Wednesday, 04 February 2009


Ken Berwitz

Last week I blogged about an "innocent" Guantanamo detainee who, after being released, emerged as the #2 al-qaeda operative in Yemen (which is as lawless a radical Islamic state as there is on the planet).

Well, here are 14 more, courtesy of via

More Innocent Torture Victims Suddenly Become Jihad Warriors

World | Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 9:29:08 am PST

More freed Guantanamo detainees return to terrorism.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates Eleven Saudis who were released from Guantnamo Bay, Cuba, and then passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists are now believed to have fled the country and joined terrorist groups abroad, Saudi officials said Tuesday.

The 11 former detainees include two who were already identified last month as members of a Yemeni terrorist group. Their names were on a list of 85 wanted terrorism suspects made public Tuesday by the Saudi Interior Ministry.

The announcement further underscored the difficulties faced by the Obama administration as it prepares to close the Guantnamo detention center. All told, 14 Saudis now appear to have rejoined terrorist groups after their return from Guantnamo, including the 11 living abroad and 3 who were rearrested in Saudi Arabia after their return.

You may have noticed that, untypically, I did not credit the original source of this story, only the web site where I saw it.  The reason is that I wanted to spring it on you after the fact.

This story comes to us from the New York Times.  The same New York Times that has demanded that Guantanamo be closed for years.  You can read the entire article by clicking here

To the folks at The Times, and to any other people who railed about how despicable it was that President Bush put these people in Guantanamo: 

Tell the truth.  Now that President Bush is gone and you don't have to pretend that everything he did was idiotic ---- aren't you glad that he was detaining these people?

Did you really think they were pristine innocents, picked up on the way to the store to buy milk and eggs for their mothers? 

C'mon, you can admit it now, your God has taken the White House.  Bush won't benefit by your admission.

Trust me, a lot of the people I aimed that at still think Guantanamo was some kind of horrible concentration camp housing sweet, innocent young, family men.

Probably even those storied freethinkers at The Times.


Ken Berwitz

With, oh, two weeks of experience as President under his belt, is Barack Obama seriously going to nose into the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir?  The one that has caused two wars between these countries already, and is currently simmering but not erupting?

Apparently India sees it that way.  So its national security advisor is lecturing our President on the realities of international politics, in the hope that he catches on. 

Here is the story, from the London Financial Times.  The bold print is mine:

India warns Obama over Kashmir

By James Lamont and Amy Kazmin in New Delhi

Published: February 3 2009 13:56 | Last updated: February 3 2009 13:56

India has warned US President Barack Obama that he risks barking up the wrong tree if he seeks to broker a settlement between Pakistan and India over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

MK Narayanan, Indias national security advisor, said that the new US administration was in danger of dredging up out of date Clinton administration-era strategies in a bid to bring about improved ties between the two nuclear armed neighbours.

Its possible that at this time there are elements, perhaps in the administration who are harking back to the pre-2000 era.

The warning comes as Richard Holbrooke, Mr Obamas special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, prepares to come to the region for the first time in his new capacity. Mr Narayanan is close to Manmohan Singh, Indias prime minister, and Sonia Gandhi, the president of the ruling Congress Party.

Kashmir, over which India and Pakistan have fought two wars and where both countries mass troops, is a highly sensitive issue for New Delhi.

Last month, David Miliband, the UKs foreign secretary, angered the Indian government by saying that the unresolved dispute over Kashmir was a cause of terrorism in the region. Its vilification of Mr Miliband was interpreted as a tacit signal to Washington to keep out.

Kashmir, which has a Muslim majority, was claimed by both India and Pakistan following partition in 1947 at the end of British rule. Since 1989 New Delhi has been battling a separatist insurgency in a struggle estimated to have cost up to 70,000 lives.

Earlier this year large anti-India protests drew up to 500,000 people onto the streets and led to the imposition of a long curfew. But New Delhi was encouraged by a largely peaceful state election late last year that recorded a better than expected voter turnout.

References made by president Obama, which seem to suggest that there is some kind of link with settlement on Pakistans western border and the Kashmir issue certainly have caused concern, said Mr Narayanan. But he said the new US administration and India had yet to have direct contact over the issue.

C. Raja Mohan, professor of international relations at Singapores Nanyang University, said New Delhis treatment of Mr Miliband had helped persuade Washington to abandon any overt linkage of the Kashmir dispute with combating extremism in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Washingtons decision to drop India from formal inclusion in Mr Holbrookes special envoy mandate reflected these sensitivities.

You kill a chicken to scare a monkey, Mr Mohan said at a recent seminar in New Delhi on US relations with South Asia. We killed the chicken and the monkey got the message.

Mr Mohan said India and Pakistan had agreed a basic outline of a peace deal on Kashmir during the tenure of Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf, but that the process had faltered as Mr Musharraf had weakenend and finally lost power.

You kill a chicken (the UK) to scare the monkey (the US).  Got that?  We're the monkey. 

Lucky Mohan isn't a Republican politician, or, with Obama in office, he'd be called a racist for the rest of his life.

Please pay special attention to that last paragraph.  Pervez Musharraf, the admittedly corrupt, hugely flawed Prime Minister of Pakistan, had moved towards an agreement to resolve the Kashmir situation. 

Since 9/11 Musharraf had also been about as much of an ally as the US could hope to get in the west-hating, taliban-loving country of Pakistan (anyone who thinks it was reasonable to expect someone better or more accommodating there is living in a dream world).

But we abandoned him and he wound up out of office --- based on which party's demands?  Do you remember?  Which party pushed and shoved and screamed to cut him loose, as if anyone else was likely to be better?  You know the answer, don't you?

And now that he's gone, are things any better in Pakistan than they were when he was its head of state?  

International politics is not a parlor game.  It isn't easy, it isn't logical, and when you screw up you don't just shrug and start another game.  There are consequences, and those consequences can affect the world.

I hope this occurs to Mr. Obama and his pals in congress before it's too late.


Ken Berwitz

Jeff Jacoby is a briliant columnist for the Boston Globe.  That in itelf is not news; it has been true for a good many years.  But today he has outdone himself.

Here, without further commentary, is today's column, which discusses Barack Obama's outreach to the Muslim world.  Read it, and try to find a word you can disagree with:

Obama's charm offensive and the global jihad

by Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
February 4, 2009

EARLY IN HIS PRESIDENCY, Jimmy Carter set about to alter US policy toward the Soviet Union. Six days after his inauguration he sent a letter to Soviet ruler Leonid Brezhnev, hailing the two countries' "common efforts towards formation of a more peaceful, just, and humane world" and saluting Brezhnev's supposed "aspiration for strengthening and preserving . . . peace." In a commencement address at Notre Dame , he declared that Americans had shed "that inordinate fear of communism which once led us to embrace any dictator who joined us in that fear." In the months that followed, Carter slashed the defense budget, scrapped the B-1 bomber, welcomed the takeover of Nicaragua by a Marxist junta, and launched diplomatic relations with the Castro dictatorship in Cuba.

'That inordinate fear of communism': Soviet troops seize the Kabul airport, 1979

It wasn't until the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 that Carter finally woke up to his naivet. Moscow's brutal aggression had "made a more dramatic change in my opinion of what the Soviets' ultimate goals are," he admitted, "than anything they've done in the previous time that I've been in office."

Carter's failure to understand the threat posed by the Soviet Empire had costly consequences for America and the world. Will this pattern now be repeated with Barack Obama and the global threat from radical Islam?

Ever since taking office two weeks ago, Obama has been at pains to proclaim a change in US-Muslim relations. In his inaugural address he invited "the Muslim world" to embark on "a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect." Six days later he gave Al-Arabiya, an Arabic-language satellite channel, his first televised interview as president. This week he continued his charm offensive with a friendly letter to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which represents 57 Muslim governments. He has promised to deliver a major address in an Islamic capital by spring.

The president cannot be faulted for using his bully pulpit to reach out to the world's Muslims, especially given his Muslim roots and family ties. But running through Obama's words is a disconcerting theme: that US-Muslim tensions are a mostly recent phenomenon brought on largely by American provincialism, heavy-handedness, and disrespect. Missing is any sense that the United States has long been the target of jihadist fanatics who enjoy widespread support in the Muslim world.

"My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy," Obama said , although "we sometimes make mistakes" and "have not been perfect," and even though "too often the United States starts by dictating" and fails to use "the language of respect."

Such apologetic pandering is inexcusable. For decades, as commentator Charles Krauthammer noted last week , "America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them." To liberate oppressed Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Americans risked -- and in many cases lost -- their lives. Not even the Islamist atrocities of 9/11 provoked American leaders to treat Islam with disdain. "We respect your faith," George W. Bush earnestly told the world's Muslims in a nationally televised speech on Sept. 20, 2001 . "Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah." Would that the Muslim world's leaders spoke with such courtesy about Christianity and Judaism

Even more troubling is Obama's seeming cluelessness about US-Muslim history.

"The same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago -- there's no reason why we can't restore that," the president said on Al-Arabiya.

Well, let's see. Twenty years ago, in 1989, American hostages were being tortured by their Hezbollah captors in Beirut and hundreds of grief-stricken families were in mourning for their loved ones, murdered by Libyan terrorists as they flew home for Christmas on Pan Am Flight 103 . Thirty years ago, in 1979, the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah of Iran , proclaimed America "the Great Satan" and inspired his acolytes to seize the US embassy and hold scores of Americans hostage for nearly 15 months. That same year Islamist mobs destroyed the US embassies in Pakistan and Libya, and staged anti-American riots in other countries.

Jihad at sea: A US frigate battles Muslim pirates off the Barbary coast, 1803

The golden age of American-Muslim relations that Obama harks back to did not exist . Radical Islam's hatred of the United States is not a recent phenomenon, it has nothing to do with "respect," and it isn't going to be extinguished by sweet words -- not even those of so sweet a speaker as Obama. Sooner or later, Barack Obama must confront an implacable reality: The global jihad, like the Cold War, will only end when our enemies lose their will to fight -- or when we do. Let us hope he's a quicker study than Jimmy Carter.



Ken Berwitz

Is the "stimulus package" DOA?  It sure is beginning to look that way. 

The reason is simple;  the more people hear about how bloated this monstrosity is with Democratic pork-projects and giveaways to left wing interests as diverse as ACORN and the movie industry (honest), the less they are willing to support it. 

John Hinderaker, of, wraps it up very nicely:

Support for Pork Bill Collapsing

February 4, 2009 Posted by John at 11:31 AM

Today's Rasmussen survey indicates that support for the Obama administration's pork-infested spending bill is going up in smoke: currently only 37% favor the measure while 43% oppose it. Here is the downward trend:

Even worse, perhaps, is the fact that half of poll respondents say the Dems' pork-fest "may end up doing more harm than good."

People are catching on to what the bill actually does, and support seems certain to decline further. The Republicans have a winning issue here, one that can take them a long way toward reclaiming their brand. The biggest danger is an untimely collapse by Republican moderates in the Senate who are not in touch with the mood of the voters.

UPDATE: According to Byron York, Sen. Jim DeMint says, "I think we've got nearly 100 percent of Republicans who are going to vote against this bill unless it is fundamentally changed to include real economic stimulus." And the Dems are sending out hysterical emails to the effect that calls to Washington opposing the pork bill are outnumbering supporters' calls by 100-1. I'm not surprised; let's make it 200-1: (202) 224-3121

In a way, I don't blame Obama, Reid, Pelosi & Co.  They just cleaned Republicans' clocks in the last election and apparently think this means the electorate will be tickled pink to go along with whatever they come up with. 

I can just hear the logic:  "We can do whatever we want.  The people love us.  Didn't November prove it?  Besides, it's not like media are going to attack this package; these people supported us throughout the campaign and think Barack Obama came to earth on a chariot of fire with a choir of angels"

Well, that isn't turning out to be the way of things, is it? 

The voters - who created the Democratic hegemony we will be living under for the next two years - may quickly be realizing just what they have done. 

And if those polling data on the stimulus package are any indication, we may be in for a very intense period of buyer's remorse.

free` That's why the pelosi's and reid's are saying we have to hurry and pass it, the more you see the worse it looks. (02/04/09)


Ken Berwitz

L. Brent Bozell's latest column gives us a bunch of specifics to explain why the Democrats' "stimulus package" is becoming increasingly undeliverable.

Here are some key excerpts - without any further commentary from me.  Mr. Bozell does fine on his own:

It's Not a "Stimulus" Bill

by L. Brent Bozell III
February 4, 2009

Must we always fight Washington policy wars using preferred Democrat terms? Todays example is the stimulus package, or as ABC touts on screen during its newscasts, the Obama Rescue Plan, as if the new president was donning Ronald Reagans lifeguard uniform and pulling the economy out of the surf. Despite the dominant media terms, liberals like those at the Huffington Post are complaining the Democrats arent effectively resisting as Republicans seek to tar it as a spending bill.

Only in the world of politics does one tar an issue by calling a spending bill a spending bill. But Republicans and conservative activists are doing more than that. Theyre denouncing the bills enormous size larger than the combined cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan up until now! Theyre also focusing on how its light on actual stimulus items and heavy on grants pleasing traditional Democrat special interest groups.

Economist and blogger Robert Brusca estimated that only about 24 percent of the spending in the Senate plan can be categorized accurately as stimulus, and the rest is either cushion for the hard times, or categorized as agenda spending, advancing Democratic policy dreams. Even the stimulus is delayed, he quipped: Does the administration go to Hallmark and buy us taxpayers a belated stimulus card?...This is no Muhammad Ali plan (float like a butterfly, sting like a bee). It's more like float like a lead balloon, bite like a flea.

Lets start with $3 billion for prevention and wellness programs, including $335 million for education and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. FRC reports that recent government expenditures in this area include a transgender beauty pageant in San Francisco that advertised available HIV testing. Then there was the event called "Got Love? -- Flirt/Date/Score" that taught how "to flirt with greater finesse." Does this strike anyone as a plan to jump-start the economy, instead of someones sex life?

On the tax-cut side, the Senate bill included a tax break worth up to $246 million over 11 years for outside investors in big-budget Hollywood movie projects. Tax cuts for the wealthy are okay as long as the wealthy are making movies. But bad publicity and pork-busting Sen. Tom Coburn pressed the Senate (including 13 Democrats) to scrap the tax break.

The green lobby is thrown a pile of bones in the stimulus bill, including $10 million for bike and walking trails, $200 million for plug-in electric car stations, $400 million for climate change research by NASA scientists, $600 million to buy new green cars for government workers, $800 million for more cleanup of Superfund pollution sites, and $1.5 billion for the construction of new green school buildings.

Then theres just plain self-dealing by the Democrats. The Washington Times reported on a $2.25 billion provision in the House bill for the National Parks almost equal to the National Park Services total yearly budget, and a eyebrow-raising increase of almost three times the $802 million the Senate Appropriations Committee put in its stimulus bill. The chief lobbyist for the National Parks Conservation Association is Craig Obey, the son of House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey.

Theres a reason why the Obama administration wanted to cram this massive spending bill through the Congress by Abe Lincolns birthday. Speed is of the essence: the longer it lingers, the more details emerge, proving this egg is rotten to the core. Republicans are now using those details to build skepticism about this freight train of partisan pork.

Standing in their way are TV news anchors, miffed that the GOP would turn the cold shoulder to Obamas outreach, as Charles Gibson put it on ABC. His man on Capitol Hill, Jonathan Karl, added: So much for the President's charm offensive. Today it was all partisan rancor and name-calling.

The news media are supposed to be offering us information from Washington. In the case of this stimulus bill, its the last thing they want to do.


Ken Berwitz

I just read an Associated Press article, published in the San Francisco Chronicle, that is just about as depraved as it gets. 

It details how a "woman" (I'm ashamed to use the same term I'd use for a decent female human being) went about recruiting female suicide bombers for Allah.

Here are the key excerpts (you can read the entire article by clicking here):

'Mother' of Iraqi women bomber network arrested

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

(02-03) 16:43 PST BAGHDAD, (AP) --

A woman accused of helping recruit dozens of female suicide bombers looked into the camera and described the process: trolling society for likely candidates and then patiently converting the women from troubled souls into deadly attackers.

The accounts, in a video released Tuesday by Iraq police, offer a rare glimpse into the networks used to find and train the women bombers who have become one of the insurgents' most effective weapons as they struggle under increasing crackdowns.

In a separate prison interview with The Associated Press, with interrogators nearby, the woman said she was part of a plot in which young women were raped and then sent to her for matronly advice. She said she would try to persuade the victims to become suicide bombers as their only escape from the shame and to reclaim their honor.

...the suspect, 50-year-old Samira Ahmed Jassim who said her code name was "The Mother of Believers" has given unusual firsthand descriptions of the possible workings behind last year's spike in attacks by women bombers.

The Iraqi military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, said the suspect had recruited more than 80 women willing to carry out attacks and admitted masterminding 28 bombings in different areas.

Female suicide bombers attempted or successfully carried out 32 attacks last year, compared with eight in 2007, according to U.S. military figures. Most recently, a woman detonated an explosive under her robes that killed at least 36 people during a Shiite religious gathering last month.

Al-Moussawi, the military spokesman, alleged Jassim was in contact with top leaders of Ansar al-Sunnah in Diyala, the last foothold of major Sunni insurgent strength near Baghdad. The group is one of the factions with suspected ties to al-Qaida in Iraq.

Al-Moussawi said Jassim "confessed to recruiting 28 female suicide bombers who carried out terrorist operations in different areas." He gave no other details on the locations or dates of the attacks.

In the video played for reporters, Jassim described how she was approached by insurgents to urge women to carry out suicide attacks. She said her first assignment was Um Hoda, a nickname meaning mother of Hoda.

"I talked to her a number of times," said Jassim, who has four daughters and two sons. "I went back to them and gave them the details on her. And they told me, bring her to us. ... And I took her to the police station, and that's where she blew herself up."

Another woman, whom she called Amal, was involved in long conversations, Jassim said.

"I talked to her many times, sat with her, and she was very depressed," she said on the video. "I took her to them, and then went back for her and she blew herself up."

Jassim gave no further information on the attacks or her role in the video.

In speaking with the AP a week after her Jan. 21 arrest Jassim repeated statements she had allegedly made to interrogators that insurgents organized rapes of women and that she would then try to coax the victims to become suicide bombers.

She said she was "able to persuade women to become suicide bombers ... broken women, especially those who were raped."

In many parts of Iraq, including conservative Diyala, a rape victim may be shunned by her family and become an outcast in society.

She claimed that Ansar al-Sunnah provided her a house in Diyala, where she operated a shop selling the traditional robes for women called abaya. She added, however, that Ansar al-Sunnah once threatened to bomb her house if she did not cooperate.

"I worked with (Ansar al-Sunnah) for a year and a half," she told the AP.

Women suicide bombers are uncommon, but not unknown, outside Iraq.

Among Palestinians, several woman have carried out suicide bombings for militant groups including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

There also have been cases of women in the West Bank attacking Israeli soldiers so they can be imprisoned after being accused of breaking traditional rules on sexual conduct. In the Palestinian territories, relatives can seek harsh punishments, including death, on women seen as dishonoring the family.

That's some "woman".  And some culture she's operating within.

You rape an innocent female, knowing that instead of love, sympathy and understanding she is likely to be treated as a pariah - even cast out of the family - for the crime of being victimized.   

Then, having created an outcast, you can recruit her as a suicide bomber which, she is told, will somehow redeem her honor - as if she did anything to lose it in the first place.

This is what we are dealing with.  This is why we fight. 

I hope the current administration is paying attention.


Ken Berwitz

I don't agree with Markos Moulitsas Zunigas ("kos" of very much.  But did he ever nail it today, when talking about Democrats who cheat on their taxes:

The Moulitsas Deficit Reduction Act of 2009

Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:00:05 AM PST

Here's how it works:

Since the only time rich DC party insiders seem to get around to paying their taxes is when nominated to Obama's cabinet, I'd require that they all be nominated to Obama's cabinet. Suddenly, these people would discover this strange creature called the "accountant" who would quickly identify failed tax payments totaling in the tens (or even hundreds) of thousands.

Collectively, the Treasury could raise hundreds of billions, while Obama would continue to vouch for their "integrity". It's a perk of being part of that club.

As for the rest of us poor shlubs, don't forget to carry that one when doing your taxes. We don't get to be treasury secretaries when we screw up.

Not only do I agree with Mr. Zunigas' sentiments - and sarcasm level - but I love his use of the yiddish word "shlub" (though, since the first sound is too soft for that "s", I would have spelled it zhlub). 

A zhlub is a hapless, sad-sack, unsophisticated nebbish type (nebbish is also derived from a yiddish word, by the way). 

Note to "kos":   If you spell it shlub, you'll come across as someone who is trying to use a word he really doesn't know.  A little like calling that delicious, crusty potato square a kuh-nish.  Since you got it so right about rich Democrats and tax cheating, I want everything else to be right as well.


Ken Berwitz

I've started reading a web site called  As you might expect, the folks running it are not enamored of our wonderful "neutral" media, and put up material exposing its bias (in that regard we certainly have something in common, don't we).

Today it has put up a video report from Fox News, which provides a quick history of how we got into the subrprime mess we are in.  Not surprisingly, blarney frank plays a major role here, but he's not the only one.

Take a look - and by all means watch the video (if you have trouble seeing it just click here):

Youve been screwed by Barney Frank. And we have it all on video.

February 1, 2009

If youre anything like us, youve probably wondered if theres something network TV news hasnt been telling us about the financial crisis. Like what really caused it. And who really caused it. CBS hasnt told the whole story. Neither have ABC, NBC, CNN, nor MSNBC.

Luckily, we have Fox News. Heres a tremendous video timeline put together by Fox News that shows exactly who did what to whom and when.

This video strips Barney Frank bare and exposes him to the world. (We sincerely apologize for the hideous images that sentence brings to mind.)

As the commentary points out, Fox News is the only venue that showed this timeline. 

Maybe that explains why the networks that withhold this basic information from you are so angry at Fox and so ready to sneer at its coverage.  People tend to hate someone who embarrasses them by exposing their deficiencies.


Ken Berwitz

From today's Jerusalem Post:

UN: Hamas raided warehouse in Gaza, seized blankets, food

Hamas police in Gaza have seized thousands of blankets and food parcels meant for needy residents, UN spokesman Chris Gunness said Wednesday.

Gunness said Hamas police raided a UN warehouse in Gaza City, snatching 3,500 blankets and over 400 food parcels - supplied meant for 500 Palestinian families. He said the incident took place on Tuesday evening, and that it marked the first time Hamas had seized UN aid.

In a statement released Wednesday, UNRWA condemned the theft "in the strongest terms," and demanded that it be "returned immediately." The statement added that the organization "has a strict system of monitoring aid delivery and ensuring that its assistance reaches only the intended beneficiaries," and that officials were present "taking all possible steps to avoid its diversion."

The aid is especially vital now because Gazans are facing hardship after Israel's three-week military offensive against Hamas.

Israeli officials have charged that the group routinely confiscates supplies meant for needy Gazans.

A Hamas government spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Earlier in the week, meanwhile, former UN and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees chief attorney James Lindsay alleged that the organization does little to check whether its staff or clients are terrorists.

After decades of operating in Gaza, you'd think the UN would understand something about what goes on there.  But, since the UN has spent those decades dilligently avoiding reality, it hasn't learned a thing; it is just as obtuse as ever.

hamas could not care less about what the people of Gaza need.  hamas's commitment is vaporizing Israel and killing Jews.  If it can also ingratiate itself to Gazans by throwing them a few crumbs now and then, that's fine.  But at crunch time?  hamas takes what it wants, and is indifferent to whether the general public can find food and supplies elsewhere, or starve in the street.

Quite a wakeup call for the UN.  I wonder if its Gaza contingent will sleep through it anyway.  My bet is that they will.

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