Military Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on military corruption
Far more civilians have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas than U.S. counter-terrorism officials have acknowledged, a new study by human rights researchers at Stanford University and New York University contends. The report, "Living Under Drones," also concludes that the classified CIA program has ... turned the Pakistani public against U.S. policy in the volatile region. "Real people are suffering real harm" but are largely ignored in government or news media discussions of drone attacks, said James Cavallaro of Stanford, one of the study's authors. Cavallaro said the study was intended to challenge official accounts of the drones as precise instruments of high-tech warfare with few adverse consequences. The study concludes that only about 2% of drone casualties are top militant leaders. The study authors did not estimate overall civilian casualties because of limited data, Cavallaro said. But it cites estimates by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which has reported extensively on drone strikes, of 474 to 884 civilian deaths since 2004, including 176 children. In April, Obama's top counter-terrorism advisor, John Brennan, described civilian casualties from drone strikes as "exceedingly rare." The study challenges official versions of three attacks between 2009 and 2011, including a drone strike on March 17, 2011, that killed an estimated 42 people.
Note: Imagine the uproar if another country killed innocent civilians in the US while using drones to kill terrorists in the country. Visit the Living Under Drones website here. For a Democracy Now! report on the results of this study click here. For more analysis click here and here.
Gone are the days of the all-American army hero. These days, the US military is more like a sanctuary for racists, gang members and the chronically unfit. In the relatively halcyon days of the first Gulf war in 1990, the US military blocked the enlistment of felons. It spurned men and women with low IQs or those without a high school diploma. It would either block the enlistment of or kick out neo-Nazis and gang members. It would treat or discharge alcoholics, drug abusers and the mentally ill. No more. Many of the wars' worst atrocities are linked directly to the loosening of enlistment regulations on criminals, racist extremists, and gang members, among others. By 2005, the US had 150,000 troops deployed in Iraq and 19,500 in Afghanistan. But the military wasn't prepared in any way for this kind of extended deployment. The slim forces needed fattening up and what followed constituted a complete re-evaluation of who was qualified to serve. Information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act ... found the number of convicted criminals enlisting in the US military had nearly doubled in two years, from 824 in 2004 to 1,605 in 2006. A total of 4,230 convicted felons were enlisted, including those guilty of rape and murder. On top of this, 43,977 soldiers signed up who had been found guilty of a serious misdemeanour, which includes assault. Another 58,561 had drug-related convictions, but all were handed a gun and sent off to the Middle East. [And] since its inception, the leaders of the white supremacist movement have encouraged their members to enlist. They see it as a way for their followers to receive combat and weapons training, courtesy of the US government.
Note: Extracted from Irregular Army: How The US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, And Criminals To Fight The War On Terror, by Matt Kennard. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on military corruption, click here.
A Navy SEAL's firsthand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden pulls back the veil on the secret operations conducted almost nightly by elite American forces against terrorist suspects. Former SEAL Matt Bissonnette's account contradicted in key details the account of the raid presented by administration officials in the days after the May 2011 raid in Abbotabad, Pakistan. Bissonnette wrote that the SEALs spotted bin Laden at the top of a darkened hallway and shot him in the head even though they could not tell whether he was armed. Administration officials have described the SEALs shooting bin Laden only after he ducked back into a bedroom because they assumed he might be reaching for a weapon. Bissonnette wrote the book, No Easy Day, under the pseudonym Mark Owen, as one of the men in the room when they killed bin Laden. In [one] scene, a terrified mother clutches her child and a young girl identifies the dead man as Osama bin Laden. The SEAL author says he did "not disclose confidential or sensitive information that would compromise national security in any way."
Note: Isn't it interesting that the SEAL team "spotted bin Laden at the top of a darkened hallway and shot him in the head." If it was a darkened hallway, how did they know it was bin Laden? The articles states "a young girl identifies the dead man as Osama bin Laden." Is that really how they ID'd this guy? And why did they then dump his body into the ocean, so that there could never be definitive proof that the body was indeed bin Laden? So many questions remain. For more evidence bin Laden was not killed by SEALs, click here.
A new documentary by director Kirby Dick, "The Invisible War," about systemic rape of women in the military and the retaliations and coverups victims face, has won awards in many film festivals, and recently even triggered congressional response. The examples of what happens to women soldiers who are raped in the military are stunning, both in the violence that these often young women face, and in the viciousness they encounter after attacks. The level of sex assault in the military [is] staggering. There is so much of this going on in the US military that women soldiers' advocacy groups have created a new term for it: military sexual trauma or MST. Last year, there were 3,158 cases of sexual assault reported within the military. The Service Women's Action Network notes that rape is always under-reported, and that a military context offers additional hurdles to rape victims: the Department of Defense, they point out, estimates that these numbers are misleading because fewer than 14% of survivors report an assault. The DoD estimates that in 2010 alone, over 19,000 sexual assaults occurred in the military. "Prosecution rates for sexual predators are astoundingly low," they note. In 2011, "officials received 3,192 sexual assault reports. But only 1,518 of those reports led to referrals for possible disciplinary action, and only 191 military members were convicted at courts martial."
Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on the prevalence of rape in the US military and other institutional settings, click here.
Stephanie Schroeder joined the U.S. Marine Corps not long after 9/11. A year and a half later, the Marines diagnosed her with a personality disorder and deemed her psychologically unfit for the Corps. Anna Moore enlisted in the Army after 9/11 and planned to make a career of it. She was diagnosed with a personality disorder and dismissed from the Army. Jenny McClendon was serving as a sonar operator on a Navy destroyer when she received her personality disorder diagnosis. These women joined different branches of the military but they share a common experience: Each received the psychiatric diagnosis and military discharge after reporting a sexual assault. CNN has interviewed women in all branches of the armed forces, including the Coast Guard, who tell stories that follow a similar pattern -- a sexual assault, a command dismissive of the allegations and a psychiatric discharge. Despite the Defense Department's "zero tolerance" policy, there were 3,191 military sexual assaults reported in 2011. Given that most sexual assaults are not reported, the Pentagon estimates the actual number was probably closer to 19,000. Anu Bhagwati, a former company commander in the Marines and executive director of Service Women's Action Network, a veterans advocacy group, says she sees a pattern of the military using psychiatric diagnoses to get rid of women who report sexual assaults. From 2001 to 2010, the military discharged more than 31,000 service members because of personality disorder, according to documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Vietnam Veterans of America.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on sexual abuse in institutional settings, click here.
Eight current and former U.S. service members filed a lawsuit [on March 6] alleging they were raped, sexually assaulted or harassed while serving in the military and were retaliated against once they reported the abuse. Among the defendants named in the suit are current and former Defense and Navy secretaries and Marine Corps commandants. "Although defendants testified before Congress and elsewhere that they have 'zero tolerance' for rape and sexual assault, their conduct and the facts demonstrate the opposite: They have a high tolerance for sexual predators in their ranks, and 'zero tolerance' for those who report rape, sexual assault and harassment," according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington. The suit outlines a pattern of abuse and portrays, in grim detail, the alleged experiences of the eight female service members -- two former Marine Corps officers, one active duty enlisted Marine, one former enlisted member of the Marine Corps and four former enlisted members of the Navy. "At first it was easy to laugh it off," plaintiff Elle Helmer, one of the former officers, said about her superiors' advances. "When you finally said, you know, I'm really not interested, I'd rather we be friends -- that's when you became the target. They hated you for standing up for yourself," she [said]. The lawsuit alleges Helmer was raped by her superior at his office in March 2006 after a required pub crawl.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on sexual abuse by the powerful, click here.
Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis ... returned [from Afghanistan] in October of last year with a fervent conviction that the war was going disastrously and that senior military leaders had not leveled with the American public. Late last month, Colonel Davis, 48, began an unusual one-man campaign of military truth-telling. He wrote two reports, one unclassified and the other classified, summarizing his observations on the candor gap with respect to Afghanistan. He briefed four members of Congress and a dozen staff members, spoke with a reporter for The New York Times, sent his reports to the Defense Department’s inspector general — and only then informed his chain of command that he had done so. “How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?“ Colonel Davis asks in an article summarizing his views titled "Truth, Lies and Afghanistan: How Military Leaders Have Let Us Down." Colonel Davis says his experience has caused him to doubt reports of progress in the war from numerous military leaders, including David H. Petraeus, who commanded the troops in Afghanistan before becoming the director of the Central Intelligence Agency in June.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the realities of the various wars, click here.
At one point in the 1970s there were more than 1,000 people in the Danbury area working on The Secret. And though they worked long hours under intense deadlines, sometimes missing family holidays and anniversaries, they could tell no one — not even their wives and children — what they did. They were engineers, scientists, draftsmen and inventors. It was dubbed “Big Bird’’ and it was considered the most successful space spy satellite program of the Cold War era. From 1971 to 1986 a total of 20 satellites were launched, each containing 60 miles of film and sophisticated cameras that orbited the earth snapping vast, panoramic photographs of the Soviet Union, China and other potential foes. The film was shot back through the earth’s atmosphere in buckets that parachuted over the Pacific Ocean, where C-130 Air Force planes snagged them with grappling hooks. The scale, ambition and sheer ingenuity of Hexagon KH-9 was breathtaking. So too is the human tale of the 45-year-old secret that many took to their graves. Hexagon was declassified in September. “The question became, how do you hide an elephant?’’ a National Reconnaissance Office report stated at the time. It decided on a simple response: “What elephant?’’ Employees were told to ignore any questions from the media, and never confirm the slightest detail about what they worked on.
Note: This is another excellent example of how government is able to keep huge projects secret, and how top secret military technology is often decades ahead of anything which has been publicly revealed. Note that even the existence of the National Reconnaissance Office, founded in 1960, was completely denied until it's existence was declassified in 1992. Does government lie to us? Without a doubt.
Barack Obama has abandoned a commitment to veto a new security law that allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil who could then be shipped to Guantánamo Bay. Human rights groups accused the president of deserting his principles and disregarding the long-established principle that the military is not used in domestic policing. The legislation has also been strongly criticised by libertarians on the right angered at the stripping of individual rights for the duration of "a war that appears to have no end". The law ... effectively extends the battlefield in the "war on terror" to the US and applies the established principle that combatants in any war are subject to military detention. The law's critics describe it as a draconian piece of legislation that extends the reach of detention without trial to include US citizens arrested in their own country. "It's something so radical that it would have been considered crazy had it been pushed by the Bush administration," said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. "It establishes precisely the kind of system that the United States has consistently urged other countries not to adopt. At a time when the United States is urging Egypt, for example, to scrap its emergency law and military courts, this is not consistent."
Note: The implications of the passage of this bill to authorize the US military to carry out domestic arrest and imprisonment of US citizens have hardly been reported on by the major media. The defense authorization bill undermines protections established by the Bill of Rights and the Posse Comitatus Act against use of US military forces in domestic control and arrest. For further analysis of the implications of this legislation, click here and here.
One week after a U.S. military airstrike killed a 16-year-old American citizen in Yemen, no one in the Obama administration, Pentagon or Congress has taken responsibility for his death, or even publicly acknowledged that it happened. The absence of official accountability for the demise of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a Denver native and the son of [Anwar al-Awlaki], deepens the legal and ethical murkiness of the Obama administration’s campaign to kill alleged enemies of the state outside of traditional war zones. Officials throughout the U.S. government ... have refused to answer questions for the record about how or why Awlaki was killed Oct. 14 in a remote part of Yemen, along with eight other people. The official silence about the death of the American teenager contrasts with the Obama administration’s eagerness to trumpet another airstrike in Yemen two weeks earlier. In that case, armed drones controlled by the CIA killed the teen’s father, Anwar al-Awlaki. [A] U.S. official said the airstrike was launched by the military’s secretive Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC. The younger Awlaki was the third U.S. citizen killed by the U.S. government in Yemen in recent weeks.
Note: For deep background on reasons why the US government may have wanted to eliminate Anwar al-Awlaki and his son, click here.
Disturbing footage of Apache attack helicopters killing people in Afghanistan is being shown to frontline British soldiers in "Kill TV nights" designed to boost morale. The discovery of the practice ... casts fresh questions over the conduct of soldiers deployed abroad and has provoked a furious response from peace campaigners. Andrew Burgin from Stop the War ... described it as the "ultimate degradation of British troops", comparing it to the desensitisation to death of US soldiers in the final stages of the Vietnam War. The footage ... shows ground troops at the British headquarters in Helmand province, Camp Bastion, gathered for a get-together said to be called "Kill TV night". It shows an Apache helicopter commander admitting possible errors of judgement and warning colleagues not to disclose what they have seen. "This is not for discussion with anybody else; keep it quiet about what you see up here," he says. "It's not because we've done anything wrong. But we might have done." Much of the footage is along the lines of the now infamous video of a US Apache helicopter strike on civilians in Baghdad in 2007, first released on WikiLeaks last year. In one clip an Afghan woman is targeted after a radio dialogue between pilots refers to her as a "snake with tits".
Note: For reliable reports on war atrocities by US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, click here.
Two companies incorporated at a little house in Cheyenne, Wyoming, won Pentagon contracts after their owner took advantage of the state's liberal incorporation laws to create the firms using an alias, and then represented them as minority-owned to win favorable treatment as a military supplier. The firms and their owner were later banned from doing business with the Pentagon for providing knock-off parts. A Reuters investigation has found that more than 2,000 companies are registered at 2710 Thomes Avenue in Cheyenne, the headquarters for Wyoming Corporate Services, a business incorporation company that specializes in corporate anonymity. A Reuters review of federal contracting databases found nine firms registered at 2710 Thomes Avenue have been awarded 93 contracts worth more than $1.6 million by a half dozen government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Treasury's Internal Revenue Service, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. More than 90 percent of the contracts were awarded by the Department of Defense. The companies were created by Atilla C. Kan, an employee of another Pentagon supplier called New York Machinery. Kan formed the companies in Wyoming under the name John Ryan. He later used the alias, and a description of the companies as "minority-owned," "woman-owned" and "Hispanic-owned," when applying to supply military parts, the documents show.
Note: For more on this showing a vast level of corruption, click here and watch the Reuters video available here. For a powerful and deep analysis by David Wilcock on this important topic, which he calls the ultimate ponzi scheme, click here.
Four decades ago, [Daniel Ellsberg] leaked a top-secret study packed with damaging revelations about U.S. conduct of the Vietnam War. On [June 13] that study, dubbed the Pentagon Papers, finally came out in complete form. The National Archives and a trio of presidential libraries released the papers 40 years after The New York Times published the first in its series on the report. Most of the 7,000-page study has been out for years. Monday's release draws it together for the first time, and online. The study reveals a pattern of deception as the Johnson, Kennedy and prior administrations secretly escalated the Vietnam conflict. The declassified report includes 2,384 pages missing from what was regarded as the most complete version of the Pentagon Papers, published in 1971 by Democratic Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska. Ellsberg served with the Marines in Vietnam and came back disillusioned. A protegé of Nixon adviser Henry Kissinger, who called the young man his most brilliant student, Ellsberg served the administration as an analyst, tied to the Rand Corporation. The report was by a team of analysts. To this day, Ellsberg regrets staying mum for as long as he did. "I was part, on a middle level, of what is best described as a conspiracy by the government to get us into war," he said. His message to whistleblowers now: Speak up sooner. "Don't do what I did. Don't wait until the bombs start falling."
Note: Forty years later, both Democratic and Republican administrations continue to escalate war expenses while telling the public they are doing the opposite. For the powerful revelations of a top US general exposing the manipulations behind the war machine, click here. Senator Gravel is spearheading the call for an independent 9/11 investigation and prosecution of Bush and Cheney. For more on this, click here and here.
A U.S. missile strike in Pakistan's North Waziristan region killed at least 25 people on [April 22], sending a clear sign that Washington's use of drones against militants along the Afghan border will continue despite rising opposition from Islamabad's top civilian and military leaders. The strike in the village of Spinwam came two days after Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, held tense talks with Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani amid a pall of mistrust that has weakened relations between Washington and Islamabad in recent months. Pakistan intensified its criticism of the drone campaign after a March 17 strike killed more than 40 people in the North Waziristan village of Datta Khel. Pakistani military leaders said that missile strike killed civilian tribal elders meeting to discuss a dispute over local mining rights, though the U.S. maintains that the people killed were militants. The Datta Khel strike came a day after the release of Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor whose arrest in connection with the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis brought relations between Washington and Islamabad to one of their lowest points in years. Officials in North Waziristan said [the April 22] strike killed 18 suspected militants, though seven of the dead were civilians - three women and four children. Four missiles were fired, two of which struck a guest house with the suspected militants, the officials said. The other two missiles hit another building where the women and children were.
Note: Imagine if another country were flying unmanned flights in the US and killing US citizens who they suspected were terrorists along with innocent civilians as collateral damage. There would be an uproar. Why isn't anyone talking about the legality of a foreign country killing citizens of another country without any judicial process at all, especially when the government of the invaded country opposes the attacks?
The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan intends to order an investigation into whether a three-star general responsible for training Afghan security forces inappropriately used members of a psychological operations team to influence visiting U.S. senators into providing more funding for the war. The U.S. command in Kabul issued a statement Thursday saying Gen. David H. Petraeus "is preparing to order an investigation to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the issue." The investigation stems from an article published ... on the Web site of Rolling Stone magazine alleging that Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, the head of the U.S. and NATO training operation for Afghan forces, used an "information operations" team to "manipulate visiting American senators" and other visitors, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen. The article is based on the claims of a lieutenant colonel who served on a psychological operations team in Afghanistan last year and who alleges he was subjected to retribution when he resisted the assignment.
Note: To read Rolling Stone's fascinating report on how the US military used a secret program to pressure Senators to support the war, click here.
Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators. The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing. The months-long investigation [by The Washington Post], based on nearly 100 interviews and 1,000 documents, found that: * Technologies and techniques honed for use on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan have migrated into the hands of law enforcement agencies in America. * The FBI is building a database with the names and certain personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously. * Law enforcement agencies have hired as trainers self-described experts whose extremist views on Islam and terrorism are considered inaccurate and counterproductive by the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies. * The Department of Homeland Security sends its state and local partners intelligence reports with little meaningful guidance, and state reports have sometimes inappropriately reported on lawful meetings.
Note: This report is part of a series, "Top Secret America," by The Washington Post. For more, click here.
Gordon R. England's appointment to a top Pentagon post in 2006 came at a high price. The Senate committee overseeing his confirmation demanded that he give up lucrative stocks and options he held in companies that do business with the military. England said he took a big hit on his taxes and lost out on more than $1 million in potential profits that year when he divested himself of interests in companies that included General Dynamics. If he had been a senator, he would not have had to sell anything. The Senate Armed Services Committee prohibits its staff and presidential appointees requiring Senate confirmation from owning stocks or bonds in 48,096 companies that have Defense Department contracts. But the senators who sit on the influential panel are allowed to own any assets they want. And they have owned millions in interests in these firms. The committee's prohibition is designed to prevent high-ranking Pentagon officials from using inside information to enrich themselves or members of their immediate family. But panel members have access to much of the same inside information, because they receive classified briefings from high-ranking defense officials about policy, contracts and plans for combat strategies and weapons systems. "I think Congress should live by the rules they impose on other people," said England, who served as deputy defense secretary under George W. Bush until 2009.
Note: Congress is amost always exempt from it's own rules, as further described in this powerful Time magazine article. This is one major source of rampant corruption in US government. For more on government corruption, click here.
Sexual assault pervades the military, but the Pentagon refuses to release records that fully document the problem and how it is handled, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups said in a federal lawsuit that seeks access to the records. Tens of thousands of service members have reported some form of sexual assault, harassment or trauma in the past decade, according to the lawsuit filed [on December 13] in New Haven against the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. "The government's refusal to even take the first step of providing comprehensive and accurate information about the sexual trauma inflicted upon our women and men in uniform ... is all too telling," said Anuradha Bhagwati, a former Marine captain. The government prosecutes 8 percent of military sex offenders, while 40 percent of civilian sex offenders are prosecuted. The lawsuit contends sexual assaults are nearly twice as common within military ranks as in civilian society, and surveys show that nearly one in three women report being sexually assaulted during their time in the military. About 80 percent of unwanted or threatening sexual acts are not reported, according to the lawsuit. Victims who report abuse to their superiors often face social isolation, retribution and counteraccusations, the lawsuit says.
The British military has been training interrogators in techniques that include threats, sensory deprivation and enforced nakedness in an apparent breach of the Geneva conventions. Training materials drawn up secretly in recent years tell interrogators they should aim to provoke humiliation, insecurity, disorientation, exhaustion, anxiety and fear in the prisoners they are questioning, and suggest ways in which this can be achieved. A manual prepared in April 2008 suggests that "Cpers" – captured personnel – be kept in conditions of physical discomfort and intimidated. Sensory deprivation is lawful, it adds, if there are "valid operational reasons". It also urges enforced nakedness. More recent training material says blindfolds, earmuffs and plastic handcuffs are essential equipment for military interrogators, and says that while prisoners should be allowed to sleep or rest for eight hours in each 24, they need be permitted only four hours unbroken sleep. It also suggests that interrogators tell prisoners they will be held incommunicado unless they answer questions. The 1949 Geneva conventions prohibit any "physical or moral coercion", in particular any coercion employed to obtain information. All the British classified training material was produced after the death of Baha Mousa, the Iraqi hotel receptionist tortured to death by British troops in Basra in September 2003.
Note: For a survey of historic and contemporary uses of torture, click here. For more disturbing information on how Nazi torture techniques were eventually used by the CIA for mind control, click here.
A document obtained and witnesses interviewed by Fox News raise new questions over whether there was an effort by the Defense Department to cover up a pre-9/11 military intelligence program known as "Able Danger." At least five witnesses questioned by the Defense Department's Inspector General told Fox News that their statements were distorted by investigators in the final IG's report -- or it left out key information, backing up assertions that lead hijacker Mohammed Atta was identified a year before 9/11. Lt. Col Tony Shaffer, an operative involved with Able Danger [and author of Operation Dark Heart, a recent book which discussed the Able Danger operation, and all copies of which were destroyed by the Pentagon] said, "My last interview was very, very hostile." When asked why the IG's report was so aggressive in its denials of his claims and those of other witnesses -- that the data mining project had identified Atta as a threat to the U.S. before 9/11 -- Shaffer said [the] Defense Department was worried about taking some of the blame for 9/11. Specifically, the Defense Intelligence Agency ... wanted the removal of references to a meeting between Shaffer and the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, removed. Shaffer alleges that in that meeting, which took place in Afghanistan, the commission was told about Able Danger and the identification of Atta before the attacks. Shaffer, who was undercover at the time, said there was "stunned silence" at the meeting. No mention of this was made in the final 9/11 Commission report.
Note: Able Danger was the program which identified Mohamed Atta and three other alleged 9/11 hijackers as a potential terror threat before 9/11. To read major media reports on the intense controversy around this program (which is likely why Shaffer's book is being burned by the Pentagon), click here. For a highly revealing Fox News interview with Col. Shaffer on these major deceptions, click here.
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