If the media could interview the earth
Via Bishop Hill
Inside climate propaganda
InsideClimate News excels at propagating environmentalist and Obama thinking and policies
Have you ever wondered how the LA Times, Associated Press, Weather Channel and your local media always seem to present similar one-sided stories on climate change, fossil fuels, renewable energy and other environmental issues? How their assertions become “common knowledge,” like the following?
"Global temperatures are the hottest ever recorded. Melting ice caps are raising seas to dangerous levels. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts have never been more frequent or destructive. Planet Earth is at a tipping point because of carbon dioxide emissions. Fracking is poisoning our air, water and climate. 97% of scientists agree. A clean renewable energy future is just around the corner."
It’s as if a chain of command, carefully coordinated process or alliance of ideological compatriots was operating behind the scenes to propagate these fables. This time, conspiracy theorists have gotten it right.
A major player in this process and alliance is one that most citizens and even businessmen and politicians have never heard of. InsideClimate News (ICN) has been called “highly influential,” a “pioneer of nonprofit advocacy journalism,” the recipient of “prestigious awards” for “high-impact investigative stories” on important environmental issues.
The Washington Free Beacon, National Review and Energy in Depth offer detailed and far less charitable assessments. Less friendly observers, they note, call ICN a “mouthpiece” for extreme environmentalist groups, because it is run by and out of a deep-green public relations consultancy (Science First) and is funded almost exclusively by wealthy foundations that share its and the PR firm’s anti-fossil fuel, pro-renewable energy, Bigger Government agenda. ICN was founded by David Sasoon, a true believer in catastrophic manmade climate change who wants to do all he can “to usher in the clean energy economy.”
Even praise from its supporters underscores the dark side of this “influential” force in eco-journalism. Its approach is “advocacy,” not fairness, accuracy or balance. Its goal is to drive a monolithic, hard-line, environmentalist narrative and political agenda, with little suggestion that other perspectives even exist.
Some of its awards come from an organization that has itself become politicized and too closely allied with Big Green views and organizations: the Society of Environmental Journalists. They increasingly operate too much as mutual admiration societies and support groups, say outside observers.
ICN and its Science First alter ego received their 2007 startup grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, where Sasoon once served as a consultant. They now derive the bulk of their funding from the RBF, NEO Philanthropy (aka, Public Interest Projects), Marlisa Foundation and Park Foundation. These and other sugar daddies are covered in a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee staff report, which describes a “Billionaire’s Club” of “left-wing millionaires and billionaires [which] directs and controls the far-left [US] environmental movement.”
The same foundations also give major tax-exempt donations to the Sierra Club, Earthworks, NRDC, EarthJustice, the climate crisis coalition 350.org, and many other anti-coal, anti-drilling, anti-fracking, anti-Keystone pressure groups that together form the $10-billion-a-year US environmentalist industry.
ICN has active partnerships with the LA Times, Associated Press, Weather Channel, Bloomberg News and other media organizations that help coordinate and disperse stories. The Times promotes the “dangerous manmade climate change” meme and refuses to print letters that reflect skeptical views.
The Associated Press has likewise become a reliable purveyor of manmade climate chaos stories. The Weather Channel and ICN teamed up in 2014 on a series of “investigative reports” that claimed hydraulic fracturing was causing serious environmental and human health problems in Texas.
The partners team up and coordinate to “have one group write on an issue, another quote them or link to them, and so on,” Media Research Center VP Dan Gainor explains. “It keeps going until they create this perception that there’s real concern over an issue, and it bubbles up to top liberal sites like Huffington Post, and from there into the traditional media,” which itself is too predisposed to the green narrative.
The foundations “have incorporated ostensibly dispassionate news outlets into their grant-making portfolios,” says the Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay, “creating what some describe as self-sustaining environmentalist echo chambers.”
They make it look like widespread public concern and spontaneous grassroots action – when in reality it is loud but small Astroturf activism, orchestrated by the ICN brigade and the foundations behind it.
InsideClimate News now brags about its involvement in the extensive collusion among the leftist foundations, environmental pressure groups and state attorneys general that are devising, coordinating and advancing AG prosecutions of ExxonMobil, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and other groups for alleged “racketeering” and “fraud,” to hold them “legally accountable for climate change denial.”
The efforts “stretch back at least to 2012,” ICN notes, when a meeting was held in California to develop legal strategies. In late 2015, letters from several Democrat members of Congress called for investigating and prosecuting climate skeptics; the letters cited independent journalism “investigations by the Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News” to back up their request.
However, the intrepid Times and ICN investigators had conducted no investigation. They simply parroted and amplified “research” from a group of activist professors and students at the Columbia School of Journalism – without disclosing who had funded the CSJ studies. Transparency for thee, but not for me.
It was George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, along with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller Family Foundation, Energy Foundation, Lorana Sullivan Foundation and Tellus Mater Foundation – all of which virulently oppose hydrocarbon production and actively promote climate change alarmism.
Emails subpoenaed by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute later revealed that many of the same environmentalist groups and lawyers met again in January 2016 at a secret meeting in the Rockefeller Family Fund’s Manhattan offices. Yet another secret meeting was held in March 2016, between climate activists and state attorneys general – hours before the AGs announced that they were launching RICO and other prosecutions of “climate skeptic” companies and think tanks.
The success of this campaign thus far, says ICN, has persuaded the activists to “step up efforts to pressure more attorneys general to investigate [more climate crisis skeptics] and sway public opinion, using op-eds, social media and rope-line questioning of [Republican] presidential candidates at campaign stops.”
This collusion among activists, foundations and attorneys general seeks to silence, bankrupt and defund organizations that challenge their catechism of climate cataclysm. These conspirators want to deprive us of our constitutional rights to speak out on the exaggerated and fabricated science, the coordinated echo- chamber news stories, and the pressure group-driven policies that impair our livelihoods, living standards, health, welfare and environmental quality. We will not be intimidated or silenced.
As CFACT’s new Climate Hustle film notes, manmade plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide has not replaced the powerful natural forces that have always driven Earth’s temperature, climate and weather.
The problem is not climate change. It is policies imposed in the name of preventing climate change.
That’s why Climate Crisis, Inc. wants to silence and jail us. Just imagine how much more they’ll be foaming at the mouth after throngs go to ClimateHustle.com and buy tickets for its May 2 one-night-only showing in hundreds of theaters across the United States.
State Department Announces Plans to Circumvent US Law in Order to Advance Climate Agenda
State Department spokesman John Kirby announced that the Obama administration plans to circumvent U.S. law in order to advance its climate agenda. This should come as no surprise, as the president has already circumvented the Constitution through not submitting what is clearly an international climate change treaty to the Senate.
U.S. funding for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) should now be prohibited since the Palestinian Authority has signed on as a party to the treaty—and the U.S. does not recognize Palestinian claims of statehood. Under U.S. law, this should trigger a funding prohibition enacted in 1994:
The United States shall not make any voluntary or assessed contribution: (1) to any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood, or (2) to the United Nations, if the United Nations grants full membership as a state in the United Nations to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood, during any period in which such membership is effective. (Adopted as Public Law 103-236 in 1994.)
Indeed, it is a long-standing U.S. policy that a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood would undermine internationally accepted frameworks for peace, including the U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 and other U.N. statements, and that recognition should occur only after a negotiated peace agreement with Israel. The Palestinian effort threatens both U.S. and Israeli interests, and the administration is right to oppose it.
This was Kirby’s defense for the administration’s plan to circumvent the law as quoted in The Hill:
"The UNFCCC is a treaty, and the Palestinians’ purported accession does not involve their becoming members of any U.N. specialized agency or, indeed, any international organization. Further, we do not believe that it advances U.S. interests to respond to Palestinian efforts by withholding critical funds that support the implementation of key international agreements, which could undermine our ability to pursue important U.S. objectives. Specifically, cutting off funding for the UNFCCC, would deal a blow to our efforts to promote global action to address climate change"
It has been apparent for some time that the Obama administration views America’s relations with Israel as a low priority, certainly less of a priority than its climate change agenda. This explains the motivation to evade the law, but the legal angle—that the UNFCCC is a treaty not an international organization—is so inconsistent with reality that it is hard to believe that Kirby could state it with a straight face.
The fact of the matter is that the UNFCCC is a treaty-based international organization, just like the United Nations and U.N. specialized agencies and other international organizations like the Organization of American States, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and INTERPOL.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the founding legal document upon which the organization and its structure are based. The organization has an executive secretary. The UNFCCC employs “around 500 people” according to its website. The Conference of Parties is the supreme decision-making body, which approves the budget and major decisions. The UNFCC also has permanent subsidiary bodies, as illustrated here.
The organization’s 2014-2015 biennial budget totaled of 54,648,484 euros (not inclusive of the 766,938 euros provided by the host government) of which the U.S. was assessed 21.45 percent.
Contrast this with other treaties that the Palestinians have acceded to, like the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations or the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which do not have such governance structures.
Other treaties, like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, have minimal structural elements consisting primarily of their treaty bodies, which in the case of the ICCPR is comprised of 18 independent experts. There is no direct supporting secretariat or other permanent bureaucratic structures. Instead, budgetary and staff support are provided by the U.N. through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. On principle, the U.S. should also withhold its share of funding from these bodies, but the differences between these treaties and the treaty-based international organizations like the U.N. and the UNFCCC are clear.
In short, if the UNFCCC is not an international organization, then the term has no meaning.
In addition, the affiliation of the UNFCCC with the United Nations is clear. As summarized in an April 18 letter from 28 senators to Secretary of State John Kerry:
"The UNFCCC, through its operating entities, constitutes an ‘affiliated organization of the United Nations.’ For example, the UNFCCC secretariat is connected and linked to the U.N. in many ways, including the following:
The U.N. secretary-general appoints the executive secretary of the UNFCCC secretariat.
At the first Conference of the Parties, the UNFCCC decided that its secretariat ‘shall be institutionally linked to the United Nations.’ According to its website, they remain ‘institutionally linked’ today.
The U.N. serves as Depository for the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol.
The U.N.’s proposed budget for the biennium 2016-2017 supports the UNFCCC.
The U.N. Campus in Bonn, Germany houses the UNFCCC secretariat, which the U.N. lists as one of 18 organizations that represents it and that are part of the ‘U.N. presence’ in Bonn.
The UNFCCC secretariat is subject to U.N. rules and regulations regarding procurement and other matters.
The UNFCCC secretariat supports what it describes as the “largest annual United Nations conference”
Based on these facts, it is clear that U.S. funding to the UNFCCC should be prohibited under current law. Nonetheless, Kirby’s comments indicate that the Obama administration is determined to provide funding. Congress should respond by providing no funding for and barring transfer of any funds to the UNFCCC and its related entities in the future.
Navajo Nation President Slams EPA on Response to Gold King Mine Spill Response
At a congressional field hearing in Phoenix, Ariz., on Friday, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said the EPA has not fulfilled its promise to pay for damages done to Native American lands from the toxic spill of mine waste into waterways in Colorado, which eventually polluted water in that state, New Mexico, and Utah, and Navajo Nation land in New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.
“EPA has not lived up to its word,” Begaye said in a video posted on the Arizona Republic website. “ It’s been empty promise after empty promise.”
“We’ve had numerous meetings where promises were made and none of it EPA has lived up to,” Begaye said.
The Navajo-Hopi Observer reported on Tuesday that the Navajo Nation has requested more than $2 million in reimbursements. The EPA has offered $157,000, which totals less than 8 percent of expenses incurred, according to Begaye’s office.
The amount was offered as a grant and not recognized as reimbursement, the news outlet reported.
In Begaye's written statement from the hearing, he listed eight requests: a fair and independent assessment of the role the EPA played in events leading up to the Gold King Mine Spill; resources to conduct the Nation's own monitoring, testing and assessment of water, soil and crops; funds dedicated to emergency preparedness for future environmental disasters; the EPA's full support of listing the Upper Animas Mining District on the National Priorities List; and resources to stabilize farming along the San Juan River.
During the hearing, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCOIA) would continue holding hearings until all questions are answered and compensation was awarded to the Nation.
"An economic analyst told the SCOIA that the Navajo Nation lost $982,000 in agriculture production during the first two weeks of the spill," McCain said, adding that costs from the disaster could reach upward of $335 million.
The Navajo-Hopi Observer also reported that McCain said because of the EPA's lack of action and forthright involvement, a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice is merited and should occur.
Having an obnoxious Greenie elitist in charge of London? I don’t think so
Having Zac Goldsmith run London would be like asking a nun to run a brothel
If you hate cars and supermarkets and junk food and people cramming together to sell stuff and buy stuff and dispose of stuff, then London probably isn’t for you. Take it from me, a Londoner from birth, who never ceases to be amazed by the daily cranking to life of this beast of steel and concrete and human throngs, the greatest city on Earth, which is as unnatural a spectacle as you’re ever likely to see. Even Hyde Park, the great green space we escape to, is manmade, having been shaped at great cost by landscapers, its Serpentine lake invented through the damming of a river that once ran through this space in order to create a waterscape that would be a ‘line of beauty’. Anyone who thinks ‘manmade’ is a term of abuse need only look at London: a sprawling human invention, housing nearly nine million souls, all enjoying the liberation from nature provided by manmade city life.
All of which raises a question: why on earth does Zac Goldsmith want to run this city? Goldsmith, an eco-Tory from leafy Richmond, wants to be mayor of London. Which is bizarre given that his deep-green soul, his profoundly conservative and ecological heart, makes him bristle with horror at everything big and modern and, well, manmade. Having Goldsmith run London would be like having a nun run a brothel: this eco-puritan is just not cut out for the job of overseeing a city of millions, of trade, of power, of light, of litter, of vice, all things that tend to freak out deep greens.
All the views held by Goldsmith make it weird that he wants to run a city, never mind one as colossal as London, one that puts old Rome to shame with its energy and noise. Virtually his every utterance speaks to a snooty disdain for modernity. On supermarkets, ‘I really hate them’, he says. They’re ‘soul-destroying’, he reckons. That’s if the ignoramuses who shop in supermarkets — you know, Ordinary People — even have souls capable of being destroyed. ‘You might as well be a product on a conveyor belt hurtling around the shop doing what you have been programmed to do by the corporation selling you crap’, says Goldsmith with superb snobbery of the dumb, robotic hordes who patronise supermarkets. London throbs with supermarkets, whether the little Londis ones on your local high street or the sprawling Morrison’s in your nearest town centre, and these supermarkets throb with people, who haven’t been ‘programmed’ to try to do their weekly shop in a nifty 45-minute trolley-dash under one roof — they want to, in order that they might have more free time for family life, social life, London life. That a prospective mayor doesn’t get this is weird, and worrying.
And Mayor Zac — heaven forbid — should make sure he never ventures into the West End or Soho on a Saturday night, where he might see people throwing back beer and burgers or plates of madly delicious Italian fare. For just as he has a problem with the junk-minded people who shuffle zombie-like through Tescos, he also has a problem with junk food. ‘I’m convinced our diet is making us ill’, he has said. He reckons rubbish food is causing cancer and autism and also hyperactivity in kids, which is just a pseudo-scientific, eco-ridiculous update of the idea of the ‘wages of sin’: the wages of your sinful Nando’s will be mental disease, or death. ‘We don’t know what is in our food any more’, wails Goldsmith. Yes, we do: dirty sauce (if you’re into Shoreditch hipster food), loads of lamb (if the Turks of Seven Sisters are your preferred chefs), lashings of creamy carbonara (if it’s a Soho Italian you’re after). Goldsmith would be better suited to running one of those sad health farms for middle-class self-haters than a city of a trillion calories like London.
He isn’t fond of the idea of people moving around, either. His Cameron-commissioned ‘Quality of Life’ report in the 2000s proposed slapping stiff taxes on short-haul flights and highly polluting vehicles in order to discourage people — and especially plebs, let’s face it, who aren’t flush with money — from journeying around so much. His idea of ‘quality of life’ is clearly different to that of the average inhabitant of London, in which there are 2.6million licensed cars and where millions of people land in planes every year. Movement, migration, travel: these are the lifeblood of London.
But then, Goldsmith has made clear throughout his career as a famed eco-miserabilist and then mumbling MP that he is against progress in general — even in the Third World, never mind London. People say that ‘poor countries must be given the right to catch up [with the West]’, he once said, ‘but they can’t’. Apparently Earth ‘cannot sustain the process of Third World countries catching up with us. It’s crazy, it’s mad. It’s just not possible.’ So they’ll have to stay put, these Third Worlders, living what the likes of Goldsmith consider to be ‘natural lives’ but which is really just grinding poverty. A politician with such a shrivelled sense of what’s possible — ‘it’s just not possible’, he says of massive growth in the South — won’t get on well with a city of possibility like London.
More recently, perhaps recognising that the mayor of a city has to have some kind of plan for where citizens will live, Goldsmith has said he would fuel a ‘house-building revolution’ in London. If you think that sounds unlikely coming from someone who’s against progress and industry and airports and more, then you’re right. Goldsmith says he’ll build 50,000 new homes in a year, which is not nearly enough to satisfy demand. And he’ll mostly build them on publicly owned brownfield land or through doing up ‘dilapidated estates’, all in the name of avoiding building on the Green Belt. But that is what we need: Green Belt build, the expansion of London further outwards, as has happened throughout history, so that the city becomes bigger and the current trend towards densification and cramming people into small flats and homes can be reversed. Not surprisingly, for someone who thinks ‘the world [is] under siege’ from corporations and pollution and other bad things, Goldsmith thinks interfering with the Green Belt is sacrilege. Once again, preserving greenery takes precedence over meeting mankind’s needs — the polar opposite to what a city’s priorities ought to be.
The Goldsmith worldview is best summed up in The Ecologist, the nutty magazine founded by his uncle Edward Goldsmith and edited by Zac in the 2000s. To read that mag — or peruse it, rather; reading it is far too depressing — is to peer into the fearful, panicked, misanthropic soul of eco-aristocrats and middle-class miserabilists. It drips with disdain for modern man and his harmful chemicals and overpopulation and psychologically disordered climate-change denial. To have the former head of such a mag agitating to govern London is as strange as it would be for one of those sneery anti-football-fan Guardian types to go for a job at the top of the FA. You hate this stuff, why do you want to be in charge of it?
Of course, Goldsmith is not alone in obsessing over how to make London more eco-friendly. His Labour rival Sadiq Khan also spouts green platitudes and has flip-flopped on building on the Green Belt (he was once in favour, now he’s against). And even Boris Johnson, supposedly brave questioner of climate-change orthodoxy, transmogrified into a green mayor when he got the job eight years ago, rushing out doom-laden reports about future floods and whatnot if we don’t tame London’s industrial and consumerist appetites. What these people seem not to understand is that a city, in its very bones, is eco-unfriendly; it represents a defiance of nature, a pushing against nature, a coming together of vast numbers of human beings to do things better than nature: to live in a manmade zone in which we’re safe from nature’s whims, food is always in supply, and working and getting about are no longer a great struggle. To be a citizen, to inhabit a city, is to be liberated from the natural world. It is to be eco-unfriendly. And people want this, everywhere. More than half of the world’s population — 54% — now live in urban areas. Because they’re better than natural areas.
Sure, a mayor should keep parks up to scratch, give us recreational things to do, and ensure easy access for Londoners to nearby beautiful landscapes (by running a better train service, among other manmade things). But he must also realise that making London ‘green’, in the sense of lowering its ambitions, restricting its ability to expand, and tut-tutting at its populace for being greedy and fat and not sufficiently into cycling, isn’t going to happen. London isn’t green, and it never will be: it’s something far better than that — grey and silver and blue and all the other colours of the structures and networks and roads we have built for millions and millions of Londoners, and even higher numbers of aspiring Londoners.
For a London a hundred miles wide
Let’s build on the Green Belt and let the city breathe
Imagine a city that stretched from Oxford in the west to Canterbury in the east. Imagine if its southern tip was Brighton and it stretched up to Bedford and Cambridge in the north. This is not a vision of the future, it is already here, if only we would let it breathe.
The London mayoral candidates have woken up to the need to build more flats and houses. For decades, London has been strangled by the Green Belt of protected land that starts in Romford in the east, Enfield in the north, Hounslow in the west, and Sutton in the south. Because of that stranglehold over new growth, too few homes are built. And, as a result, the existing stock costs too much.
If we got rid of the Green Belt, and built outwards, it would be easy to build more than enough new homes for people in London. By making London bigger, prices would fall back to a more realistic £200,000 per home (the UK average). Or less, if there were a corresponding housebuilding programme countrywide.
So far, the mayoral candidates have promised, at most, an additional 50,000 homes (apart from the rogue Polish aristocrat candidate Prince John Zylinski, who says he will build a million if he is elected). Fifty-thousand is a start, but it is not enough. More to the point, there is nowhere to put those new homes, unless you build outwards, on to the Green Belt.
Better still, if we build out, we can reduce the densification of London. Too many people are being crammed into too small a space. The city has to be able to breathe. Instead of squeezing more and more flats into every space that becomes available – or just seized – London needs more green space in its centre, and wider streets.
Already we can see the advantage of more space. The creation of the new financial district in Canary Wharf has meant the old City of London is turning back into a residential district.
Just imagine if we knocked down more of the overcrowded dwellings in the centre to make way for a properly functioning transport system, which connected the inner hub to the outer reaches. That feeling you get when you escape the North Circular, and get on to the Westway, where you can actually drive, ought to have been expanded with a Northway, an Eastway and a Southway, but those developments were blocked by the NIMBY brigade.
In truth, London is a vast, south-east conurbation. Eight-and-a-half-million people live in the official Greater London area, but another five million live in the commuter belt around it. If the Green Belt was built on, and the city was allowed to grow into those suburbs, all of us could live grander, freer lives, with green parks around us, and trains and motorways to carry us into town and out again.
Instead of freeing up more flats by hounding hapless social-housing tenants out of their estates, or cramming yet another flat on top of a takeaway in Hackney, or squeezing in yet one more attic bedroom into a bad extension, we should create a grand new vista of garden suburbs on the city’s exurbs.
Our mayoral candidates are too preoccupied with technical issues. Should there be more council houses, or some special kind of mortgage deal to give anxious first-time buyers a tenuous foothold on the housing ladder? All of these proposals miss the point. They are fixed on single cases, not the bigger picture.
To break the deadlock we need to build many, many more houses. So many, in fact, that there would be too many, so that people can buy them cheap. If London is roughly a circle, each 100 metres it grows outwards increases the overall area by 100 square metres x π, or 3.14, so 314m2. Just a modest increase in the city’s area, of 1,000km2, just an eighth of the metropolitan area, would house another five million people at the level of existing densities. We could always expand further, say 2,000km2, and house these people at much lower densities.
I wish I could say that this proposal was a revolutionary vision for tomorrow. But it is not. It was first set out more than a century ago. In 1909, Ford Madox Ford dreamed of a city not of seven million, but 70million. Ford hated the word ‘suburb’, which he thought was demeaning. Instead he thought that the suburbs were the vanguard, and that they should be called ‘fore towns’. He wrote that ‘the fore town of my Great London would be on the one hand, say, Oxford, and on the other, say, Dover’. Ford continued:
‘It takes in, this circle, Winchester, the delightful country around Petersfield, Chichester, all the coast to Brighton, Hastings, Dover, all Essex, and round again by way of Cambridge and Oxford.’
Distance would be no barrier, he said, since ‘Oxford is 60 miles from London, and in my non-stop monorail express, this should be a matter of half-an-hour’. This is an ambition that we have not kept pace with, seeing as it still takes an hour to get to Oxford by train.
‘Yet there is nothing Utopian about the idea’, wrote Ford, ‘it is coming about every day. The residential portion of the population is more and more abandoning the clayey bottoms of the Thames Valley.’ Anticipating the actual trajectory of the south-east, Ford continued: ‘It is on the road, this change, it has to come. All south-eastern England is just London.’
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