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CKUT Radio:War Crimes in Rafah

CKUT Radio: War Crimes in Rafah
by Stefan Christoff Thursday May 20, 2004 at 08:17 AM
christoff at resist.ca 514 398 6788

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Listen to an interview with Mohamed an independent journalist from Rafah Palestine, who posts daily reports and photos about Rafah at the website -
http://rafahtoday.org.
This interview is a powerful and direct testimony, as to the acts of collective punishment, which have been unleashed on the Palestinian population of Rafah refugee camp. The interview was recorded on Tuesday May 28th, as Israeli troops continued to raid homes in Rafah, confining its 90,000 residents without electricity, water or phones. On Tuesday alone, more than 20 Palestinians were killed, marking one of the highest one-day death tolls in three years of the Palestinian Intifada.
The Israeli military operation, which has been dubbed "Operation Rainbow", continued on Wednesday May 19th, when Israeli tank fire and missiles hit a 3000 strong Palestinian demonstration, killing more than 10 Palestinians, wounding many others. In the past week the Israeli military has demolished more than 100 homes, which has left more than 1200 Palestinians in the Rafah refugee camp homeless. Amnesty International has condemned the current Israeli incursion as a "war crime".
To listen / download the interview with Mohamed from Rafah visit:
http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=9222
To read Mohamed's recent reports and view photos from Rafah visit: http://www.rafahtoday.org

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Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights : Globalization & Capitalism : Peace & War

There they go again: Those Arab racists...

This article by Ariel Natan Pasko looks at the vicious attacks taking place in Sudan against black Africans, by Arab militias. It surveys the Middle East/North Africa, the so-called "Arab World," and proposes an Israeli foreign policy initiative to support the non-Arab and non-Muslim minorities in the region.

There they go again. The story is so old already. Arab militia or Arab army or Arab terrorist attacks non-Arab. Or was that Muslim fanatic attacks non-Muslim? This time it's happening in Sudan.

While we're sitting and talking probably a few hundred more black Africans in Sudan have starved to death, or been brutally killed, raped, enslaved, or simply pushed off their land by 7th century Arab imperialist invaders, or more rightly "Arab Settlers".

Oh yes, that's right "Arab settlers"...

Like the ones Saddam Hussein brought into Kurdistan - i.e. the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq in the 1970's - to displace the indigenous Kurds, during his forced Arabization campaign. Forcibly relocating many Kurds from the Kurdish heartland in the north, he razed all Kurdish villages along a 1,300-kilometer stretch of the border with Iran.

Now Sudan is doing the same thing.

While Arab militiamen known as the Janjaweed, rape, slaughter and drive out over a million black Africans from their homes in western Sudan, the government in Khartoum turns a blind eye. The Janjaweed have killed about 30,000 people and left some 2 million in desperate need of aid, or there will be humanitarian disaster. The Janjaweed has been described as an Arab Islamic group that has targeted mostly black Christians. According to some reports, the Sudanese government itself armed and paid the militia of Arab raiders, and authorized them to slaughter and drive out members of the Zaghawa, Masalit and Fur tribes.

This has all taken place under the watchful eye of Kofi Annan, the UN, Colin Powell, the US, the European Union, and 20-something Arab League states. I can understand the Arab states turning a blind eye to the ethnic cleansing campaign underway (or impending genocide?), it doesn't look good having "Arab Settlers" butchering people. But why haven't Annan and Powell, sons of the African continent, gone ballistic? After all, it is their black brothers who are getting it, from the Arabs this time. And what about the Europeans who are always so "human rights" oriented when it comes to Israel, why not on the African continent?

Sudanese President Omar Bashir pledged to US officials to disarm the Janjaweed and other militias, but he's promised that before...

Jan Egeland, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, complained that the United Nations was slow to act in Darfur, where aid workers say about 350,000 people could die this year of disease or malnutrition. He also blamed Khartoum for lack of action in aiding the refugees.

A typical UN do-goody, Egeland seems to have overlooked the fact that the Sudanese government might have deliberately caused this problem. It's a typical Arab/Muslim land grab. It's happened in Iraq, it's happened in Lebanon with Syria occupying Lebanon and persecuting the Christians there, and it's happened in Israel, where 7th century Arab imperialist invaders and 20th century Arab squatters have tried to displace the indigenous Jewish population.

Arab Settlers, and they're violent at that...

Describing the pogrom-like atmosphere, one woman told how the Janjaweed entered the village. She said, "The Janjaweed shouted, 'We will not allow blacks here. We will not let Zaghawa here. This land is only for Arabs.'"

Another woman described how the Janjaweed took her and her two sisters away on horses and gang-raped them. The raiders shot one sister, and cut the throat of the other, they then discussed how to mutilate her. "One Janjaweed said, 'You belong to me. You are a slave to the Arabs, and this is the sign of a slave,'" she recalled. He slashed her leg with a sword before letting her hobble away, stark naked.

"First the planes were flying over us and bombing us. Then the Janjaweed came," a third woman described. "They started to shoot and burn. They took all our belongings. They took men and slit their throats with swords. The women they took as concubines."

The situation is so horrendous, that the former editor, Abd al-Rahman Al-Rashed, of a prestigious Arab daily "al-Sharq al-Awsat" (London), recently published an op-ed titled, "The Death of 300,000 People." In the article, al-Rashed decried the Arab media's apathy to the violence in Sudan.

al-Rashed wrote, "They are not the victims of Israeli or American aggression; therefore, they are not an issue for concern...Is the life of 1,000 people in western Sudan less valuable, or is a single killed Palestinian or Iraqi of greater importance, merely because the enemy is Israeli or American?"

He continued, "It is a grave matter that government-sponsored forces or militias should be allowed to carry out the annihilation of people in order to achieve quick or decisive victory...As for Arab intellectuals who see nothing in the world but the Palestinian and the Iraqi causes, and who consider any blood not spilled in conflicts with foreigners to be cheap and its spilling justifiable, they are intellectual accomplices in the crime."

What does all this have to do with Israel?

Well, as I wrote back in March 2004, (Israel Should Support the Kurds Against Syria):

"As the discussion of democratization of the Middle East continues, an important point that must be made time and time again, is the importance in building structures that liberate the minorities of the region from oppression.

Non-Arab and Non-Muslim minorities live throughout North Africa and the Middle East. Contrary to the propaganda that the region is Arab/Muslim, these minorities are remnants of the indigenous peoples, before the great Arab imperialist wars of the 7th century, and "Islamicization process" that followed. Non-Arab Muslims like the Kurds in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran; the Berbers - known as Amazighes - in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, have all resisted Arabization for over 1,000 years. Non-Muslims like the Assyrian Christians in Iraq - who argue that they are not Arabs - the Copts in Egypt, Christian Lebanese - many who claim not to be Arab but Phoenician - the Christians in Sudan, and other Christians throughout the region, have been persecuted minorities, since the rise of Islam. Others like the Druze and Jews have also been persecuted by Arab/Muslim regimes throughout history..."

"Only Israel, the Jewish State, has fully liberated itself - in the political sense - from this Arab/Muslim oppression, although it still suffers from physical violence against her people. Israel should take the lead - in it's foreign policy - to support democratization and regime change throughout the region. Israel shouldn't wait until countries of the region reform, but should pro-actively support the legitimate aspirations of the oppressed minorities of North Africa and the Middle East, and build alliances with them."

Since writing those words, news of Israeli security cooperation in the Kurdish areas of Iraq has leaked out. Although denied by all involved, I can only hope that it's true and that the Mossad is listening. It should begin to branch out to work with other minorities throughout the region as well.

I haven't yet mentioned the so called "Palestinians," and I won't beyond saying, that they are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Aren't they an oppressed minority?

No, as Arabs, they are part of the greater Arab Nation who since the 7th century has conquered, oppressed, and occupied everyone else in the Middle East and North Africa. As radical Muslims, everyone can see that Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the other terror groups are continuing down the same path as Bin Laden. In fact, not long before his assassination, Hamas "spiritual leader" Sheikh Yassin had begun speaking about the "Global Jihad" in Bin Laden and al-Qaeda type terms. Hezbollah has also been working in the "Palestinian" administered territories for a while already, as evidenced by Israel's recent capture of a Hezbollah cell in Gaza. So, they are part of the regional oppression network, not the future liberty and freedom alliance that Israel should work to build with other minorities in the area.

Like that Arab murderer in Sudan who said, "This land is only for Arabs," the late Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi said not long before his demise, "We will continue with our holy war and resistance until every last criminal Zionist is evicted from this land. By G-d we will not leave one Jew alive in Palestine. We will fight them with all the strength we have. This is our land, not the Jews." Most of the so-called "Palestinians" agreed with him.

Arab racism marches on...

Israel should speak out strongly against the ethnic cleansing and potential genocide taking place in Sudan today, just as I've urged it do about the atrocious Syrian occupation in Lebanon. Israel should support the rights of the Kurds to an independent state and encourage other indigenous peoples and their liberation movements.

A major element of Israel's strategic foreign policy should be based on supporting the rights of minorities in the area. Only that way, based on democratization, liberation from oppressive regimes, and encouraging freedom, will the Middle East and North Africa be transformed into a region worthy of its millennia old history.

A pre-Arab and pre-Muslim history I might add!

----------------------------------------------

Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant. He has a Master's Degree in International Relations & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites, in newspapers, and can be read at: www.geocities.com/ariel_natan_pasko

(c) 2004/5764 Pasko

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Commentary :: Government & Elections

Green Strategy 2004-2008

How did the David Cobb/Pat LaMarche ticket receive the Green Party nomination? And what does it mean for the Green Party in particular and American politics in general? My conclusion is that the so-called "red states" Greens, by rejecting Ralph Nader/Peter Camejo campaign, diminished the Green Party's own strength in the "safe state" of California, ironically without helping the pro-war Democratic Party candidate John Kerry (despite the hope of the Cobb/LaMarche faction) in the most crucial "swing states": Ohio (20 electors/3.6% victory margin in 2000), Florida (27/0.0%), Pennsylvania (21/4.1%), and Michigan (17/5.1%).

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News :: Peace & War

UN asks Isreal to GO Nuclear Free

UN asks Israel to go nuclear-free
The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, says Israel should start discussions on ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons.

He said such dialogue would help reduce frustration in the region about "what is seen to be a widespread imbalance".

Mr ElBaradei is scheduled to travel to Israel next month to discuss making the Middle East a nuclear-free zone.

He said everyone knew that Israel had a nuclear capability - even if Israel has always refused to admit it.

"We need... to rid the Middle East of all weapons of mass destruction," he told reporters on a visit to Russia.

"Israel agrees with that, but they say it has to be... after peace agreements.

"My proposal is may be we need to start to have a parallel dialogue on security at the same time when we're working on the peace process."

'Ambiguity'

Mr ElBaradei said he would like Israel, along with other Middle East countries, to open up nuclear facilities to inspections by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency.

But he would not be insisting Israel admits to having nuclear weapons, when he visits the country in early July.

"I think everybody takes it as a given that Israel has a nuclear capability, if not nuclear weapons," he said.

"So whether they would like to come in the open, whether they maintain... ambiguity, it's for them to decide."

Israel has a policy of "strategic ambiguity" - neither admitting nor denying it has nuclear weapons - but analysts believe it has more than 100 nuclear weapons.

Its Arab neighbours have frequently accused the international community of double standards for requiring them to be free of nuclear weapons while doing little, in their eyes, about Israel.

Mr ElBaradei said it was "not sustainable in any region or even globally to have some [people] rely on nuclear weapons and others being told they should not have nuclear weapons".


Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/3844145.stm

Published: 2004/06/27 13:03:58 GMT

© BBC MMIV

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News :: Alternative Media

cheney's foul mouth

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Typically a break from partisan warfare, this year's Senate class photo turned smiles into snarls as Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly used profanity toward one senior Democrat, sources said.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who was on the receiving end of Cheney's ire, confirmed that the vice president used profanity during Tuesday's class photo.

A spokesman for Cheney confirmed there was a "frank exchange of views."

Using profanity on the Senate floor while the Senate is session is against the rules. But the Senate was technically not in session at the time and the normal rules did not apply, a Senate official said.

The story, which was recounted by several sources, goes like this:

Cheney, who as president of the Senate was present for the picture day, turned to Leahy and scolded the senator over his recent criticism of the vice president for Halliburton's alleged war profiteering.

Cheney is the former CEO of Halliburton, and Democrats have suggested that while serving in the Bush administration he helped win lucrative contracts for his former firm, including a no-bid contract to rebuild Iraq.

Cheney's office has said repeatedly that the vice president has no role in government contracting and has severed all financial ties with the Texas-based oil services conglomerate.

Cheney was chief executive officer of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000. He resigned when he became George Bush's running mate.

In response to Cheney, Leahy reminded Cheney that the vice president had once accused him of being a bad Catholic, to which Cheney replied either "f--- off" or "go f--- yourself."

Leahy was referring to charges leveled by some conservatives during the confirmation battle of Bush judicial nominee William Pryor last August. Some supporters of Pryor, who is Catholic, claimed Senate Democrats were "anti-Catholic" for opposing the Alabama attorney general's nomination to the federal bench.

Leahy would not comment on the specifics of the story Thursday, but did confirm that Cheney used profanity.

"I think he was just having a bad day," said Leahy, "and I was kind of shocked to hear that kind of language on the floor."

Kevin Kellems, a spokesman for the vice president, said, "That doesn't sound like the kind of language that the vice president would use, but I can confirm that there was a frank exchange of views."

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News :: Peace & War

Iraq was invaded 'to protect Israel' - US official

Iraq was invaded 'to protect Israel' - US official
By Emad Mekay

WASHINGTON - Iraq under Saddam Hussein did not pose a threat to the United States, but it did to Israel, which is one reason why Washington invaded the Arab country, according to a speech made by a member of a top-level White House intelligence group.

Inter Press Service uncovered the remarks by Philip Zelikow, who is now the executive director of the body set up to investigate the terrorist attacks on the US in September 2001 - the 9/11 commission - in which he suggests a prime motive for the invasion just over one year ago was to eliminate a threat to Israel, a staunch US ally in the Middle East.

Zelikow's casting of the attack on Iraq as one launched to protect Israel appears at odds with the public position of US President George W Bush and his administration, which has never overtly drawn the link between its war on the regime of Saddam and its concern for Israel's security.

The administration has instead insisted it launched the war to liberate the Iraqi people, destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to protect the United States.

Zelikow made his statements about "the unstated threat" during his tenure on a highly knowledgeable and well-connected body known as the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which reports directly to the president. He served on the board between 2001 and 2003.

"Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat [is] and actually has been since 1990 - it's the threat against Israel," Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia on September 10, 2002, speaking on a panel of foreign policy experts assessing the impact of September 11 and the future of the war on al-Qaeda.

"And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don't care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell," said Zelikow.

The statements are the first to surface from a source closely linked to the Bush administration acknowledging that the war, which has so far cost the lives of nearly 600 US troops and thousands of Iraqis, was motivated by Washington's desire to defend the Jewish state.

The administration, which is surrounded by staunch pro-Israel, neo-conservative hawks, is currently fighting an extensive campaign to ward off accusations that it derailed the "war on terrorism" it launched after September 11 by taking a detour to Iraq, which appears to have posed no direct threat to the US.

Israel is Washington's biggest ally in the Middle East, receiving annual direct aid of US$3-4 billion.

Even though members of the 16-person PFIAB come from outside government, they enjoy the confidence of the president and have access to all information related to foreign intelligence that they need to play their vital advisory role. Known in intelligence circles as "Piffy-ab", the board is supposed to evaluate the nation's intelligence agencies and probe any mistakes they make. The unpaid appointees on the board require a security clearance known as "code word" that is higher than top secret.

The national security adviser to former president George H W Bush (1989-93) Brent Scowcroft, currently chairs the board in its work overseeing a number of intelligence bodies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the various military intelligence groups and the Pentagon's National Reconnaissance Office.

Neither Scowcroft nor Zelikow returned numerous phone calls and e-mail messages from IPS for this story.

Zelikow has long-established ties to the Bush administration. Before his appointment to PFIAB in October 2001, he was part of the current president's transition team in January 2001. In that capacity, Zelikow drafted a memo for National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice on reorganizing and restructuring the National Security Council (NSC) and prioritizing its work.

Richard A Clarke, who was counter-terrorism coordinator for Bush's predecessor president Bill Clinton (1993-2001) also worked for Bush senior, and has recently accused the current administration of not heeding his terrorism warnings. Clarke said that Zelikow was among those he briefed about the urgent threat from al-Qaeda in December 2000.

Rice herself had served in the NSC during the first Bush administration, and subsequently teamed up with Zelikow on a 1995 book about the unification of Germany.

Zelikow had ties with another senior Bush administration official - Robert Zoellick, the current trade representative. The two wrote three books together, including one in 1998 on the United States and the Muslim Middle East.

Aside from his position on the 9/11 commission, Zelikow is now also director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs and White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia. His close ties to the administration prompted accusations of a conflict of interest in 2002 from families of victims of the September attacks, who protested his appointment to the investigative body.

In his university speech, Zelikow, who strongly backed attacking the Iraqi dictator, also explained the threat to Israel by arguing that Baghdad was preparing in 1990-91 to spend huge amounts of "scarce hard currency" to harness "communications against electromagnetic pulse", a side-effect of a nuclear explosion that could sever radio, electronic and electrical communications.

That was "a perfectly absurd expenditure unless you were going to ride out a nuclear exchange - they [Iraqi officials] were not preparing to ride out a nuclear exchange with us. Those were preparations to ride out a nuclear exchange with the Israelis," according to Zelikow.
He also suggested that the danger of biological weapons falling into the hands of the anti-Israeli Islamic Resistance Movement, known by its Arabic acronym Hamas, would threaten Israel rather than the US, and that those weapons could have been developed to the point where they could deter Washington from attacking Hamas.

"Play out those scenarios," he told his audience, "and I will tell you, people have thought about that, but they are just not talking very much about it".

"Don't look at the links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, but then ask yourself the question, 'gee, is Iraq tied to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the people who are carrying out suicide bombings in Israel?' Easy question to answer; the evidence is abundant."

To date, the possibility of the US attacking Iraq to protect Israel has been only timidly raised by some intellectuals and writers, with few public acknowledgements from sources close to the administration. Analysts who reviewed Zelikow's statements said that they are concrete evidence of one factor in the rationale for going to war, which has been hushed up.

"Those of us speaking about it sort of routinely referred to the protection of Israel as a component," said Phyllis Bennis of the Washington-based Institute of Policy Studies. "But this is a very good piece of evidence of that."

Others say that the administration should be blamed for not making known to the public its true intentions and real motives for invading Iraq. "They [the administration] made a decision to invade Iraq, and then started to search for a policy to justify it. It was a decision in search of a policy and because of the odd way they went about it, people are trying to read something into it," said Nathan Brown, professor of political science at George Washington University and an expert on the Middle East.

But he downplayed the Israel link. "In terms of securing Israel, it doesn't make sense to me because the Israelis are probably more concerned about Iran than they were about Iraq in terms of the long-term strategic threat," he said.

Still, Brown says that Zelikow's words carried weight. "Certainly his position would allow him to speak with a little bit more expertise about the thinking of the Bush administration, but it doesn't strike me that he is any more authoritative than [Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul] Wolfowitz, or Rice or [Secretary of State Colin] Powell or anybody else. All of them were sort of fishing about for justification for a decision that has already been made," Brown said.

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News :: Gender & Sexuality : Labor & Economics

Saudi women can own businesses

Saudi Arabia has lifted a ban that kept women from jobs in most fields in what analysts see as a way of fighting "terrorism" and boosting the economy.

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News :: Health & Drugs : Peace & War

Military won't let communities have chemical antidote

The product, Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion, was developed by the Canadian military years ago, won Food and Drug Administration approval in 2003 and is sold in other NATO countries for neutralizing sarin, mustard gas and other chemical agents.

It is being tested by the Army. But the companies that make it aren't permitted to sell it or even advertise it to state and local governments in the United States.


- - - -

Military won't let communities have chemical antidote
By SHARON THEIMER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Despite the interest of emergency officials, the government is refusing to provide U.S. communities an antidote controlled by the Army and stockpiled by other countries to treat victims of a chemical terror attack.

The product, Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion, was developed by the Canadian military years ago, won Food and Drug Administration approval in 2003 and is sold in other NATO countries for neutralizing sarin, mustard gas and other chemical agents.

It is being tested by the Army. But the companies that make it aren't permitted to sell it or even advertise it to state and local governments in the United States.

"Right now they have no product to decontaminate people other than soap and water," said Phil O'Dell, president of O'Dell Engineering, a Canadian company licensed by the Canadian government to sell the lotion. "There is only one FDA-approved. It's the RSDL. These first responders correctly have been trying to buy RSDL since FDA approval."

Dr. Dani Zavasky, deputy medical director for the New York Police Department's counterterrorism bureau, calls the antidote promising and wonders why her agency cannot buy it.

As described by the FDA at the time it approved it for the Army in April 2003, a lotion-soaked sponge is packaged in a special foil pouch that people can carry, ready to rip open and wipe on any exposed skin as soon as possible after exposure.

"I'm not aware of any substance other than this out there that has been used for so long by others that has this benefit," Zavasky said. "I've been hearing about it for a year and a half now, and still it's not widely available."

The Army says it wants to do more testing, such as determining whether the lotion is safe to use with bleach, before it making it standard issue for its troops or letting police, firefighters and other first responders buy it.

"The manufacturer will have to be patient. Until the compatibility with bleach solutions is determined and can be clearly defined, we can't field it," said Maj. Gary Tallman, an Army spokesman.

In the United States, the Army obtained the FDA's approval, meaning O'Dell cannot sell it to state and local governments without Army permission. That doesn't preclude other federal agencies from trying to bring the drug to first responders.

Homeland Security spokesman Kirk Whitworth said the agency doesn't comment on specific products but is "committed as a department to speeding the access to the most effective products available."

Frustrated by the delay, O'Dell Engineering and its U.S. partner, New York state-based E-Z-EM Inc., have started lobbying lawmakers and the Army.

"The companies are all part of the group that are approaching their members of Congress, No. 1 to educate them about this issue and No. 2 to give them their spin on it and basically say, `If we don't produce this in the United States, they're going to produce this overseas,' " said James Albertine, a Washington lobbyist coordinating the campaign.

E-Z-EM and O'Dell Engineering said they are considering seeking FDA approval themselves to market the lotion to first responders.

The NYPD's Zavasky said that while removing contaminated clothes and using soap and water works, the lotion would be useful after showering to neutralize any chemical agent that penetrated the skin.

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