Feds: Obama Broke Law with Bergdahl for Gitmo Terrorists Swap

Now what? via Feds: Obama Broke Law with Bergdahl Swap | National Review Online.

President Obama violated a “clear and unambiguous” law when he released five Guantanamo Bay detainees in exchange for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the Government Accountability Office reported Thursday.

“[The Department of Defense] violated section 8111 because it did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer,” the GAO report said. “In addition, because DOD used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act. The Antideficiency Act prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations exceeding an amount available in an appropriation.”

The GAO rejected the idea that the action was legal and sidestepped the Obama team’s suggestion that the law is unconstitutional.

“It is not our role or our practice to determine the constitutionality of duly enacted statutes,” the report says. “In our view, where legislation has been passed by Congress and signed by the President, thereby satisfying the bicameralism and presentment requirements in the Constitution, that legislation is entitled to a heavy presumption in favor of constitutionality.”

NRO – a supposedly conservative website can’t even suggest a course of legal action against a president who knowingly and intentionally broke the law and tried to convince Congress and Americans he did nothing wrong by releasing five known terrorists?

At least one NRO author, back in July, tried to explain What ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors’ Means. Unfortunately, he too claims nothing can be done.

History will prove Obama not only to have been the worst president in U.S. history, but the biggest coup in world history.

Obama sending 6 Gitmo jihadis to Uruguay

Obama-Jihadi-Seed

via Hagel Said to Tell Congress 6 Guantánamo Detainees Will Be Sent to Uruguay – NYTimes.com.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has secretly notified Congress that the military intends to transfer six low-level Guantánamo Bay detainees to Uruguay as early as next month, according to people with knowledge of the communication. All six have been approved for transfer for more than four years.

Mr. Hagel’s formal determination that the transfer would be in the national security interest of the United States breaks a bureaucratic paralysis over a deal that has been waiting for his approval since March, but that stalled amid the political uproar over a prisoner exchange deal that secured the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from insurgents in the Afghanistan war.

The six detainees bound for Uruguay include a Syrian man who has brought a high-profile court challenge to the Pentagon’s procedures for forcibly feeding detainees who are on a hunger strike. His transfer would most likely render that lawsuit moot, although there are several similar challenges.

“The United States is grateful to our partner, Uruguay, for this significant humanitarian gesture, and appreciates the Uruguayan government’s generous assistance as the United States continues its efforts to close the detention facility at Guantánamo,” said Ian Moss, a State Department spokesman. “We remain very appreciative of the assistance of our friends and allies who have stepped up not just to receive their own nationals but also those countries who have accepted detainees for resettlement.”

The group would be the largest to depart the prison at once since 2009, and the transfer would reduce the Guantánamo Bay inmate population to 143. That figure includes 72 prisoners who are recommended for transfer, and 71 who are not.

By giving lawmakers a congressionally mandated notice of at least 30 days before any transfer, Mr. Hagel signaled a return to normal order for Guantánamo prisoner releases.

It may be mandated, but lawless Obama (and everyone in his administration) has proven nothing is enforceable and he is above all laws and Congress, the Senate, the military nor anyone else will do a damn thing about it.

In the Bergdahl deal, the Obama administration did not give notice before transferring five high-level Taliban detainees to Qatar. Some lawmakers in both parties said that was illegal. The Obama administration insisted that providing no notice in that case was lawful, citing the risk to Sergeant Bergdahl’s life posed by any delay after the deal was struck.

Before the controversy, the Senate Armed Services Committee had reached a bipartisan deal clearing the way to transfer some detainees to a prison on domestic soil, allowing the Guantánamo prison to be closed. After the Bergdahl exchange, the Republican-led House voted, largely along party lines, for a proposal to prohibit the transfer of any detainee for any purpose.

Amid the political fallout, Mr. Hagel and his top military advisers had signaled reluctance to move forward with the Uruguay deal, along with another proposal to repatriate four low-level Afghan detainees that has been awaiting his approval since February, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

Of the six detainees President José Mujica of Uruguay has offered to resettle, four are Syrian, one is Palestinian and one is Tunisian. On June 26, lawyers for the six sent a letter to the administration urging it to act quickly while there was a window of opportunity, arguing that “these men should not be used as scapegoats in the current bout of U.S. partisan politics.” The administration is said to have notified Congress on July 9 that Mr. Hagel had approved the deal.

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Lt. Col. Myles Caggins III, a Pentagon spokesman, said he was limited in what he could say for security reasons, but added, “Although we will not discuss certain aspects of our communications with Congress, we continue to move forward in transferring Guantánamo detainees and will continue to comply with the law in notifying Congress 30 days in advance of any transfer.”

If the transfer takes place in early August, a consequence could be the dismissal, without a ruling on the merits, of a lawsuit brought by one of the men, Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab, challenging the military’s procedures for force-feeding detainees who have been on a long-term hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention without trial.

 Uruguay is near the tri-border region where Hizbollah and other Islamic terrorists thrive.

Obama to free Gitmo terrorist ‘because he took up yoga’

via Obama to free Gitmo terrorist ‘because he took up yoga’ | New York Post.

If you thought President Obama’s release of five top Taliban commanders in exchange for POW Bowe Bergdahl was bad, wait until you see what his Gitmo parole board plans.

Desperate to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison by the end of his term, Obama quietly is giving “get out of jail free” cards for the flimsiest of excuses.

One al Qaeda suspect captured in Afghanistan is considered reformed because he took up yoga and read a biography of the Dalai Lama. Another is eligible for release because of his “positive attitude.”

And one longtime detainee, a former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, is now harmless because he’s going to start a “milk and honey farm.”

The Periodic Review Board already helped clear 78 of the remaining 149 prisoners for release, documents show, and has scheduled more hearings for this summer.

Many of these men were dubbed “forever prisoners” because of the threat they posed to the US — with intelligence officials warning that, if free, they would return to the jihad to kill Americans.

Based on past cases, that’s a good bet.

In a report on detainee recidivism, Obama’s own director of national intelligence this year documented that 178, or 29 percent, of the 614 prisoners already transferred from the prison have been confirmed to have, or are suspected of having, re-engaged in terrorism.

That means for every three freed from Gitmo, one has rejoined the war against us. Intelligence analysts admit their ability to track all former detainees is limited, so the recidivism rate may, in fact, be much higher.

One notorious recidivist, Abdullah Gulam Rasoul, became the Taliban’s operations commander in southern Afghanistan soon after his 2007 release from Gitmo. He was blamed for masterminding a surge in roadside attacks against American troops and organizing assaults on US aircraft in Afghanistan.

Another repeat terrorist is Said Ali al-Shihri, who after his 2007 release ran al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch and helped plan the deadly bombing of the US Embassy there.

Already, one of the five Taliban leaders freed last week in exchange for Bergdahl — Mullah Noorullah Noori — has pledged to return to fight Americans in Afghanistan.

Obama’s terrorist parole board was established in 2011. He appoints its members — officials from the Justice Department, Pentagon, State Department and Homeland Security — without a congressional confirmation process. It is secretive and lacking in accountability.

In setting up the Periodic Review Board, meanwhile, Obama prohibited members from relying on information that has been obtained as a result of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (in order) to support a determination that continued law of war detention is warranted for a detainee.”

The bias against interrogation evidence potentially opens up the release of some of Gitmo’s hardest cases, including al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah, 2002 Bali bombing mastermind “Hambali,” and Mohammed al-Qahtani, the suspected 20th hijacker of the 9/11 attacks.

But these releases won’t cause the same outcry, because it’s being done in virtual secrecy. Already, more than 600 prisoners have been transferred out of Gitmo with little fanfare. Two hundred of them were sent back to Afghanistan.

As defense lawyer David Remes explained to Al Jazeera news network, “The Periodic Review Board is likely to be predisposed to approval to transfer because the idea here is to close down Guantanamo.”

The inmates slated for release include:

GHALEB NASSER AL-BIHANI, 34

“He loves yoga”

What he did: Classified as an “indefinite detainee” in 2010 because of the danger he posed to the US. The Yemeni national was captured in 2001 fighting in Afghanistan. The military said he was a troublemaker while in custody, even inciting riots. He was uncooperative in interviews, showing “ill intentions toward the US.” One of his brothers in Yemen is a leader in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group’s most lethal branch.

What they say now: His government-appointed lawyer argued he was merely an assistant cook for an unspecified military group. “He has asked for yoga magazines and self-help books,” lawyer Pardiss Kebriaei told the parole board in April, noting he practices yoga in his cellblock and has read biographies of the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King Jr.

In his own plea to the board, Bihani suggested his hostility comes from losing his parents as a boy, saying, “It was hard growing up without a mother or father.” He promised to start a family and live a peaceful life if freed. “I look forward to the day when I can hold my baby in my hands,” he said. Last month, the board said it found his story “credible” and declared al-Bihani “no longer…a threat to the security of the United States.”

MAHMUD ABD AL AZIZ AL MUJAHID, 33

“Wants a milk & honey farm”

What he did: Served as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard and was captured after 9/11. The military warns that, if freed, he would likely hook up in Yemen with his brother, “another former bin Laden bodyguard.”

Without explanation, the board blacked out a large section of Mujahid’s testimony dealing with al Qaeda.

What they say now: “Mujahid is a peacemaker,” his lawyer David Remes insisted, adding he “requires no rehabilitation when he returns.”

Mujahid called a character witness — another detainee — who testified that Mujahid had told him he wants to start a “milk and honey farm” in Yemen.

In November, the board cleared Mujahid for release, reasoning he would maintain his good behavior through “extensive family support in Yemen.” Panelists were impressed with his personal statement that, while growing up, “in our household, we were taught politeness, decency and human being [sic].”

ALI AHMAD MOHAMED AI-RAZIHI, 33

“Has a positive attitude”

What he did: Served as an Osama bin Laden bodyguard. There’s evidence he wrote to his family boasting of his commitment to jihad. The military cautioned officials against believing that “his stated intentions are genuine.”

Curiously, the board withheld Razihi’s written testimony and hearing transcript.

What they say now: In taking him off the threat list, the board cited his “positive attitude.” His personal representative convinced board members that Razihi “has keen business acumen” and seeks to take over the family’s “fruit and vegetable business” in Yemen.

Added the unnamed government advocate: “He’s ready to live out the rest of his days as a peaceful man, a family man and an entrepreneur, and no longer should be considered a continued significant threat to the United States.”

Prisoners in Gitmo at height in 2003: 684

Prisoners left: 149

Cleared for transfer but not yet released: 78

Prisoners, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who are considered “high-value detainees” charged with war crimes: 16

Recidivism rate for released prisoners: 29%

 

Previously, Obama to Free Gitmo Terrorists Who Learn About (non-existent) ‘Peaceful Form of Islam’.

 

Administration confirms Obama broke law releasing terrorists from Gitmo

via The Washington Post.

Lawmakers were not notified of the Guantanamo detainees’ transfer until after it occurred.

The law requires the defense secretary to notify relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before making any transfers of prisoners, to explain the reason and to provide assurances that those released would not be in a position to reengage in activities that could threaten the United States or its interests.

Before the current law was enacted at the end of last year, the conditions were even more stringent…

A senior administration official, agreeing to speak on the condition of anonymity to explain the timing of the congressional notification, acknowledged that the law was not followed.

 Even the left called out the blatant illegality of it all:

Rice also appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley and was met with an uncharacteristically obstinate Crowley, who was never satisfied over Rice’s denial of negotiating with terrorists.

Here is their exchange, slightly abbreviated:

Crowley: This isn’t a judgment question, it’s just a question: You had to negotiate with terrorists to secure the release of the sergeant.

Rice: We actually negotiated with the government of Qatar, to whom we owe a great debt.

Crowley: No longer can it be said that the U.S. doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.

Rice: I wouldn’t put it that way, Candy. I wouldn’t say that at all.

Crowley: Why didn’t you notify Congress, which under the law it says you should?

Rice: It wasn’t unknown to Congress. The Department of Defense consulted with the Department of Justice. And given the acute urgency of the health condition of Sergeant Bergdahl, and given the president’s constitutional responsibilities, it was determined that it was necessary and appropriate not to adhere to the 30-day notification requirement, because it would have potentially meant that the opportunity to get Sergeant Bergdahl would have been lost.

Crowley: Is there no one in Congress you can trust with the information to call up the chairman of the intelligence committees or the chairwoman on the Senate side and say, ‘I want you to know that this is happening, we have to act now?’

Rice: Well we did do that. In fact, we had briefed Congress in the past and when the deal was done and Sgt. Bergdahl was in U.S. custody is when we began making notifications to Congress.

Crowley: But the deal had already been made and the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay were already on route to a plane to go to Qatar.

Rice: No actually Congress began to be notified when Sgt. Bergdahl was in American hands which was actually before the prisoners had left Guantanamo Bay.

Crowley: But not telling a couple of folks up on Capital Hill might that in hindsight not have been a good idea?

Rice: Candy, what we put the highest premium on was the safety of Sgt. Bergdahl. This was very held closely [sic] within the administration. We could not take any risk with losing the opportunity to bring him back safely.

Crowley: So there was a conscious decision to break the law as you know it dealing with the detainees and the release of them?

Rice: Candy, no. As I said earlier, the Department of Defense consulted with the Department of Justice and it is our view that it was appropriate and necessary to do this in order to bring Sgt. Bergdahl back safely.

Crowley: What about the wrong message to terrorists that they can negotiate for more Guantanamo releases if they capture U.S. soldiers or civilians?

Rice: I think the terrorist are intent on doing what they are going to do. But Candy, we have a commitment to close Guantanamo Bay. The president’s been very clear about that. The existence of Guantanamo Bay is itself a detriment to our national security, which is why the president has prioritized closing it and why we intend to get that done.

Closing Gitmo now takes priority over following the law. That kind of sounds like blaming a video for the Benghazi attack too.

Congress is inept, impotent and as corrupt as the White House.

Fiddle anyone?

U.S. Frees 5 Gitmo Terrorists for American Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl (updated)

And the jihadis are celebrating all around even making propaganda videos of the event:

via Taliban Prisoner Swap Frees U.S. Soldier Held Nearly 5 Years – NYTimes.com.

The lone American prisoner of war from the Afghan conflict, captured by insurgents nearly five years ago, has been released to American forces in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility, Obama administration officials said Saturday.

The soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, was handed over to American Special Operations forces inside Afghanistan about 10:30 a.m. Saturday by a group of 18 Taliban, officials said.

American officials said that Sergeant Bergdahl was in good condition and able to walk.

The five Taliban prisoners at Guantánamo were being transferred into the custody of officials from Qatar, who will accompany them back to that Persian Gulf state, where they will be subject to security restrictions, including a one-year travel ban.

Talks on the exchange resumed in earnest about a week ago with Qatari officials who were acting as intermediaries for the Taliban.

Sergeant Bergdahl is believed to have been held by the militant Haqqani network in the tribal area of Pakistan’s northwest frontier, on the Afghan border. He was captured in Paktika Province in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.

The circumstances of how he was separated from his unit and captured have remained a mystery.

The latest evidence indicating that Sergeant Bergdahl, who was promoted twice while held prisoner, was still alive came in January, when a video was obtained by the American military showing him alert but also apparently in declining health.

One Defense Department official said that once Sergeant Bergdahl was safely aboard the American military helicopter flown to the rendezvous, he wrote on a paper plate with a pen — because it was so loud — “S.F.?” seeking to find out if the soldiers were American Special Forces.

One soldier yelled back, “Yes, we’ve been looking for you for a long time,” at which point Sergeant Bergdahl broke down crying, the Pentagon official said.

Update: via Mail Online.

The five detainees being released as part of a deal to save Bergdahl are among the most senior Afghans held at the controversial detention camp.

The White House responded to the Republicans’ statement, saying that ‘unique and exigent circumstances’ mean the transfer was agreed outside of the legal requirement.

Taliban prisoners named in deal

Abdul Haq Wasiq – Taliban deputy minister of intelligence

Mullah Norullah Nori – Senior Taliban commander in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif who commanded insurgents fighting U.S. forces in late 2001

Khairullah Khairkhwa – Senior Taliban official believed to have ties to Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s founder

Mohammed Nabi – A regional Chief of Security for the Taliban and eventual radio operator

Mohammed Fazl – Believed to have overseen the mass extermination of Shiite Muslims during the 2000 – 2001 war that saw the Taliban rise to power in Afghanistan.

Update: NY Times

His future in the Army remains unclear. But if Sergeant Bergdahl did in fact walk off his post, there has been no indication from the military that he will be punished for doing so. Any penalty appeared even more unlikely on Saturday, when Robert and Jani Bergdahl appeared in the Rose Garden with Mr. Obama, who embraced them and welcomed their son home.

As he stood at the president’s side, Robert Bergdahl said that his son was having difficulty with English after spending so much time with the Taliban, then said “bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim,” a common Arabic phrase meaning “in the name of God, most gracious, most compassionate,” and then spoke a few words in Pashto, a language of Afghanistan.

Bergdahl’s father had previously posted Tweets that sounded very sympathetic to the Taliban.
berg-fatherHere’s one that was recently deleted:

berg-father2More: Sgt. Bergdahl: What We Are Not Being Told

Former Gitmo detainee killed while leading jihadist group in Syria

via The Long War Journal. h/t Religion of Peace

Ibrahim Bin Shakaran, a Moroccan who spent more than three years at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility before being released to Moroccan custody, has been killed while leading a jihadist group that fights Syrian government forces.

Bin Shakaran, who is also known as Abu Ahmad al Maghribi, Abu Ahmad al Muhajir, and Brahim Benchekroune, was “martyred, Insha’Allah, in battles for Hilltop # 45 in Latakia,” according to Kavkaz Center, a propaganda arm of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate.

Bin Shakaran led a jihadist group known as Sham al Islam, which is based in Latakia and is comprised primarily of fighters from Morocco, according to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Bin Shakaran created the group “not only to recruit fighters for the Syria war, but also to establish a jihadist organization within Morocco itself.”

Sham al Islam has been fighting alongside the al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, as well as Ahrar al Sham and the Army of the Emigrants and Supporters in an ongoing offensive in the coastal province of Latakia.

Sham al Islam was one of several rebel groups that fought in another offensive in Latakia in August 2013 in which major human rights abuses were committed. While Human Rights Watch noted that Sham al Islam was present during the offensive, it could not confirm if the group was involved in the atrocities committed. The group’s allies, the Al Nusrah Front, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, Ahrar al Sham, Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar (or Army of Emigrants and Helpers), and Suquor al Izz, were directly implicated. [See Report highlights al Qaeda affiliates' role in Syrian atrocities, from LWJ.]

Bin Shakaran is the second former Guantanamo Bay detainee from Morocco reported to have been killed in Syria while waging jihad for Sham al Islam. The other ex-Guantanamo detainee, who was known as Mohammed al ‘Alami, was killed last year.

A December 2003 leaked threat assessment authored by Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) identified Bin Shakaran as a “high-ranking member” of the theological commission of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organization. According to the assessment, he traveled to Afghanistan in November 2000, “attended basic and advanced training at the Al Farouq training camp,” a known al Qaeda facility, “from January to May 2001,” and then “rotated to the front lines near Kabul” in October 2001 after the US invaded Afghanistan.

Bin Shakaran fled Afghanistan as US forces pressed al Qaeda. He passed through the Afghan province of Logar, then to Pakistan’s Waziristan tribal area, then to Bannu, and after that to Lahore with “two Pakistanis, three Arabs and a Turkmenistani.”

The 2003 JTF-GTMO threat assessment recommended that Bin Shakaran remain in custody as he “poses a high risk as he is likely to pose a threat against the US, its interests, or her allies.”

Despite the assessment, the US transferred Bin Shakaran to Moroccan custody in July 2004, and he was released shortly afterward by Moroccan authorities.

Bin Shakaran immediately returned to the fight. The Defense Department reported in 2008 that Bin Shakaran and another freed Guantanamo detainee known as Mohammed Bin Ahmad Mizouz were involved “in a terrorist network recruiting Moroccans to fight for Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s al Qaeda in Iraq.” Zarqawi’s group was responsible for killing and wounding thousands of US soldiers in Iraq.

Read it all.

Obama Frees Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguard from Gitmo

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via Obama Parole Board Frees Al Qaeda Terrorist, Bin Laden Guard From Gitmo | Judicial Watch.

The Al Qaeda terrorist—Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguard—determined to be “too dangerous to be released” from Guantanamo just a few years ago will be freed from the military prison because President Obama’s new parole board found he no longer poses a “significant threat to the United States.”

The shocking about-face comes on the heels of mainstream news reports disclosing that a former Guantanamo detainee, Sufian bin Qumu, participated in the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Libya.  Bin Qumu was released from the prison at the U.S. naval base in Cuba despite having historic ties to the Al Qaeda network and training at bin Laden’s Torkham camp, according to information obtained from his Gitmo file.

That makes this week’s news that bin Laden’s former bodyguard, Mahmud Abd Al Aziz Al Mujahid, will soon be free, all the more outrageous. It was not that long ago—in 2010—that an Obama task force listed Mujahid as too dangerous to release from Gitmo. That put him on a special “forever prisoner” list of 48 indefinite detainees. His Pentagon file says he’s a high risk likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies and that he is of high intelligence value.

The defense document also says Mujahid is a member of Al Qaeda who served as a body guard for bin Laden for one year and that he has familial ties to Al Qaeda members, including other bin Laden bodyguards and Gitmo detainees.  He traveled to Afghanistan in late 1999 or early 2000 for jihad and received militant training at the Al Qaeda al-Faruq training camp, the file says.

“Detainee is a committed jihadist who received theological training from, and was recruited by, radical Yemeni shaykhs who continue to recruit Yemeni youth to participate in hostilities against US and coalition forces. Detainee’s assessed commitment to jihadis supported by his discussions with another JTF-GTMO detainee on methods to conduct suicide during detention.”

Yet soon he will be freed to his native Yemen because Obama promised to close the military prison. Gitmo still houses 155 men and the president created a special parole panel, a six-member Periodic Review Board, to essentially clear out the facility. Mujahid is the first prisoner to be considered by the panel, though dozens of Gitmo detainees have already been approved for release to meet the demands of the leftist groups that have long called for the facility to shut down.

Obama’s special Periodic Review Board found that Mujahid’s “continued law of war detention is no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the United States,” according to a Pentagon announcement. Therefore Mujahid is “eligible for transfer subject to appropriate security and humane treatment conditions.” No further information was offered on the drastic change in this prisoner’s assessment.

His file leaked/stolen from Gitmo reads:

Detainee is a committed jihadist who received theological training from, and was recruited by, radical Yemeni shaykhs who continue to recruit Yemeni youth to participate in hostilities against US and coalition forces. Detainee?s assessed commitment to jihadis supported by his discussions with another JTF-GTMO detainee on methods to conduct suicide during detention.

Click the “Gitmo” link below to see previous posts on matters at Gitmo, but in particular read this July 2013 post that garnered almost no media attention: US releases five Taliban and two Algerian jihadis from Gitmo.

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