Spain

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Breaking: Spain joins South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the ICJ

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/06/2024 - 6:43pm in

Pedro Sánchez, right, and Benjamin Netanyahu

Spain has announced this morning that it has joined South Africa’s case at the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza. Israel’s far-right government and its mouthpieces reacted with fury last month when Spain, along with Ireland and Norway, recognised Palestinian statehood – this latest news will no doubt trigger another wave of smears in defence of Israel’s slaughter of as many as 100,000 Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children, which the UK government and opposition continue to abet.

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Video: right-wing extremist Ben-Gvir rants Israel will never allow Palestinian statehood

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 23/05/2024 - 8:27am in

Racist Israeli security minister chooses Islam’s second holiest site for petulant outburst after Ireland, Spain and Norway declare Palestine a state

Far-right Israeli security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir chose to taint Islam’s second holiest site with his presence for a deranged rant after three European nations all recognised Palestinian statehood.

Ben-Gvir raged that the site ‘belongs only to the people of Israel’, despite the Al Aqsa mosque being officially under Muslim administration by agreement between Israel and Jordan, before ranting that ‘we’ will ‘never allow any surrender that includes even a declaration of a Palestinian state’:

The bad news for the petulant settler-colonist is that Palestine has no intention of surrendering – while support for Israel’s apartheid regime is disappearing fast worldwide, as people wake up to the murderousness of the occupiers.

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US, Israel rant as Ireland, Spain, Norway recognise Palestinian statehood

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 23/05/2024 - 7:50am in

Netanyahu and Biden governments in meltdown again as three countries bypass US veto and declare Palestine a state

Norwegian, Irish and Spanish governments declared Palestine’s statehood

The US and Israeli governments have reacted with fury to announcements by three European governments, at the same time, that they are recognising Palestinian statehood. Ireland, Norway and Spain have all now formally declared Palestine to be a state.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu – probably soon to be declared by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to be wanted for war crimes – raged that the three nations were giving ‘Khamas’ a ‘reward for terrorism’. A Biden government spokesman claimed that the US condemned the recognition because it had been granted ‘unilaterally’ rather than through negotiation – ironic and deeply hypocritical considering that the US vetoed a recent application by Palestine to the UN Security Council motion for full membership of the UN. Several leading pro-Israel politicians called for the ICC to be ‘punished’, with a couple admitting that if Israel is held to account for its war crimes, ‘you know they’ll come for us next’.

Well done Ireland, Norway, Spain and, especially, the people of Palestine. Shamefully, there is no prospect of the UK following suit with either the Tories or what now passes for the Labour party in power after the newly-declared general election.

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Analysis: Spanish PM Sánchez ‘trying to adulterate’ Catalan elections as Puigdemont returns

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 10/05/2024 - 9:02am in

Catalan film-maker Jordi Oriola Folch analyses the run-up to Catalonia’s elections next week

Exiled Catalan politician Carlos Puigdemont (image courtesy of Albert Salamé, www.vilaweb.cat)

On 12 May next week, elections will be held to choose the government of Catalonia. Four years ago, Catalan pro-independence parties won with 52% of the votes and 55% of the seats. A Catalan pro-independence government of ERC and JUNTS was formed with the support of the CUP. But different strategies in the face of constant Spanish judicial repression meant that ERC was left alone in the government.

In these Catalan elections, the situation is totally different, because the result of the last Spanish elections has forced the ruling PSOE to make a pact with JUNTS so that its 7 votes would contribute to the investiture of President Pedro Sánchez. This has forced him to accept an amnesty law with which, soon, all those persecuted by the “lawfare” (judicial warfare using fraudulently the law) of the Spanish justice system will be free of any accusation. Among them, the Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who in 2017 organised the referendum on self-determination, was illegally deposed by the Spanish government and had to go into exile in Belgium to avoid being unjustly imprisoned.

At the beginning of this election campaign, the PSC (the Catalan PSOE) was leading the polls because the majority of the non-independence vote is concentrated in this party. A little further behind were the two big pro-independence parties, ERC and JUNTS. But then Puigdemont announced that he was standing as a candidate and that he would return triumphantly to Spain for the investiture with the protection of the amnesty he has managed to wrest from Spain. Then voting intentions began to shift towards JUNTS and closer and closer to the PSC.

The thing is that Puigdemont is the number one enemy of Spanish nationalism and arouses great fear in Spain, because he represents insubordination to the state and has not been able to be subdued. This is why, at the start of the election campaign, Pedro Sánchez surprised everyone with a reckless and disturbing juggling act. Without warning, he published a letter on social media announcing that he was very upset with the extreme right because his wife was accused of corruption. And he announced that he was giving himself five days to reflect on whether he should leave the presidency. Sánchez had always denied the claims of the pro-independence movement that they had been victims of “lawfare”, with the mantra that Spain is a state governed by the rule of law. But now he has acknowledged that, in Spain, judicial dirty war is being practised.

The country was left on the edge of the precipice, waiting for the president’s decision. After five days he affirmed that he would continue and, taking advantage of the state of shock, tried to call on his followers to vote in the Catalan elections with the justification of demonstrating to the extreme right that Pedro Sánchez has the support of the people. With this manipulative strategy, Sánchez managed to increase the PSC’s voting intentions and stay ahead of Puigdemont.

But as the elections approach, it seems that this trend of PSC growth has stalled and, on the other hand, the pro-independence electorate is concentrating its vote on Puigdemont. We shall see who ends up winning… In any case, even if Puigdemont does not come out on top, it is possible that he will be the only one to obtain a majority to be invested as president of Catalonia. In this case: how will Spain react to a person it has persecuted so viscerally? Will it respect the will expressed at the ballot box or will it give free rein to its repressive nationalism?

Jordi Oriola Folch is a physicist, documentary filmmaker and teacher who lives in Barcelona and fights for the independence of Catalonia.

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Analysis: Catalonia’s pro-independence movement forces Spain to approve amnesty

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/03/2024 - 10:55am in

Catalan film-maker Jordi Oriola Folch on Spain’s amnesty for pro-independence politicians and activists and the success it represents for them

Photograph: Josep Renalias – Lohen11

In the Middle Ages, Catalonia was one of the great European nations, but after 1714 it was subjugated by Castile (Madrid) and lost its sovereignty. The Spanish way of being (vertical, authoritarian, conquering and warlike) is opposed to the Catalan way (horizontal, pacifist, democratic and merchant), that is why Catalonia has always tried to become independent, but Spain has violently prevented it.

From 1939 to 1978, Spain had a fascist dictatorship, which was not defeated as in the case of Germany and Italy. The transition to democracy was not by conviction but because the world demanded it and it was very deficient. Since then, two major parties have alternated in power, PP from the right and PSOE from the center. The PP is the direct heir of fascism and the PSOE is the heir, by environmental osmosis, of the same intolerant nationalism.

The ongoing independence attempt is the most powerful in history because now Spain cannot consider killing us in the institutional framework of the EU. In 2017 we held and won a self-determination referendum. The PP fought it using anti-democratic methods: judges, secret services, police… and then the PSOE is doing the same: repression and denial of any option towards freedom for Catalonia.

In the recent electoral campaign, the PSOE ridiculed Catalan independence, assured that it would arrest and lock up in prison Carles Puigdemont (the president of Catalonia who carried out the referendum in 2017 and who is in exile in Belgium) and denied the possibility of an amnesty for pro-independence criminals or any referendum on self-determination for Catalonia. The PSOE was showing off its chest by exhibiting the aggressive nationalism that is typical of the Spanish identity.

But the PP and the extreme right of VOX won the elections of July 23, 2023 without an absolute majority. Then the PSOE, seeing that it does not govern in any large region or city council, wanted to get the government of Spain so that its party has economic viability. And everything has changed. They no longer blaspheme the Catalan independentism, but they make a pact because they need their 7 votes to govern.

On March 7, the amnesty law that the PSOE said it would never approve was passed. And they have approved it with the Catalan pro-independence parties and other parties, in total 8 parties (179 seats and 12.3 million votes). It is a success for the Catalan independence movement because it has shown that they were falsely accused. Nobody would have been able to approve an amnesty that would pardon real terrorists. Spanish nationalism, in full fury, invented accusations against Catalan independence: rebellion, sedition, terrorism, treason, hate crimes, economic embezzlement,…. But it is quite the opposite, the Catalan independence movement is exemplary in its democratic approach (it does not want to impose independence but has always wanted to hold a referendum of self-determination for the Catalan society to decide democratically) and it is not violent (it has made massive and peaceful mobilizations). Aware that there had been “lawfare” (judicial dirty war), the PSOE has now accepted an amnesty.

But the right and the extreme right do not want to accept the amnesty, because they see it as a defeat. They have always imposed themselves by force and now they do not want to accept the law passed by the Spanish parliament. The judges threaten to sabotage the law and not to apply it. And the fact is that, there being no crimes, an amnesty law is needed because the judges accept the invented accusations and condemn the pro-independence supporters to destroy this political movement. With that motivation, the judges will look for subterfuges not to apply it and to continue condemning.

And all this is because now the PSOE needs the 7 pro-independence votes, but what will it do when it does not need them? What will it do when the Catalan pro-independence movement, remade from this chapter of repression, mobilizes again to free itself from Spain? We know: Both PP and PSOE will go back to repression. But for the moment, the independence movement has managed to demonstrate that it is not guilty of any crime and that it only wants freedom from a country that only increases the desire of the Catalans to free themselves from it.

The EU cannot continue tolerating these abuses and will have to intervene sooner or later, because the European Justice is about to issue judgments against Spain (this imminence has also motivated the PSOE to approve the amnesty). In order not to waste time, or energy, or increase the Spanish institutional crisis, it would be better for the EU to force Spain to accept the result of the 2017 referendum or hold a new one in which the Catalans can decide their future free of impositions and authoritarianism.

Jordi Oriola Folch is a physicist, documentary filmmaker and teacher who lives in Barcelona and fights for the independence of Catalonia.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Globetrotting for Genocide: Foreign Fighters From US, France and India Are Fighting Israel’s War in Gaza

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/03/2024 - 3:10am in

Israelis aren’t the only demographic among the IDF’s forces in Gaza. Foreign fighters from as far away as the United States, France, Spain, the Netherlands and even India actively participate in the hostilities. While the exact number of internationals fighting in Gaza isn’t known, what is known is that citizens from numerous countries appear to be at least complicit in what has been called a genocide.

Under Israel’s Law of Return, any individual with at least one Jewish grandparent or spouse can obtain Israeli citizenship. In this regard, many born abroad can serve in Israel’s military while still keeping their birthplace’s nationality. They often emigrate and then serve in the army.

Currently, 45% of the Israeli army’s “lone soldiers,” those who serve but don’t have family in Israel, are new immigrants. The current “lone soldier” program has troops from over 60 countries, with approximately 35% from the U.S. It’s important to note, though, that individuals part of Israel’s “lone soldier” program are not considered mercenaries, who are professionals hired by a country’s government to fight in its war and aren’t citizens of said country.

To widen the recruitment pool, the Israeli military now accepts great-grandchildren of Jews to join. While they aren’t eligible to become Israeli citizens under the Law of Return, they can serve in the Israeli army.

Another route is volunteering in Israel’s Mahal program, which permits Jewish youth from other countries to join the army without becoming citizens. There are currently 500 Mahal volunteers in Israel’s military.

“Most mercenaries fighting for Israel now are welcomed based on their religious affiliations and dual citizenships, making their accountability pretty complex,” Mustafa Fetouri, a Libyan journalist and analyst, told MintPress News. “Many countries whose citizens are fighting for Israel, including the USA, have laws criminalizing such actions, but it is not a straightforward issue when the dual citizenship is factored in.”

Fetouri expanded on this, writing in the Middle East Monitor that “America’s Neutrality Act, dating back to the founding days of the US, mak[es] it illegal for any American citizen to take part in any foreign war, or establish a militia for that purpose.” He noted the legislation, however, hasn’t been reinforced lately “as hundreds of Americans have participated in wars in Ukraine, in Libya in 2011 and, now, in Gaza.”

The Israeli military also openly recruits nationals of other countries. For instance, the Israeli consulate in Toronto has advertised appointments with its military representative for those wishing to join the military.

The consulate’s website said, “Young people who wish to enlist in the IDF or anyone who has not fulfilled their obligations according to the Israeli Defense Service Law are invited to meet with him.”

Organizations like Nefesh B’Nefesh, which encourages Jewish immigration to Israel from North America, have hosted events on joining the Israeli military. Sar-El (National Project for Volunteers for Israel) recruits Jewish and non-Jewish internationals to assist Israeli military efforts on army bases, such as packaging food and medical supplies.

 

The Nationalities Serving

In November, the Spanish newspaper, El Mundo, revealed that Spanish mercenary Pedro Diaz Flores is now fighting for Israel, having previously fought in Ukraine with the neo-Nazi Azov Brigade.

“So I came for economy, for money. They pay very well, they offer good equipment, and the work is calm. It is 3,900 euros [$4,187] per week, complementary missions aside,” Flores told El Mundo.

While pictured next to a border checkpoint with the Gaza Strip, he told the newspaper he’s working in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, saying, “We only provide security support to arms convoys or the troops of the Israeli armed forces that are in the Gaza Strip, we do not fight Hamas directly, nor are we involved in assault operations.”

“We are in charge of the security of the checkpoints and access control on the borders of Gaza and Jordan. There are many PMCs [private military companies] here, and they share the work. Traditionally, they have guarded border terminals between Eilat and Aqaba,” he added.

He told the newspaper he was recruited by Raven and Global CST. Information on Raven isn’t available online. MintPress News reached out to Global CST to verify Flores’ contract. Global CST said it doesn’t know Flores and that “Global CST holds no security or military activities of any type or form, not in Israel, not in Gaza, and not in any other territory worldwide.”

Global CST told MintPress News it’s a renewable energy company and denied reports it’s providing defense and security services to governments and other organizations. On LinkedIn, Global CST is described as offering “strategic consulting and project integration management.” The website listed on Global-CST’s LinkedIn is currently down. When asked for a website, Global CST directed MintPress to Global Group’s website, which promotes agricultural projects worldwide.

The LinkedIn profile of the firm’s founder, Israel Ziv, a retired Israeli general, details Global CST as an “Israeli-based security consultancy group…which has built a vast and unique track record in various continents around the globe, such as South America, Eastern Europe, and Africa.” Global CST confirmed to MintPress News Ziv is its founder. The company, which also operates under the name Global N.T.M., was established in 2006 and remains active.

In 2018, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on Global CST and Ziv for allegedly supplying weapons to South Sudan. The U.S. Treasury Department said Ziv used an agricultural company “as a cover for the sale of approximately $150 million worth of weapons to the government, including rifles, grenade launchers and shoulder-fired rockets.”

The U.S. also said Ziv “planned to organize attacks by mercenaries on South Sudanese oil fields and infrastructure in an effort to create a problem that only his company and affiliates could solve.” The U.S. lifted its sanctions on Ziv and his company in 2020 without an explanation.

Since El Mundo’s publication, reports have also emerged of other nationalities involved in a more direct capacity with Israel’s assault on Gaza. Footage has surfaced of Israeli soldiers speaking with American accents or with American flag patches on their uniforms.

According to the U.S. State Department, 21 American citizens who were members of the Israeli military have been killed in Gaza since the war began. Canadian media has reported its own nationals are volunteering with the Israeli army and are motivated to serve in Gaza. And British newspaper, The Guardian, reported British nationals have been killed in Gaza while fighting for Israel. Britons are also arriving in droves to volunteer with the military like doctors and university chaplains. Around 100 British citizens are currently part of Israel’s military.

In December, Al Jazeera reported seven Ukrainian mercenaries were reportedly killed near Gaza City while fighting alongside Israeli forces. This news came as images of Israeli soldiers speaking Ukrainian circulated on social media. The Ukrainian government denies its citizens are fighting in Gaza, however.

“We did not send any soldiers to the Gaza Strip or any other region of the world,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Al Jazeera.

“The footage that shows people speaking Ukrainian in the Gaza Strip may be Israelis of Ukrainian or Slavic origins who have no connection to the state,” the spokesperson added.

According to Australian journalist CJ Werleman, Israeli soldiers of Indian origin are also fighting in Gaza. The Indian Foreign Ministry did not respond to inquiries on whether its citizens are fighting in Gaza.

In December, Eekad, an Arabic open-source platform, revealed Forward Observations Group as an American mercenary company fighting alongside Israeli forces in Gaza.

Close examination of Forward Observation Group’s Instagram account suggests the group has been cooperating with the Israeli army since October — first stationed around the Gaza border and then located within the enclave by the end of November. The last image on its account from Gaza is dated January 16. Another post dated January 11 depicts camera footage of Israeli soldiers fighting in Gaza. It is captioned, “Helmet cam footage from a LOTAR Special Forces team leader we embedded with shortly after the OCT 7th attack.” A recent Instagram Story from Forward Observations shows a soldier in a hospital bed draped with Forward Observation’s flag. An Israeli flag hangs on the wall next to him.

Eekad discovered the company was founded in October 2018, and while billing itself as a military gear shop, it currently only has one item in stock — a first aid bag. Forward Observations was registered as a foreign limited liability company in Nevada on October 15, 2020, and remains active. Derrick Bales, a former U.S. infantry soldier who fought in Afghanistan, founded the company. A Forward Observations’ Instagram post on November 9, 2023, confirmed Bales as the company’s former director and revealed his official Instagram is under the name “Raoul Duke.” In February, Bales responded to Eekad’s investigation with a photo from Gaza on his Instagram account, writing, “@eekadfacts here’s some more pictures for your article.”

According to Foreign Policy, Forward Observations traveled to Ukraine to source medical supplies, gear, and money for Ukrainian soldiers. Bales has been criticized for associating with Vadim Lapaev, a member of the far-right Azov Battalion. He apologized for his connections to Lapaev but said the brigade isn’t as radical as alleged.

Yet Eekad found otherwise. For instance, Eakad’s thorough scrutiny of Lapaev’s social media accounts found photos of Lapaev giving a Nazi salute, holding a sign featuring a swastika, and wearing a necklace with the infamous Nazi symbol as well.

Forward Observations did not respond to MintPress’ inquiries to verify if its personnel are indeed in Gaza and what it’s doing there.

 

Complicit in War Crimes

Amid the revelations that citizens of other countries may be participating in Israel’s genocide on Gaza, some governments and activists are taking a stand.

In December, South Africa announced it might prosecute or even strip the citizenship of South African nationals who have joined the Israeli army and are fighting in Gaza.

“The South African government is gravely concerned by reports that some South African citizens and permanent residents have joined or are considering joining the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the war in Gaza and the other occupied Palestinian territories,” the state’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation, said.

Also, in December, French parliamentary member Thomas Portes sent a letter to France’s Justice Minister, Eric Dupond-Moretti, requesting he investigate around 4,000 French citizens fighting with Israeli forces on the frontlines in Gaza.

The March 30 Movement, a European pro-Palestine group founded in November, has already filed seven complaints against Dutch Israelis currently serving in the Israeli army in Gaza. They have also filed complaints against Israeli soldiers who traveled to the Netherlands to protest the International Court of Justice proceedings and a French-Israeli soldier, who was also in the Netherlands. While these soldiers don’t have Dutch nationality, they can be investigated because they were on Dutch soil, the March 30 Movement told MintPress News. The group is also submitting a case in Belgium and other cases against French nationals.

“They’ve posted themselves on Instagram or on TikTok, standing on the rubbles of a house in Gaza saying, ‘We want to wipe out Amalek from under the sky, and we will kill them all,'” Dyab Abou Jahjah, president of the March 30 Movement told MintPress News. Amalek refers to Israelites’ rival in the Hebrew bible and was invoked by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when calling to attack Gaza.

Abou Jahjah added, “They think they are beyond the reach of justice. Maybe if they are only Israeli, but if they are Belgian, we are going to make sure that we take them to court.”

Feature photo | Illustration by MintPress News

Jessica Buxbaum is a Jerusalem-based journalist for MintPress News covering Palestine, Israel, and Syria. Her work has been featured in Middle East Eye, The New Arab and Gulf News.

The post Globetrotting for Genocide: Foreign Fighters From US, France and India Are Fighting Israel’s War in Gaza appeared first on MintPress News.

800+ US/EU officials sign statement that governments ‘risk complicity’ in Gaza genocide

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 04/02/2024 - 12:25pm in

Over 800 US and EU officials have signed a statement warning their governments that they are likely to be guilty of complicity in Israel’s genocide in Gaza and that their advice of the danger of “grave violations of international law” in Israel’s bombing and shelling of Gaza and its “deliberate blocking of aid” to create “one of the worst human catastrophes of this century” has been ignored. The statement comes from officials in twelve countries, including the US, UK, Germany and France.

The statement comes as a growing coalition of nations has committed to continuing to fund UNRWA, the UN aid agency providing desperately-needed humanitarian relief in Gaza, despite the collusion of the UK, US and other governments in defunding the agency after Israel claimed twelve of its 13,000 employees in Gaza participated in the 7 October raid. Ireland, Spain, Scotland, Norway, Belgium, Portugal, Slovenia and Luxembourg have all committed to providing continued funds.

Israel bombed Belgium’s aid agency office on Thursday night, shortly after Belgium’s announcement.

The International Centre for Justice for Palestinians has warned UK and US politicians it will bring prosecutions against those who collude in Israel’s slaughter of tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children, in Gaza.

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Trickett tables motion demanding disclosure of government legal advice on Gaza genocide

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/01/2024 - 6:16am in

Left-wing Labour MP Jon Trickett has tabled a parliamentary ‘Early Day Motion’ (EDM) demanding that the government reveal the advice its legal experts have given it over Israel’s war crimes and South Africa’s powerful and thorough genocide case against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The motion reads:

That this House understands that questions have been raised internationally about the legality of the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza; recognises that in November 2023 UN experts raised the alarm about the risk of genocide in Gaza; highlights the UN General Secretary’s reasons for invoking Article 99 that there is a high risk of total collapse of the humanitarian support system in Gaza, which would have devastating consequences; further highlights his comments to the Security Council that international humanitarian law includes the duty to protect civilians and to comply with the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution and that the laws of war also demand that civilians’ essential needs must be met, including by facilitating the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian relief; notes the Spanish Prime Minister’s comments that he has serious doubts that Israel is complying with international humanitarian law; further notes the letter signed by prominent Israeli public figures to the Attorney General in December 2023 which said there have been explicit calls to commit atrocious crimes against millions of civilians, providing evidence of the discourse of annihilation, expulsion and revenge; acknowledges the case South Africa has brought to the International Court of Justice claiming Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is tantamount to genocidal actions; and calls on the Government to publish in full the legal advice it has received from its law officers regarding the situation in Gaza, particularly in the run up to UN votes, and the legality of the UK export licensing of arms to the Israel.

Tory MPs have spoken in the Commons to try to dismiss South Africa’s case as having ‘no legal merit’ – farcical when the ICJ, by accepting the case, has already decided that Israel has a case to answer. The disclosure of the government’s legal advice would be expected to reveal that the Tories have been told the same by their own lawyers – which means the government will fight to avoid it and broad support among MPs for the motion is vital to increase pressure.

Since it was tabled yesterday, only eighteen MPs have signed. Use theyworkforyou.com to contact your MP and tell them to support the motion.

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