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Congressional No-Show at ‘Heart-Breaking’ Drone Survivor Hearing

Originally published at Common Dreams on 10/29/13

In “historic” briefing, Rehman family gives heartbreaking account of drone killing of 65-year-old grandmother… to five lawmakers

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer
Image of the Rehman family waiting to testify at the Congressional Briefing on drone strikes

The Rehman family waits to testify at the Congressional Briefing on drone strikes Tuesday, October 29. (Photo: @akneerudh/ Twitter)

Despite being heralded as the first time in history that U.S. lawmakers would hear directly from the survivors of a U.S. drone strike, only five elected officials chose to attend the congressional briefing that took place Tuesday.

Image of Nabila Rehman, 9, holds up a picture she drew depicting the US drone strike which killed her grandmother. Pakistani schoolteacher Rafiq ur Rehman and his two children—9 year-old daughter Nabila and 13 year-old son Zubair—came to Washington, DC to give their account of a U.S. drone attack that killed Rafiq’s mother, Momina Bibi, and injured the two children in the remote tribal region of North Waziristan last October.

According to journalist Anjali Kamat, who was present and tweeting live during the hearing, the only lawmakers to attend the briefing organized by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), were Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.).

Before the handful of reporters and scant lawmakers, however, Rafiq and his children gave dramatic testimony which reportedly caused the translator to break down into tears.

In her testimony, Nabila shared that she was picking okra with her grandmother when the U.S. missile struck and both children described how they used to play outside but are now too afraid.

“I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer… Continue reading

US Government Protection of Al-Qaeda Terrorists and the US-Saudi Black Hole

By Peter Dale Scott

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 29, No. 1, July 29, 2013

For almost two centuries American government, though always imperfect, was also a model for the world of limited government, having evolved a system of restraints on executive power through its constitutional arrangement of checks and balances.

Since 9/11 however, constitutional practices have been overshadowed by a series of emergency measures to fight terrorism. The latter have mushroomed in size, reach and budget, while traditional government has shrunk. As a result we have today what the journalist Dana Priest has called two governments: the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open: the other a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre – and its entirety…visible only to God.1

More and more, it is becoming common to say that America, like Turkey before it, now has what Marc Ambinder and John Tirman have called a deep state behind the public one.2 And this parallel government is guided in surveillance matters by its own Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, which according to the New York Times, “has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court.”3 Thanks largely to Edward Snowden, it is now clear that the FISA Court has permitted this deep state to expand surveillance beyond the tiny number of known and suspected Islamic terrorists, to any incipient protest movement that might challenge the policies of the American war machine.…

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Forgetting Torture: Lee Hamilton, John Brennan, and Abu Zubaydah

The pervasive news surrounding the confirmation hearing of John Brennan, Obama’s nominee for CIA director, is paralleled by another, related story that has been largely ignored by the U.S. media. That is the story of the man called Abu Zubaydah, whose alleged torture testimony, obtained by the CIA while Brennan was the head of the agency’s Terrorist Threat Center, built the foundation for the official account of 9/11. This week I spoke to Lee Hamilton, former vice-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, about the serious problems that the government’s new stance on Zubaydah creates for the 9/11 Commission Report.

As stated in my last article on the subject, Zubaydah is at the center of an unraveling of the official account of the 9/11 attacks.[1] His extensive torture at the hands of the CIA during Brennan’s tenure, which included at least 83 water-boarding sessions, hanging the man naked from the ceiling, slamming him against a concrete wall, and other atrocious experimental techniques, was said to produce valuable evidence about al Qaeda. However, the government now claims that Zubaydah was never a member or associate of al Qaeda and therefore he could not have known any of the information that the 9/11 Commission attributed to him.

From the start of our conversation, Hamilton told me that he was having trouble remembering Zubaydah. That was odd considering that an article he and Thomas Kean wrote for the New York Times in 2008, describing how the CIA obstructed the 9/11 investigation, referred several times… Continue reading

New NSA docs contradict 9/11 claims

“I don’t think the Bush administration would want to see these released,” an expert tells Salon

June 19, 2012
By Jordan Michael Smith
Salon.com

Over 120 CIA documents concerning 9/11, Osama bin Laden and counterterrorism were published today for the first time, having been newly declassified and released to the National Security Archive. The documents were released after the NSA pored through the footnotes of the 9/11 Commission and sent Freedom of Information Act requests.

The material contains much new information about the hunt before and after 9/11 for bin Laden, the development of the drone campaign in AfPak, and al-Qaida’s relationship with America’s ally, Pakistan. Perhaps most damning are the documents showing that the CIA had bin Laden in its cross hairs a full year before 9/11 — but didn’t get the funding from the Bush administration White House to take him out or even continue monitoring him. The CIA materials directly contradict the many claims of Bush officials that it was aggressively pursuing al-Qaida prior to 9/11, and that nobody could have predicted the attacks. “I don’t think the Bush administration would want to see these released, because they paint a picture of the CIA knowing something would happen before 9/11, but they didn’t get the institutional support they needed,” says Barbara Elias-Sanborn, the NSA fellow who edited the materials.

Let’s start there. In 2000 and 2001, the CIA began using Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Afghanistan. “The idea of using UAVs originated in April 2000 as a result of a request from the NSC’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism to the CIA and the Department of Defense to come up with new ideas to go after the terrorists in Afghanistan,” a 2004 document summarizes.…

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Terrorism Arithmetic

by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com

The most recent issue of the National Counter Terrorism Center’s annual Report on Terrorism [.pdf] came out last week, covering the year 2011. I would like to say that it is well worth a read, but actually it is quite tedious. For those who are interested, it is essentially a statistical and analytical breakdown of the terrorism phenomenon derived from the U.S. government–maintained Worldwide Incidents Tracking System, or WITS, which is based on publicly available open-source material reporting alleged terrorist activity around the globe. Most often the analysis is bare bones and avoids political coloration, not, for example, going deeply into the motives of the various terrorist groups but instead providing information in a pie chart and chronological fashion. This year’s report is 33 pages long.

The United States is engaged in what most Americans still refer to as a global war on terror or, in shorthand form, a war on terror. The Obama administration avoids the expression because it is a legacy of the Bush years and because it uses the expression “war,” so it refers to “overseas contingency operations,” which has a nicer sound and does not appear to be so preemptive or premeditated. It also fudges the reality of what is taking place by pretending that the process is reactive, which it is not. The unrelenting expansion of U.S. military intervention is in response to many diverse overseas developments, most of which are not genuine threats. This was recently demonstrated by the White… Continue reading

The Central Intelligence Agency’s 9/11 File

Top Secret CIA Documents on Osama bin Laden Declassified

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 381

Posted June 19, 2012

Edited by Barbara Elias-Sanborn with Thanks to Archive Senior Fellow Jeffrey T. Richelson

The National Security Archive

Washington, D.C., June 19, 2012 — The National Security Archive today is posting over 100 recently released CIA documents relating to September 11, Osama bin Laden, and U.S. counterterrorism operations. The newly-declassified records, which the Archive obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, are referred to in footnotes to the 9/11 Commission Report http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/index.htmand present an unprecedented public resource for information about September 11.

The collection includes rarely released CIA emails, raw intelligence cables, analytical summaries, high-level briefing materials, and comprehensive counterterrorism reports that are usually withheld from the public because of their sensitivity. Today’s posting covers a variety of topics of major public interest, including background to al-Qaeda’s planning for the attacks; the origins of the Predator program now in heavy use over Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran; al-Qaeda’s relationship with Pakistan; CIA attempts to warn about the impending threat; and the impact of budget constraints on the U.S. government’s hunt for bin Laden.

Today’s posting is the result of a series of FOIA requests by National Security Archive staff based on a painstaking review of references in the 9/11 Commission Report.

Document Highlights

… Although the collection is part of a laudable effort by the CIA to provide documents on events related to September 11, many of these materials are heavily… Continue reading

Silencing The Critics

By Paul Craig Roberts
February 20, 2012
Information Clearing House

In 2010 the FBI invaded the homes of peace activists in several states and seized personal possessions in what the FBI–the lead orchestrator of fake “terrorist plots”–called an investigation of “activities concerning the material support of terrorism.”

Subpoenas were issued to compel antiwar protestors to testify before grand juries as prosecutors set about building their case that opposing Washington’s wars of aggression constitutes giving aid and comfort to terrorists. The purpose of the raids and grand jury subpoenas was to chill the anti-war movement into inaction.

Last week in one fell swoop the last two remaining critics of Washington/Tel Aviv imperialism were removed from the mainstream media. Judge Napolitano’s popular program, Freedom Watch, was cancelled by Fox TV, and Pat Buchanan was fired by MSNBC. Both pundits had wide followings and were appreciated for speaking frankly.

Many suspect that the Israel Lobby used its clout with TV advertisers to silence critics of the Israeli government’s efforts to lead Washington to war with Iran. Regardless, the point before us is that the voice of the mainstream media is now uniform. Americans hear one voice, one message, and the message is propaganda. Dissent is tolerated only on such issues as to whether employer-paid health benefits should pay for contraceptive devices. Constitutional rights have been replaced with rights to free condoms.

The western media demonizes those at whom Washington points a finger. The lies pour forth to justify Washington’s naked aggression: the Taliban… Continue reading

U.S. fights to keep $6.6 million in al-Qaeda assets from 9/11 victims

By Chris Mondics
Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia Inquirer

In a ferocious legal battle pitting government lawyers against victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the Justice Department is fighting to block thousands of individuals and businesses from taking $6.6 million in frozen al-Qaeda assets seized from an alleged terrorism financier.

Frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2007, the money is sought by the attorneys for 6,000 individual victims and insurers who suffered billions in losses from the attacks on the World Trade Center.

The money, in a Chicago brokerage account controlled by senior al-Qaeda operative Abu al-Tayyeb until his arrest in Saudi Arabia in 2006, drew little public notice until lawyers for 9/11 victims moved in June to collect on a 2007 default judgment.

A short time later, the Justice Department initiated legal proceedings to claim the money for itself – and keep it out of the hands of the 9/11 victims and insurers.
 

Editor’s Note:
“The facts are that the U.S. government, under the professed guise of good intentions toward victims of al-Qaeda, is pulling out every trick in the book to prevent individual victims of Sept. 11, 2001 . . . from pursuing and attaching [al-Qaeda funds],” the victims’ lawyers said in a filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

 
That triggered a fierce response from the victims’ lawyers, among them the Center City law firm Cozen O’Connor, who accuse the Justice Department of duplicity in seeking to prevent them from getting access to… Continue reading

New Project Censored Book Makes Media Revolution

January 20, 2011
by Dr. Paul Rea
911Truth.org

censored2012bookcoverHuff, Mickey and Project Censored, Eds. Censored 2012: The Top Censored
Stories and Media Analysis of 2012
. New York: Seven Stories Press, September
2011. $19.95.

Even more than its predecessors, Censored 2012 makes for highly engaging and
informative reading. This collection is a well mixed bag containing much that
we need to know but too often don’t.

This deficit occurs because many Americans are, in Neil Postman’s memorable
phrase, “amusing ourselves to death” and in part because many exhibit
an aversion to discussing issues. But above all the deficit results from increased
media malpractice and censorship. When a study shows that regular viewers of
Fox News are less informed–and likely more misinformed–than those
who don’t follow the news, something is seriously amiss.

According to editor Mickey Huff, the corporate media are serving up a diet
of “junk-food news to avoid telling the public what is really going on
at home and abroad” (p. 12). If this strikes many readers as obvious,
fewer seem fully aware of just how pervasive this censorship has become–how
very little coverage many significant issues receive.

As a result, even Americans who consider themselves informed don’t understand
how their government attempts to minimize or even eliminate public awareness.
On the climactic final day of the Durban Conference on Climate Change, NPR’s
“Science Friday” featured a long segment on bedbugs (12/9/11). Censored
2012 reveals that even less coverage–none at all, in fact–is afforded
to ongoing federal preparations to… Continue reading

10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free

By Jonathan Turley

Washington Post

Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.

Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act , signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?

While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack… Continue reading

Justifying War with Iran

By Russ Baker
December 26, 2011
WhoWhatWhy.com

A growing body of evidence points to a concerted campaign to prepare Americans and the world for war against Iran. This is not idle speculation. It fits a pattern that repeatedly preceded previous hostilities.

Here are the recent examples on Iran:

-The claim that Iran is a WMD threat. Pretty much everyone is familiar with the long-term, continuing efforts to paint Iran as some kind of nuclear threat. This ignores the possibility that Iran is telling the truth in contending it is embarked on solely non-military nuclear research (debatable), and serious doubts among many experts that Iran is preparing nuclear weapons. Perhaps most important, it discounts the fact that many countries (including Iran’s arch-enemy Israel) have nuclear weapons, and disregards the undoubted truth that if a country like Iran ever did launch nuclear weapons, it would be wiped out in a nanosecond, creating a very strong disincentive for offensive use. At the same time, by encouraging other countries and internal foes to believe that it has nuclear weapons, Iran creates an inexpensive protective shield for its regime. A dangerous game, to be sure, but without further evidence of Iranian nukes, hardly a reason to launch a war that would surely cause even more death and destruction than the misguided Iraq invasion.

-The claim that Iran tried to hire Mexican drug cartel hit squads to kill a Saudi ambassador on US soil (fizzled). Remember this one? So ludicrous that even ultra-cautious corporate news organizations… Continue reading

The Trapping of Screw Loose Change

by Jeffrey Strahl

911truth.org

In mid-October 2011, I posted a review of David Ray Griffin’s new book, 9/11 Ten Years Later — When State Crimes Against Democracy Succeed at Amazon, here.

View Editor’s Note »

Dear Readers,

Please submit your comments on this article at the link to Amazon, provided below by Mr. Strahl. 911Truth.org published this article; the author is not available to be reached through email to this site. We look forward to reading your comments there.

This review drew comments from James B, one of the two top people at Screw Loose Change, a leading “debunking” website used as a reference by many an internet opponent of 9/11 truth. The result was a major debunking of Screw Loose Change. This piece is intended to help those who in the future will go up against the likes of Screw Loose Change, since the trap’s nature is both the content of the SLC argument as well as its form. The focus of our exchange was the evidence regarding events at the World Trade Center (WTC) on 9/11, where three steel frame high-rises were destroyed. This is the part of my review which is relevant to the debate:

Being someone with an engineering degree, it’s no surprise that I find the strongest part to be Chapters 2 through 4, which deal with the three steel hi-rises which came down on 9/11. Chapter 2 has been posted previously on the web as an article, a challenge to left-leaning despisers of 9/11 truth to explain nine apparent miracles required to explain how the official story could be made congruent with the physical evidence.

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Quds Force II – The Storyline Repeats Itself

By Michael Collins 911Truth.org

Image of the Trojan Horse (Washington, DC) A faction of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard called the Quds Force (QF) is center stage in the War on Terror for the second time in five years. In 2007, President George W. Bush hauled out the group of middle and upper level Iranian government officials as a rationale for military action against Iran. The decisive shutdown of the Bush effort marks a critical turning point in recent history and will be discussed later in the article.

QF II began last Tuesday when FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder unified the terror storyline between the rabid neoconservatives of the Bush era and the low key loyalists to the national security state in the Obama administration.

Holder and Mueller accused, “elements of the Iranian government of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington,” the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. In essence, this military faction allegedly hired an outsider to murder the Saudi ambassador to the United States. With the full knowledge of the Iranian government, the outsider tried to hire a Mexican drug lord for the high level hit. Attorney General Holder announced that the United States is “holding the Iranian government accountable.” Holder went on to state the official position of the government, namely that the Iranian government entity behind the plot was the Quds Force.

The current version of Quds Force-as-archvillain was met with challenges from the start. Early on in the Post article, an unnamed White House official offered… Continue reading

The Day America Died

by Paul Craig Roberts
LewRockwell.com

September 30, 2011 was the day America was assassinated.

Some of us have watched this day approach and have warned of its coming, only to be greeted with boos and hisses from “patriots” who have come to regard the US Constitution as a device that coddles criminals and terrorists and gets in the way of the President who needs to act to keep us safe.

In our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions , Lawrence Stratton and I showed that long before 9/11 US law had ceased to be a shield of the people and had been turned into a weapon in the hands of the government. The event known as 9/11 was used to raise the executive branch above the law. As long as the President sanctions an illegal act, executive branch employees are no longer accountable to the law that prohibits the illegal act. On the president’s authority, the executive branch can violate US laws against spying on Americans without warrants, indefinite detention, and torture and suffer no consequences.

Many expected President Obama to re-establish the accountability of government to law. Instead, he went further than Bush/Cheney and asserted the unconstitutional power not only to hold American citizens indefinitely in prison without bringing charges, but also to take their lives without convicting them in a court of law. Obama asserts that the US Constitution notwithstanding, he has the authority to assassinate US citizens, who he deems to be a “threat,” without due process… Continue reading

The FBI again thwarts its own Terror plot

By Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com

The FBI has received substantial criticism over the past decade — much of it valid — but nobody can deny its record of excellence in thwarting its own Terrorist plots. Time and again, the FBI concocts a Terrorist attack, infiltrates Muslim communities in order to find recruits, persuades them to perpetrate the attack, supplies them with the money, weapons and know-how they need to carry it out — only to heroically jump in at the last moment, arrest the would-be perpetrators whom the FBI converted, and save a grateful nation from the plot manufactured by the FBI.

Last year, the FBI subjected 19-year-old Somali-American Mohamed Osman Mohamud to months of encouragement, support and money and convinced him to detonate a bomb at a crowded Christmas event in Portland, Oregon, only to arrest him at the last moment and then issue a Press Release boasting of its success. In late 2009 , the FBI persuaded and enabled Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a 19-year old Jordanian citizen, to place a fake bomb at a Dallas skyscraper and separately convinced Farooque Ahmed, a 34-year-old naturalized American citizen born in Pakistan, to bomb the Washington Metro . And now, the FBI has yet again saved us all from its own Terrorist plot by arresting 26-year-old American citizen Rezwan Ferdaus after having spent months providing him with the plans and materials to attack the Pentagon, American troops in Iraq, and possibly the Capitol Building using “remote-controlled” model airplanes carrying explosives.

None… Continue reading

The meaning of 9/11 – Michael Meacher, MP

by Michael Meacher MP
published at Meacher’s Blog

9/11 remains one of the most misunderstood events in modern history. The first myth is that it came out of the blue on an unsuspecting America. In fact it is known that 11 countries provided advance warnings to the US about the 9/11 attacks, including Russia and Israel which sent 2 senior Mossad experts to Washington in August 2001 with a list of terrorist suspects that included 4 of the 9/11 hijackers, none of whom was arrested. Moussaoui, now thought to be the 20th hijacker, was arrested in August 2001 after an instructor reported he showed a suspicious interest in learning how to steer large airliners, and Newsweek later revealed (20 May 2002) that an agent had written that month that Moussaoui might be planning to crash into the Twin Towers. Richard Clarke, counter-terrorism chief in the White House, has since said that “50 CIA personnel knew that al-Hamzi and al-Mihdhar (2 of the hijackers) were in the US in July-August 2001, including the Director”, but never passed the information to the FBI. And the former US federal crimes prosecutor, John Loftus, has stated that “the information provided by European intelligence services prior to 9/11 was so extensive that it is no longer possible for either the CIA or FBI to assert a defence of incompetence”.

Second, 9/11 is portrayed as acts of unprovoked aggression perpetrated without cause other than wilful violence. In fact Osama bin Laden repeatedly demanded in the 1990s… Continue reading

Questioning 9/11: The Politician Turned Conspiracy Theorist

Andreas von Bulow believes the US carried out the 9/11 attacks.

September 6, 2011
By Christian Stoecker
Spiegel Online International (DerSpiegel)

Andreas von Bulow used to be a German cabinet minister and member of parliament for the Social Democrats. Now he is a best-selling author who writes books about 9/11 conspiracy theories. His former colleagues no longer want anything to do with him.

Andreas von Bulow says he’s never feared for his life. This is despite the fact that he harbors suspicions that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were not the work of 19 “suicide Muslims,” as he calls them, but rather an ingenious, cold-blooded operation in psychological warfare organized by the United States itself; and despite the fact that he has published this view in book form.

Bulow doesn’t commit himself definitively to the position, but he feels fairly certain that either the Bush administration or other, far more powerful groups operating behind the scenes allowed more than 3,000 people to die in order to construct an unassailable argument supporting geopolitically desirable military operations such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These are astonishing theories on the part of a former German government minister, one who spent 25 years representing the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany’s federal parliament, the Bundestag. He’s not saying his theories necessarily represent what really happened, Bulow explains, he’s simply posing questions. “This is just another way of thinking,” he says. But, the former minister adds, it’s a way of thinking that appears… Continue reading

10 years later, 9/11 still shrouded in mystery

By Will Bunch
Philadelphia Daily News

IF YOU THINK that on the 10th anniversary you know the whole story of 9/11 – and here I’m addressing conspiracy-minded “truthers” and the 13 percent who approved of the job Dick Cheney did as vice president – actually, you don’t.

Time has upheld the broad story line of how hijackers loyal to Osama bin Laden hijacked four planes and killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001 – claims about holograms being used to attack buildings instead of jetliners notwithstanding. At the same time, the dictum of famed investigative reporter I.F. Stone about all governments – i.e., they lie – is no less true about 9/11 than any other event.

Here are 10 questions about 9/11 that remain unanswered.

1. Did the CIA cover up its advance knowledge of at least two of the 9/11 hijackers?

Richard Clarke, the national counterterrorism czar on 9/11, thinks so. In an interview for an upcoming radio documentary, Clarke claimed that top-level CIA officials deliberately withheld from the White House and the FBI knowledge as early as 2000 that two al Qaeda members – Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar – were living in San Diego.

The former anti-terror chief said he believes that the CIA kept the info under wraps because it wanted to recruit the two Saudis to serve as double agents within bin Laden’s organization. Instead, the two terrorists ended up hijackers on American Flight 77. George Tenet, who was CIA director, claims that Clarke… Continue reading

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