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Peace & Nonviolence

Mike Keefe | No Nuclear Treaty / CagleCartoons

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This Year's (2010) Demonstration to Close the SOA

As always, the weekend, from Friday November 19 to Sunday the 21, was full of events in solidarity with the victims of the foreign troops trained at the School Of the Americas on Fort Benning, from the six murdered Jesuit priests and the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador to a host of other well-publicized massacres and atrocities in Latin American history.

John Grant, Evergreene Digest

While the number of demonstrators was down this year, the enthusiasm and moral outrage of those attending the demonstration to close the School of the Americas was not diminished at all. Numbers were down for a host of speculative reasons, from the economy to internal issues within the Catholic hierarchy. The decade-plus effort to close the School Of The Americas (its history-avoiding new name is the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation or WHINSEC) is led by Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois.

As always, the weekend, from Friday November 19 to Sunday the 21, was full of events in solidarity with the victims of the foreign troops trained at the School Of the Americas on Fort Benning, from the six murdered Jesuit priests and the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador to a host of other well-publicized massacres and atrocities in Latin American history. The weekend events culminated in a procession on Sunday during which the names of murdered victims are read aloud, followed by a collective response of "Presente!" As always, this procession was powerful and moving, ending with everyone placing the small white crosses they'd carried and other items into the chain link fence spread across the gate. By the end of the day, the fence is nothing but crosses, photographs and assorted mementos that sends a powerful symbolic message against the US tradition and policy of using military violence to secure domination. Then, it's all ripped down and tossed into city trash trucks.

Twenty-four people were arrested on Saturday and charged with unlawful assembly, failure to disperse and parading without a permit. The harassing nature of the unanticipated arrests made it clear the police were taking a tougher line than they had in the past years. On Sunday, four individuals climbed over the barbed wire-topped fence at the gate and were arrested inside the base. These latter will likely do real prison time; in the past it has been something like a six month sentence. On Saturday afternoon on the road to the gate there were a battery of squad cars with blue lights flashing. The party I was with was barred from walking down the street leading to the gate, something that had been very relaxed as far back as I can recall. The young officer barring our progress knew nothing, of course, about why he was barring us from proceeding. He was just a small cog doing what he was told. He added that he was happy to be working and was making some good overtime pay. A survey of patches suggested cops had been brought in from all over the region. The annual Veterans For Peace march on Sunday morning down to the gate was stopped and harassed over flag poles, something not done before.

One of the most obnoxious aspects of the procession is the regular loudspeaker blast from within the base. The man's voice proclaims how the US Military must preserve its detachment from politics and that there are avenues for proper redress of political issues in the democracy the Military is protecting .... and blah blah blah. Being aware that School of the Americas graduates use violence to influence local politics and knowing the tremendous power the US Military Industrial Complex has over all of our political lives and how the Military is up to its neck in "politics as usual," makes the repeated robot speech an especially offensive mockery. The subtext message is clear and strong: As an institution, we have the all the guns, the prisons, the media, the Congress and the President  of the United States in our pockets; you should feel lucky that we let you live.

Related:

Thousands Converge at the gates of Fort Benning for 20th Anniversary of November Vigil to Close the SOA, SOA Watch
Nonviolent civil disobedience action followed by indiscriminate arrests and targeting of journalists. Among those arrested by Columbus police were three journalists, including unrelated bystanders.

Photo Essay<http://picasaweb.google.com/115222483537430969851/SOAW2010?authkey=Gv1sR...

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Veterans for Peace (VFP) to Take a Stand for Peace at the White House Dec 16

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  • On Dec. 16th, 2010, veterans and others will stage what will be the largest veteran-led civil resistance to U.S. wars in recent history. All of us in Veterans For Peace need to pull together to make sure those will not be empty words.
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  • Come to DC on December 16! VFP led action at the White House
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Tarak Kauff and Leah Bolger, Veterans For Peace

Comrades, Brothers and Sisters,

The following sentence is critical, so please read on. On Dec. 16th, 2010, veterans and others will stage what will be the largest veteran-led civil resistance to U.S. wars in recent history. All of us in Veterans For Peace need to pull together to make sure those will not be empty words.

Many of us have grown so used to the state of war being a constant these past 10 years that people no longer see it as an emergency the way they did prior to the Iraq invasion, when millions of us turned out worldwide to attempt to stop the oncoming war. I want us return to seeing it as an emergency, a fire that must be put out and one that we will put our bodies on the line to extinguish. Many, if not most of us, engage in anti-war activities of one sort or another on a regular basis, usually in our own locales. This action described below is different. It is not meant to be yet another anti-war action among many where perhaps a handful of vets take a stand and get arrested, barely generating a blip on the screen of world and U.S. consciousness.

The purpose of this action is twofold, direct and simple, yet profound. By showing scores of U.S. veterans being literally dragged away from the White House as they demand peace, we expose the hypocrisy of a government that is waging (and promoting) worldwide, endless warfare during a season when we celebrate "Peace on Earth." But more important, it will vividly demonstrate that serious civil resistance is alive and well in the United States.

This will only happen if there are more than relative handfuls of us taking part. What we are asking is that your chapter support this, preferably by sending some (or all!) of your members to take part, but if you cannot do that, by enthusiastically spreading the word.

Here's what Doug Zachary wrote about his participation: "We are at a critical time in world history. Will the Western democracies continue to develop along the lines of Rousseau, Voltaire, Jefferson, King, Chavez and company? Or does the future hold a feudal world committed to slavery and fascism? The extent to which we resist is the extent to which there is reason to hope. Our witness, even if ignored in our times, will be on record and will inspire democratic revolutionaries far into the future."

To make sure it is not "ignored in our times," we have three top videographers, and excellent still photographers committed to sending out a record of our resistance worldwide. We also have enthusiastic support from large non-veteran organizations that will mobilize their members in support (see flyer).

When you look at the signatures on the letter below, you'll see many names you recognize, quite a few of our buddies, people who have been VFP stalwarts for years. What I'm asking is for all of us not to leave them hanging out to dry (Ferner says "freeze"). You get the picture. It's the season—the more the merrier. Let's demonstrate that VFP, when it comes to putting ourselves on the line, is a force for peace to be reckoned with.
If you want to be involved please e-mail stopthesewars@gmail.com or register online at http://www.stopthesewars.org, and we will keep you posted. Also, to make this a powerful reality, there will be expenses for banners, flyers, posters, legal, etc., so please make a donation.

For Peace and Solidarity,
Tarak Kauff
Veterans For Peace
Woodstock, NY
845 679-3299
takauff@gmail.com

Related:

Take A Stand For Peace!

During the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King called our government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today." True then—and even more so today.

A few years before that, in 1964 Mario Savio made his great speech at Berkeley; at the end he says, "There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"

There are children being orphaned, maimed or killed every day, in our name, with our tax dollars; there are soldiers and civilians dying or being maimed for life, in order to generate profits for the most odious imperialistic corporate war machine ever, again in our name. How long are we going to let this go on? Until it is too late, until this destructive machine destroys all of us and the planet to boot?

Wikileaks has revealed the documented horror of U.S. war-making, beyond what any of us imagined. It's time veterans and others express our resistance directly and powerfully by putting ourselves on the line, once again—honestly, courageously and without one drop of apology for doing so. It is not we who are the murderers, torturers or pillagers of the earth.

Profit and power-hungry warmongers are destroying everything we hold dear and sacred.

In the early thirties, WW1 vets descended on Washington, D.C., to demand their promised bonuses, it being the depths of the Depression. General Douglas MacArthur and his sidekick Dwight Eisenhower disregarded President Herbert Hoover's order and burned their encampment down and drove the vets out of town at bayonet point.

We are today's bonus marchers, and we've coming to claim our bonus-PEACE.

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Join activist veterans marching in solidarity to the White House, refusing to move, demanding the end of U.S. wars, which includes U.S. support—financial and tactical—for the Israeli war machine as well.

If we can gather enough courageous souls, nonviolently refusing to leave the White House, willing to be dragged away and arrested if necessary, we will send a message that will be seen worldwide. "End these wars - now!" We will carry forward a flame of resistance to the war machine that will not diminish as we effectively begin to place ourselves, as Mario Savio said, "upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus." and we will make it stop.

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We believe that the power of courageous, committed people is greater than that of corporate warmongers. But we will only see our power when we use it collectively, when we stand together.

With courage, persistence, boldness and numbers, we can eventually make this monstrous war machine grind to a halt, so that our children and all children everywhere can grow up in a peaceful world.

Join us at the White House on December 16th!

For a world in peace,

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Nic Abramson - Veterans For Peace, Elliott Adams - Past President,Veterans For Peace, Laurie Arbeiter-Activist Response Team, Ken Ashe -Veterans For Peace, Ellen Barfield-Veterans For Peace, Brian Becker-ANSWER Coalition, National Coordinator, Medea Benjamin - Co-Founder - CodePink for Peace, Frida Berrigan-War Resisters League, Bruce Berry-Veterans For Peace, Leah Bolger-Veterans For Peace, Elaine Brower-Anti-war Military Mom and World Can't Wait, Scott Camil-Veterans For Peace, Ross Caputi- Justice For Fallujah Project, Kim Carlyle-Veterans For Peace, Armen Chakerian - Coalition to Stop the $30 Billion to Israel, Matthis Chiroux-Iraq War Resister Veteran, Gerry Condon-Veterans For Peace, Will Covert-Veterans For Peace, Dave Culver-Veterans For Peace, Matt Daloisio-Witness Against Torture, Ellen Davidson-War Resisters League, Mike Ferner-President, Veterans For Peace, Nate Goldshlag-Veterans For Peace, Clare Hanrahan-War Crimes Times, Mike Hearington-Veterans For Peace, Mark Johnson - Exec. Dir. Fellowship of Reconciliation, Tarak Kauff-Veterans For Peace, Kathy Kelly-Voices For Creative Nonviolence, Sandy Kelson-Veterans For Peace, Joel Kovel-Veterans For Peace, Erik Lobo-Veterans For Peace, Joe Lombardo-United National Antiwar Committee, Ken Mayers -Veterans For Peace, Nancy Munger-co-President, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Fred Nagel-Veterans For Peace, Pat O'Brien-Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Bill Perry-Vietnam Veterans Against The War, Vito Piccininno -Veterans For Peace, Mike Prysner-co-founder, March Forward, Ward Reilly-Veterans For Peace, Laura Roskos-co-President, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Cindy Sheehan-Founder, Peace of the Action, David Swanson-author, Debra Sweet-National Director, World Can't Wait, Mike Tork-Veterans For Peace, Hart Viges - Iraq Veterans Against the War, Father Louie Vitale - SOA Watch, Jay Wenk-Veterans For Peace, Linda Wiener- Veterans F or Peace, Diane Wilson -Veterans For Peace, Col. Ann Wright-Veterans For Peace, Doug Zachary-Veterans For Peace

Section(s): 

New Afghan War Plans Could Cost US Taxpayers an Extra $125 Billion

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  • US war planners have been signaling that troop withdrawals set to begin in 2011 will be mostly symbolic and that the handover to Afghan forces in 2014 is “aspirational.”
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  • A Shift in US Deadlines
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  • Higher war costs could hurt the base defense budget [and] the rest of the discretionary budget.
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  • I want my president back
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Ben Arnoldy, Christian Science Monitor

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

At a time when corporations are buying up elections – not to mention the 24-hour-news cycle – help ensure that a source for truly independent journalism lives on. Support Evergreene Digest  today by using the donation button in the above right-hand corner.

In this Sept. 29 photo, a girl walks past a US Marine, as he patrols through a field in Marjah, southern Afghanistan. As leaders at the NATO summit in Lisbon meet this weekend to discuss strategy in Afghanistan, President Obama pushes to soften troop withdrawal deadlines. Todd Pitman/AP/File

As leaders at the NATO summit in Lisbon meet this weekend to discuss strategy in Afghanistan, US war planners have been signaling that troop withdrawals set to begin in 2011 will be mostly symbolic and that the handover to Afghan forces in 2014 is “aspirational.”

Such could cost American taxpayers handsomely at a time when deficit cutting has gripped Washington. According to one estimate, softening those deadlines could add at least $125 billion in war spending – not including long-term costs like debt servicing and health care for veterans.

“I don’t think anyone is seriously talking about cutting war funding as a way of handling the deficit,” says Todd Harrison, a defense funding expert at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. But higher war costs “could hurt the base defense budget [and] the rest of the discretionary budget.”

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Related:

I want my president back, Nita Chaudhary, MoveOn.org Political Action <>

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  • New Afghan War Plans Could Cost US Taxpayers an Extra $125 Billion
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  • Now more than ever, we need the Barack Obama we elected in 2008—the smart, tough, hopeful progressive champion who inspired millions of us—to stand up and say "no".
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  • Can you record and share a video message to President Obama today? Read here to get started.
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Section(s): 

Close the School of the Americas

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Nov. 19-21: Converge on Fort Benning

School of the Americas Watch

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From November 19-21, 2010, thousands will gather at the gates of Fort Benning to stand up for justice and call for the SOA/WHINSEC to be shut down! Below are some helpful links for your trip planning, and a sneak peak into what SOA Watch has lined up for this year! (para información en español, haga click aquí)

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Engage in Nonviolent Direct Action to Close the SOA/WHINSEC
This year there will be different ways for people to be involved in the Saturday action including crossing the line of the base of Fort Benning which risks federal arrest, or a city side action, outside the permitted area. But note that you may also participate without risking arrest. SOA Watch has permits for the activities in front of the base, and the acts of civil disobedience for those risking arrest will be clearly marked.

Stage Program

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Rebel Diaz

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The stage program at the gates of Fort Benning will take place on Saturday, November 20, 2010 from 11:30am - 4pm and on Sunday, November 21, 2010 from 8am - 2pm. The program will feature leaders from the resistance against the illegitimate U.S.-supported government in Honduras; Padre Jesus Alberto Franco, a renowned leader from Colombia, risking his life working with Afro-Colombian, indigenous and mixed-race farmers in resistance; Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit; Marie Dennis, director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns and Co-President of Pax Christi International; United Auto Worker president Bob King; the Hip Hop group Rebel Diaz from the Bronx; the puppetistas, musicians and many other beautiful people.

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Projecting Power or Promoting Peace: The Prophetic Call for Justice, Kindness, Humility

I want to talk about sin and redemption. I want to confess, to testify, and to prophesy. I want to speak in this manner not just because we are at Southern Methodist University, but because it is appropriate for end times.

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Robert Jensen, Common Dreams

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

A version of this essay was delivered at the “People’s Response to the George W. Bush Library and Policy Institute” event at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, on November 14, 2010.

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I want to speak tonight in the language of spirit, but about subjects that transcend religion. I want to discuss politics, but in a way that transcends parties. I want to struggle with crises we have created out of ignorance and inattention; face up to problems that have no simple solutions; deal with the depths of human destructiveness and despair.

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This will lead us, of course, to George W. Bush and his administration’s contribution to this mess.

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Florida peace activist tells how antiwar movement has prolonged wars

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  • The Antiwar Movement avoids 9/11 Truth
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  • War Crimes are War Crimes: Prosecute Bush, impeach Obama!
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Phil Restino,  Central Florida Veterans for Peace

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Central Florida Veterans For Peace chapter co-chair Phil Restino was a guest on Deadline Live with Jack Blood on Voting Day, Tuesday November 2, 2010 on the Oracle Broadcasting Radio Network. Phil talked about the Central Florida chapter of Veterans For Peace July 2009 resolution calling for the Impeachment of President Obama for war crimes knowingly committed under his own command and authority ... the same war crimes that Veterans For Peace and other national antiwar groups for years cited in our respective calls for the Impeachment of President George W. Bush. To access the Impeachment resolution, please go to this post from Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan who endorsed the resolution on 19 July 2010.

Phil also revealed how more and more of us believe that the leadership of the national antiwar groups is actually prolonging the wars by doing all it can to keep the wars a partisan issue by (1) its very clear double-standards in calls for accountability in regards to the Republican War Criminal in Chief George W. Bush and the Democrat War Criminal in Chief Barack H. Obama, (2) focusing their respective flocks on differences with groups of Americans from the "right" concerning issues other than stopping the illegal wars, thus preventing any possibility of the "left" coming together with the "right" in a truly bipartisan populist opposition to the illegal wars and a bipartisan populist demand to stop the wars and cease the occupations, and (3) the big reason that anyone with any common sense at all should be questioning ... and that is the organized antiwar movement's strange refusal to publicly question and strongly demand immediate investigations into the many, many holes in the government's own ridiculous theory explaining the conspiracy behind the attacks of 9/11/01 which to this very day is used as its sole, one and only reason given for justifying the wars that the antiwar movement is supposed to be stopping.

Anyone with at least one working eyeball and 2 live brain cells to rub together who takes just 5 minutes to examine the evidence will see that the holes in the government's own official theory explaining the conspiracy behind the attacks of 9/11/01 are big enough to drive WTC Building 7  itself through with room to spare!

Peace everybody,

Phil Restino
Chapter Co-Chair, VFP Chapter 136
Central Florida Veterans For Peace
P.O. Box 9012
Daytona Beach, FL 32120-9012
ph/fax: (386) 788-2918
email: CentralFlaVFP@aol.com
website: www.cflveteransforpeace.org

Related:

Please listen to the interview.

Watch this video as Veterans For Peace explains to FOX-35 TV the pre-9/11 plans for war by PNAC.

Watch this video to see how "We The People" can end the wars.

Watch this video to see how 9/11 Truth can end the wars.

Watch this video to see why the Antiwar Movement avoids 9/11 Truth.

Section(s): 

It's Jobs or Wars, Not Both

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  • Every military job, every weapons industry job, every war-reconstruction job, every mercenary or torture consultant job appears to be a job, but it is not a job. It is the absence of more and better jobs. It is public money wasted on something worse for job creation than nothing at all and much worse than other available options.
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  • Spending money on the military, even in the United States, hurts the U.S. economy. Spending money on foreign wars is even worse, but all military spending is economically destructive.
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  • The goal? Corporate domination of resources and markets with expanding militarism
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David Swanson, Global Research

Kahlil Bendib
Washington Post's David Broder thinks more war will bring us more jobs. Unlike in Germany, where the president was forced out of office earlier this year for suggesting that war in Afghanistan could benefit the German economy, Americans don't seem to have serious moral qualms about slaughtering human beings for no good reason. We've got three significant wars and a variety of secretive military actions going on now without the slightest mention in our elections. A majority of Americans tell pollsters that the wars should end, but virtually no one tells candidates. However, one has to assume -- for the sake of one's own sanity -- that even Americans, if they knew, would seriously object to further damaging our economy through war and allowing people like David Broder to paper over that process with demonstrably false claims.

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Contrary to partisan myths and stereotypes, U.S. military spending has been on the rise these past two years. And military towns have seen a boom this past decade. But spending money on the military, even in the United States, hurts the U.S. economy. Spending money on foreign wars is even worse, but all military spending is economically destructive. It's worse, economically, than doing nothing. Failing to spend that money and instead cutting taxes would create more jobs than investing it in the military. Investing it in useful industries like mass transit or education would have a much stronger impact and create many more jobs. But even nothing, even cutting taxes, would do less harm than military spending. And that's domestic military spending; spending on foreign wars, funding the Taliban, funding Karzai, misplacing $17 billion, etc., all does even more economic harm.

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The goal? Corporate domination of resources and markets with expanding militarism, Bruce Gagnon, Organizing Notes/Axis of Logic

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  • “Either the Transnational Capitalist Class alliance self-destructs, compelled by the conscious mobilization of the working people in solidarity across the continents, those who oppose war and stand solidly together in a counterforce on the side of humanity, or we go further downhill the slope of lower depths, into an abyss.
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  • For every person there are always two choices in life: to accept things as they are or to accept the responsibility to bring about change – from a war economy to a political economy of peace to share, to preserve our environment and to belong to the commons in which every being has an equal stake for our minimum needs.”
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