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Hidden Harms of AI, Massive Phone Records Surveillance Program, Thriving in the Moneyless Economy
Revealing News Articles
December 5, 2023

Dear friends,

This week we've summarized key news articles on how AI technology is a means of providing deeper power to the elite class, the White House and AT&T collaborating on a massive surveillance program that makes phone records accessible to law enforcement, the Biden administration's plans to lift nearly every restriction on Israel's access to U.S. weapons, and more.

In our independent media section, don't miss articles on Pharma giant Moderna using AI to influence online conversations about the COVID vaccine, the "kangaroo court" being used in the U.S. to prevent those injured by the COVID vaccine from being fairly compensated for their injuries, and the hidden impacts of US-funded wars.

Our inspiring stories this week include thriving in the moneyless economy in the U.S., Norway's use of heat pumps to make home heating more efficient, a Dutch effort to use excess heat from sewage to power cities, and more. You can also skip to this section now.. You can also skip to this section now.

Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the news source listed at the link provided. If any link fails, see this page. The most important sentences are highlighted. By educating ourselves and spreading the word, we can work together to create a more free and informed society.

With best wishes for a transformed world,
Mark Bailey and Amber Yang for PEERS and WantToKnow.info

Special note: Can the First Amendment protect messages on social media platforms? The Supreme Court is currently reexamining the nature of content moderation, and whether it's constitutional for social media platforms to control free speech and the flow of information online. In the face of unaccountable and out-of control government mass surveillance programs, read about the coalition of civil rights, civil liberties, and racial justice organizations fighting to reform Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which enables the U.S. government to gather vast amounts of intelligence on U.S. citizens without seeking a warrant.

Quote of the week: We worry AI will "eliminate jobs" and make millions redundant, rather than recognise that the real decisions are made by governments and corporations and the humans that run them. We have come to view the machine as the agent and humans as victims of machine agency. Rather than seeing regulation as a means by which we can collectively shape our relationship to AI, it becomes something that is imposed from the top as a means of protecting humans from machines. It is not AI but our blindness to the way human societies are already deploying machine intelligence for political ends that should most worry us. — Kenan Malik

Video of the week: Ingrained into the US political system is the funding of wars and the perpetuation of geopolitical conflict. In the wake of the Palestine-Israel tragedy, watch an excellent, 30-min interview with independent journalist Chris Hedges and former US congressman Dennis Kucinich. They shed light on the powerful US war machine: what it is, how it works, and, why it receives bipartisan support.


AI doesn’t cause harm by itself. We should worry about the people who control it
November 26, 2023, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/nov/26/artificial...

OpenAI was created as a non-profit-making charitable trust, the purpose of which was to develop artificial general intelligence, or AGI, which, roughly speaking, is a machine that can accomplish, or surpass, any intellectual task humans can perform. It would do so, however, in an ethical fashion to benefit “humanity as a whole”. Two years ago, a group of OpenAI researchers left to start a new organisation, Anthropic, fearful of the pace of AI development at their old company. One later told a reporter that “there was a 20% chance that a rogue AI would destroy humanity within the next decade”. One may wonder about the psychology of continuing to create machines that one believes may extinguish human life. The problem we face is not that machines may one day exercise power over humans. That is speculation unwarranted by current developments. It is rather that we already live in societies in which power is exercised by a few to the detriment of the majority, and that technology provides a means of consolidating that power. For those who hold social, political and economic power, it makes sense to project problems as technological rather than social and as lying in the future rather than in the present. There are few tools useful to humans that cannot also cause harm. But they rarely cause harm by themselves; they do so, rather, through the ways in which they are exploited by humans, especially those with power.

Note: Read how AI is already being used for war, mass surveillance, and questionable facial recognition technology.


Secretive White House Surveillance Program Gives Cops Access to Trillions of US Phone Records
November 20, 2023, Wired
https://www.wired.com/story/hemisphere-das-white-house-surveillance...

A surveillance program now known as Data Analytical Services (DAS) has for more than a decade allowed federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to mine the details of Americans’ calls, analyzing the phone records of countless people who are not suspected of any crime, including victims. Using a technique known as chain analysis, the program targets not only those in direct phone contact with a criminal suspect but anyone with whom those individuals have been in contact as well. The DAS program, formerly known as Hemisphere, is run in coordination with the telecom giant AT&T, which captures and conducts analysis of US call records for law enforcement agencies, from local police and sheriffs’ departments to US customs offices and postal inspectors across the country, according to a White House memo reviewed by WIRED. Records show that the White House has provided more than $6 million to the program, which allows the targeting of the records of any calls that use AT&T’s infrastructure—a maze of routers and switches that crisscross the United States. Documents released under public records laws show the DAS program has been used to produce location information on criminal suspects and their known associates, a practice deemed unconstitutional without a warrant in 2018. Orders targeting a nexus of individuals are sometimes called “community of interest” subpoenas, a phrase that among privacy advocates is synonymous with dragnet surveillance.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Joe Biden Moves To Lift Nearly Every Restriction On Israel’s Access To U.S. Weapons Stockpile
November 25, 2023, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2023/11/25/biden-israel-weapons-stockpile...

The White House has requested the removal of restrictions on all categories of weapons and ammunition Israel is allowed to access from U.S. weapons stockpiles stored in Israel itself. The move to lift restrictions was included in the White House’s supplemental budget request, sent to the Senate on October 20. “This request would,” the proposed budget says, “allow for the transfer of all categories of defense articles.” The request pertains to little-known weapons stockpiles in Israel that the Pentagon established for use in regional conflicts, but which Israel has been permitted to access in limited circumstances — the very limits President Joe Biden is seeking to remove. Created in the 1980s ... the War Reserve Stockpile Allies-Israel, or WRSA-I, is the largest node in a network of what are effectively foreign U.S. weapons caches. Highly regulated for security, the stockpiles are governed by a set of strict requirements. Under circumstances laid out in these requirements, Israel has been able to draw on the stockpile, purchasing the weapons at little cost. With the WRSA-I, Biden is looking to lift virtually all the meaningful restrictions on the stockpile and the transfer of its arms to Israel, with plans to remove limitations to obsolete or surplus weapons, waive an annual spending cap on replenishing the stockpile, remove weapon-specific restrictions, and curtail congressional oversight. All of the changes ... would be permanent, except for lifting the spending cap, which is limited to the 2024 fiscal year.

Note: Israel has received at least $158 billion in military aid from the US since 1948. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.


Gaza Civilians, Under Israeli Barrage, Are Being Killed at Historic Pace
November 25, 2023, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/25/world/middleeast/israel-gaza...

Israel has cast the deaths of civilians in the Gaza Strip as a regrettable but unavoidable part of modern conflict, pointing to the heavy human toll from military campaigns the United States itself once waged in Iraq and Syria. But ... experts say that even a conservative reading of the casualty figures reported from Gaza shows that the pace of death during Israel’s campaign has few precedents in this century. People are being killed in Gaza more quickly, they say, than in even the deadliest moments of U.S.-led attacks in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, which were themselves widely criticized by human rights groups. Civilian casualties are notoriously hard to calculate, and officials in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip do not separate the deaths of civilians and combatants. Researchers point instead to the roughly 10,000 women and children reported killed in Gaza as an approximate — though conservative — measure of civilian deaths in the territory. More women and children have been reported killed in Gaza in less than two months than the roughly 7,700 civilians documented as killed by U.S. forces and their international allies in the entire first year of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. And the number of women and children reported killed in Gaza since the Israeli campaign began last month has already started to approach the roughly 12,400 civilians documented to have been killed by the United States and its allies in Afghanistan during nearly 20 years of war.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.


High mobile phone use may impact sperm count, study says
November 1, 2023, CNN News
https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2023/11/01/health/mobile-phone-sperm...

Male sperm count has fallen by more than 50% globally in the last 50 years, leaving researchers scrambling to understand why. Could it be pollution, PFAS and other potential toxins in our food and water, an increase in obesity and chronic disease, or even the ever-present mobile phone? A new study explored the role of cell phones and found men between the ages of 18 and 22 who said they used their phones more than 20 times a day had a 21% higher risk for a low overall sperm count. The men also had a 30% higher risk for a low sperm concentration. The study did not specify whether the men called or texted or used their phones to do both. Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are greatly reduced when texting and highest when downloading large files, streaming audio or video, when only one or two bars are displayed, and when in a fast-moving bus, car or train, according to the California Department of Public Health. The agency recommends keeping the phone away from the body and head — use the speakerphone or headphones instead — and carry the phone in a backpack in a backpack, briefcase or purse. Studies in mice have found RF-EMF fields at levels similar to cell phones do lower male fertility and contribute to sperm death and changes in the tissue of the testes. Observational studies in humans have also found that frequent use of mobile phones was connected to a decline in sperm viability as well as an impact on how the sperm swam.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health and the dangers of wireless technologies from reliable major media sources.


FDNY veteran says heart damage from required COVID vax forced early retirement
November 25, 2023, New York Post
https://nypost.com/2023/11/25/metro/fdny-vet-sues-for-disability...

An FDNY firefighter says he was forced to retire on half his salary after the city-mandated COVID-19 vaccine left him with permanent heart damage. O’Brian Pastrana now wants a judge to award him a more lucrative disability pension, which would pay three-quarters of his final salary tax-free, according to court papers. Pastrana, 37, got the jab in October 2021 because the city required it, and had an immediate allergic reaction, including swollen lips, chills and body aches. Despite three trips to the emergency room, he claims he was forced to get the second Pfizer shot a month later. “I thought I was going to die after that second dose,” Pastrana [said], adding he was again rushed to the ER after the second shot. By February 2022, the married father of two was diagnosed with myocarditis, which results in potentially fatal inflammation of the cardiac muscle, and was nearly in heart failure, court records show. The heart condition is a rare side effect of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pastrana was then told he could never be a firefighter again, and forced to retire in March after over a decade on the job. “I was completely blindsided,” he wrote in a statement to the court. The FDNY Uniformed Firefighter Association called his injury “totally avoidable.” The city “held his job over his head and forced him to choose between a vaccine that he did not want, and feeding his family,” Andrew Ansbro, the union’s president, said

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and COVID vaccines from reliable major media sources.


COVID vaccine 'black hole' for injury claims is unconstitutional, lawsuit says
October 10, 2023, Reuters
https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/column-covid-vaccine...

Kangaroo court. That’s how plaintiffs lawyers in a federal lawsuit ... describe the obscure U.S. government tribunal charged with adjudicating claims for compensation by thousands of people who say they suffered serious injuries from COVID-19 vaccines. The lawsuit ... alleges that the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) violates the 5th and 7th amendments of the U.S. Constitution by failing to provide “basic due process protections, transparency, and judicial oversight.” The plaintiffs — eight people who say they experienced debilitating side-effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as React 19, a nonprofit organization for people who claim vaccine-related injuries, want to stop the government from forcing their claims into the CICP until due process safeguards are added. Those include the right to review evidence, obtain discovery, present expert witnesses and appeal adverse decisions. Vaccine makers Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, which have been indemnified by the government and are not named in the suit, also did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The plaintiffs blame the COVID vaccine for causing a wide range of ailments including Bell’s palsy, blood clots in the brain, vertigo, vascular inflammation, chronic fatigue syndrome, small fiber neuropathy, heart palpitations and more. Four plaintiffs have filed claims for compensation with the CICP but have been told there is “no timeline” for adjudicating their cases.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and COVID vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Key Articles From Independent Media


Moderna is spying on you
November 27, 2023, Lee Fang on Substack
https://www.leefang.com/p/moderna-is-spying-on-you

The Moderna misinformation reports, reported here for the first time, reveal what the pharmaceutical company is willing to do to shape public discourse around its marquee product. The mRNA COVID-19 vaccine catapulted the company to a $100 billion valuation. Behind the scenes, the marketing arm of the company has been working with former law enforcement officials and public health officials to monitor and influence vaccine policy. Key to this is a drug industry-funded NGO called Public Good Projects. PGP works closely with social media platforms, government agencies and news websites to confront the “root cause of vaccine hesitancy” by rapidly identifying and “shutting down misinformation.” A network of 45,000 healthcare professionals are given talking points “and advice on how to respond when vaccine misinformation goes mainstream”, according to an email from Moderna. An official training programme, developed by Moderna and PGP, alongside the American Board of Internal Medicine, [helps] healthcare workers identify medical misinformation. The online course, called the “Infodemic Training Program”, represents an official partnership between biopharma and the NGO world. Meanwhile, Moderna also retains Talkwalker which uses its “Blue Silk” artificial intelligence to monitor vaccine-related conversations across 150 million websites in nearly 200 countries. Claims are automatically deemed “misinformation” if they encourage vaccine hesitancy. As the pandemic abates, Moderna is, if anything, ratcheting up its surveillance operation.

Note: Strategies to silence and censor those who challenge mainstream narratives enable COVID vaccine pharmaceutical giants to downplay the significant, emerging health risks associated with the COVID shots. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Lawsuit: COVID Vaccine Injury Claims Diverted to Unconstitutional 'Kangaroo Court'
November 21, 2023, Reason
https://reason.com/2023/11/21/lawsuit-covid-vaccine-injury...

People injured by the COVID-19 vaccines are suing the federal government, claiming the federal program they're forced to pursue compensation through is an opaque and unconstitutional "kangaroo court" that unjustly rejects almost all claims it receives. React19, a patient group of the vaccine injured ... is one of several plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP). The other plaintiffs are all individuals whose compensation claims were rejected by the CICP, despite many having diagnoses from their doctors that the severe injuries they experienced within a few hours or days of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine were a result of the vaccine. Their lawsuit was filed in October. The CICP is currently the only avenue through which those with a COVID-19 vaccine injury can seek compensation. A mix of federal law and pandemic-era emergency declarations bar the vaccine injured from suing vaccine manufacturers in civil court. Those with a COVID-19 vaccine injury are also prohibited from pursuing compensation through the standard Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). People must file a CICP claim within one year of vaccination. "Most of us don't know what's wrong with us for over a year if we can ever get a diagnosis," says [legal affairs director for React19 Christopher] Dreisbach, who himself suffered a COVID-19 vaccine injury. "So many ... don't even know the program even exists." The CICP was first authorized in 2005 by a piece of war-on-terror legislation intended to encourage companies to produce emergency countermeasures to a bioweapons attack or a similar disaster by shielding them from lawsuits.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and COVID vaccines from reliable major media sources.


Unearthing the Hidden Impact of Wars: Tunnels and Tragedies
November 26, 2023, Truthout
https://truthout.org/articles/unearthing-the-hidden-impact-of-wars...

When we think of how to rescue suffering children from the unbridled carnage of numerous wars that have forced people to go underground, the vast network of tunnels built by the Vietnamese comes to mind. Following the U.S. defeat in Vietnam, weapons makers in the United States focused on developing ordnance that could destroy underground tunnels and bases. In Afghanistan, on April 13, 2017, the United States used a Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb nicknamed MOAB, the Mother of All Bombs, to destroy a network of tunnels in the Hindu Kush mountains. The United States had helped the Mujahideen construct these tunnels during their war against the Soviet Union in the late 1970s. Locals say this harsh terrain has been haunted by a deadly, hidden hazard: chemical contamination. Living as we do in a world where countries like the United States maintain a permanent warfare state, we must reckon with the horrific cost of war — and the obscene profits. The Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal notes that weapons makers’ stocks on Wall Street have risen 7 percent since the Israel-Hamas war started. As much as we might long to grasp the hand of the child trying to free herself from underneath a collapsed building’s rubble, we need to imagine and long for the chance to grasp the hand of someone outside our own community, someone we’ve been taught to regard as an enemy or an invisible “other.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.


Key Articles From Years Past


Lockheed and the Future of Warfare
November 28, 2004, New York Times
read on nytimes.com

Lockheed Martin doesn't run the United States. But it does help run a breathtakingly big part of it. Lockheed ... has built a formidable information-technology empire that now stretches from the Pentagon to the post office. It sorts your mail and totals your taxes. It cuts Social Security checks and counts the United States census. It runs space flights and monitors air traffic. Lockheed ... is best known for its weapons. But in the post-9/11 world, Lockheed has become more than just the biggest corporate cog in what Dwight D. Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex. It is increasingly putting its stamp on the nation's military policies. Former Lockheed executives, lobbyists and lawyers hold crucial posts at the White House and the Pentagon, picking weapons and setting policies. War and crisis have been good for business. The company's stock has tripled in the last four years. Lockheed is creating robot soldiers and neural software - "intelligent agents" - to do their work. Israel spends much of the $1.8 billion in annual military aid from the United States to buy F-16 warplanes from Lockheed. Its own executives say the concentration of power among military contractors is more intense than in any other sector of business outside banking. AND, after 9/11 ... cost is essentially irrelevant. Former Lockheed executives serve on the Defense Policy Board ... and the Homeland Security Advisory Council, which help make military and intelligence policy and pick weapons for future battles. Lockheed's board includes E. C. Aldridge Jr. ... the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer.

Note: If the above link fails, click here. To say that "war and crisis have been good for business" is quite an understatement. To read what one of the most highly decorated generals had to say about this, click here.


Inspiring Articles


Why Is the Moneyless Economy Thriving in America?
August 29, 2023, LA Progressive
https://www.laprogressive.com/economic-equality/moneyless-economy

The free, moneyless economy is flourishing in America. Roughly 250 million people were still visiting Craigslist worldwide each month in 2022, 27 years after the site was launched in 1995—and many of those Craigslist users are posting and sharing goods under the site’s popular “free stuff” section. About eight years after Craigslist was launched, Freecycle Network came online in 2003. More than 9 million Americans were still using Freecycle as of 2020, which I detailed in an article that year. And then there’s the relatively young Buy Nothing Project, which turned 10 years old in July of 2023. In addition to providing a digital space where people can request things they need, post things they’re giving away, and share gratitude, one of the B corp’s social benefit model goals is to encourage people to organize community and local events around buying nothing. Over the years, Buy Nothing has been gaining popularity—not through any marketing on the part of the organization but through word-of-mouth and organic growth. The Buy Nothing app, which has only been around for about two years, is ... zeroing in on 1 million users. Buy Nothing’s model varies from that of Craigslist’s “free stuff” and Freecycle in that it is focused on community groups, gatherings, and events organized by and for local communities. The idea is that a global reuse economy will emerge community by community. Buy Nothing exists ... “to build resilient communities where our true wealth is the connections forged between neighbors.”

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


‘You can walk around in a T-shirt’: how Norway brought heat pumps in from the cold
November 23, 2023, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/nov/23/norway-heat...

In most of Europe, fitting a heat pump is one of the most powerful actions a person can take to reduce their carbon footprint. But in Norway, where clean-yet-inefficient electrical resistance heaters have long been common, upgrading to a heat pump is often a purely financial decision. Two-thirds of households in this Nordic country of 5 million people have a heat pump, more than anywhere else in the world. For many years, Norwegians and their neighbours heated their homes with fossil fuels. But during the 1973 oil crisis, when prices shot up, the country’s political leaders made a conscious choice to promote alternatives. “Norway ensured early on that fossil-fuel heating was the most expensive option, making heat pumps cost competitive,” said Dr Jan Rosenow from the Regulatory Assistance Project, a thinktank that works to decarbonise buildings. “They did this by taxing carbon emissions from fossil heating fuels. That’s been the key to incentivise heat pump adoption.” Norway also trained up a workforce to install them. Heat pumps’ efficiency has been increased over decades, partly because of the early adopters in Nordic countries who tinkered away to the point where a modern version can deliver three to five units of heat for every unit of electricity used to power it. An efficient gas boiler, on the other hand, can only produce as much heat as the energy contained in the fuel being burned. A heat pump will have a smaller carbon footprint than a gas boiler even when plugged into an electricity grid.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


‘A treasure beneath our feet’: How the Dutch went down the toilet looking for heat
November 8, 2023, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/nov/08/how-the-dutch...

Dutch sewage waste is being seen as a reliable heat source for millions of homes that the government wants to be unhooked from the country’s gas system by 2050. Lieven de Key, a housing corporation in Amsterdam, is planning what is believed to be the first sewer warmth project that will tap into a main district sewage pipe to warm 1,600 existing social and student homes. “We have a photo of the street covered with snow, and the manhole covers all without snow,” says Jeroen Rademaker, the project leader. “Even when there’s snow in the winter, the sewer is warm. Warm sewage water flows 24 hours a day and we should capture it. This can happen wherever there is a big sewage pipe.” “The warmth comes from showers, the toilet, wastewater from washing, from the dishwasher, from the washing machine,” says Postuma. “Together it all gives, throughout the year, a temperature between 15 and 18 degrees. And we are going to make a bypass around the main sewer, put a heat exchanger around it and bring it to the houses in insulated pipes. We place it in an electric heat pump, and the water is heated up to 60 or 70C – medium temperature.” The heat exchanger transfers that source heat from the drain to a working fluid that can be transported to the buildings without needing to circulate the actual sewage waste. Then the blocks’ heat pumps, fired by solar energy, can amplify that heat in the opposite way to the workings of a refrigerator.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Press 3 for a pep talk from kindergartners. A new hotline gives you options for joy
March 6, 2022, NPR
read on npr.org

Amid a crush of heavy news from around the world, who couldn't use some sage advice right now? Call a new hotline, and you'll get just that — encouraging words from a resilient group of kindergartners. Kids' voices will prompt you with a menu of options: If you're feeling mad, frustrated or nervous, press 1. If you need words of encouragement and life advice, press 2. If you need a pep talk from kindergartners, press 3. If you need to hear kids laughing with delight, press 4. For encouragement in Spanish, press 5. Pressing 3 leads to a chorus of kids sounding off a series of uplifting mantras: "Be grateful for yourself," offers one student. "If you're feeling up high and unbalanced, think of groundhogs," another chimes in. Peptoc, as the free hotline is called, is a project from the students of West Side Elementary, a small school in the town of Healdsburg, Calif. It was put together with the help of teachers Jessica Martin and Asherah Weiss. Martin, who teaches the arts program at the school, says she was inspired by her students' positive attitudes, despite all they've been through — the pandemic, wildfires in the region and just the everyday challenges of being a kid. "I thought, you know, with this world being as it is, we all really needed to hear from them — their extraordinary advice and their continual joy," she said. Martin says she hopes the hotline will give callers a little respite from whatever it is they're going through, which — judging from the thousands of calls the hotline gets each day — is quite a lot. So the next time you need a little boost, dial Peptoc at 707-998-8410.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


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