Wednesday, March 7, 2012

138 AfPak War; military bases for Columbia

AfPak War; military bases for Columbia

(1) Nick Griffin complains over BBC "lynch mob"
(2) Nick Griffin, BNP's populist policies, and the hollowing out of Britain
(3) Reply on Nick Griffin interview, from "GL"
(4) Reply to GL on "nurture, not nature ... dependent on the state" - Peter M., October 25, 2009
(5) Obama Quietly Deploying 13,000 More Troops to Afghanistan
(6) AfPak: War on two fronts - Eric Walberg
(7) US to have seven giant military bases in Columbia - John Pilger

(1) Nick Griffin complains over BBC "lynch mob"
From: Josef Schwanzer <> Date: 24.10.2009 02:25 AM

Griffin complaint over BBC 'mob'

Published: 2009/10/23 22:19:04 GMT

BNP leader Nick Griffin is to complain to the BBC over his controversial appearance on Question Time, saying he had faced a "lynch mob".

Mr Griffin argues the normal format of Thursday's programme was changed and it should not have been held in London.

The fallout from the show - watched by eight million people - has intensified, with Mr Griffin's fellow panellists saying he had been "shown up".

But critics said the show had given the BNP huge publicity.

The BNP claims 3,000 people registered to join the party during and after the broadcast.

Meanwhile, an opinion poll carried out after Mr Griffin's appearance suggests 22% of voters would "seriously consider" voting BNP in a future local, general or European election.

Two-thirds of the 1,314 people polled by YouGov for the Daily Telegraph dismissed voting for the party under any circumstances, with the rest unsure.

However, more than half of those polled said they agreed or thought the party had a point in speaking up for the interests of indigenous, white British people.

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain, who led a campaign to exclude Mr Griffin from Question Time, said: "This is exactly what I feared and warned about.

"The BBC has handed the BNP the gift of the century on a plate and now we see the consequences. I'm very angry about this."

The BBC has defended Question Time, which was watched by four times its normal audience but also attracted a large number of complaints, saying it had a duty to be impartial and that audience members had selected the questions which set the programme's agenda.

'Not a Nazi'

More than 240 complainants felt the show was biased against the BNP, while more than 100 of the complaints were about Mr Griffin being allowed to appear on Question Time.

In addition, more than 50 people contacted the BBC to show their appreciation for the programme.

Mr Griffin, who was one of two BNP candidates to be elected to the European Parliament earlier this year, faced robust questioning about his views on race, immigration and the Holocaust from a largely hostile audience.

He criticised Islam, defended a past head of the Ku Klux Klan but insisted that he was "not a Nazi".

In a press conference on Friday, the BNP leader said he would be making an official complaint to the BBC about the programme, saying its normal format had been "twisted" so that it focused solely on his views.

"That was not a genuine Question Time, that was a lynch mob," he said.

He challenged the BBC to ask him on the show again and to allow a wider range of subjects to be discussed.

He also claimed the audience was not representative of the UK as a whole as levels of immigration in London meant it was "no longer a British city".

Mr Griffin's fellow guests on the show said his performance had exposed his real views and the true attitudes of the BNP.

Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said Mr Griffin had been "taken aback" by the hostility of the audience which showed most people in the UK wanted "nothing" to do with his views.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw, also on the panel, said Mr Griffin had been subjected to proper scrutiny and his performance had been "catastrophic".

Topical questions

The BNP leader was booed at the start of the hour-long recording and accused of trying to "poison politics".

He insisted his views had been widely misrepresented in the media and denied a string of statements attributed to him.

The show covered topics including whether it was fair for the BNP to "hijack" images of Winston Churchill, whether immigration policy had fuelled the BNP's popularity and whether Mr Griffin's appearance was an early Christmas present for the party.

The only question not to relate directly to the BNP concerned a contentious newspaper article written about the death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately.

The BBC said the questions had come, as usual, from the audience and were a response to issues in the news over recent days.

"The programme is topical," a BBC spokesman said. "People would accept that the BNP and Question Time have been prominent topics this week."

Members of the audience reflected a cross-section of political views and different backgrounds, the BBC stressed.

The BBC said the audience figures - which peaked at 8.2 million - showed the level of public interest in the scrutiny of elected officials.

"The BBC is firm in its belief it was appropriate for Mr Griffin to appear as a member of the panel," said deputy director general Mark Byford.

Six protesters were arrested and three police officers injured during demonstrations outside BBC Television Centre ahead of the broadcast.

(2) Nick Griffin, BNP's populist policies, and the hollowing out of Britain

From: Charles F Moreira <> Date: 25.10.2009 04:58 PM

Morseo, besides the immigration issue are the BNP's populist policies on the economy, social security, medical services, education, social security, the European Union, public order, non-interventionist policy in foreign affairs, opposition to globalisation, a managed capitalism, restoration of strategic industries to state ownership, withdrawl of troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, non subservience to the USA, restoration of British industry, environmental policies, elimination of petty politically correct laws such as the ban on smoking in pubs and so on which are similar to those under the old party and Labour governments during the post World War II period before Margaret Thatcher was voted in.

Whilst I remember their neo-Nazi, anti-coloured people beginnings after they split from the National Front in the 1970s, hence I cannot support them, still, their policies apart from their policies on the deportation of all non-white Britons and on Northern Ireland, their policies on the other issues above would appear rather attractive, so no surprise that with New Labour's pro-business, pro-EU policies, traditional old Labour supporters -- especially the workers -- are attracted to them and would be, especially now with the economic crisis, unemployment and so on.

When I visited Britain in 1997 and 1999, I was rather sad to see how it had changed for the worse from the Britain I knew as a student in the 1970s.

I was taken to visit the Millennium Dome and felt a sense of hollowness in it being a cheap commercial initiative, rather than an object of national pride, such as Britain's public libraries, National Theatre and museums.

Manchester's once great bus system operated by the city-owned Greater Manchester Transport had become a sub-standard mess of several privatised bus companies. Likewise, British Rail had become a sub-standard, privatised mess with cheap, cosmetic customer relations where passengers are now called "customers" whilst paying a lot more.

(3) Reply on Nick Griffin interview, from "GL"

You seem to have got this right.

Melanie Griffith also got it as near right as anybody. She is often clear-headed except perhaps when serious Israeli interests are involved.

I ended with the feeling that the other panellists could in practice be more 'racist' than Griffin. Griffin wants to come out of the EU, which would enable us to cut white immigration from Europe. The others wanted control of immigration but as they want to stay in the EU the only migration they could control would tend to be predominantly non-white. I suspect Griffin might like to end the 'whites only' clause in the party constitution as a lot of coloured Brits would also like to put up the 'Britain full' sign, and are equally afraid of Islam. Griffin's big problem is that his party members are pretty dim and not as realistic as he is.

Clear away the hypocrisy and there was not that much difference between Griffin and the others. I certainly have no time at all for Jack Straw, and Chris Huhne is only a little better. Baroness Warsi is normally very likeable but she was playing a dangerous game by trying to suck up to differing factions.

The house is certainly full. The two lane motorway in France which leads to Calais, like nearly all French motorways, is nice and quiet. But from Dover to here (Swindon), about 170 miles is three lanes of absolute bedlam all the way. About 15 million British citizens live abroad. They are getting old and they tend to return when they need help in their last years. Also those hundreds of thousands who live in France and Spain are finding that the fall in the pound against the euro has cut their incomes by 25 per cent so they have a big incentive to return, if they can sell their houses (most can't).

Modern socialism has come to mean far more than joint ownership. For instance its present complex philosophy rejects the idea that human qualities are inheritable. Everything is due to nurture, not nature. All, men and women, have to be forcibly dragged down to the only level at which they can be absolutely equal, and they must be made totally dependent on the state. The last aim is the real reason for the common ownership, not fairness.

(4) Reply to GL on "nurture, not nature ... dependent on the state" - Peter M., October 25, 2009

> Everything is due to nurture, not nature.
> All, men and women ... must be made totally
> dependent on the state

Yes, this is a Marxist (Trotskyist) position.

"there is nothing unchanging on this earth ... society is made out of plastic materials"
 - Trotsky, denying that there is such a thing as "human nature", in his book The Revolution Betrayed (p. 159)

I did my B.A. Hons thesis in Anthropology on this topic - specifically on Pregnancy, Birth and Infancy.

I asked whether cross-cultural studies on this reproductive period disclosed that there was such a thing as Human Nature.

And concluded Yes:

Birth is traditionally conducted in upright posture (kneeling, squatting, standing - with some sort of support or something to hold onto); in quiet, familiar surroundings. Breast-feeding lasts about 3 years.

The development of an infant's smile illustrates the correct Interactionist "middle" position (neither Nature nor Nurture but interaction between both).

A baby is instinctively programmed to smile (and this elicits loving responses in its carers). But the smile is a reaction to the baby's perception of a pair of eyes looking at it. If this is lacking, eg through maternal deprivation, the smile does not develop.

Through this study, I came to understand the importance of natural birth and bonding.

As a result, I have had three home births.

Australia had a different kind of Socialism in the 1950s & 60s: public ownership of half the economy, and public management of the whole economy for the national good, but without making individuals dependent.

There was minimal Welfare, but instead Full Employment.

Migrants would buy a block of land, build a garage on it, and live in the garage while building a house. That is now illegal, as the Big Brother state developed in tandem with Privatization and Deregulation.

The state now intervenes to stop men (and women) from building a house for themselves, and women from giving birth naturally. Instead it fosters dependence.

As an example, midvives & obstetricians in hospitals have liability insurance provided by the government, but homebirth midwives don't.

Of course, decades ago, we didn't have the right to sue (litigation) that we have now. In those days, people had to be responsible for their own actions, and accept that some things would go wrongly - that's just life. If you stub your toe, you don't sue the land-owner. Lawyers portray themselves as modern Robin Hoods defending our rights, but they are the main perpetrators and beneficiaries of the new system.

Onerous Building Regulations, ostentibly in the name of raising "Standards", now police those who would build their own house. In the past, "owner-builder" meant someone who built the whole thing from start to finish - as I have done. Now it means someone who sub-contracts out the main tasks to professionals.

Owner-built homes were usually in rural areas, and built from love not money; that's the way I built myself. I learned to build from Hippies. Hippy houses were incredibly varied - made from timber, stone, mudbricks, rammed earth, straw-bale, ferro-cement etc. You could instantly tell that a house was owner-built rather than built by the "Industry". Owner-built houses had Character and Individuality, whereas the "Industry" builds identical boxes made of Ticky-Tacky.

Malvina Reynolds

1. Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

2. And the people in the houses
All go to the university,
And they all get put in boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
And there's doctors and there's lawyers
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

3. And they all play on the golf-course,
And drink their Martini dry,
And they all have pretty children,
And the children go to school.
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
And they all get put in boxes
And they all come out the same.

4. And the boys go into business,
And marry, and raise a family,
And they all get put in boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

In 2006-2007 I built this cabin by hand, with hand-saws but an electric drill, out of recycled hardwood (eucalypt). It contains my library, a bedroom for visitors, and a loft:

My computer is in the library; that's where I am at present. I could not unpack my books until I had finished this building.

My computer & desk (in the library):

Bedroom in the cabin - 1st bed:

View from the loft, to the east:

The "dirty kitchen" (outdoor kitchen) - fireplace and chimney next to the cabin. I did the brickwork, and I rendered the rough bits with mortar. This was my first suspended slab:

The chook pen looks like a small version of the cabin:

At home in the front garden:

At present we're in drought, brown & dry. The above photos were taken in rainier, greener times.

(5) Obama Quietly Deploying 13,000 More Troops to Afghanistan

From: IHR News <> Date: 16.10.2009 07:35 PM

The Washington Post

President Obama announced in March that he would be sending 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. But in an unannounced move, the White House has also authorized -- and the Pentagon is deploying -- at least 13,000 troops beyond that number, according to defense officials. The additional troops are primarily support forces, including engineers, medical personnel, intelligence experts and military police. Their deployment has received little mention by officials at the Pentagon and the White House .. ..

(6) AfPak: War on two fronts - Eric Walberg

From: efgh1951 <> Date: 14.10.2009 07:58 AM

AfPak: War on two fronts

The only thing Obama's got right so far about his warzone-of-choice is the name, worries Eric Walberg

As more NATO trucks were being torched in Peshawar last week, a Karachi student managed to fling his shoe at warmongering US journalist Clifford May during his address to the Department of International Relations on "Pakistan's Role in Countering the Challenge of Terrorism". In Washington, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced bitterly the US probably knows Osama Bin Laden's where-abouts. He neglected to draw the appropriate conclusion about what the US is really up to in AfPak. Also in Washington, within hours of the decision of the Nobel Peace committee, US President Barack Obama met with his War Council.

It's getting to the point that it's hard to tell who is the biggest opponent of Obama's plans to bring peace to AfPak: the Taliban, the Pakistani government, or the Nobel committee. Oh yes, or virtually the entire world beyond the Washington beltway.

As the world marked the eighth anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan on 7 October, the Taliban were stronger than ever – their forces have increased nearly fourfold since 2006. "We fought against the British invaders for 80 years," Mullah Mohammad Omar reminded the world on the Taliban's website "If you want to colonise the country of proud and pious Afghans under the baseless pretext of a war on terror, then you should know that our patience will only increase and that we are ready for a long war." A statement from the leadership insists, "We had and have no plan of harming countries of the world, including those in Europe. Our goal is the independence of the country and the building of an Islamic state." They call for the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops as the only solution.

So far, there is no hint that Obama is even considering this no-brainer. On the contrary, the war is now being fought on two fronts, with the US and Britain starting an extensive training programme for Pakistan 's Frontier Corps (FC) in Baluchistan, the new battleground.

It is part of the Obama administration's massive military aid package to AfPak – Pakistan will get $2.8 billion over the next five years in addition to $7.5 billion in civilian aid, but only if it satisfies US benchmarks by making progress in "anti-terrorism and border control". The Pakistani government and army are furious, not to mention the 60 per cent of Pakistanis who see the US as the greatest threat to Pakistan – with good cause. In the past few months, US forces have stepped up their aerial bombardments of villages in the northern tribal areas. According to the Pakistani press, of the 60 cross-border US drone strikes between January 2006 and April 2009, only 10 were able to hit their targets, killing 14 Al-Qaeda leaders and 687 civilians. Even official US policy (to kill no more than 29 civilians for every "high-value" person) is being violated. At least 23 Al-Qaeda leaders should have been killed, nine more than the actual 14. This assassination campaign is a more ruthless version of Operation Phoenix in Vietnam, and can only spur the Taliban and Al-Qaeda's recruitment efforts.

True, Taliban control of the Pakistan frontier province SWAT was brought to a brutal end during the past six months by the Pakistani army, though civilian corpses continue to be dumped, with accusations of revenge and official terror labelled at the army. And the almost complete lack of reconstruction aid by the Pakistan government – with winter approaching – means the Taliban will probably regain SWAT. Local opposition to the war against both Afghanistan and Pakistan's frontier region, especially Baluchistan, continues to grow, with the long-simmering Baluchi campaign for independence gaining new life daily.

Obama's war plans have reached a critical stage. In an arrogant gamble, much like General MacArthur's challenge to president Harry Truman in 1951 over the Korean war, General Stanley McChrystal recently demanded publically that Obama provide 60,000 more troops for Afghanistan, boldly stating the war would be lost without them. Faced with a similarly outspoken MacArthur, Truman just as publically fired him.

McChrystal is said to have offered the Commander in Chief several alternatives "including a maximum injection of 60,000 extra troops", 40,000 and a small increase. Common in military planning is to discuss three different scenarios in order to illustrate why the middle option is preferable, though this is usually done privately. But the Obama administration faces growing hurdles within his Democratic Party if he decides to go with even the middle option.

Obama's review of AfPak is now centring on preventing Al-Qaeda's return to Afghanistan – a narrower objective that could require fewer, if any, new American troops. Obama-Biden no longer see the primary mission in Afghanistan as completely defeating the Taliban or preventing its involvement in the country's future, a policy strongly opposed by Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Gates-Clinton have a point: once the Taliban are acknowledged as legitimate players who are of no strategic danger to the US, then the horror of the past eight years becomes excruciatingly clear. The defeat of the whole criminal project becomes inevitable and will be just as devastating for the US as the Soviet defeat was for the USSR.

But the Gates-McChrystal super-surge is just about impossible in any case. The Institute for the Study of War reported recently that the US military has only limited troops ready for deployment, meaning that forces might not reach the warzone until the summer of 2010. There are only three Army and Marine brigades – 11,000-15,000 troops – capable of deploying to Afghanistan this year. Troops are plagued by a severe lack of helicopters and all-terrain vehicles.

Whatever Obama decides – 60,000, 40,000 or 2 – the troops will have little time after they arrive to turn things around. Even super-loyal Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper just reaffirmed that Canadian troops will under no circumstances stay in Afghanistan after 2011. Any plans for the indefinite occupation of Afghanistan as touted by some NATO and US officials are fantasy; Canada's retreat will be part of a flood. Canadian government support for the war, like that of its bigger brothers the US and Britain, has all along been motivated by Afghanistan's untapped resource potential. The TAPI gas pipeline – so named for its 1680 kilometre path from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and eventually India – is slated to be constructed starting next year on the very soil that Canadian and US troops now occupy in southern Afghanistan.

Harper's best-case scenario is for the pipeline to go ahead with Canadian participation and for a miracle to occur – the Taliban's sudden and unexpected defeat, allowing Canadian troops to come home, the pipeline and other resource deals signed, and assuring him of a Conservative majority in the next election." Canada has the potential to beat rivals because it has such an uncheckered history in that part of the world," argues Rob Sobhani, president of Caspian Energy Consulting. "People like Canadians, Canadians are apolitical." Even if the miracle doesn't happen and the pipeline deal collapses, Harper realises his political goose is cooked unless the troops come home, so he is forced to wash his bloody hands of this betrayal of Canada's traditional international role of peacekeeper.

Obama needn't rely on the Taliban as advisers on how to end the war. Deputy-general of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies Li Qinggong reflected official Chinese thinking on 28 September in Xinhua: The United States should first put an end to "the anti-terror war" and "end its military action. The war has neither brought the Islamic nation peace and security as the Bush administration originally promised, nor brought any tangible benefits to the US itself. On the contrary, the legitimacy of the US military action has been under increasing doubt." Obama should take advantage of international opinion to withdraw troops immediately. This is no doubt also the hope of the Nobel committee that put its own credibility on the line by awarding him the Peace Prize. The UN Security Council permanent members should "draft a roadmap and timetable", including deployment of an international peacekeeping mission.

The delicious irony of the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (and Iraq) is that it is China, the US 's real international rival, that has benefited most. Chinese investments (and workers) have been pouring in to both US warzones. The main effect of George W Bush's two wars and Obama's AfPak has been to promote Chinese business interests, leaving the US bankrupt and its army in tatters.***

Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly You can reach him at

(7) US to have seven giant military bases in Columbia - John Pilger

From: Date: 17.10.2009 01:18 AM

War Is Peace. Ignorance Is Strength

By John Pilger

October 16, 2009 "Information Clearing House"

Barack Obama, winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, is planning another war to add to his impressive record. In Afghanistan, his agents routinely extinguish wedding parties, farmers and construction workers with weapons such as the innovative Hellfire missile, which sucks the air out of your lungs. According to the UN, 338,000 Afghan infants are dying under the Obama-led alliance, which permits only $29 per head annually to be spent on medical care.

Within weeks of his inauguration, Obama started a new war in Pakistan, causing more than a million people to flee their homes. In threatening Iran – which his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said she was prepared to "obliterate' – Obama lied that the Iranians were covering up a "secret nuclear facility', knowing that it had already been reported to the International Atomic Energy Authority. In colluding with the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East, he bribed the Palestinian Authority to suppress a UN judgment that Israel had committed crimes against humanity in its assault on Gaza – crimes made possible with US weapons whose shipment Obama secretly approved before his inauguration.

At home, the man of peace has approved a military budget exceeding that of any year since the end of the Second World War while presiding over a new kind of domestic repression. During the recent G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, hosted by Obama, militarised police attacked peaceful protesters with something called the Long-Range Acoustic Device, not seen before on US streets. Mounted in the turret of a small tank, it blasted a piercing noise as tear gas and pepper gas were fired indiscriminately. It is part of a new arsenal of "crowd-control munitions' supplied by military contractors such as Raytheon. In Obama's Pentagon-controlled "national security state', the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, which he promised to close, remains open, and "rendition', secret assassinations and torture continue.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winner's latest war is largely secret. On 15 July, Washington finalised a deal with Colombia that gives the US seven giant military bases. "The idea,' reported the Associated Press, "is to make Colombia a regional hub for Pentagon operations . . . nearly half the continent can be covered by a C-17 [military transport] without refuelling', which "helps achieve the regional engagement strategy'.

Translated, this means Obama is planning a "rollback' of the independence and democracy that the people of Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Paraguay have achieved against the odds, along with a historic regional co-operation that rejects the notion of a US "sphere of influence'. The Colombian regime, which backs death squads and has the continent's worst human rights record, has received US military support second in scale only to Israel. Britain provides military training. Guided by US military satellites, Colombian paramilitaries now infiltrate Venezuela with the goal of overthrowing the democratic government of Hugo Chávez, which George W Bush failed to do in 2002.

Obama's war on peace and democracy in Latin America follows a style he has demonstrated since the coup against the democratic president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, in June. Zelaya had increased the minimum wage, granted subsidies to small farmers, cut back interest rates and reduced poverty. He planned to break a US pharmaceutical monopoly and manufacture cheap generic drugs. Although Obama has called for Zelaya's reinstatement, he refuses to condemn the coup-makers and to recall the US ambassador or the US troops who train the Honduran forces determined to crush a popular resistance. Zelaya has been repeatedly refused a meeting with Obama, who has approved an IMF loan of $164m to the illegal regime. The message is clear and familiar: thugs can act with impunity on behalf of the US.

Obama, the smooth operator from Chicago via Harvard, was enlisted to restore what he calls "leadership' throughout the world. The Nobel Prize committee's decision is the kind of cloying reverse racism that has beatified the man for no reason other than he is a member of a minority and attractive to liberal sensibilities, if not to the Afghan children he kills. This is the Call of Obama. It is not unlike a dog whistle: inaudible to most, irresistible to the besotted and boneheaded. "When Obama walks into a room,' gushed George Clooney, "you want to follow him somewhere, anywhere.'

The great voice of black liberation Frantz Fanon understood this. In The Wretched of the Earth, he described the "intermediary [whose] mission has nothing to do with transforming the nation: it consists, prosaically, of being the transmission line between the nation and a capitalism, rampant though camouflaged'. Because political debate has become so debased in our media monoculture – Blair or Brown; Brown or Cameron – race, gender and class can be used as seductive tools of propaganda and diversion. In Obama's case, what matters, as Fanon pointed out in an earlier era, is not the intermediary's "historic' elevation, but the class he serves. After all, Bush's inner circle was probably the most multiracial in presidential history. There was Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, all dutifully serving an extreme and dangerous power.

Britain has seen its own Obama-like mysticism. The day after Blair was elected in 1997, the Observer predicted that he would create "new worldwide rules on human rights' while the Guardian rejoiced at the "breathless pace [as] the floodgates of change burst open'. When Obama was elected last November, Denis MacShane MP, a devotee of Blair's bloodbaths, unwittingly warned us: "I shut my eyes when I listen to this guy and it could be Tony. He is doing the same thing that we did in 1997.'

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