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Libyan civil war started by Western countries?


Djordje
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The British Government said it was in urgent talks with up to another 10 senior figures in Colonel Gaddafi's creaking regime about possible defection following the dramatic arrival in Britain of the Libyan dictator's chief henchman for much of his 40 years in power. [/Quote]

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-in-talks-with-10-more-gaddafi-aides-2258900.html

 

CR; My point, if Qaddafi is guilty of International Laws, then the regime would also be, or at least a good portion of the people. Were talking about some people that have been there for decades.

 

In the UK right now the cry is to bring Qaddafi, to England, try him for the Lockerbie Bombing, no less than here in the US, but less aggressively, but...

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I don't think it is correct under international law to define the Libyan rebels as civilians with reference to the right of states to intervene militarily in foreign states to protect the lives of civilians. As soon as a civilian takes up arms against his state's sovereign power, he ceases to be a civilian and becomes an armed insurrectionist, someone who is in violation of the domestic criminal law and who can legitimately be opposed with lethal force by the duly constituted local authorities. If in the course of legally applying force against armed rebels the domestic sovereign accidentally kills civilians, such as often happens in criminal law enforcement around the world (cf. the English case of R. v. Pagett, [1983] Crim L R 393), then this cannot justify the aggressive military intervention of foreign powers.

 

All war is now illegal at international law except under several very narrowly defined exceptions, and the right of humanitarian intervention in a foreign country to protect civilians from harm is actually worded so as to imply that this should only be done when the domestic sovereign cannot protect those civilians, which is not the case in Libya. Humanitarian intervention is certainly not legal to prevent a sovereign from enforcing its domestic criminal code against civilians using violence against the state, otherwise the UN should have imposed a no-fly zone over the US during the Battle of the Blair House, when armed Puerto Rican nationalists tried to kill Harry Truman.

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Simply defined a Civilian is a nonmilitary citizen of a State. Whether you call them protestors, agitators, extremist or rebels, for this discussion they would be classified 'citizens', no less than those not fighting the current Libyian Government, IMO. I don't know Libyan Law, but even under Sharia (possible more so), rebellion against a leader, must be illegal. It's the State Law, not international that defines law breakers in a State. In the US under the 1st A, we can rebel, protest or do most anything against the Government or the officials, but CANNOT intentionally break other law, city, State or Federal...

 

Under UN authority, humanitarian offenses can be used for actions, but since the UN has no enforcement power in itself, others by agreement can enforce their resolutions. What would make this legal IMO, under international law, is that a Government can't indiscriminately kill it's citizens for any purpose. In this case, I have not seen any indication this has been going on from the Libyan Government, though widely speculated. For an example, you might read up on the Waco Siege incident, where 76 people (including 24 British Nationals) were killed, because they would not summit to a search warrant.

 

Since I'm already in trouble for these comments, based on this administration word's, they seem to embellish truth with "saved the Country from the worst depression ever", "saved or created (3-4 or more) millions of jobs" (many others) and now "saved the Libyan people from untold' human carnage. Even today, if we're being correctly told, the US has used 150+ Missiles on a Country, without killing civilians and will walk away from any further military involvement (some auxiliary assistance) and "we have saved lives". What great leadership, the US is showing the World...

 

I was trying to form some possible future headlines the other day and a came up with a couple ideas, "Bush Wars deny Obama his due right to claim victory in Seven Day War in Libya" and "Banning/Wikileaks Assange, forced Libyan Actions"...We'll see, but they may have already over used this tactic. That was shortly after hearing a WH spokesman say the Bush Taxes didn't work under Bush, but are working under the Obama extension.

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At some point an armed citizen acting as a rebel must become a combatent rather than just a civilian.

 

It does not seem that a foreign power can be justified under international law in making a 'humanitarian' intervention to prevent a state from using lethal force to suppress violations of its own criminal code by its own civilians under domestic sedition laws, which I assume Libya must have. There is nothing 'inhumane' about using force to prevent violations of the domestic criminal code, even if this suppression of civilian violence to sustain domestic justice accidentally kills some non-violent civilians as a side-effect. Who is the proper judge of how many accidental civilian deaths in suppressing crime are too many? Doesn't the flexibility of this assessment just give carte blanche to every nation with a large military with sophisticated power projection capacity the effective 'right' to act on every imperialistic impulse it has under the cover of international law?

 

I note that NATO has now clearly begun to tally up Libyan civilian deaths to its own account, now that it has bombed a truck convoy transporting a rebel Libyan medical team. Unless the International Court of Justice is making an independent assessment for a possible war crimes trial of either Gadaffi or the NATO leadership of how many Gadaffi-caused innocent civilian deaths are too many relative to his legal enforcement of the domestic criminal code, compared with how many NATO-caused innocent civilians deaths are too many relative to its purported legal enforcement of the UN Security Council resolution to 'protect' civilians, then the whole operation is a sham.

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It does not seem that a foreign power can be justified under international law in making a 'humanitarian' intervention to prevent a state from using lethal force to suppress violations of its own criminal code by its own civilians under domestic sedition laws, which I assume Libya must have. There is nothing 'inhumane' about using force to prevent violations of the domestic criminal code, even if this suppression of civilian violence to sustain domestic justice accidentally kills some non-violent civilians as a side-effect.

Supposing this suppression of violence involves shelling entire cities?

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Do you mean the U.S. bombing Tripoli or Gadaffi bombing Benghazi? Or perhaps Lincoln's destruction of Atlanta in suppressing the domestic rebellion of the American Civil War should be counted as having justified Britain in intervening on the side of the South? It had, after all, already at that time adopted the policy of suppressing the international slave trade for its inhumanity, so Britain was already operating with a principle of humanitarian intervention.

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Do you mean the U.S. bombing Tripoli or Gadaffi bombing Benghazi?

I'd think there's a difference between "shelling entire cities" and "using guided munitions to blow up a specific set of buildings."

 

Or perhaps Lincoln's destruction of Atlanta in suppressing the domestic rebellion of the American Civil War should be counted as having justified Britain in intervening on the side of the South? It had, after all, already at that time adopted the policy of suppressing the international slave trade for its inhumanity, so Britain was already operating with a principle of humanitarian intervention.

Sure. Dunno why they'd intervene on behalf of a slave-based society, but on a humanitarian basis, sure.

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At some point an armed citizen acting as a rebel must become a combatant rather than just a civilian.[/Quote]

 

Marat; It's not really covered under International Law or Rumsfeld, Chaney and Bush, might really have a problem. Until the SECOND TT (2001) bombing, the Pentagon Building and the attempt on the White House (suspected), such act where considered criminal offenses. It's subjective, but even Bush (43) suggested the second TT plane, made it an "act of war". They got NATO involved under the idea, think Article 5 (NATO Alliance) saying, such an act on one Nation was an act of all member States.

 

As I have already said, Libya/Qaddafi had not attacked anyone and in theory was putting down a National Rebellion, which should have been acceptable, in my opinion. I'm not going to over the threads content, but I feel the US is as responsible for this and many other apparent uprisings around the area and an American President, that happens to have the name Barrack Hussein Obama (for Muslims) and just happens to be black (for Africans), just can't in any way declare the young (near 40% of these Countries people are under 29 years of age) are entitled to an inferred American Style Democracy and voice in Governmental Affairs. I want this clear however, while I believe ill advised to even make that Cairo Egypt Speech, the "unintended consequences" are not necessarily, entirely his fault. The French and Radical Muslim Groups, have simply taken advantage of the situation, again IMO...

 

I note that NATO has now clearly begun to tally up Libyan civilian deaths to its own account, now that it has bombed a truck convoy transporting a rebel Libyan medical team.[/Quote]

 

Everyone knew this was inevitable, the rebels even shot down their own plane and no one knows how many people are NOW dead, because of this action, civilians or not. Maybe the author of this thread was correct and the Western Nations, for whatever reason, did start what became a civil war, but in any event the outcome will not be for the better.

 

I'd think there's a difference between "shelling entire cities" and "using guided munitions to blow up a specific set of buildings."[/Quote]

 

CR; Don't you think if Qaddifi had the ability, he would have done just that. Seems to me the US has done a whole lot of "carpet bombing" over the years, not to mention a couple nules in Japan.

 

Sure. Dunno why they'd intervene on behalf of a slave-based society, but on a humanitarian basis, sure. [/Quote]

 

That was a different time and Abolition of Slavery was not the only issue. However Qaddafi had been supported on and off for those 42 years, even granted a few million dollars a couple months ago and I think there were about 20 major oil related companies in the country. We have and do business in many places that don't follow humanitarian affairs as we THINK they should. Maybe Reagan, had the best method, at least for revenging American Deaths, just throw a few bombs around trying to kill their head of State and get out...

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CR; Don't you think if Qaddifi had the ability, he would have done just that. Seems to me the US has done a whole lot of "carpet bombing" over the years, not to mention a couple nules in Japan.

But he doesn't have the capability, so he didn't. I'm sure he'd love to, but you can't get out of blame for shelling a city by saying, "Well, if you just gave us some laser-guided bombs, this would have worked much better..."

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But Gadaffi did offer amnesty to any rebels who threw down their arms, so in principle after that amnesty he was attacking only those who had resolved to persist in their armed rebellion against a sovereign state. Since the conditions of his amnesty implied that he did not intend to fire on unarmed civilians, but solely against those civilians who had lost their civilian status by continuing to carry arms, it seems ironic that the UN Security Council's response to that was to declare a military intervention against him to 'save civilian lives.'

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Yes, and the artillery shells he fires are capable of discriminating between armed rebel civilians and their 87-year-old grandmothers.

 

Oh, and regarding questions of why there's been no intervention in the Ivory Coast while nations rushed to Libya:

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/04/laurent-gbagbo-un-attack-helicopters

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I would agree that Gadaffi has certainly killed innocent civilians as a side effect of his legal use of force as the Libyan head of state to protect the state from rebellion and enforce the domestic criminal code provisions against sedition and rebellion. But where should the world draw the line when arguing that 'too many' civilians have been killed as a side-effect of legal state force so that an international humanitarian intervention is justified to protect civilians? Only the International Court of Justice has sufficient objectivity to judge this, but unfortunately the UN Security Council, a highly prejudiced body dominated by world powers with practical agendas to promote, is determining the 'justice' of this intervention. The International Court of Justice has the legal right under the UN Charter to review the actions of the Security Council to ensure that they comply with the purposes of the UN (article 24), but it lacks the courage to step up and tell the Security Council that it has judged the requisite proportion of civilian casualties incorrectly.

 

Unless and until the ICJ intervenes, might makes right.

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Marat, why do you feel that societies that hold as their fundamental principle that the government exists at the consent of the governed and for their benefit, should in any way accept when a government in another country, which also claims that same principle, nevertheless rejects the will of its people and tries to enforce its own by force? Is that not a threat to all democratic nations?

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Are any countries truly democratic? When the average American votes on the basis of petty personal scandals, 30-second soundbites on the evening news, political campaigns consisting of superficial slogans simply stated in opposition to each other but never debated in any serious way supported by data or an argument based on deep political philosophy, what does their 'approval' of a government whose policies they cannot comprehend amount to? They might as well cast their votes after consulting astrological advice.

 

Also, there is the phenomenon of ideological hegemony. The powerful elites of society not only control its material forces, but also shape its intellectual perspectives and assumptions, so an 'election' is just an empty ritual in which the hegemon takes the temperature of society every four years to reassure itself that its ideological conditioning of society is working. Only if there were some way for the people to break out of this vicious cycle could there ever be something like an independent evaluation by the public of the government, but this never happens.

 

For example, the entire public discourse in the U.S. is presently shaped by the nearly universally accepted obsession with the fact that government expenditures are too high and must be reduced at all costs. It is simply taken for granted that excessive expenditures explain the deficit, and so expenditures must be brought down to a more reasonable level. But in fact, while in Germany the government spends 40% of the total GDP on its programs, and in France the government spends 46% of GDP, while in England the figure is 39%, and in Canada 34%, in the U.S. the government spends an astonishingly low 28% of GDP, and this is so far below the standard set by other developed countries that a large deficit is almost inevitable. So the fixation of the public mind on excess government spending in the U.S. is totally misinformed, and yet this is what will drive the democratic approval or disapproval of the political options presented at the next election. Where did this massive public ignorance about the real nature of U.S. government expenditure come form? I would submit that it arose from the way the elites misconstruct the public's understanding of social reality so they can keep themselves in power.

 

Obviously democracy is as unreal in the United States as it is in Libya, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia, it's just that more work is done on creating the illusion in America than elsewhere.

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Marat, why do you feel that societies that hold as their fundamental principle that the government exists at the consent of the governed and for their benefit, should in any way accept when a government in another country, which also claims that same principle, nevertheless rejects the will of its people and tries to enforce its own by force? Is that not a threat to all democratic nations? [/Quote]

 

Skeptic, your begging the question; In your opinion, why is what the people of Lybia or for that matter any Country believe, any of our business? I'll remind you the author of this thread, believed western countries STARTED a war in Lybia over oil, which brought on a "Civil War", upsetting what he felt was a satisfactory Governance of his people. Additionally, though not covered, there must be some support for Qaddafi and frankly the opposition (rebels), reminds me more a gang warfare, than a rebellion.

 

Would you support, if say China, Russia or a coalition of Asian Nations, saying the War in Mexico, that has killed 30,000 people in the past three years, a large percentage civilians, was a result of Calderon's actions against the drug lords (called tribal leaders in Lybia) and for humanitarian reasons they're going to assist those rebels. I know this sounds absurd, based on the way Americans think, but I'm not convinced in the slightest, Arabs or Muslims are in their reality are unsatisfied with Government.

 

I understand your logic and don't really disagree, but with the Lybian precedence set (policy), were directly encouraging (maybe further encouraging) other minority groups in many other places, to rebel against their Government and we are simply no longer financially able to police the world.

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Obviously democracy is as unreal in the United States as it is in Libya, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia, it's just that more work is done on creating the illusion in America than elsewhere.

 

You may be right, but under the same reasoning when some other country shatters our illusion that the government exists at the consent of the governed (by publicly using lethal force against protesters), we'd get just as angry as if we really were a democracy.

 

Skeptic, your begging the question; In your opinion, why is what the people of Lybia or for that matter any Country believe, any of our business?

 

For national (and personal) security. Saying "our country may not execute protesters" is not nearly as strong as "no country may execute protesters and if they try they might be invaded". So now we are protected by both our own law and international law.

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For national (and personal) security. Saying "our country may not execute protesters" is not nearly as strong as "no country may execute protesters and if they try they might be invaded". So now we are protected by both our own law and international law. [/Quote]

 

Skeptic, that's the essence of my argument in reverse. If we do anything different from any other Government, whatever that is that's different, is none of their business or the reverse for us. I don't doubt China and Russia, execute dissenters or for many acts we do not and I sure don't think we're going to attack them. On the other hand most European Countries, including Mexico and I think Canada and Australia don't believe in Capital Punishment, while some of our States do. What's legal anyplace is going to be different than in the US, try carrying a weapon across the Mexican Border.

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The United States military fired on civilian demonstrators and killed a number of them at the Pullman strike in 1894. Unless the U.S. is willing to admit that that incident should have justified military intervention on humanitarian grounds under the UN Security Council auspices (had the organization existed then), then the U.S. is now being hypocritical. Are there any countries in the world which have not at one time or another fired at and killed demonstrators under the excuse of suppressing a riot?

 

Almost all countries with a common law legal tradition, such as the U.S., have a 'riot act' provision which allows a state official to 'read the riot act' before an assembled crowd, and this action then legally entitles the state to shoot to kill anyone in the crowd who refuses to disperse after the riot act has been read. Such a legal provision is considered a normal part of the right of every state to suppress demonstrations which threaten the ultimate sovereignty of the state and its control over its own territory. I don't really see how Libya's action against armed rebels trying to destroy its government and take over the country can be regarded as 'inhumane' by the UN Charter's criteria justifying intervention by foreign states, since the domestic law of every foreign state recognizes such a right as Libya is now exercising. Can a nearly universal principle of domestic law be recognized as 'inhumane' so as to justify 'humanitarian' intervention at international law?

 

There will always be at least one American living in every country of the world to 'justify' U.S. imperialist intervention there 'to save him.' There will always be at least one civilian killed during unrest in every country of the world to justify the powerful countries of the world to act under the cover of UN 'humanitarian intervention' to invade that country for their own imperialistic purposes. This is why the legitimacy of such actions should really be reviewed by the International Court of Justice to determine whether the facts actually do excuse the action taken. Just having the great powers on the Security Council and the influence they can exercise excusing these interventions simply makes might right.

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The United States military fired on civilian demonstrators and killed a number of them at the Pullman strike in 1894. Unless the U.S. is willing to admit that that incident should have justified military intervention on humanitarian grounds under the UN Security Council auspices (had the organization existed then), then the U.S. is now being hypocritical. Are there any countries in the world which have not at one time or another fired at and killed demonstrators under the excuse of suppressing a riot?

Yes, because the same administration which ordered military action against the Pullman strikers authorized action against the Libyans, and the same cultural objections to innocent deaths existed in 1894.

 

This is again an ad hominem tu quoque argument and irrelevant. If the US government has indeed changed its mind and decided that innocent deaths are not to be tolerated, it is perfectly legitimate for them to take action on that belief. It is not "hypocritical" that they have changed their opinion since their predecessors 100 years ago.

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That is why I earlier in this thread mentioned the English case of R. v. Pagett, where police action killed an innocent civilian. Countries kill innocent civilians in all sorts of actions enforcing their criminal codes, and since laws against sedition are necessarily in the criminal code of every nation that claims effective sovereignty, Libya killing civilians as a side-effect of suppressing civilian insurrection is no different from any ordinary police action anywhere. The U.S. still does this sort of thing in the modern era, as in the action against the 'bonus' army by Patton, MacArthur, and Eisenhower in Washington in the 1930s, or the suppression of the Kent State demonstrators in the 1960s.

 

Since international law is based on customary usages among nations, it is what nations ordinarily do which determines what is legal for them all to do, so ad hominem arguments, far from being out of place, are the very essence of international law reasoning. In any case, ad hominem arguments can only be said to operate with respect to people, not countries (homo = human, Latin). 'Ad patriam' arguments would be those directed against a country.

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Since international law is based on customary usages among nations, it is what nations ordinarily do which determines what is legal for them all to do, so ad hominem arguments, far from being out of place, are the very essence of international law reasoning. In any case, ad hominem arguments can only be said to operate with respect to people, not countries (homo = human, Latin). 'Ad patriam' arguments would be those directed against a country.

The point, regardless of Latin designation, is that arguments based on the past decisions of nations are irrelevant. The choices of a nation forty years ago may be different from the choices it makes now, but that does not make the current choices wrong or poorly founded, merely different. Claiming that hypocrisy renders the current excuses groundless is a fallacious argument.

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Bahrain and Syria are now shooting civilians, and no doubt many other nations routinely shoot innocent civilians as part of the side-effects of their police actions in suppressing ordinary crime, illegal demonstrations, or open revolts. The firing of live ammunition by the National Guard at Kent State in 1969 which caused innocent civilian death was not so long ago as to be outside the scope of 'modern state practice,' which defines international customary law.

 

It is important to note an essential distinction in this argument. I am not just saying it is all right that Libya shoots innocent civilians now because the U.S. and other nations also do it, and if one agent does something wrong that makes the same wrong committed by a different agent morally acceptable. That assertion would of course be untrue.

 

But I am saying something rather more technical about what is legally wrong by principles of international law so that it can be cited as a valid reason for invoking one of the very few permitted exceptions for aggressive military action, which is humanitarian intervention to protect people from death in a foreign jurisdiction. Since there is no world legislature to pass statutes of international law which all countries are bound to respect, international law develops from the customary practice of states. What states ordinarily do and regard as acceptable is what international law regards as legal. "Customary international law is, of course, derived primarily from state practice, that is to say, unilateral action by various states." (Hugh Kindred, et al, 'International Law,' Toronto: Emond Montgomery, 2006, p. 149) So if state practice is ordinarily to tolerate the killing of innocent civilians as an unavoidable side-effect of domestic policing actions, then it cannot be illegal at international law, because it is consistent with the source of international law in customary state practice. And if something is not illegal in customary state practice, then how can it be cited to justify military intervention in the domestic affairs of a foreign sovereign on 'humanitarian' grounds, since what is consistent with international law, that is, the general customary practice of states, cannot conceivably be so 'inhumane' as to justify its legal suppression under international law, since then the international law of justified use of aggressive military action would be in conflict with the very foundation of international law itself!

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I still don't quite understand how "modern state practice" in domestic policing includes shelling cities.

 

Your point on international law is interesting, but misses a key distinction: customary international law is only a portion of international law. Also, non-binding laws such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are often considered a strong part of customary international law, and simply by reading through the articles of that document one can count out numerous violations by Libya.

 

One can also argue that the invasion of countries repressing their citizens is justified by customary international law because it has been a common modern state practice for decades: Panama, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, and so on. Each has been justified in some part by the need to protect civilians.

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There are certainly several sources of international law, as you point out. Customary practice of states used to be the only source, but since then international treaties, UN declarations, and International Court of Justice rulings are all generating new international law. It takes a while and a lot of precedents for state practice to crystallize into international customary law, but at what point there has finally been enough practice is always going to be debatable. There are also always going to be disputes about when the facts of any given situation actually trigger some international law criterion for state action, such as the claim of a right of humanitarian action to protect civilians being killed by their own government. High-speed police chases often kill civilians, but no one would argue that a high tolerance in a given country of civilian deaths from this source would excuse humanitarian intervention.

 

The best response to all these matters of degree and theoretical dispute seems to be to have an agency specialized in the neutral resolution of such matters, the International Court of Justice, resolve them, rather than UN Security Council resolutions without ICJ review just charging ahead to make might right by the fiat of the great powers and the influence they can exercise over the non-permanent members of the Security Council.

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Slightly irrelevant but how do these sorts of people manage to get to power (i.e. Gadaffi, Ahmadinejad etc)?

 

They seem like idiots but then again I don't really follow politics so I guess I could be wrong.

 

All these leaders seem to have their own unique personality, like that Berlusconi guy who's been in the news a lot too. They're all very different and many aren't even very good role models.

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