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Judge dismisses all charges in Blackwater shooting in Baghdad

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Course he did. All men and women are not equal. Just American men and women.

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Libertas: Bingo!

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Course he did. All men and women are not equal. Just American men and women.

Well, just goes to show, theres idiots all over the world. That and that in the US, they require actual evidence.

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This is unbelievable. I guess the only creditable witnesses were the dead men and women? But I guess we should have expected it. < :-)

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a victory for outsourcing the military - no-one is held responsible

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I guess posters here overall with the exception of Molenir don't really believe in the American system of justice after all methinks.

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You probably got overzealous prosecutors breaking the rules to get a conviction that would look good on their records because of public opinion. Let's just hope the same mistakes aren't made when the terrorists are brought on to American soil.

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Urbina’s ruling does not say whether the shooting was proper, only that the government improperly used evidence to build the case.

I think the substance is a few paragraphs lower then most people tend to read on JT. The justice system worked properly. The prosecution is the one to blame for a failed case --not the justice system.

We're not talking kangaroo courts. There is no evidence the judiciary is beholden to a particular interest, as some have seem to infer.

What one can question is the civil court venue --bringing it stateside. It probably would make sense to have processed the case in a court martial.

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Oh my.

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You probably got overzealous prosecutors breaking the rules to get a conviction that would look good on their records because of public opinion. Let's just hope the same mistakes aren't made when the terrorists are brought on to American soil.

It happened in Alaska with Ted Stevens, easily conceivable it could happen again. The people up there just did a better job covering their tracks, well until it all came out anyway.

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sailwind: "I guess posters here overall with the exception of Molenir don't really believe in the American system of justice after all methinks."

awww.... are you that lame and superficial? Your hero Molenir even goes on to prove that it happens in the US regularly.... it's going to be funny to watch you try and deflect.

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sailwind: PS: the 'American system of justice' sucks and has clearly failed.

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awww.... are you that lame and superficial? Your hero Molenir even goes on to prove that it happens in the US regularly.... it's going to be funny to watch you try and deflect.

sailwind: PS: the 'American system of justice' sucks and has clearly failed.

You wouldn't be suggesting a 'Military Tribunal' for these fellows instead and that they should have been in GITMO are you smitty?

Happy New Year to ya.

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m5c32: The justice system worked properly. The prosecution is the one to blame for a failed case --not the justice system.

Right. The alternative would have been to allow the case to continue despite prosecutors breaking the law. That would have been systemic failure. The focus needs to be on getting rid of the people who don't follow the rules which resulted in the case being dismissed on a technicality. They created this mess.

sailwind: You wouldn't be suggesting a 'Military Tribunal' for these fellows instead and that they should have been in GITMO are you smitty?

I'm pretty sure Smith's position is whatever leads to the most US criticism. The details will probably be filled in later after the usual initial emotional outburst.

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Innocent until proven guilty. This was a correct call. What's interesting is Judge Urbina is a democrat appointed to the United States District Court by Bill Clinton in 1994. Great to see his politics didn't cloud his ruling.

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I'm pretty sure Smith's position is whatever leads to the most US criticism. The details will probably be filled in later after the usual initial emotional outburst.

Sounds about right. That does seem to be his usual sop.

Innocent until proven guilty. This was a correct call. What's interesting is Judge Urbina is a democrat appointed to the United States District Court by Bill Clinton in 1994. Great to see his politics didn't cloud his ruling.

I think most of the judges on the bench are pretty good. They're selected to be impartial mediators, who go by the law. Its mostly only when you get to the Supreme Court level, that law seems to become less important then politics. From what I've read of the case, his ruling was spot on. The prosecutors screwed up. I have no doubt they'll refile, but I hope they do a better job next time.

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ProfJuanColePhd: "Oh my."

Oh my what?

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sailwind: "You wouldn't be suggesting a 'Military Tribunal' for these fellows instead and that they should have been in GITMO are you smitty?"

I'm suggesting justice instead of the farce that occurred here. Do you think this was just, my friend? Do you think American lives are of more importance than others?

SuperLib: "I'm pretty sure Smith's position is whatever leads to the most US criticism"

When deserved, yes. I am not criticizing the US here, I am criticizing the justice system. Strange that you take such offense; insecurity?

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I'm suggesting justice instead of the farce that occurred here. Do you think this was just, my friend?

The farce would be to try these guys on what did the judge say again? Oh yeah......Urbina said the government’s explanations were “contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility.”

I guess your down with trying people on contradictory, unbelievable and lacking credibility evidence in the first place.

The Government never had a case and the Judge just said so, end of story.

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sailwind: Actually, what I'm not down with is a bunch of heavily armed thugs shooting a bunch of civilians. I'm sorry that you think it's okay, though.

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sailwind: Sorry... let me say it in terms you might remember from your military service -- I don't like baby-killers. These men are not being given a proper trial. Iraq is a so-called democracy, so why not try them there, where the purported crimes occurred? Nah... too justified, I guess.

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I think the substance is a few paragraphs lower then most people tend to read on JT. The justice system worked properly. The prosecution is the one to blame for a failed case --not the justice system.

You are right about this.

And it is heartwarming to see right-wingers defending the release of possible criminals. Usually they rail against a justice system letting people go on technicalities.

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Sorry... let me say it in terms you might remember from your military service -- I don't like baby-killers.

Don't care much for them myself they're war criminals if that found to be true after an investigation and the evidence supports the accusation.

And it is heartwarming to see right-wingers defending the release of possible criminals. Usually they rail against a justice system letting people go on technicalities.

.Urbina said the government’s explanations were “contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility.”

I guess that is a 'technicality'.

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Justice has been served in a open manner that will impress the world.

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Urbina said the government’s explanations were “contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility.”

Explanations regarding what? Certainly not the fact that innocent, unarmed Iraqis were gunned down by U.S. mercenaries. No, the explanations were about the statements of the accused solicited under implied immunity.

As I said, the justice system has worked as it always has. It's just nice to see the right-wingers putting their situational ethics on display. The next time the justice system releases someone on this type of technicality, they'll quickly revert back to taking the opposite opinion.

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sailwind: "Don't care much for them myself they're war criminals if that found to be true after an investigation and the evidence supports the accusation."

What investigation? a bunch of dead 'enemy' isn't going to upset too many of your friends, so long as the bones don't speak, of course. It's easier to deny the people you paid heaps of money to committed no crime, no?

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Explanations regarding what?

The actual evidence in the case and was it tainted by their compelled statements (no immunity promise was involved) or did the evidence actually support the Govt case stand-alone minus the compelled statements (it didn't) that is why the charges were dismissed.

What investigation?

Your referring to the three week hearing held in Oct in front of the judge I presume?

Beginning on October 14, 2009, this court convened a Kastigar hearing to explore whether the government had made any use of compelled statements during its prosecution of the defendants. During this hearing, which spanned three weeks, the parties presented testimony from twenty-five witnesses, including the government's entire prosecution team, the lead FBI agents in charge of the investigation and all five defendants. The parties offered hundreds of exhibits into evidence and submitted voluminous pre- and post-hearing memoranda. From this extensive presentation of evidence and argument, the following conclusions ineluctably emerge. In their zeal to bring charges against the defendant in this case, the prosecutors and investigators aggressively sought out statements the defendants had been compelled to make to government investigators in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and in the subsequent investigation. In so doing, the government's trial team repeatedly disregarded the warnings of experienced, senior prosecutors, assigned to the case specifically to advise the trial team on Garrity and Kastigar issues, that this course of action threatened the viability of the prosecution. The government used the defendants' compelled statements to guide its charging decisions, to formulate its theory of the case, to develop investigatory leads and, ultimately, to obtain the indictment in this case. The government's key witnesses immersed themselves in the defendants' compelled statements, and the evidence adduced at the Kastigar hearing plainly demonstrated that these compelled statements shaped portions of the witnesses' testimony to the indicting grand jury. The explanations offered by the prosecutors and investigators in an attempt to justify their actions and persuade the court that they did not use the defendants' compelled testimony were all too often contradictory, unbelievable and lacking in credibility. In short, the government has utterly failed to prove that it made no impermissible use of the defendants' statements or that such use was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the court must dismiss the indictment against all of the defendants.
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Besides Yabits and Smitty,

Just think of the whizbang of a job the Dept of Justice prosecutors are going to do on KSM and the other 9/11 plotters in their trial in New York. Seeing the 'impressive' work they've done here with the Blackwater defendants.

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sailwind: "Just think of the whizbang of a job the Dept of Justice prosecutors are going to do on KSM and the other 9/11 plotters in their trial in New York."

Amazing that you stand behind what happened at 9/11... simply amazing. You have reached new lows. Your cut and paste of what you don't understand doesn't help.

It's funny, because you have in the past talked of your service to your country but all I hear now is support for rapists and baby-killers. I pray that before you go to bed despite pretending to care about human beings you actually find the heart to do so. Just because they are not American does not mean they are not human. The sooner you realize that the better.

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The sooner you realize that the better.

Smith in your zeal to make these guys pay for their crimes it never occurred to you that they are actually innocent and this was nothing more than a political witch-hunt?

At least a non-partial U.S Judge who looked at all the evidence before setting a trial date was able to form an objective opinion on the merits of the case. He threw it and the charges all out. You want your pound of flesh so bad that you are willingly to let innocent 5 men go to jail for 40 years.

If the evidence really does support a trial let the prosecutors re-file and do it right this time. If they really don't have a case after all or don't re-file, one can only logically and reasonably conclude that they were innocent all along just as they say they were.

Does it bother you that you've already pronounced them guilty without the benefit of looking at the evidence or how it was really obtained against them?

At least a judge has and I'm pretty sure he is sleeping well with his decision.

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Republican supporters here will simply support this ruling just like they supported the farcical Iraq invasion in '03.Whatever.

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You want your pound of flesh so bad that you are willingly to let innocent 5 men go to jail for 40 years.

You totally misread things. As a liberal, I am overjoyed when accused murderers beat the rap over an incompetent state. And especially when I witness right-wingers joining the cause.

The question has to be asked as to whether the state knew it was tainting its own case from the very beginning. Kind of like the conservative principle of "plausible deniability." Here we've got mercenaries who are on the payroll of the state and not subject to the UCMJ, and who are involved with some killings of unarmed civilians. Thanks to the state, citizens who would like to see the evidence presented at a trial can not get that opportunity.

I am thankful that this case will provide a very powerful precedent the next time someone gets off scot-free on a technicality that the conservatives want pilloried.

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That is what happens when you have incompetent prosecutors. Don't blame the judge at all, all the judge is doing is following the law.

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The question has to be asked as to whether the state knew it was tainting its own case from the very beginning. Kind of like the conservative principle of "plausible deniability."

The question has to be asked as to whether the state actually really had case from the very beginning. Kind of like the conservative principle of "innocent until proven guilty."

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You totally misread things. As a liberal, I am overjoyed when accused murderers beat the rap over an incompetent state. And especially when I witness right-wingers joining the cause.

Wow, I really hope you're joking here. I simply cannot think of a response, at least not one that would survive the mods on these boards.

I myself strongly dislike it when prosecutors who have so much power, abuse this power. The Ted Stevens case is another example, one where hopefully finally, some of these people will be held accountable for their actions. The prosecutors in this case likewise have overstepped their bounds, and the judge caught it, and called them on it.

If there is merit to the case, I don't doubt that prosecutors will refile. Hopefully doing so properly, using untainted evidence, so that there won't be a mistrial, and so that the case, this time won't have to be thrown out.

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The question has to be asked as to whether the state actually really had case from the very beginning.

Of course, we knew whose administration it was that was guiding the state at the time. The key word being incompetence.

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Wow, I really hope you're joking here.

No. I am not. Sailwind now endorses the liberal concept of all accused murderers being innocent until proven guilty. And, if you can somehow pollute the prosecutory procedure to the point where you know the case will never see trial, so much the better.

Hopefully doing so properly, using untainted evidence, so that there won't be a mistrial, and so that the case, this time won't have to be thrown out.

Yes, the defense attorneys will have a field day with this one. Through the willful or unintentional incompetence of the administration conducting the investigation, an ocean of reasonable doubt has now been created.

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If the prosecutors illegally obtained evidence that proved the guards guilt, shame on them for letting guilty people get off on a technicality.

Taka

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This sterling example of American "justice" reminds me a lot of the televised police beating and subsequent verdict in the Rodney King case. Only in this event we have 17 innocent Iraqis killed and 27 injured, many seriously paralyzed for life.

How will the Iraqis react to what will understandably be perceived as a gross miscarriage of justice?

Sad in light of the fact that the month of December was the first since the March 2003 invasion that no American in Iraq was killed through hostile action. I seriously doubt that the next few months will see that positive trend continued.

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If the prosecutors illegally obtained evidence that proved the guards guilt, shame on them for letting guilty people get off on a technicality.

So, you're all in favor of forced confessions then? You believe that police should be able to go in and torture someone until they say whatever the cops want? Thats really what you're saying here. It is the same thing. This "evidence" they used, was improperly gathered evidence. Inadmissable, yet the prosecutors knew that, and chose to base their charges off of it.

Yes, the defense attorneys will have a field day with this one. Through the willful or unintentional incompetence of the administration conducting the investigation, an ocean of reasonable doubt has now been created.

Saying this suggests you know very little about how the system works. This does not make reasonable doubt. Heck, the defense probably won't even be allowed to bring it up at trial. And just so you know, I endorse the innocent until proven guilty as well. Yes, even for pedophiles and suspected murderers. Though admittedly in some cases its hard to remember.

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So, you're all in favor of forced confessions then? You believe that police should be able to go in and torture someone until they say whatever the cops want?

It is very clear that it is among the conservatives that you will find those who endorse torture tactics in order to justify and conduct military actions which result in the deaths of many. Unlike waiting two years for the wheels of justice to grind, decisions of life and death over (often) innocent people are made with blinding speed.

What about the statements and testimony of the Iraqis who witnessed the events in Nisoor Square on that day back in September 2007? Why is it that the methods of gleaning information from the perpetrators is the trump card in the denial of justice here?

Especially when the state that conducted the investigations had a vested interest in putting the best possible light on the decision to employ mercenaries. Remember that this was a state run by an administration that sought to remove federal prosecutors for purely political purposes.

Those who have patiently waited over two years for some kind of justice are now told that they will have to wait longer. It only took a matter of seconds for the U.S. mercenaries to launch their attack on innocent Iraqis.

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What about the statements and testimony of the Iraqis who witnessed the events in Nisoor Square on that day back in September 2007? Why is it that the methods of gleaning information from the perpetrators is the trump card in the denial of justice here?

Because the prosecutors made it so. Thats why the case was thrown out. Because they built their case, against all the advice of others, on the suspects coerced confessions. That doesn't fly in the US.

I myself am generally ok with the US using 'torture tactics'. I think that where they are applied should be clearly spelled out. I also don't believe that anything gleaned from this, should be usable in a court of law. However, if it will save some lives, stop bombings and other terrorist plots, then yes, to me, minimally applied torture such as waterboarding, which doesn't really hurt anyone, merely scares them, seems a small price to pay.

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Because the prosecutors made it so. Thats why the case was thrown out. Because they built their case, against all the advice of others, on the suspects coerced confessions. That doesn't fly in the US.

The prosecutors who were in control of the case must have had good reasons to disregard the warnings and advice of the senior prosecutors who reviewed it, (and who obviously had no direct authority over its conduct). Those reasons go back to the root of the relationship between the Bush State Department and Blackwater.

The investigation into Blackwater's murders was therefore doomed from the very start -- by design and intent. Remember that the previous administration had to be dragged kicking and screaming into an investigation of the attacks on 9/11. (Thank goodness that investigation was not led by the executive branch, unlike the one for the Blackwater murders.)

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"letting guilty people get off on a technicality"

The judge doesn't think they're guilty.

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The judge doesn't think they're guilty.

The judge doesn't think they are innocent either. The guilt or innocence of the mercenaries was not being decided here. The statements which indicated clear guilt were collected in a manner that could not pass legal muster.

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molenir,

I believe I've asked this of you before but please don't assign meaning to my words. Apparently, you rarely are capable of understanding them.

No, I'm not in favor of forced confessions. That is a leap of "logic" that is beyond baffling. Settle down, youngster.

What I am in favor of, is legal and proper detective work. I know for a fact that criminals can be put in jail without law enforcement or prosecutors breaking any laws while conducting their investigation. I am in favor of that. A sane person would have most likely gone with that assumption before your bit of accusatory nonsense, don't you think?

Geez. Happy New Year to you too.

Taka

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Taka,

Come on. You know what you wrote above. The evidence you were referring to was essentially, a forced confession. How is stating that a "leap of logic"?

I don't know whether the guys are guilty in this case or not. A part of me wants to disbelieve it, but with the witnesses, etc it seems rather hard not to. If they are in fact guilty, I sincerely hope the prosecutors refile, and do so using untainted evidence this time, so that the charges aren't tossed.

Happy new you to you as well.

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molenir,

from the story:

After the shooting, the State Department ordered the guards to explain what happened.

Investigators promised the men that their statements were to be used only for the internal inquiry and would not be used in a criminal case.

Now where you jump the logic train and take that to "forced confession" is beyond me. In my defense, it's such an incredible leap of logic, that it's easy to become lost over it's vast expanse.

They were promised their confession wouldn't be used against them; then they used it. They weren't forced to do anything; they were lied to. Please cut back on the drama and cable television plot twists, OK?

Taka

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they should have let democracy rule: dump those five Blackwater guards at the scene of the crime and have the Iraqi people decide what to do with them.

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all right, shooting them terrorists is o.k. ya'll.

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dump those five Blackwater guards at the scene of the crime and have the Iraqi people decide what to do with them.

The supporters of the "liberation" of Iraq have touted its merits for years now. The Blackwater guards should be turned over to the justice system of the liberated Iraq.

shooting them terrorists is o.k. ya'll.

I believe that hanging is means used by the Iraqi justice system to execute terrorists.

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These Blackwater guards are just being afforded the legal due process that the Guantanamo prisoners will be subjected to.

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These Blackwater guards are just being afforded the legal due process that the Guantanamo prisoners will be subjected to.

Actually, the guantanamo prisoners will be given more rights. They for example won't have prosecutors lie to grand juries about them. Won't have specific statements that suggest things aren't as presented, removed, and redacted as the prosecutors in this case did. I brought up the Ted Stevens case earlier, however at the time, I had no idea how similar it actually is. Just read that the judge is considering citing the prosecutors, in the same way the judge in the Ted Stevens case did. Its really giving the justice department a black eye.

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Prosecution mess isn't really about rights, or at the least, just enforcing the rights.

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Awesome. We're fighting in Iraq to provide freedom and liberty from an oppressive state. And this is the example we set for them while we do that. its completely absurd.

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Jedi mind trick - "There's no Injustice here, these aren't the corporate-paid out-of-control mercenaries you're looking for...Move along"

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Finally. Justice has been served. The wrongly accused go free.

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Wow, a voice of reason, from a judge no less! Surprising, and refreshing.

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If you work for Blackwater, Obama has your back.

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