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WikiLeaks

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Tribalist symbol for establishment climbers? Most of our critics have 3 (((brackets around their names))) & have black-rim glasses. Bizarre.
from WikiLeaks' twitter account

WikiLeaks is a site that hosts leaked confidential documents, while preserving the anonymity of its contributors and staff. It operates as a news site, reviewing and commenting on documents it puts up.

It aroused the ire of many governments and businesses — the Pentagon is out to get editor in chief Julian Assange personally — and showed the populace what effect journalism is supposed to have. However, any impartiality died when Assange dropped the crowd-focus and purged his co-founder.

Contents

[edit] Name

WikiLeaks once used the MediaWiki software developed for Wikipedia, but now runs a CMS that has nothing to do with Wikis at all.

[edit] Operation

WikiLeaks' stated aim is to expose the official corruption in repressive governments, but their door is open to almost any kind of leaked documents.

Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact. Our interface is identical to Wikipedia and usable by all types of people. We have received over 1.2 million documents so far from dissident communities and anonymous sources.

We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies. All governments can benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people. We believe this scrutiny requires information. Historically that information has been costly — in terms of human life and human rights. But with technological advances - the internet, and cryptography — the risks of conveying important information can be lowered.

Assange formed his free speech ideals running a free speech ISP, suburbia.net (still extant) in the 1990s.[note 1] He published a document in 2002, State and Terrorist Conspiracies,[1] setting out his aims in detail: to increase the friction in the mechanisms by which authoritarian governments conspire against their citizens, thus changing the lay of the land and forcing them to more open communication mechanisms. It's the inchoate hacker (as in cracker) free speech ideal of the 1980s developed into a coherent philosophy. Which is quite an achievement in itself!

[edit] Notable leaks

[edit] Afghanistan War logs

On July 25th, 2010, Wikileaks released tens of thousands of classified military field reports in relation to the Afghanistan War. It provided the New York Times,[15] The Guardian,[16] and Der Spiegel[17] with over 90,000 classified military documents in what is being described as one of the biggest leaks in the history of the United States military.[18] The documents show that:

  • There have been hundreds of unreported civilian deaths and soldiers frequently fudge the numbers in their field reports in counting dead civilians as 'insurgents'.
  • The Taliban apparently use heat-seeking missiles against allied aircraft, something the US has glossed over. Possibly because the US sold the technology their precursor groups during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 80s. Oops.
  • The CIA pretty much runs their own paramilitary in Afghanistan, launching raids and ambushes, and even has the ability to call in airstrikes. Letting the CIA have such free roam is, of course, a great idea, since they are so well-known for respecting human rights. And the Afghanistan spy agency is essentially their bitch.
  • It basically confirms what we knew already: that the US gives millions of dollars to Pakistan only for that money to be funneled to insurgents killing American soldiers.

NYT says the military never really lied - just made misleading statements; however, saying aircraft have been brought down by conventional weapons when in fact they are using heat-seeking technology we sold them sounds an awful lot like an untrue statement — in other words, a lie, or crediting Afghan forces with victories when they really had nothing to do with it. The parallel to the leaking of the Pentagon Papers (a US Department of Defense study that pretty much proved three consecutive US administrations had made a habit of lying straight in the face of the American people about the Vietnam War) is evident.

The reports paint a clear picture of Afghanistan and the war. Despite almost a decade of war and billions of dollars spent on it, the insurgency is not dying down, and is in fact getting stronger. The Taliban have a network of spies, informers and double agents working against the Afghan government and NATO forces. The Afghan National Army and police force are in disarray, plagued by corruption and abuse, and many will defect to the Taliban while the ones who stick it out become reviled by Afghan citizens. In fact, the population now actually thinks the Taliban was better than what they have now. Large portions of the country are controlled by warlords who are above the law, and the government is hopelessly corrupt.

With poverty, corruption on every level, citizens under threat of constant violence, untrained soldiers and police officers and everything else detailed in the documents, it is hard to imagine the war could ever be won.

[edit] Philip Sales QC

The UK's Court of Appeal ruled against all expectations on 12 August 2016 that 130,000 Labour members who joined the party after 12 January 2016 would not be able to vote in the leadership contest, in accordance with rules that the National Executive Committee decided after Jeremy Corbyn had left the room.[19][20] This move was done by opponents of Corbyn in an effort to increase the chance of the more "electable" opponent of Corbyn (Owen Smith) becoming leader;[21] however, Corbyn seems to be the most likely candidate to win by any measure, and Owen Smith actually would make people less likely to become leader, according to Britain Elects.[22][23]

Although RationalWiki cannot of course for legal reasons say directly that the ruling may have been less than impartial, it is a staggering co-incidence that the High Court Judge who ruled against the 130,000 Labour members in the Appeal Court in favour of the NEC just turns out to have worked for Tony Blair directly (who once urged supporters of Corbyn to "get a [heart] transplant"[24]), and was a legal senior adviser to New Labour throughout their time in government.[25]

The literature cited by WikiLeaks confirms that immediately after Labour's victory in the 1997 general election, Sales was recruited by Tony Blair. Interestingly, it also reveals that Sales used to be a practising barrister at law chambers 11KBW, of which Tony Blair was a founder member. At the time of the appointment, there was an uproar over Sales' appointment and plunged Blair into a cronyism row.

According to The Guardian's coverage of the sexual discrimination case brought against Sales' appointment, a source close to the case referred to 11KBW as a "network of old boys and cronies", and that there was "no coincidence that the appointment came from Lord Irvine's and Tony Blair's old chambers".

Since his appointment in 1997, Sir Philip Sales managed to rack up a hefty bill to the taxpayer as the highest earning lawyer in the entire government. Moreover, as a key part of Blair's legal team, he also defended the Government's decision against holding a public inquiry into the Iraq War in the High Court in 2005.[26]

[edit] December 2009 inactivity

Wikileaks ran out of money in December 2009. The release of the "Collateral Murder" video reversed this and the donations started coming in again for a time, until PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, and Bank of America cut them off in reaction to the 2010 U.S. embassy leaks.

[edit] Allegations of Facebook censorship

Documents critical of Hillary Clinton – a person who Julian Assange has a personal mistrust for, following her calls to indict him after diplomatic leaks whilst Secretary of State[27] – have been blocked on Facebook: When WikiLeaks broke the Clinton email scandal in March 2016 and created an online, searchable repository of over 30,000 of Clinton's emails,[28] linking to the archive produced an error message for Facebook. This was blamed on an error with the anti-spam filter;[29][30] however, when the hacked DNC emails (allegedly gained by Russian intelligence, and published at a time by Assange in order to destabilize the Clinton campaign[27]) were released, the link to WikiLeaks was blocked again – and again, the excuse of the anti-spam filter running amok was used.[31][32]

[edit] Dubious ethics

Criticizing Wikileaks? You must be a paid HillaryShill!
Wikileaks will facilitate safety in the ethical leaking movement.
—Assange, making a pinky promise[33]
I used to defend WikiLeaks all the time on the grounds that they were not indiscriminate dumpers of information. They were carefully protecting people’s reputations. And they have changed their view on that—and no longer believe, as Julian says, in redacting any information of any kind for any reason—and I definitely do not agree with that approach and think that they can be harmful to innocent people or other individuals in ways that I don’t think is acceptable.
Glenn Greenwald[34]

Wikileaks was criticized after they released a document giving the names and details about the last remaining Jews in Baghdad, Iraq, thereby jeopardizing their safety.[35][36] Other critics have made more general complaints about Wikileaks jeopardizing the safety of individuals.[37]

[edit] DNC hack

On June 14, the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, under contract with the DNC, announced in a blog post that two separate Russian intelligence groups had gained access to the DNC network. One group, FANCY BEAR or APT 28, gained access in April. The other, COZY BEAR, (also called Cozy Duke and APT 29) first breached the network in the summer of 2015.[38] It's believed that FANCY BEAR represents the GRU, while COZY BEAR is the FSB. In Russia, two espionage groups compromising the same systems and engaging separately in the theft of identical credentials is not an uncommon sight as distrust and competition are common in authoritarian regimes, and are in fact often intentionally fueled by the dictator himself.[39]

The Russians then created a fake Romanian internet hacker, going by the name Guccifer 2.0, to clumsily whitewash their espionage and handed the emails to Wikileaks, who decided it would be a great idea to not redact personal information, including home addresses, phone numbers, passport numbers, credit card and social security numbers of thousands of donors to the DNC, many of whom were perfectly average American citizens, as well as keeping malware files in the emails that could damage anyone viewing the documents on WikiLeaks.[40] Besides the obvious legal issues, it seems difficult for even the most rabid transparency crusaders to think this could possibly be a good idea.

Assange has never shied away from expressing his disdain for Hillary Clinton, and the releases of his hacks accordingly. The release of DNC emails was deliberately timed to maximally disrupt the proceedings of the DNC.[27] The slow, daily release of batches of the Podesta emails[wp] became an extended "October surprise" designed to hurt the Clinton campaign. WikiLeaks claims that this release strategy is based on their Stochastic Terminator Algorithm.[41]

[edit] Cooperating with neo-Nazis

Swedish-based holocaust denier Israel Shamir works as a 'freelancer' for Wikileaks. Assange, aware of the dubious reputation of this individual, allegedly wanted to let him work with WikiLeaks under a false name so as to not attract unwanted attention.[42] Former Wikileaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg noted Wikileaks' ties to Shamir among the reasons he quit the organization. He described Shamir as a "famous Holocaust denier and anti-Semite."[43] Shamir was accused of concocting a cable which allegedly quoted European Union diplomats' plans to walk out of the Durban II speech by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for publication in the pro-Putin Russian Reporter in December 2010.[44] Shamir has also been accused of passing "sensitive cables" to the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. Such an event could physically endanger Lukashenko's political opponents.[45]

Shamir's son, a journalist named Johannes Wahlström, is a spokesperson for WikiLeaks in Sweden.

Assange and WikiLeaks appear to be further cementing their ties to the racist far-right by opposing Milo Yiannopoulos' Twitter ban, comparing it to the mass arrests after the failed military coup against Erdoğan in Turkey and Stalin's Great Purge. WikiLeaks also pledged to build an alternative platform to the "cyber feudalis[t]" Twitter.[46] WikiLeaks has also promoted the alt-right aligned Breitbart.com's Clinton Cash books and videos.[47]

[edit] Doxxing almost every woman in Turkey

In the immediate aftermath of the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, WikiLeaks' published links to 300,000 "Erdogan Emails", resulting in the doxxing of millions of Turkish people. None of the "Erdogan emails" turned out to be from Erdogan or his inner circle.[48] Mostly, they're correspondence and personal information from everyday Turkish citizens, which included the home addresses, phone numbers, party affiliations, and political activity levels of millions of female Turkish voters.[49]

[edit] Bromance with Putin

#PanamaPapers Putin attack was produced by OCCRP [Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project] which targets Russia & former USSR and was funded by USAID & Soros.
—WikiLeaks, defending their bro Putin from the "evil" Greenwald and his "Panama Papers" leak[50]

Julian Assange, who hosted a show on Putin's propaganda channel "Russia Today", appears to have a cozy relationship with the Russian government. National security expert and former United States counterintelligence officer John Schindler went as far as to state that "WikiLeaks is a front for Russian intelligence".[51] When MSNBC host Joy Reid tweeted that she planned to discuss the connection between WikiLeaks and the Russian government on her show, WikiLeaks' official twitter account responded by threatening that: "our lawyers will monitor your program."[52] WikiLeaks also responded to an article by Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall, which investigated ties between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin, by accusing him of "weird priority".[53]

Assange founded a political party in his native Australia, the WikiLeaks Party, that in December of 2013 sent a delegation headed by Assange's own father to Syria, where the WikiLeaks Party members met with Syria's brutal dictator and Putin vassal[54][55][56], Bashar al-Assad. Though Wikileaks later denied that they knew or approved of the meeting.[57]

Reporters from The Daily Dot claimed that Wikileaks excluded evidence from their release of "The Syria Files" the showed evidence a transfer of €2 billion from the Central Bank of Syria to an account at the VTB Bank of Russia. Wikileaks denied the reporters' account of events, accused them of being Hillary Clinton supporters, and made an unspecified threat against them ("Go right ahead, but you can be sure we will return the favour one day.").[58][59]

Assange also requested that his private security detail be provided by Russia's secret police agency and KGB successor, the FSB[wp].[note 2][60][51][61]

[edit] Putting on the tinfoil hat

There is no US election. There is power consolidation. Rigged primary, rigged media and rigged 'pied piper' candidate drive consolidation.
—WikiLeaks on Twitter[62]

WikiLeaks' staff believes that the 2016 DNC was using a "white noise machine" against the disruptive minority of Sanders' delegates.[63] Said machines turned out to be an arena Wi-Fi hot spot installed a year before,[64] but that's what a HillaryShill would want you to believe!

After DNC staffer Seth Rich was murdered in what the police believe was attempted robbery,[65] WikiLeaks went full Vince Foster and issued a $20,000 reward for information on the murder.[66] They were swiftly criticized by Seth Rich's grieving family for politicizing the investigation.[67] Joel Rich, Seth's father, called the theories about his son's death "bizarre" and accused WikiLeaks of "playing a game".[68]

Just before the 2016 presidential election, WikiLeaks highlighted a hacked email where performance artist Marina Abramović invited the Podesta brothers to a soup dinner as a reward for their donations to her Kickstarter campaign. However, Abramović named this dinner after one of her performance pieces, Spirit Cooking, leading WikiLeaks to tweet that the Podesta brothers ingested "blood, sperm and breastmilk," stoking unfounded rumors that the Clinton campaign engaged in Satanism.[69]

[edit] Outing in the "Saudi Cables"

We can't sit on material like this for three years with one person to go through the whole lot, line-by-line, to redact. We have to take the best road that we can.
—Assange, no longer giving a fuck[70]

WikiLeaks have leaked the identities of thousands of people in Saudi Arabia, and didn't bother to look through it properly, outing gay people, rape victims and people with HIV, all of whom could be killed for various reasons.[71]

The Associated Press reported:[72]

In the past year alone, the radical transparency group has published medical files belonging to scores of ordinary citizens while many hundreds more have had sensitive family, financial or identity records posted to the web. In two particularly egregious cases, WikiLeaks named teenage rape victims. In a third case, the site published the name of a Saudi citizen arrested for being gay, an extraordinary move given that homosexuality is punishable by death in the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom.

"They published everything: my phone, address, name, details," said a Saudi man who told AP he was bewildered that WikiLeaks had revealed the details of a paternity dispute with a former partner. "If the family of my wife saw this ... Publishing personal stuff like that could destroy people."

The AP found that the Saudi diplomatic cables alone hold at least 124 medical files. Medical records are everywhere considered a person's most private information, yet Wikileaks has absolutely no problem publishing identity records, phone numbers and other information easily exploited by criminals. A partial scan done by the AP of the leak turned up more than 500 passport, identity, academic or employment files.

"This has nothing to do with politics or corruption," said Dr. Nayef al-Fayez, a consultant in the Jordanian capital of Amman who confirmed that a brain cancer patient of his was among those whose details were published to the web. Dr. Adnan Salhab, a retired practitioner in Jordan who also had a patient named in the files, expressed anger when shown the document.

"This is illegal what has happened," he said in a telephone interview. "It is illegal!"

One, a partially disabled Saudi woman who'd secretly gone into debt to support a sick relative, said she was devastated. She'd kept her plight from members of her own family.

"This is a disaster," she said in a phone call. "What if my brothers, neighbors, people I know or even don't know have seen it? What is the use of publishing my story?"

The AP also found three dozen records containing messages about marriages, divorces, missing children, elopements and custody battles. Many are very personal, like the marital certificates which reveal whether the bride was a virgin. One divorce document details a male partner's infertility. Others identify the partners of women suffering from sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and Hepatitis C.

The info dumped by WikiLeaks also identifies domestic workers who'd been tortured or sexually abused by their employers, giving the women's full names and passport numbers. Files also name a male teenager who was raped by a man while abroad; another male teenager who was so violently raped his legs were broken and details of a Saudi man detained for "sexual deviation" , which is how homosexuality is described in Saudi Arabia.

Scott Long, an LGBT rights activist who has worked in the Middle East, said the names of rape victims were off-limits. And he worried that releasing the names of people persecuted for their sexuality only risked magnifying the harm caused by oppressive officials.

"You're legitimizing their surveillance, not combating it," Long said.

WikiLeaks response to this? Calling AP's revelations a "recycled attack" and somehow mixing in more whining about Hillary Clinton.[73][74]

[edit] Funding

In 2011, Wikileaks is funded by public donations. In response to donations being blocked by PayPal and the major credit cards, Wikileaks has sought out alternative means of accepting donations.

After numerous questionable moral decisions on the part of their refusal to curate their leaks of personal information, supporting them may not be in the best interest of transparency.

Why not contribute to RationalWiki instead?

[edit] External links

[edit] Notes

  1. Suburbia has hosted one RationalWikian's anti-Scientology site since 1995, fending off countless frivolous legal threats.
  2. Everyone, even RT, calls it a secret police

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Precis and analysis; full PDF.
  2. They even have a whole cateogory for Scientology.
  3. See this section of our BNP article.
  4. WikiLeaks publishes Stratfor emails linked to Anonymous attack, The Guardian
  5. What is Wikileaks?, BBC News
  6. http://collateralmurder.com/
  7. The War Logs, New York Times
  8. Revealed: Pentagon's link to Iraqi torture centres, The Guradian
  9. "Climatic Research Unit emails, data, models, 1996-2009". WikiLeaks.
  10. WikiLeaks cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cash machine for terrorists
  11. http://www.zdnet.com/article/wikileaks-publishes-acta-cables/
  12. Cablegate: WikiLeaks' diplomatic cable revelations so far, Sydney Morning Herald
  13. Thielman, Sam (October 9, 2015). "Wikileaks release of TPP deal text stokes 'freedom of expression' fears". The Guardian (New York, United States).
  14. For your viewing displeasure.
  15. "The War Logs". The New York Times. 15 November 2012. Retrieved on 13 August 2016.
  16. "Afghanistan war logs: How the Guardian got the story". 25 July 2010. Retrieved on 13 August 2016 – via The Guardian.
  17. "The Afghanistan Protocol: Explosive Leaks Provide Image of War from Those Fighting It" SPIEGEL ONLINE 10 May 2013. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 13 August 2016.
  18. 'Hidden US Afghan war details' revealed by Wikileaks, BBC News
  19. "Labour CAN Ban 130,000 Members From Voting In Leadership Contest, Rules Court of Appeal". huffingtonpost.co.uk. 12 August 2016. Retrieved on 13 August 2016.
  20. Stewart, Heather; Syal, Rajeev; Quinn, Ben (12 July 2016). "Labour executive rules Jeremy Corbyn must be on leadership ballot". Retrieved on 13 August 2016 – via The Guardian.
  21. "Who benefits from the new leadership contest rules? | LabourList". labourlist.org. 14 July 2016. Retrieved on 13 August 2016.
  22. "Labour leadership election odds and polls: Corbyn v Smith". theweek.co.uk. Retrieved on 13 August 2016.
  23. "Owen Smith Would Make Voters Less Likely to Vote Labour". order-order.com. 29 July 2016. Retrieved on 13 August 2016.
  24. "Tony Blair: If your heart's with Jeremy Corbyn, get a transplant – video". 22 July 2015. The Guardian – via ITN
  25. WikiLeaks [wikileaks]. (2016, Aug 12). Labour Appeal: Fury as High Court Judge Philip Sales' intimate links to Tony #Blair revealed #Corbyn #LabourNEC https://t.co/SWnHjpsXic [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/764183356921765888
  26. Turner, Matt (12 August 2016). "Labour Appeal: Fury as Appeal Court Judge Philip Sales' intimate links to Tony Blair revealed" EvolvePolitics.com. Retrieved on 13 August 2016.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Savage, Charlie (July 26, 2016). "Assange, Avowed Foe of Clinton, Timed Email Release for Democratic Convention". The New York Times. 
  28. Hillary Clinton Email Archive. WikiLeaks.
  29. Whitton, Michaela (March 21, 2016). "Wikileaks Drops Hillary Email Bomb That Could End Her Campaign but FB Censored It". The Anti Media. 
  30. "WikiLeaks Accuses Facebook of Censorship in Hillary Clinton Email Release". Truthdig. March 18, 2016. 
  31. Numbers, Everett (July 27, 2016). "This is How Facebook 'Accidentally' Blocked DNC Email Leak Scandal". The Anti Media. 
  32. Golding, Bruce (July 24, 2016). "Facebook admits to blocking Wikileaks links in DNC email hack". New York Post. 
  33. [1]
  34. [2]
  35. "WHY THE NINE JEWS OF BAGHDAD STAY IN BAGHDAD", one of the many cables supplied by Manning to WikiLeaks
  36. Iraq: Jews In Baghdad Live In Fear After WikiLeaks Disclosure By Paul Vale (Posted: 28/11/2011 12:21 GMT Updated: 28/01/2012 10:12 GMT) Huffington Post.
  37. In Disclosing Secret Documents, WikiLeaks Seeks 'Transparency' by Eric Schmitt (Published: July 25, 2010) The New York Times.
  38. [3]
  39. [4]
  40. 40.0 40.1 [5]
  41. [6]
  42. [7]
  43. [8]
  44. [9]
  45. [10]
  46. http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/21/12253580/wikileaks-twitter-milo-yiannopoulos-ban-cyber-feudalism
  47. http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2016/08/15/wikileaks-tweets-clinton-cash-video-link-millions-followers/
  48. [11]
  49. [12]
  50. [13]
  51. 51.0 51.1 Wikileaks is a Front for Russian Intelligence August 31, 2015 The XX Committee.
  52. [14]
  53. WikiLeaks Twitter account: @joshtpm Some of the connections are worth studying. But weird priority for TPM to be pushing this today rather than working on #DNCLeak
  54. Vladimir Putin pulls the strings, Assad is his puppet
  55. [15]
  56. [16]
  57. Meeting with Assad: WikiLeaks did not 'know or approve' of party's visit: Julian Assange's father said Australian party wanted to show 'solidarity' and that WikiLeaks would open an office in Damascus by Oliver Milman (Tuesday 31 December 2013 23.15 EST) The Guardian.
  58. WikiLeaks release excludes evidence of €2 billion transfer from Syria to Russia by Dell Cameron and Patrick Howell O'Neill (2016-09-09 04:31 p.m. | Last updated 2016-09-09 04:59 p.m.) The Daily Dot.
  59. Report: Wikileaks' Syria Docs Exclude Email On $2B Transfer To Russian Bank by Caitlin MacNealPublished (September 9, 2016, 2:41 PM EDT) Talking Points Memo.
  60. [17]
  61. [18]
  62. https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/789296990127427588
  63. [19]
  64. [20]
  65. [21]
  66. [22]
  67. [23]
  68. [24]
  69. [25]
  70. [26]
  71. WikiLeaks outs gay people in Saudi Arabia in ‘reckless’ mass data dump by Nick Duffy (23rd August 2016, 1:34 PM) PinkNews.
  72. Private lives are exposed as WikiLeaks spills its secrets by Raphael Satter and Maggie Michael (Aug. 23, 2016 3:38 AM EDT) Associated Press.
  73. Wikileaks: US big media scramble to side with presumptive winner #Clinton. We expect many more recycled attacks like AP's today as our leaks continue. The archived tweets.
  74. Regarding the claim of “recycled” material, WikiLeaks stated in a second tweet the story is a re-run of a narrative from 2015, surfacing now because of the U.S. presidential election. It isn’t: The two stories are vastly different.
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