaceful resolution can be had at this point.  Mousavi is certainly not trying to calm things down, he is actively encouraging the protests, and the pot seems to be boiling steadily hotter.  How long until it truly boils over?  By all indications, it really does seem as though Iran is on the verge of a major conflict.  It would be extremely unfortunate, to say the least, if a nation-wide firestorm is ignited simply because a vocal minority does not agree with the results.  Mousavi is certainly playing his power cards right now, fanning the flames of what he feels could be a revolution in his favor.

~Gatekeeper.

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Iran Election: Whole lotta hoaxin’ goin’ on.

Friday, June 19th, 2009

IranFlag

Greetings, fellow Zen Twistians and whoever else might be out there reading… I’ve got something on my mind, and it has to do with all the hubbub surrounding the recent Iran elections.

Media coverage of the Iran elections is difficult, due to the fact that the Iranian government expelled all foreign journalists, so, major media outlets have been resorting to other sources for their coverage – Social networking sites, like Facebook or Twitter.

I got sucked in.  On Twitter, I’m greeted by many green faces, and if you’re curently on Twitter, you know what I mean, and if you don’t, you’re not following anyone on Twitter.  The “green revolution” of a different sort cropped up as an attempt to educate people about the plight of the progressive movement in Iran.  Sounds good, right?  I thought, “hell, if there’s some bullshit going on with the votes, then we need to spread the word!”

I even turned my avatar green with an auto-click service… Felt somewhat good doing it, and then… as Zen told me the other day, when discussing another topic, “Dig deeper, Gatekeeper!”  So I did.

Turns out (SURPRISE SURPRISE!!!) that Western media coverage is heavily slanted on this issue.  They sum it up as a struggle between the young, progressive, American-friendly Mousavi supporters (who surely couldn’t have been outnumbered since Iran’s largest voting bloc is under 30 years of age, right?) vs the Older, staunch religious, Anti-American conservative supporters of Ahmadinejad.  From the standpoint of American politics, this seems like it makes a lot of sense…

Guess what?  The real divide isn’t so much religious as it is about class – meaning the upper and middle class, and the poor, rural class, who vastly outnumber the former.  The upper and middle class are mostly centered in the urban areas, attend university, are pro-privatization of industry (namely the Iranian Oil industry, which Ahmadinejad is staunchly opposed to privatizing – and his opponent, Mousavi, is pushing for it).

Never mind that two independent American polls indicated that Ahmadinejad was leading by a 2-1 margin, right?  But it is interesting to note that the polls were split directly on said class lines, with the majority of rural Iranians favoring the incumbent, and the majority of urban Iranians favoring Mousavi.

Seems the election actually happened as expected, so what’s the deal?

The deal is, the upper and middle class Iranians (the minority), have access to computers, and hence, social networking sites, blogs, etc – while most rural Iranians DO NOT.  Get the picture, now?  This “pro-democracy” movement is perpetuated by technology, but does not take into account the class divide, so, unsuspecting Americans (like me) are easily sucked in to believe that the anti-Ahmadinejad movement is larger than it actually is.

Most of the media coverage, also, is centered in Tehran and other URBAN locales, where the Mousavi supporters do outnumber Ahmadinejad supporters.  It is not surprising, then, that when we turn on the news, we see these rallies for Mousavi, and most of us assume that what we’re being told is at least an approximation of what is actually going on.

What it boils down to is that the rural, poor constituency does not want to allow the privatization of the oil industry (and other industry), due to Ahmadinejad’s position on keeping oil nationalized, and his promise to increase shares of the oil profits with the citizens.  On the other hand, the exploitation and hand-over of their national resources would benefit the Urban sectors more (as the resulting jobs created would be filled by, you guessed it, the Urban Iranians), and would allow exploitation of rural lands, cut off Nationalized profit sharing, etc… With the vast differences in perspectives among the two major classes of Iranians, it isn’t that hard to understand why the election really does reflect the will of the majority of Iranians…  The more religious tend to look down on the exploitative practices of unchecked industry.

The American media is playing dumb, acting as though there’s only one side to this story, and that it is mostly about religious vs. progressive.  That is one tiny part of it, but again, it is much more because of the class divide rather than the religious divide.

The American media has a lot to gain from feeding into the instability, and calling foul over “corrupt election practices.”  They have nothing to gain from telling the truth of the situation – except for, you know, their integrity, but I don’t think that’s a major concern.

If you support democracy in Iran, dig into this a bit deeper and learn the intricacies instead of just accepting at face value what we’re being fed by the corporate news.

~Gatekeeper.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/14/AR2009061401757.html

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Revisiting Afghanistan

Monday, June 1st, 2009

As promised in my first post, “Enter: Gatekeeper,” here is more about Afghanistan and our plans to invade even before Sept. 11, 2001.

This is really part II in a series of inter-related posts.  At the center: 9/11/2001.  But this particular post has to do with events leading up to the attack, and it deals with the Taliban and Afghanistan.

Due to a near-monopoly on Media outlets, we don’t really see serious attempts to investigate the roots of where this all started (And I’m talking relatively recent history, we could go back a long time if we wanted to).  I know it all seems like a nightmare that we’re trying to collectively wake up from, but it’s important to remember what happened before 9/11 and the following invasion of Afghanistan.

1] There were negotiations with the Taliban to build a UNOCAL oil pipeline through Afghanistan.  The Taliban were wooed by US corporate and government interests in order to get their consent on the deal, with promises of a lucrative cut of the profits that would be shared with the Taliban.

2] The US saw The Taliban as a source of stability in Afghanistan as late as the Summer of 2001, and were treated as a partner in the region.

3] Before the towers were attacked, the FBI captured a memo revealing that US Corporations (including Enron) were actively negotiating with the Taliban to build the UNOCAL pipeline. Former FBI counter-terrorism chief John O’Neil resigned after revealing this information to the administration because he was ordered not to investigate ties between Saudi Arabia and Al Qaeda.

4] This memo was not allowed by the Administration to be shared with other intelligence organizations.  Multiple law enforcement agencies were deliberately kept in the dark.

5] The Taliban did not accept the conditions of the agreement, and soon after, the threats began.  The US gave notice to their European allies that the solution may become a military one.

6] Oil interests wanted to build the pipeline through Afghanistan to transport oil from Central Asia, in turn, lessening our dependence on Saudi oil.  When the Taliban threw hurdles in the way of that happening, the solution became simple: Invasion.

After 9/11, the rationale was made to invade Afghanistan, even though it was Al Qaeda, not the Taliban, who were implicated in the attacks.  It was stated that the Taliban was granting refuge to Al Qaeda, and while that claim is legitimate, it appears we already had plans to invade for other resource/monetary reasons.

9/11 provided an automatic excuse to invade Afghanistan.  For this reason, and the subsequent Iraq invasion, there are many people who believe that the attack on the World Trade Center was engineered as a “false flag” operation, either involving Al Qaeda, or designed to implicate them.  I have not gone so far as to make those conclusions, but it is a compelling argument, especially considering the following:

7] The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) is a group comprised of many leading conservative “war intellectuals.”  In their stated mission, they mention a 2-3 front war in order to demonstrate American military dominance in the 21st Century, with possible targets: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and North Korea (SOUND FAMILIAR?).  Is it any coincidence that the Bush Administration not only invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, but added North Korea and Iran to the so called “Axis-of-Evil??”  Their vision of America in the 21st Century is to continue to act as a global policing agency, and to even step-up military action in order to reinforce and advance America’s global agenda.

8] PNAC had pressed for a second Iraq war since January 26, 1998, when they sent a memo to then President Bill Clinton, urging him to implement a military strategy in Iraq.

9] Some notable members of PNAC: Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Richard Perle, Bill Kristol, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz.  Many of whom served the Bush Administration in some capacity.

It is interesting, to say the least… It raises a lot of questions.  The thing I find craziest is, in the light of all the documented evidence that indicates at the very least complicity on the Bush Administration’s part when it comes to 9/11 (in other words, they had memos from multiple intelligence sources across the globe, including our own, that we conveniently ignored), that there isn’t more outcry for a new investigation (see previous post’s comments – particularly those by MysticMuse – for more info).  Or rather, the calls for a new investigation are being stifled by the government and the media, and naturally, most of the general public remains ignorant of the very pressing questions involving everything that led to our current Mid-East predicament.

I realize that in posting this, I am repeating what has already been posted and said elsewhere, but I feel it is important enough to repeat here.

PS – in other news, Zen’s internet connection is non-existent… he will be back and posting soon.

~Gatekeeper.

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There has got to be a better way!

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

`What is real? That is the question! Have those who want to stay in control, perpetuated such fear that once again our focus as a species in its whole sum parts is deterred, from the real point of life? Is there one? For the sake of argument itself lets assume there is!

`Money! the huge security sucking, life stressing, war mongering, life taking, self seeking, material rendering nothing! That’s right I said nothing! Money doesn’t breath, think, act, accuse, destroy! It has no heart beat, no emotion, no religious opinion, or racial bias, except for the moving molecules that make up its mass. Yet without my even saying, you and I all know, what people do, or will do, to have it, earn it, steal it, create it, beg for it, pretend for it, Lie for it!

`Now again I say it is nothing! So why or how has our lives become consumed in having this one thing? Life used to be about, starting in the dark ages for all you Darwinist, Survival of the fittest! Now its survival of the wittiest! Who can fuck you out of your money the quickest. They better sure hope the dinosaurs are not resurrected, those twenty dollar bills are pretty useless against carnivores. Better yet, better hope the whole thing doesn’t collapse, you guys would be the first to go down. Yes I know I’ve trailed, sort of, and yes I did use what some would say was foul, or is it fowl language? But tell me what other word describes what these people did or do best? One has to wonder if these guys weren’t the ones in school getting teased and bullied their whole elementary years and they walk around in such anguish the only pleasure is destroying others’ lives with the flick of a Tongue? I don’t know, a real reptilian creature just popped into my head! The Elders say go for it! Hope I haven’t lost you with an A.D.D. moment.

`The point? Glad you asked! Look, since money was created there have been those who schemed and connived for it. Before that it was that guy down the mountain who was stealing your goats and chickens in the dead of the night. Back then, by the way, you could take that guy out and no one would ask any questions! Personally I like that approach, except in these days it would be utter chaos, where could you draw the line? The real point is that some people just have that thing in their nature. It’s kinda pathological, really, because it takes someone who feels no emotion to not care about others to the point of extreme. What do we do? Well unfortunately, we haven’t arrived just yet to the Star Trek era when money isn’t necessary anymore. Wow, could you imagine the human race adopting a beehive mentality?

`Don’t misunderstand me, because money can do a lot of good. There are people out there doing wondrous things and that’s great. Money is just a motivational tool, it can create and give those the opportunity to add to there lives and their ideas. Maybe the question should be how much is enough? Yet as I started out saying, has our focus been altered from all this financial upheaval? There is still death going on, we are still in 2 wars, our out-going President and Vice President are facing possible war crime charges and stay with me here, that’s serious. These guys got together with lawyers to create legalese arguments so they could break the law. [ The whole defining torture under different rule standards and breaking these guys rights to a fair trial! Including having proper representation] Things so devious that if another country had done these exact same things those guilty would be prosecuted by international court with U.S leading the way.

`While we are here, how many of you were angry instead of glad when the oil prices first started dropping? Is there anything more clear than that to tell you who is running the show? Did you think to yourself they are throwing us a carrot because I will tell you. you could feel everyone’s stress, they took shit too far! Oh man did it again, yet again, I say no other word describes what was happening more than that one.

`Although I try to stay away from politics, this I will say: Bush’s up-coming book should be titled “HOW TO COLLAPSE AN ECONOMY IN JUST A FEW SHORT YEARS AND STILL GET RE-ELECTED TO A SECOND TERM WHILE MAKING ALL YOUR BUDDIES MEGA WEALTHY!.” Had them all fooled, he did! How does a guy have a 20% approval rating get anything done? Republicans hang their heads in shame, the guy couldn’t even get his farewell speech out without a gaffe. Bullshit wasn’t the biggest part of it, people should really realize how uninformed they were. From the beginning I was running around telling people the guy was so not qualified, he had ruined the state of Texas with all his deregulation. Texas was the number one polluted state in America and somehow I think he’s proud of that. [ "At least I was number one in something!" ] What is really scary is, he was the perfect choice to have in office for the war mongers and corporate hogs because he knows nothing, has nothing to contribute, and therefore questioned nothing. He never had a job to speak of, that is what is so eerie! The Perfect Puppet, no experience, had to rely on others read the fine print [ Dick Chaney and associates! ] Although I’m not a Ronald Reagan fan even he thought GW was a “loooserrr,” Jim Carrey style! Don’t believe me? Read his memoirs! No people skills and completely oblivious to 3rd world politics. Never even visited a 3rd world nation till he was in office. My God, America, what the hell were you voting for? His good looks?

`In last night’s farewell speech he still had to lie when he said that we as a nation never did anything to provoke the attacks of 911. Yeah right, and Vietnam just sorta happened all by itself. For once get it right George! That’s what we as a nation are good at! Provoking! Provoking countries to be at war with each other and with us. Chiquita Banana didn’t hire assassins to shoot protesters from helicopters. Standard oil didn’t kill villagers and enslave them to build their oil line across the globe, Shell oil didn’t kill protesters on their platforms the list goes on. think those people aren’t pissed? I would be! So what do you do when nobody is listening or they are killing the ones trying to get the information to the general public?

`Did you ever once wonder to yourself if other nations ever talked amongst themselves about the possibility of going to war against us? And I’m not talking about any Arab Nations. I travel and I will tell you I saw it in their faces Europeans were afraid of us.

`Don’t be Naive and think our country wasn’t disregarding and violating our own as well as United nations [ Which We the United States formed! ] human rights agreements. Which if you don’t know that you are a either a victim of the education cuts or you don’t care! Or you just feel safer being uninformed so as you don’t have to formulate an objective opinion!

`I guess in an ironic twist of fate I sense we should be lucky that we were the leading arms super power that no one could stand up to us. But that just makes me embarassed, its like the huge bully on the street that you know is oh so wrong! Yet he can kick your ass in a heart beat and there is no one to tell him different. Doesn’t make him right, just gives him a false sense of self righteousness. There has got to be a better way!

Peace Zen Twist

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Enter: Gatekeeper…

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Greetings! I’m one of Zen Twist’s co-muckrakers, Gatekeeper. I maintain the site and I also contribute my thoughts and art to Zentwist.com.

I guess you could say I’m kind of like the “Robin” to Zen Twist’s “Batman” — though my choice of wardrobe is more like Batman’s whole “dressing in black” thing – except my costume definitely doesn’t have nipples built in to it. Façade nipples? I’ve always wondered about that choice for the movies. I guess Bruce Wayne likes to blast people his nips? No wonder he wears a mask!

I was watching “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” the other night, and the guest was Arianna Huffington. She was selling a book that she mostly didn’t write about how to become a successful blogger.

She said, “Rule nahmber one ees to blahhg about your pahhssions!”

That seems pretty obvious, but that is definitely what you can expect from me.

This year has been a wild one, that’s for sure. We’ve hit our worst economic streak since the 70’s – at least, and we’ve got thousands of jobs being lost every month. Our government has spent over a Trillion dollars on corporate bailouts, and the latest news is that all that money isn’t being tracked like it should be. Where is the accountability? How do the taxpayers get reimbursed for this, since we’re the ones paying for it? More importantly, when are people going to realize that we’ve been hoodwinked? Does anyone really believe that we taxpayers will see a dime for our “investment?”

How about bailing out families who’ve lost their homes that they‘ve been paying off for years? How about bailing out small businesses that have seen their profits dry up because of the downturn? — And I mean, businesses that have done honest work for years… why shouldn’t we help them stay in business when this recession isn‘t their fault, and they‘ve simply been squeezed out by circumstance?

These things seem only fair, since small businesses and homeowners pay much more than their fair share, as opposed to corporations who take advantage of offshore tax-shelters, outsourcing, etc?

How about, instead of bailing out a long-defunct auto industry, we bail out the workers and their families by providing job training so that the auto workers can find jobs in different sectors? How about the American auto companies ask Honda and Toyota to come in and revamp their operations and take a stake in the business? Just a couple ideas… these seem much more practical and realistic to me than paying billions of dollars every few months just to float an industry that loses money on every auto sale!

Do we hear much of anything about helping out “the little guy?” Not anymore, not since before the elections. All we hear is that there are more foreclosures and less jobs.

Time will tell if President Elect Obama will make good on his campaign promises – to give tax breaks for businesses who maintain and create jobs… to put a moratorium on foreclosures for families making a good-faith effort to pay… and Universal Healthcare?

I’m not one to criticize before it’s due, and I see too much of that already when it comes to Obama, so I’m going to take a “wait and see” approach with him. His first 100 days should prove interesting.

Is anyone else tired of the United States using its military might to solve its problems? I realize there’s a time for that, but, especially ever since after the World Trade Center attack, it seems that we’re far too trigger happy. It also seems to me that 9/11 provided all the excuses for pretty much everything the current administration wanted to do. Ever heard of “Project for a New American Century?” How about the decision to go into Afghanistan — even before 9/11? I will be covering these topics much more in depth as we go on this “Zen Twist.”

Rest assured, I have a lot to talk about, so stick around, and feel free to comment.

~Gatekeeper.

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