SchNEWS 685, 27th July 2009
SPECIAL REPORT - Big Green Gathering Shutdown - THE BIG GREEN GATHERING HAS BEEN SHUT DOWN BY POLICE!, clampdown in Calais on migrants trying to get to Britain, redundant workers at the Vestas wind turbine factory on Isle Of Wight occupy workplace in protest, repression in Iran continues, with protesters being killed by security forces and thousands detained, Liverpool BNP activist Peter Tierney is in court for violently attacking anti-fascist protesters, and more...

SchNEWS 684, 17th July 2009
Good Plan, 'Stan - As British soldiers are regularly returning dead from Afghanistan SchNEWS asks what is the broader deathtoll of this unwinnable war, and why are the US/UK military there anyway?... plus, fox hunters fail to get injunction placed on those monitoring their illegal activity, protesters in Britain demonstrate against Dow Chemicals, owner of Union Carbide and liable for the 1984 Bhopal chemical disaster, sacked French car part workers who are occupying their workplaces have rigged explosives and are threatening to blow it up, and more

SchNEWS 683, 10th July 2009
Bobbies on the Bleat - SchNEWS has cast our cynical eye over the HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary) report about the policing of the G20 protests... plus, the biggest Chinese government massacre since Tiananmen Square, an update on the military coup in Honduras, Israeli warships board Free Gaza Movement boat on humanitarian mission, Rossport pirates attack Shell supply ship, and more...

SchNEWS 682, 3rd July 2009
Rumble in the Jungle - No Borders campaigners culminated their week long camp in Calais with a demonstration outside the city’s main port last Saturday... plus, an in depth look at this week's coup d'etat in Honduras, support still needed at anti-coal solidarity camp in Mainshill, Scotland, striking sweatshop workers are repressed in Bangladesh, a look at UK campaigns against forced deportation if refugees, and more...

SchNEWS 681, 26th June 2009
It's Just Not Cricket - The so-called civil war in Sri Lanka may be over with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, but the suffering continues for the Tamil people... plus, the No Borders Camp kicks off at Calais, last weekend's summer solstice celebration at Stonehenge was subject to heavy policing, including an unmanned surveillance copter drone, helicopter, 300 stop-n-searches and 32 arrests, protesters on alert as the gas pipe laying ship arrives to begin work for the summer, and more...

SchNEWS 680, 19th June 2009
Cops, Lies and Videotape - As SchMOVIES film-maker is raided by Sussex Police... plus, Serco security guards serve up violent assault for detention centre hunger strikers, immigration trap is set for university cleaners, Swedish anti-war actvists occupy land being bombed in training exercise, anti-free trade protests continue and threaten the Peruvian government, and more....

SchNEWS 679, 12th June 2009
Cop That! - As SchNEWS takes a wild swing in the direction of the latest SMASH EDO trial... plus, the London Met Police round up children for their DNA, indigenous blockade in Amazonian region turns into a police massacre, another peacful protestors murdered by Israeli forces in occupied Palestine, Brighton campaign against crap coffee chain gets a double shot in the arm, and more...

SchNEWS 678, 5th June 2009
Convoy Polloi - Twenty four years have passed since the defining moment of the Thatcher government’s assault on the traveller movement - the Battle of the Beanfield - SchNEWS revisits it all... plus, the G8 returns to Italy, to the site of the recent earthquake, fourteen road protesters say goodbye to court as their cases are dismissed, a Texas court dishes out draconian punishment to aid charity, a legal victory challenges police methods of storing protest pictures, and more...

SchNEWS 677, 29th May 2009
Mosquito Bite - The Mískito people on the coast of Nicaragua have broken away and declared themselves a new nation, in defiance of Daniel Ortega's government... plus, Bury Hill Wood, part of the Abinger Forest, Surrey is under threat from oil exploration by Europa Oil and Gas, plans are afoot to squat land in the Hammersmith area of London and turn it into an eco-village, things are getting harder for vivisection lab Huntingdon Life Sciences, as major shareholder Barclays bank pulls out investment, and more....

Copyleft - Information for direct action - Published weekly in Brighton since 1994

Home | Friday 7th August 2009 | Issue 686



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Story Links : Blowing In The Wind | Plugging Into The Mainshill | Rabbiting On | Rotten To The Caucasus | The Garda They Come | Down Under Fire | Jungle Missive | Yeah Yeah Yeah | Afghan Hounding | And Finally



The campaign against the closure of the wind turbine manufacturer Vestas’ site in the Isle of Wight, instigated by sacked workers occupying the factory two weeks ago (see SchNEWS 685), has continued this week with a broad coalition of activists and locals assembling to show solidarity with the workers. 

The six workers that currently remain in the factory are being supported by a multitude of campaigners from climate action groups, trade unions and socialist networks, as well as concerned locals, who have all gathered (accompanied by a thumping bicycle sound system) to oppose the loss of hundreds of jobs, damage to the local economy and the loss of an opportunity to develop a key green industry.

Vestas successfully applied for a re-possession order on Tuesday (4th) and, despite saying that they were in no hurry to turf out the barricaded workers, served them with an eviction notice which will be carried out with the help of bailiffs at some time after 12pm today (7th). However, campers on the roundabout outside the factory have stressed that no matter what the outcome, the protest will continue and are calling for people to grab ‘a bag of tricks’ and camping gear and get over to the protest site by midday today. 

Along with demonstrators on the ‘Magic Roundabout’ on the St Cross industrial estate, a second site has been established in Cowes, much to the delight of the amazingly supportive locals. Protesters scaled the 30m walls of Vestas-owned workshops on Tuesday 4th, and have been on the roof ever since. They have been displaying pro-worker solidarity banners to the passing yachters attending the Cowes Regatta and anyone entering the busy port. Police have, with no sense of irony, been barricading these campaigners in with anti-vandal paint and massive fences, although with solar showers being set up and a huge stock of supplies, the protesters have no intention of going anywhere.

Strike a light, it
Representatives from the transport union RMT, who are supporting the ex-employees, have met with government officials who have agreed to work towards reinstating the redundancy packages previously taken away from the demonstrators inside the factory. These same officials have also reported that they have been in talks with Vestas to try and either encourage them to sell the facility or re-open, ideas which have been flatly rejected by the company. However, Vestas’ compliance is not required if the business were to be nationalised, and this is now the primary focus of all campaign efforts.

Two of the ex-Vestas operatives who left the stand-off earlier this week have since embarked on a tour, meeting with interested parties and giving talks. Those still at the camp remain upbeat and determined to continue in their campaign, retaining at its heart the plight of hundreds of workers who now find themselves unemployed in an island economy devastated by the economic crisis.

* A rally is to be held in Newport town centre on Saturday 8th, all available support is needed. A national day of solidarity is also scheduled for next Wednesday (12th), for details see

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The first instalment of the UK climate camp trilogy of low-impact living and high-impact direct action opened this week with the Scottish Camp For Climate Action. The Mainshill Solidarity Camp, on a planned open-cast coal site in Lanarkshire near Glasgow, is the venue – and though the camp goes from 3rd-10th August, the protest site will of course continue afterwards. This new woodland protest occupation was taken in mid-June after Scottish Coal were given permission to mine despite the opposition of the local district (See SchNEWS 681) and has since become a sustainable community. 

Some local residents live at the site, which contains tree houses and tunnels, whilst others have been campaigning against Scottish Coal’s applications to expand its coal-mining operations in the Douglas Valley for years. However, their objections to the trashing of their local environment have been consistently ignored by the authorities, and owner of the land - Lord Home - who is being investigated for a £150m money laundering fraud. Just three weeks ago they learned of another proposal for open-cast coal mining in the valley.

Drilling at Mainshill had been carried out by Welsh-based contractor Apex. Preparatory work for the mine by Apex such as tree-felling and bore sample drilling had already breached seven conditions of the planning approval, with regards to studies to ascertain the presence of certain endangered species such as badgers and bats, which the occupiers know to be present on site. Open-cast mines have been operational in the area for the last four years, and pulmonary illnesses have risen by 60% in the same time. 

Direct action is already underway though, with anonymous activists disabling a conveyor belt on Wednesday night (5th) at Scottish Coal’s Glentaggart site. This belt carries coal from the mine to Drax power station in Yorkshire (the site of the first Climate Camp 2006 – see SchNEWS 558).

Over 100 campers are already at the location expanding the camp and police presence has been low-key so far with cameras set up on the perimeters, although word was leaked last night of all police leave in the central section of Scotland suspended, with forces on high alert. So far, however, there has been none of the harassment of Kingsnorth last summer. In the next week there will be workshops, discussions and opportunities to link up with other people, groups and campaigns.

* See and

* When this camp finishes, it’s off to Pembrokeshire for the Welsh Camp For Climate Action, August 13th-16th – see, then the London camp August 27th-Sept 2nd - see 

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Animal rights activists have been camping it up this week outside animal breeders, Highgate Farm, near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire. Highgate Farm, owned by Geoffrey Douglas, supplies ferrets and rabbits to the vivisection industry.

Twenty-five activists occupied the road side next to the farms main entrance in what they say is “only the beginning of a major campaign”. The camp lasted seven days and was apparently ‘a pretty fluffy affair’. According to one camper we spoke to “It was really good – the farmer was furious and police seemed to be pretty reasonable. We think they’re worried it’s gonna be the next Newchurch” (See SchNEWS 509). The mood was slightly dampened after one Deliverance style inbred threw a dead rabbit onto site.
Our camper said “There will be more camps – the only reason this one was packed up was to prevent the council from getting a legal order to clear the road-side”.

Highgate Farm has seen plenty of previous action. See SchNEWS 677Slipping the Net’ for how Netcu failed in their prosecution of activists.

For more on this and and innumerable other AR actions check out and

Keywords: animal rights, direct action, highgate farm, lincolnshire, vivisection
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The murder of Russian human rights activist Natalia Estemirova in Chechnya on July 15th was the latest blow in the campaign against those trying to hold the authorities to account for a decade of atrocities in North Caucasus. Natalia was one of the most active members of long-running Russian human rights organisation Memorial, based in the Caucasus. Since Russian forces invaded Chechnya for the second time in recent history in 1999 (Russian Cossacks first invaded over 400 years ago), Natalia had not only documented human rights abuses in the region, but tried to hold the Russian and Chechen authorities to account for their role in the bloodshed. 

The recent press release prepared by Natalia, with damning revelations about the brutal Kadyrov regime's new abductions, extrajudicial executions and public shooting of people in a Chechen village, must have been too much even for the Chechen dictator. Head of the Memorial board, Oleg Orlov, pointed the finger squarely at Kadyrov, acting with Russian complicity. “I know for sure who is responsible for the killing of Natalia Estemirova,” he said. “We all know it is Ramzan Kadyrov, president of the Chechen Republic. Ramzan threatened Natalia, insulted her, believed her to be his personal enemy. We don't know whether it was Ramzan himself who ordered Natalia's murder or if his close associates did it to please the ruling authority. President Medvedev seems satisfied to have a murderer as a head of one of Russia's republics.” 

Natalia's murder is the latest in a line of assassinations of people investigating atrocities covered up by the Russian establishment in the region. Three years ago journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered following a campaign of intimidation by the Russian and Chechen authorities (see SchNEWS 569). Following international outrage over the murder of Russia's bravest investigative journalist and a perfunctory police investigation, a trial was held earlier this year, at which three men were acquitted. A retrial was recently ordered by the Russian Supreme Court following international pressure.

In January this year, human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova were shot dead in the centre of Moscow. Stanislav had represented the family of a Chechen girl raped and strangled to death in 2000 by a Russian colonel who had just been released early from prison, as well as other Chechens tortured by Russian forces.

The escalation of violence in the last year against those investigating atrocities in Chechnya seems to match an upsurge in disappearances in the region. NGOs operating in the region estimate these disappearances at between 3,500-5,000 since the outbreak of the second 'war', with the years 2006-2008 seeing a decline. However, according to Memorial, the last year has seen an increase in disappearances, reportedly at the hands of the police. With no official database of those missing and unidentified bodies ('we don't do body counts') it is left to the volunteers of Memorial to carry out the task. Memorial was in the process of compiling a list of the missing when Natalia was murdered, after which it suspended its work in Chechnya.

This, no doubt, has long been the intention of the Russian and Chechen authorities, who have been obstructing human rights work for years. The Russian state has brought in new laws making it harder for foreign NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to operate, whilst closing down domestic ones such as the 'Russian-Chechen Friendship Society' (see SchNEWS 531).

The relatives of the disappeared who braved official intimidation and reprisals in approaching these NGOs, now have no-one in the region to turn to with the departure of the last independent monitors of the actions of Kadyrov's thugs. Relatives of alleged insurgents recently had their homes burnt down as his regime has become bolder in its hunt for the remaining opposition fighters.

Russia officially declared an end to its counter-terrorism operations in Chechnya in April, after ten years. The havoc caused by Russian forces and the henchmen of the Kadyrovs in this time has led the toothless European Court of Human Rights to pass judgement over 100 times on Chechnya. However, the realpolitik of the West's need for Russia's vast natural resources, and support over Iran has prevented any meaningful action on these abuses.

The situation is also far from rosy in neighbouring Caucasian republics. In Ingushetia, independent journalist and outspoken critic of the local regime, Magomed Yevloev, was murdered in police custody last year, while extrajudicial executions and torture by state forces are now commonplace as the insurgency has spilled over from Chechnya. Similar cases have also been reported in Dagestan by federal security forces and local police.

Originally set up in 1991 to remember the victims of Stalin's repression, Memorial has embarrassed the Russian authorities over its documenting of abuses in the North Caucasus. Last November, its St. Petersburg office was raided and hard disks with the entire digital archive of the atrocities committed under Stalin were confiscated. Such official intimidation is hardly surprising given the current regime's fondness for the good old days of Uncle Joe – according to Putin, “Stalin and the Soviet regime were successful in creating a great country”.

As the region becomes a no-go area for human rights workers, the North Caucasus appears to be going the way of former Soviet Republics Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan (See SchNEWS 498), where all opposition has been quashed by brutal despots who murder dissenters with impunity.

* See also

Keywords: chechnya, despot, natalia estemirova, russia
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A recent spate of court cases stemming from protests at the Rossport Solidarity Camp (See SchNEWS 683) has seen mixed results for Shell to Sea activists. Iollain O’Mongain, Eoin O’Leidhin and Niall Harnett all had Section 6 ‘breach of the peace’ charges dismissed, while the Section 11 trespassing case against Eoin Lawless was also dismissed due to lack of evidence.

Harnett and Lawless however, were convicted on other charges. Along with another activist, Maura Harrington - who has already done two stints in Mountjoy Prison this year for actions against Shell (SchNEWS 668) - they were all convicted under Section 8 public order charges: failure to obey the directions of a Garda. Harnett and Harrington both received four month sentences – in Harrington’s case after refusing to sign a ‘good behaviour bond’ which would have prevented her from taking part in further protests. (The ironically named) Lawless was also offered the chance to sign a bond and reluctantly accepted in order to avoid a jail term.

While Harrington is currently out on bail pending appeal, Harnett is currently in Castlerea prison in County Rosscommon; letters are much appreciated. His address is: Niall Harnett, Castlerae Prison, Harristown, Castlerae, Co. Rosscommon. If you cannot send post, please sent messages of support to

* See also

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Desert war games involving 30,000 US and Australian troops rehearsing Afghanistan manoeuvres in the Australian bush was interrupted last week after seven activists occupied the land – with two lasting for the full eleven days – stopping the live fire phase of the exercise. It was similar to the action by Ofog in June in Sweden (See SchNEWS 680).

The Talisman-Saber ‘09 military exercise at the Shoalwater Military Exercise Area in central Queensland is a biennial event - in 2007 it was also interrupted by protests and a rare white humpback whale (See SchNEWS 594). This year again there was a range of protests including community events, leafleting the troops, conducting a hokey cokey at the perimeter of the military zone, stopping army trucks and occupying the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area. 

On the last day of the exercise the final two activists - Yulanji Bardon and Emily Nielsen - handed themselves into military police and were arrested for trespassing. Of the other five, three were also arrested, and two not, having voluntarily walked off the site. Emily said “These exercises are not just a ten-day long game of laser tag as Brigadier Bob Brown and the media would have us believe. They represent Australia joining the United States in the illegal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan where thousands of civilians have been killed.

Groups stayed in camps dotted around the range, forcing the limit of live fire. In a parody of the US coalition’s inability to find al Qaeda in the Afghan hills, again, despite helicopters, military dogs, and thousands of soldiers patrolling the land, they still couldn’t find protesters living in tents in the bush! In a separate action earlier in Talisman-Saber ‘09, four Christian peace campaigners were discovered – by soldiers playing insurgents.  

* See

Keywords: australia, direct action, talisman-saber ‘09
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While the threatened destruction of migrant camps and mass deportations in Calais has yet to materialise, No Borders activists are continuing in their struggle against increased police harassment of the thousands of migrants currently in Calais (See SchNEWS 682, 684, 685).

Aside from continued raids on the ‘jungle’ – makeshift camps in scrub-land surrounding Calais – and migrant squats, in which migrants have been arrested, beaten and photographed, the police have also resorted to such lowdown tactics as spraying water hydrants used in camps with tear gas, preventing access to water in 35° heat.
Activists have continued to monitor police actions and stage regular patrols, which they maintain have kept the police in check. On Wednesday, activists at the scene reported how police threatened migrants with gas and flash-balls (plastic bullets) but retreated after being confronted by a patrol.

Although it now looks like the destruction of the camps is no longer imminent, the French Immigration Minister, Eric Besson, has reasserted that the ‘jungle’ would be dismantled “before the end of the year” and activists are still calling out for volunteers to get themselves to Calais and show their support.

* See

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The new Yes Men film is coming this week. The Yes Men Fix the World features more of their high-level pranks as they expose corporations to ridicule. This film features their stunt where – speaking as Dow Chemical – they promised to compensate and clean up the toxic mess in Bhopal following the 1984 disaster. Also, they pose as Exxon execs and tell an energy conference about plans to combat climate change by using the victims of climate change as a source of energy. 

The Yes Men will be at the preview screenings at the Odeon Panton St, London, 7th-10th August, and the film will go on release in 20 cinemas across the UK on 11th August, including an 8.30pm screening at Brighton’s Duke Of York’s cinema. For more see

* This week the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to arrest Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson and produce him before the court without delay. UC and Anderson are charged with culpable homicide. Anderson absconded from a 1992 court case despite a summons, refusing to take responsibility for the Bhopal chemical disaster, pay adequate compensation or clean the site, which continues to be toxic (See SchNEWS 684). 

Keywords: bhopal, dow chemicals, exxon, the yes men
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As the situation in Afghanistan escalates, with mounting casualties on both sides, court martial proceedings have begun against a British soldier who refused to fight a second tour of duty in protest against the war.

Joe Glenton went AWOL in 2007 but handed himself in to the authorities earlier this year. During a preliminary hearing on Monday (3rd), Glenton’s lawyer told the court that he planned to fight the desertion charges, using in his defence expert testimony questioning the legality of the war. Glenton faces up to two years in prison if he is convicted. 

Last week Glenton delivered a letter to Gordon Brown in which he condemned the war and the actions of the government. “The war in Afghanistan is not reducing the terrorist risk, far from improving Afghan lives it is bringing death and devastation to their country,” Glenton wrote. “...the courage and tenacity of my fellow soldiers has become a tool of American foreign policy.”

While the military is prosecuting Glenton for refusing to participate in the destruction of a country, the government is now looking into refusing citizenship to any prospective Brits who choose to protest against it. In the latest citizenship scheme, people applying for British passport could face penalties or even a refusal for anything that could be constituted an “active disregard for British values” which the Home Office have refused to deny could include protesting against a war that recent polls suggest a majority of Brits are against. 

* See

Keywords: afghanistan, joe glenton
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Chill out everyone – climate change is about to meet a higher power. Residents of the Swiss Alpine villages of Fieschertal and Fiesch have asked for blessings from the Pope to stop their glacier from melting. Why didn’t we think of that?

Now the idea that the God of the Catholic Church (which only got around to apologising in 1992 for burning folks with the insolence to say that the world was round) is gonna intervene in global warming and rising sea levels makes about as much sense as, well, their whole religion. But then these Swiss villagers have got history on their side... 

You see back in the heady days of the late 17th century (1678 to be exact), the villages asked the then Pope to stop their glacier from growing; promising in return that they would all live virtuously. And lo! - the evil glacier did indeed stop growing and eventually started to recede, proving God’s existence beyond doubt.  

So having got what they wanted, a mere 331 years later, the fickle faithful have now changed their minds and asked for their glacier to grow back. 

But instead of risking appearing so indecisive to God, perhaps they should just blow out the previous deal by loosening up, indulging in the seven deadlies and partying more, thus causing God to default on the original 1678 bargain... 

As for their ambition to get his eminence to stick his neck out, SchNEWS reckons they haven’t got a pope in hell...

Keywords: climate change, glaciers, god, switzerland
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SchNEWS warns all readers, the winds of spare change are blowing through this unfair land. Honest!



REPORTS FROM THE VERGE - Smash EDO/ITT Anthology 2005-2009 - A new collection of twelve SchMOVIES covering the Smash EDO/ITT's campaign efforts to shut down the Brighton based bomb factory since the company sought its draconian injunction against protesters in 2005.

UNCERTIFIED - OUT NOW on DVD- SchMOVIES DVD Collection 2008 - Films on this DVD include... The saga of On The verge – the film they tried to ban, the Newhaven anti-incinerator campaign, Forgive us our trespasses - as squatters take over an abandoned Brighton church, Titnore Woods update, protests against BNP festival and more... To view some of these films click here

ON THE VERGE - The Smash EDO Campaign Film - is out on DVD. The film police tried to ban - the account of the four year campaign to close down a weapons parts manufacturer in Brighton, EDO-MBM. 90 minutes, £6 including p&p (profits to Smash EDO)

TAKE THREE - SchMOVIES Collection DVD 2007 featuring thirteen short direct action films produced by SchMOVIES in 2007, covering Hill Of Tara Protests, Smash EDO, Naked Bike Ride, The No Borders Camp at Gatwick, Class War plus many others. £6 including p&p.

V For Video Activist - the SchMOVIES 2006 DVD Collection - twelve short films produced by SchMOVIES in 2006. only £6 including p&p.

SchMOVIES DVD Collection 2005 - all the best films produced by SchMOVIES in 2005. Running out of copies but still available for £6 including p&p.

SchNEWS Books

SchNEWS At Ten - A Decade of Party & Protest - 300 pages, £5 inc p&p (within UK)

Peace de Resistance - issues 351-401, 300 pages, £5 inc p&p

SchNEWS of the World - issues 300 - 250, 300 pages,£4 inc p&p.

SchNEWS and SQUALL’s YEARBOOK 2001 - SchNEWS and Squall back to back again - issues 251-300, 300 pages, £4 inc p&p.

SchQUALL - SchNEWS and Squall back to back - issues 201-250 - Sold out - Sorry

SchNEWS Survival Guide - issues 151-200 - Sold out - Sorry

SchNEWS Annual - issues 101-150 - Sold out - Sorry

(US Postage £6.00 for individual books, £13 for above offer).

These books are mostly collections of 50 issues of SchNEWS from each year, containing an extra 200-odd pages of extra articles, photos, cartoons, subverts, a “yellow pages” list of contacts, comedy etc. SchNEWS At Ten is a ten-year round-up, containing a lot of new articles.

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