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another_liberal

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Member since: Thu Dec 6, 2012, 01:13 PM
Number of posts: 8,203

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"It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have." James A. Baldwin

Journal Archives

It would seem war-mongers win again.

Looks like another win for fatcats of the military/industrial complex and the many war-mongers who love them so. Our increasing military activity in the Baltics and Eastern Europe has alarmed the Russian Federation sufficiently, and they are going to respond in kind with more military deployments and readiness exercises on their side of the border. If this madness of reciprocal escalation continues, soon all that will be needed is a single spark to set-off the conflagration. I guess that may be what our arms merchants and their pet generals think they want? Lets just hope they never find out how mistaken they truly are!



A Polish soldier stands in front of U.S., Polish and NATO flags (Reuters)


Moscow Will Respond to NATO Military Buildup Near Russia's Border - Lavrov


NATO military buildup near Russia's border does not contribute to the restoration of trust in the Euroatlantic space, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday. "We have confirmed our stance that military buildup near our border does not contribute to the restoration of trust in the Euroatlantic," the Russian foreign minister said during a news conference with his Spanish counterpart.

Lavrov added that "we are forced to react in an adequate way, but we are sure that these problems need to be solved through an equal dialog based on mutual respect."

Following Crimea's reunification with Russia in March 2014 and the start of an internal armed conflict in Ukraine’s southeast in April, NATO has been boosting its military presence near Russia’s borders, including in the Baltic states.

On February 5, NATO defense ministers agreed to set up a new high-readiness force dubbed Spearhead Force as part of the NATO Response Force. Altogether, the enhanced Response Force will be increased and count up to around 30,000 troops. The ministers also decided to establish six command and control units in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania tasked with “ensuring that national and NATO forces from across the Alliance are able to act as one from the start” if a crisis arises.


Read more at: http://sputniknews.com/politics/20150310/1019290192.html

Posted by another_liberal | Tue Mar 10, 2015, 06:54 AM (62 replies)

The West's military imperialism is a danger to us all.

"We live in a world in which only interests and rights of the West are deemed legitimate, everyone else who fails to abide to the rules set by the West is portrayed as an evil dictator." I could not agree more, and I applaud the editors of Counterpunch for their courage in stating the facts so clearly.



American troops in Afghanistan listen to comments by departing Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, in December, 2014 (AP)


US, UK Imperial Ambitions Are Real Challenge World Needs to Contain



The West portrays Russia as a culprit for stirring up the conflict in Ukraine, however the truth is that all Russia did was simply dared to resist the American Empire, taking a stand against its hypocrisy, double standards, and complete lack of respect towards other countries and cultures, US monthly CounterPunch reported.

The last year coup in Ukraine was openly supported by the West. US Senator John McCain along with EU representative Catherine Ashton traveled to Ukraine personally to show their support and urge on the protesters in Kiev. Now, as a mental exercise, just imagine what the United States would have done if Russian officials traveled to Mexico or Canada and openly supported anti-US protests to topple their elected governments, replacing them with pro-Russian alternatives? The United States is a global hegemon with over 1,000 military bases and 11 navy battle carrier groups around the world and a military budget that exceeds budgets of all other industrialized nations combined.

The truth is that the challenge facing the world right now is how to deal with the United States and its imperial ambitions, rather than contain a made-up Russian threat. The Ukrainian crisis has once again shown that “we live in a world in which the West’s interests and rights are the only ones deemed legitimate”. The imperial hegemonic agenda of the United States and Britain is the root cause of the crises currently taking place in eastern Ukraine and the Middle East. American and British hypocrisy knows no borders, the US monthly said. How the United States and Britain who played central roles in diminishing Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria into an abyss of carnage and savagery, could then make statements that Putin is a greater threat to Europe than the Islamic State?

Russian President Vladimir Putin, the man who dared to stand against the Western hypocrisy, is accused of “forging Russian Empire”, being compared to none other than Adolf Hitler and called a dictator who ought to be stopped. Downright ridiculous and hypocritical, CounterPunch says.



Read more at: http://sputniknews.com/world/20150309/1019245414.html



Posted by another_liberal | Mon Mar 9, 2015, 08:15 AM (21 replies)

Hasn't it been wonderful!

I have enjoyed the break from worrying so much about whether our nation would launch World War III over control of eastern Ukraine. For the last two weeks civil war on Russia's western border has appeared less and less likely to propel us into a nuclear conflict with our old cold war adversary. It is more likely to slowly become another pitiful monument to Western arrogance, ignorance and greed. While sad, that is the vastly preferable outcome.

And on top of everything else . . . Spring is nearly begun!



European Union Foreign Ministers pose for the media during their informal European Union Ministers of Foreign Affairs meeting (Gymnich) in Riga March 6, 2015. (Reuters)


‘Give peace a chance, decide sanctions later’: EU split over extension, new Russia penalties


The latest EU meeting has shown that many of its members are in no rush to extend the sanctions which were imposed on Russia last year following a US example, or to exert any more pressure on Moscow, as long as the Minsk ceasefire agreement is holding. Most foreign ministers at the EU two-day meeting in the Latvian capital expressed hopes that the latest Minsk agreement would be a success, and there would be no need to impose further sanctions on Russia. The meeting had a format of an informal discussion, where the ministers touched the topics of the Minsk agreements and the OSCE mission in Ukraine, as well as the possible stepping up of pressure on Russia to “promote peace.”

Scheduled ten days before an official summit in Brussels, the meeting has shown that the EU can’t yet agree even on the automatic extension of existing sanctions – a move that some of the hawkish states have been actively promoting. “In my opinion, we must not make any other steps, we have to give peace a chance. The extension could take place, but only if there is no improvement of the situation,” Spanish FM Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said, expressing his views after the meeting , according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. The Spanish FM is heading to Moscow, during which he will not only discuss the Ukrainian crisis, but will also meet with the Russian Energy minister.

Meanwhile, Italian FM Paolo Gentiloni told reporters the he sees “encouraging signals” on the ground in eastern Ukraine, and so “at the moment we don’t need either new sanctions or automatic renewals.” Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz shared the views of his Italian counterpart, saying that there is a “glimpse of hope” following the Minsk agreements: “We should do everything now to improve the situation and decide later whether that improvement really happened and we can reduce the sanctions, or, if we have to, extend them,” Kurz said.

Greece has also spoke out against any new sanctions as long as Russia supports the Minsk agreements, with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias saying the Greek experience suggests that “not every sanction is constructive” and can succeed. “We support sanctions that bring the other side to the negotiation table,” Kotzias told German ARD. “But we are against sanctions that are imposed simply because someone is angry.”

(snip)


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/238733-eu-ministers-russia-sanctions/


Posted by another_liberal | Sun Mar 8, 2015, 10:27 AM (0 replies)

Maybe it is all about the money and nothing much else?

Could it be that the whole media blitz panic about Russia taking over Europe country-by-country, and the new "Cold War" such fears seem to have inspired are just a cynical effort by arms makers (with their lobbyists and generals) to sell a lot weapons to people who need many other things far more than they do war-making equipment? I wonder if the poor and unemployed people of Greece and Spain think combating the supposed "Russian threat" is the first thing their money should go toward?



Eurofighter Typhoon.(Reuters)


‘All about money’: NATO spending debate focuses on ‘Russian threat.'


NATO member-states unwilling or unable to help boost the military spending are being accused of ignoring the “Russian threat,” that has re-emerged as the core of the alliance’s agenda to boost arms sales. A report saying one of major NATO funding contributors, the UK, could fail to fulfil the commitment to spend 2 percent of its GDP on the alliance in 2015 came as a bombshell for some of the West’s military elite. The head of the US army, General Raymond Odierno, told the Telegraph he was “very concerned” about Britain’s possible defense cuts. “Odierno warned that, while the US was willing to provide leadership in tackling future threats, such as Russia and ISIL , it was essential that allies such as Britain played their part,” the British daily wrote.

Former MI6 chief, Sir John Sawers, called for a rise in defense spending, also mentioning the “threat” coming out of Russia “not necessarily directly to the UK, but to countries around its periphery. The level of threat posed by Moscow has increased and we have to be prepared to take the defensive measures necessary to defend ourselves, defend our allies - which now extend as far as the Baltic States and Central Europe,” Sawers said, according to the Guardian. Russia's Defense Ministry has consistently denied all reports of its personnel or hardware being involved in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, calling NATO's allegations “groundless.” Among “proof” of the “Russian aggression” there have been fake photos of the Russian tanks, which eventually turned out to have been taken in a different place at a different time, a supposed Russian airplane in British airspace, that turned out to be Latvian, and mysterious “Russian submarines” in Swedish waters - which never were found.

“Demonizing” Russia plays well into the hands of the military, believes former NATO intelligence analyst, Lt Cdr Martin Packard. “I think this is a period when everybody is trying to get more money out of their exchequers for upping the rearmament,” Packard told RT’s ‘In the Now’. “So that seems to be so in Britain, probably in America too. Military forces in a way need to have an enemy. It suits them to have an enemy.”

Germany does not feel like increasing the military budget at any cost. Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble, has recently agreed there was a need to spend more on defense, but said that Berlin was not going to do it at least before 2017, Bild am Sonntag reported. Germany has earlier voiced its concern over increasing defense spending to 2 percent of GDP. "Germany believes that the 2 percent requirement is unsuitable as an assessment criterion to determine the loyalty of a member state to the alliance,” a German Defense Ministry spokesman said in the wake of NATO’s September summit in Wales. “We should talk less about percentages of defense budgets and and more about smart ways to obtain better capabilities."

(snip)


Read more, and view video, at: http://rt.com/news/236701-nato-baltic-boost-spending/

Posted by another_liberal | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 07:18 AM (16 replies)

Poll shows most Americans agree, "Don't arm the Kiev government!"

The American people are persistent. Despite a year worth of the most intense fear-mongering, pro-war mass media push since the run up to George W.'s Iraq invasion, they still want their leaders to understand one simple message: "It's all the wars you keep starting, Stupid!"



A Ukrainian soldier who fought at Debaldsevo leaves for home (Reuters)


According to a poll conducted by the US think tank Pew Research Center, more than half of US citizens oppose arms deliveries to Kiev.


MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Some 53 percent of US residents are against sending weapons to Ukraine, according to a poll carried out by the US think tank Pew Research Center.

Last week, the US Senate urged Secretary of State John Kerry to provide Ukraine with "defensive" weapons. Kiev troops have been fighting independence militias in the country's South-East since April 2014. The West accuses Russia of providing military aid to the pro-independence fighters, which Moscow denies.

The number of those who oppose arms deliveries to Kiev decreased by 9 percent comparing to 2014, the think tank said. People, who favor US lethal support to the country, currently comprise 41 percent, comparing to 30 percent in April 2014, when Kiev's military assault on the South-East had just begun. Almost a half of those surveyed said they would like the United States to train Kiev’s soldiers, while 46 percent opposed the idea, the pollster said.

According to the February poll, which featured over 1,500 adults in the United States, some 70 percent of Americans have a negative opinion of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with four in 10 surveyed expressing their view as very unfavorable. Every sixth person in the United States supports further anti-Russia sanctions, whereas 34 percent are against it, according to the poll.

(snip)


Read more at: http://sputniknews.com/us/20150224/1018665925.html


Posted by another_liberal | Tue Feb 24, 2015, 07:26 AM (14 replies)

Exposing the West's "Reverse Blame" game.

Who is driving the current effort to blame the Russian Federation for Ukraine's crisis, and trying to cover-up their own complicity in the process? A group of prominent academics have pooled their thoughts and observations in a new book concerning who is driving the Ukrainian civil war, who stands to gain from promoting conflict with Russia and how Western Media is cooperating with their efforts.



U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, hands out food to pro-Western protesters in Kiev (AP Photo)


How 'Reverse Blame' Works: New Book on Ukraine Crisis Exposes US Geo-Scams


One year since the bloody uprising in Kiev, world’s leading political analysts look into the background of what grew into one of the gravest geopolitical crises; they've put their thoughts together in a book, “Flashpoint in Ukraine”, which, of course, went unnoticed by the US and European mainstream media. Sputnik got hold of one of the copies.

According to the accepted narrative of the Western mainstream media, the crisis begun when the so-called fresh-faced young pro-democracy activists overturned what they believed was a brutal Russian-backed dictatorship which stood in Ukraine's way, keeping it from joining the European family of nations and sharing in its prosperity. This led to the claimed Russia's incursion into Ukraine and what they called "its annexation of Crimea." However, 22 analysts with impeccable credentials were able to review the events that led up to the current crisis in Ukraine, and an entirely different story emerges.he authors reveal the true aims of the backers of the military conflict and what they were willing to do in order to achieve their goals.

In his chapter "The new Cold War’s Ukraine Gambit", Michael Hudson, a world-famous research professor of economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City explains what the conflict is actually all about. "The object is the same as that of military conquest: appropriation of land and basic infrastructure, and the rents that can be extracted as tribute," he writes. "In today’s world this is taken mainly in the form of debt service and privatization. That is how neoliberalism works, subduing economies by indebting their governments and using unpayably high debts as a lever to pry away the public domain at distress prices."

"It is what today’s New Cold War is all about. Backed by the IMF and European Central Bank (ECB) as knee-breakers in what has become in effect a financial extension of NATO, the aim is for US and allied investors to appropriate the plums that kleptocrats have taken from the public domain of Russia, Ukraine and other post-Soviet economies in these countries, as well as whatever assets remain."

(snip)


Read more at: http://sputniknews.com/analysis/20150223/1018617115.html
Posted by another_liberal | Mon Feb 23, 2015, 08:39 AM (23 replies)

UK lawmakers criticize their government regarding Ukraine crisis.

Judging by what is coming out of London this morning, someone finally got out from under Victoria Nuland's thumb. Especially note that the House of Lords' report on the causes and future of the civil war in Ukraine states: "For the Russians NATO is seen as a hostile military threat, and successive rounds of NATO’s eastern enlargement have, as the Russians see it, brought it threateningly close to the Russian border." Wish I'd said that (chuckle).




France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (L), Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin (R), Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (2nd R) and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (Reuters)


EU ‘sleepwalked’ into Ukraine crisis due to poor understanding of Russia - UK Lords


The EU ‘sleepwalked’ into the Ukrainian crisis after a failure to address Moscow’s concerns over Western policies, a UK parliamentary report says. Europeans suffer from poor analytic capacity when it comes to Russia. The scathing report on the causes and the future of the Ukrainian debacle and Russia-West divide was prepared by the House of Lords, European Union Committee tasked with considering UK’s participation in EU matters. The report identified policies in both Russia and EU and its member states that prevented them from engaging in dialogue and building trust between each other. Europeans are particularly guilty of lacking analytical capacity to properly understand Russia and predict its responses to EU’s actions.

“There has been a decline in Member States’ analytical capacity on Russia. This has weakened their ability to read the political shifts and to offer an authoritative response. Member States need to rebuild their former skills,” the report said. “There is also a reduced emphasis on the importance and role of analytical expertise in the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK’s Foreign Ministry). The FCO should review how such skills could be renewed and how analysis can feed into decision-making processes,” the report added.

As a result,“an element of ‘sleep-walking’ was evident in the run-up to the crisis in Ukraine, and important analytical mistakes were made by the EU. Officials in Brussels as well as Member States’ embassies all participate in the EU foreign policy process, but all seem to have missed the warning signs.”

The Lords say Western policies towards Russia didn’t acknowledge the genuine concern about the enlargement of NATO. “For the Russians NATO is seen as a hostile military threat, and successive rounds of NATO’s eastern enlargement have, as the Russians see it, brought it threateningly close to the Russian border. EU enlargement, as it has become conflated with NATO enlargement, has also taken on the aspect of a security threat,” the document said.

(snip)


Read more at: http://rt.com/uk/234023-house-lords-ukraine-report/



Posted by another_liberal | Fri Feb 20, 2015, 06:37 AM (15 replies)

A good article on the strategic situation in eastern Ukraine.

This examination of the situation on the fighting front of Ukraine's civil war is largely anti-Kiev in its point of view, still it does offer some rare and important insights. All of the information provided is supported by the public statements of those quoted and by observable facts on the ground. Rather unexpectedly, the author at one point even notes: "I would not be most surprised at all if the hardcore crazies à la Iarosh & Co. now turn against Poroshenko. It will be interesting to see how "Iats" and Turchinov will position themselves - my feeling is that they will all turn against Poroshenko next."




Gorlovka - Debaltsevo AO


The strategic implications of the battle for Debaltsevo.


The Novorussians are in control of most of Debaltsevo (officially 100% as of midnight GMT). More relevantly, there is no more organized resistance. Russian sources say that about 1000 junta soldiers have refused to surrender and are hiding in the outskirts or have fled to the south end of the cauldron. The Novorussians are not even bothering to hunt them down or return their sporadic (and inaccurate) fire: they are waiting for hunger and cold to force them to give up. A spokesman for the Novorussians has reported that all communications between the junta forces in the cauldron and their commanders have been suppressed. Russian TV stations are showing footage of Novorussian soliders raising their flag over the center of the city.

That the forces in the Debaltsevo cauldron were doomed was pretty clear for a while already, but what is still amazing is the speed at which the collapse has taken place. Clearly, we are dealing with a catastrophic collapse of combat capability of the junta forces. The Russian media is also showing many footages of surrendering junta soldiers in and around Debaltsevo. Those who surrender are treated for their wounds, washed, clothed, fed and they will be sent home as soon as possible.

During his recent press conference in Hungary, Vladimir Putin has confirmed that the Ukrainian forces in Debaltsevo has been defeated. He also confirmed that the US has been sending weapons to the junta and he added that he was absolutely sure that while this could kill more people, it would make no difference at all because the Ukrainian soldiers have no desire to fight whereas the morale of the Novorussians was extremely strong.

The most amazing event of the day though is Petro Poroshenko's continual denial that there is any Debaltsevo cauldron at all. Apparently the junta is in such a shock from the recent events that the freaks in Kiev has decided to simply completely deny the reality of it all. This is an extremely misguided strategy because even though the Russian media has now been banned on Ukrainian cable and radio stations, and the entire Russian press corps has had its accreditation in the Ukraine canceled, it is still accessible on the Internet and information about the current events is easily transmitted simply by phone (including phone calls from junta forces inside the cauldron). So while the freaks in the Rada and the government can go into the "deep denial" mode, the population is informed about the reality and rumors will, if anything, only amplify the magnitude of the disaster.

(snip)


Read more, and see maps of the front lines, at: http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/



Posted by another_liberal | Thu Feb 19, 2015, 07:21 AM (1 replies)

Opposition political parties under assault in Ukraine.

First the Communist Party of Ukraine had its representatives in Parliament expelled, then over three hundred of its members were accused of what amounts to treason for opposing Kiev's war on east Ukrainian Separatists and now Judges who were pressured to issue indictments of Communist Party members are resigning as a group from the case because of strong-armed government tactics used to influence them. Other political parties outside the governing coalition are also experiencing intimidation. It may be only a matter of time before one party rule by the oligarchs of the war party and their fascist allies becomes a reality.



Supporters of the Communist Party of Ukraine (RIA Novosti)


Kiev court judges refuse to take part in Communist Party banning case.


Judges at an administrative court in Kiev have refused to try a case banning the activities of the Communist Party of Ukraine, after police conducted a search and seizure operation in the office of one their colleagues. Judge Valery Kuzmenko, who was presiding over the Justice Ministry’s suit against the Communist Party, withdrew from the case on Wednesday, the Interfax news agency reports. All the other judges in the Kiev District Administrative Court have also filed applications to be excused from hearing the case, Kuzmenko said.

The judge explained the move by saying that the prosecutors and police searched his office and seized his computer, with working materials on the Communist Party case and others. He said he views the law enforcement officials’ actions as an attempt to put pressure on the court. According to the prosecutors, Monday’s search and seizure was performed as part of the criminal case, launched over the “abuse of power or position" and "forgery" by the judges, RIA-Novosti reports.

The Communist Party has been speaking against Ukraine’s new authorities since the coup in February 2014, which saw President Viktor Yanukovich ousted. However, the persecution of the Communists Party began in April, shortly after Kiev launched a military operation against the country’s south-eastern regions. Communist leader, Pyotr Simonenko, said the military campaign is Kiev’s war against its own people, stressing that if he was the head of state, he “would immediately recall all the troops.” He openly accused the Ukrainian authorities of the “slaughter of civilians and mass murder,” saying they had labeled the 7 million people in Donetsk and Lugansk as “terrorists."

In June, Ukraine’s justice minister, Pavel Petrenko, announced a lawsuit to ban the Communist Party in Ukraine. In mid-summer, the Communist faction was dissolved by the Ukrainian parliament, with the official explanation for the move being an insufficient number of MPs in the party. Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, said that 308 criminal cases had been launched against members of the Communist Party, with its leaders accused of supporting Crimea’s accession to the Russian Federation and backing the creation of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as financing the rebels. In November, a group of MPs introduced a draft law to the parliament, making any dissemination of Communist ideology in Ukraine illegal and proposing punishment of up to 10 years in prison for the perpetrators.

(snip)


Read more at: http://rt.com/news/233559-ukraine-communist-ban-judges/




Posted by another_liberal | Wed Feb 18, 2015, 08:31 PM (2 replies)

Yes! Now peace really has a chance!

At last the Kiev government has begun withdrawing its military forces from the Debaltsevo pocket. The Ukrainians can call it a planned withdrawal and the Separatists can call it a surrender, none of that even matters compared to the fact that it is finally happening! With that literal and metaphorical "roadblock" removed, peace now has a far better chance of taking hold in their tortured and divided nation.



Ukrainian servicemen ride on military vehicles as they leave an area around Debaltsevo, eastern Ukraine near Artemivsk, February 18, 2015 (Reuters)


Kiev says troops withdrawn from Debaltsevo, rebels claim military ‘surrender en masse’


Kiev troops surrounded in the city of Debalstevo have started to surrender en masse, Ukrainian rebels have said. President Poroshenko announced a complete withdrawal from the contested city. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed in a video statement that he has given an order to withdraw troops from Debaltsevo on Wednesdsay. “We stated and proved that Debaltsevo was under our control and that there was no encirclement. Our units withdrew according to plan in an organized manner. They took military hardware with them – tanks, APCs, artillery pieces, tow-tracks, cars,” the president said. He added that some 80 percent of the troops have already left the city.

Reuters cited a witness who saw the troops, some of them injured, arriving in Artemyevsk, a city northwest of Debaltsevo, through which a road leading to Kiev-controlled areas goes. Poroshenko will visit eastern Ukraine later in the day and chair a security council session in the evening, Ukrainian media reported.

Earlier Semen Semenchenko, MP and commander of one of Kiev’s volunteer battalions, reported that the troops were being withdrawn from the contested city. He added that Kiev should now attack in other parts of the frontline, which had been weakened by the rebels to lay siege on Debaltsevo. “They are empty and we have troops. One strike and the frontline would crumble,” he assured, adding that withdrawal is “beyond comprehension.”

Meanwhile Maksim Leshchenko, a senior official in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, told journalists on Wednesday that the Ukrainian troops are laying down their arms “in their hundreds.” Earlier on Tuesday, Eduard Basurin, a military spokesperson for the rebels, confirmed taking some 300 soldiers prisoner.

(snip)


Read more, and view videos of the withdrawal, at: http://rt.com/news/233363-ukraine-debaltsevo-surrender-withdrawal/


Posted by another_liberal | Wed Feb 18, 2015, 07:05 AM (14 replies)
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