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Ash writes: "Donald Trump and his co-conspirators represent an immediate threat to the security of the nation. The evidence is abundant. The time to act has come."

Donald Trump in August 2016 with retired generals Michael T. Flynn and Keith Kellogg. (photo: Damon Winter/NYT)
Donald Trump in August 2016 with retired generals Michael T. Flynn and Keith Kellogg. (photo: Damon Winter/NYT)

Is the President of the United States a Russian Puppet?

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News

03 April 17


estifying before Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, former FBI counter-terrorism expert Clinton Watts described how he and his colleagues battled Russian cyberattackers during the months prior to the November 8th election.

Republican senator James Lankford, questioning Watts, wanted to know why the Russian cyberattacks, which had existed for some time, had increased so dramatically during this election cycle. Why now?

Watts said two things, both cutting to the heart of the Trump-Russia affair in equal measure. Watts began with a challenge to the members, “I think this answer is very simple and it’s what nobody is really saying in this room …” and then he laid it all out for the entire country to see — “which is, part of the reason active measures have worked in this U.S. election is because the commander in chief has used Russian active measures at times, against his opponent(s).”

In reverse order, Watts’s statement that Trump used Russian active measures at times against his opponent(s) while campaigning is a de facto accusation that Donald Trump personally acted in concert with Russian efforts to affect the outcome of the presidential election and the Republican primary before it. He was an active participant. That is collusion, and yes, it is Treason.

To the first part of what Watts said, it is indeed what nobody in that room and no one in the media really wants to say. Evidence of collusion isn’t difficult to find, but it is difficult to wade through, because there is so much of it. Think Progress counted no fewer than 164 mentions of Wikileaks material damaging to Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump in the final month of the campaign alone. Yes, he was using the material lifted from Democratic servers and he was using it on cue. The Russians lifted it, Wikileaks disseminated it, and Trump used it like a hammer to beat down his opponent and capture the presidency.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation, while quite a bit more orderly than the House production of the Devin Nunes Show, may not necessarily be more productive. To begin, both Republican chairman Richard Burr and Democratic ranking member Mark Warner have said that their investigation will not look into any current activities by the president or his administration. Presumably that would fall to federal law enforcement. Let’s hope so.

The problem with coordination between Donald Trump and the government of Vladimir Putin is that it is the gift that keeps on giving. This isn’t something that only happened “in the run-up to the election” or something “we need to learn from, so we can protect our elections going forward.” It is an ongoing process right now.

When Donald Trump insults our staunchest European allies as he promotes Russian accord and cooperation, he is delivering on his end of the bargain. He is also knowingly compromising U.S. national security, perhaps irreparably. Rex Tillerson, in his capacity as secretary of state, is equally active on the same agenda.

Clinton Watts’s warning to the Senate Intelligence Committee members was echoed by former CIA chief of staff Jeremy Bash, speaking in an interview on MSNBC with Brian Williams. Bash was even more blunt, saying, “When I think about checks and balances, when I think about Congress being a check on the executive branch, Brian, the image I have in my head of the White House is a runaway train. The brakes are out, and you pull your last best hope, the emergency brake, the great Congress of the United States and the handle literally breaks off in your hand. That is how much trouble we are in.”

Donald Trump and his co-conspirators represent an immediate threat to the security of the nation. The evidence is abundant. The time to act has come.

Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+36 # barkingcarpet 2017-04-03 09:42
Welcome to ameriKa, the land of apathetic uninvolved overentitled knee jerking consumers who care more about entertainment and buy products than in creating a world either worth living in or which will support life as we know it or our own.

And the Drones band on.....
+8 # markovchhaney 2017-04-03 10:37
Show a fact that backs all these Deep State claims, Marc. Just one publically viewable fact. We'll wait.
+8 # Texas Aggie 2017-04-03 13:14
What would you consider to be an acceptable fact? Isn't the testimony of one of the people trying to get Russian hackers enough for you?
+11 # harleysch 2017-04-03 14:27
Those whose testimony is cited as "evidence" of Russian control of Trump is coming from people who want us to remain in a permanent state of war.

How about considering the voices of those from the intelligence community once thought by posters on this site to be credible in exposing actual regime change operations -- like Ray McGovern and Pat Lang -- who disagree with Watts and others about Russia? What about Binney, an actual expert in cyber-warfare, who says the charges about Russian hacking and interference are false?

What about all the times the CIA and other U.S. intel agencies intervened in other nations' affairs -- is that forgotten now by those who still suffer from election day trauma?

Marc, what is dangerous is making accusations that the President is a "Russian puppet", based on unproven accusations from those who oppose the idea of rapprochement with Russia.

To say that Trump is acting on Putin's orders because he won't give blanket support to the neo-Nazi-backed regime in Kiev is ridiculous.

To accuse him of being a Putin puppet because he does not support the eastward expansion of NATO is also ridiculous.

Instead of beating the drums for single payer, for Glass Steagall banking regulation, for a real infrastructure plan, everything is focused on an absurd premise.

It's time for an end to Putin hysteria.
-5 # candida 2017-04-05 00:34
Quoting harleysch:
Those whose testimony is cited as "evidence" of Russian control of Trump is coming from people who want us to remain in a permanent state of war.

Your premise falls to pieces considering the U.S. is not at war with Russia.
+6 # Anonymot 2017-04-03 15:44
Congratulations ! You hit the nail on the head. Bring him back when he actually gets a Russian hacker rather than sees a whole Russian ballet of them in some obscure corner of his ex-CIA imagination. He's just another DC revolving door lobbyist. Google up.
+4 # CL38 2017-04-05 15:51
So you attribute the fact that Trumps entire cabinet is made up of people who have significant political and business connections to Russia to WHAT?
0 # Cassandra2012 2017-04-15 12:01
Interview some Macedonians who know that some hackers in Macedonia were hired and paid by Putin to hack Clinton's campaign and the election ....

Get someone to hold Comey accountable for violating the Hatch Act and ask questions about WHY he might have done that. etc.
+4 # lfeuille 2017-04-03 19:10
Er, no. They have a vested interest in their theories being accepted as fact.
+7 # markovchhaney 2017-04-03 20:20
If you are familiar with the history of the CIA, you can answer your own questions. If not, learn, THEN answer question 2. These people lie if you ask them what month the 4th of July falls in. They are trained to lie reflexively. And when they have their own agenda, as they have had for more than half a century, you can be sure any "truth" that comes from one of them is partial, contingent, and misleading. Wonder if those who actually run this country want a POTUS who views Russia as a business partner or as, once again, the Big Bad Wolf with which to raise military budgets & maximize fear? Those Ay-rabs don't have the arsenal to wipe us off the globe, but Russia does; even if they didn't, a century of fear-mongering about them hasn't worn off, even in the minds of "liberal" Dems. Hillary was poised to ramp up Cold War II with both Russia & China, just as her neolib and neocon advisors & mentors (Zbigy B & Hank K) taught. Trump seems to be "bad enough" for many tastes but didn't rattle his saber at Moscow loudly enough for the military-indust rial complex & their servants in the CIA/FBI/NSA. To be clear: what is acceptable are facts with visible evidence. No, I don't buy what the disinformation experts are selling so far. Their scenarios smell of the intrigue and 1/4 truths that are their stock in trade. Trump sucks, but he didn't collude with Putin on the election, he's not a "traitor," has likely done nothing impeachable, & if he has, are you up for Pence or Ryan?
+4 # CL38 2017-04-05 15:53
are you buying the lies and disinformation spread by Trump to deflect and change the subject to ANYTHING other than the criminal investigation he and his cabinet are under?
+5 # wantrealdemocracy 2017-04-03 20:52
The President of the United States is not a Russian puppet. He, and the whole of our Congress is under the active direction of the apartheid nation of Israel. The United States of America is a colony of Israel. The wars in the Middle East, which are impoverishing Americans, are being fought for Greater Israel.
The puppet master is Nettihayou.
+13 # Radscal 2017-04-03 13:39
Amen, Markovchhaney. So much for the hope a couple of us expressed just yesterday that RSN might back off from this Russia Hysteria Hype.

And Mr. Ash, The "Treason" you state Trump is guilty of is specifically defined in the US Constitution as providing aid and comfort to enemies of the US at war.

Do you believe we're at war with Russia?

On the other hand, are we at war with al Qaeda and ISIL? If so, wasn't Secretary Clinton's approving record-breaking arms sales to Saudi Arabia even though she knew they were providing weapons and other "aid and comfort" to those terrorists quite literally "Treason?"

There are so many important reasons to unite against the Trump Administration, but instead we get this constant DNC/CIA "conspiracy theory."

We should be promoting progressive and anti-war policies as the Trump Administration falters on both domestic policy (especially healthcare) and US wars.

Both the House and the Senate have Universal Single Payer healthcare bills. Let's promote THOSE.

Congresswoman Gabbard has a "Stop Arming Terrorists" bill. Let's promote THAT.
0 # Ronv 2017-04-04 23:25
"Doubt is our greatest product" -Tobacco Executive. Chanting "Show me the facts" after seeing the facts over and over, helps sow doubt where there is none. Good tactic, comrade!
+7 # thorn262 2017-04-03 10:38
Shades of Richard Nixon's Mafia money financing his first run for Congress in 1947?
+17 # Radscal 2017-04-03 13:41
Trump's financing came from Wall Street, the Mercers and Sheldon Adelson.

So, yeah: the Mafia; just not the Italian one.
+1 # markovchhaney 2017-04-03 10:46
"Exhuming McCarthy"

You're beautiful, more beautiful than me
You're honorable, more honorable than me
Loyal to the Bank of America

(It's a sign of the times)
(It's a sign of the times)

You're sharpening stones, walking on coals
To improve your business acumen
Sharpening stones, walking on coals
To improve your business acumen

Vested interest, united ties
Landed gentry, rationalize
Look who bought the myth
By jingo, buy America

(It's a sign of the times)
(It's a sign of the times)

You're sharpening stones, walking on coals
To improve your business acumen
Sharpening stones, walking on coals
To improve your business acumen

Enemy sighted, enemy met
I'm addressing the real politic
Look who bought the myth
By jingo, buy America

"Let us not assassinate this man further, Senator, you've done enough.
Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

You're sharpening stones, walking on coals
To improve your business acumen
sharpening stones walking on coals
To improve your business acumen

Enemy sighted enemy met
I'm addressing the real politic
You've seen start and you've seen quit (I'm addressing the table of content)
I always thought of you as quick

Exhuming McCarthy, exhuming McCarthy (meet me at the book burning)
Exhuming McCarthy, exhuming McCarthy (meet me at the book burning)
+6 # Buddha 2017-04-03 10:47
Take away the question of whether Trump knowingly colluded or was just an unwitting agent of Putin, the one unavoidable fact that GOP voters do not want to face is that Putin believes that installing their Cheeto Jesus to power would help Putin and help Russia, while HURTING America and its allies around the world.
+17 # Radscal 2017-04-03 13:51
If I were a Russian, I would have been terrified by HRC's blatant threats, and might well have wished to believe Trump's calls to "work with Russia." As the Trump Administration not only continues the Obama Administration sanctions, but added a slew of new ones - and doubles down on threats to Russia's ally, Iran, and more than doubles admitted troops and sends Howitzers and armored vehicles into Russia's ally, Syria -I'd be pretty wary.

I suspect Putin feels the same way, though he continues the same statesman like public references to the US as "partners" and hopes that we can work together to reduce tensions.

But on the other hand Bibi Netanyahu and the fascist Zionists behind him knew Trump was their guy, and are THRILLED that he, Bannon and Jared Kushner (who funds building of Jewish-only housing on stolen Palestinian land) are in the White House
-7 # isafakir 2017-04-03 15:52
Quoting Radscal:
If I were a Russian,... he continues the same statesman like public references

5 year genocide of chechnya and the caucuses

5 countries militarily invaded and occupied

extensive proven effective cyber warfare against usa intelligence, against NATO allies, and extremely effective use of cyberwarfare during his invasions and a whole huge army of trolls operated by his military

that sums up his kind of statesmanship
0 # Radscal 2017-04-03 20:23
How I wish the horrible situation in Chechnya, before, during and since the wars were as simple and simplistic as your xenophobic Russophobiac "summation."

The ethnic cleansing of Russian and other "impure" people right after Chechnya declared independence from the Soviet Union - and were allowed to secede without conflict from the Soviets or Russia - set the tenor for their Civil War, all years before Russia intervened militarily.

It's exactly like when the Afghanis and Iraqis and Libyans and ethnically cleansed the USians and began mass murdering one their countrymen, forcing the US to brutally invade, and occupy them for up to 15 years, resulting in untold millions of deaths and the utter destruction of those countries and the lives of the survivors.
+4 # Radscal 2017-04-03 20:56
And BTW: Once again, Terrorists have apparently murdered Russian civilians today. If the US had 10% as many terrorist attacks as Russia has endured, the whole world would likely be toast already.

I just watched an hour and a half of MSDNC, which was entirely about Russia. But not a single word about this attack in St. Petersburg. It did appear in the scroll at the bottom of one of the shows, but few who get their news from that propaganda organ would have even learned of it.
-5 # isafakir 2017-04-03 15:56
he blatantly invaded 5 countries and blatantly occupied them. blatently attacked NATO allies closing down whole countries and spent 5 years blatantly committing genocide in chechnya and the caucuses

damn straight, the usa made veiled threats at least
0 # Anonymot 2017-04-04 03:40
Which 5 countries do you mean? Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine? What he did invade is Chechnya which was inexcusable. Read Litrell.
0 # Cassandra2012 2017-04-15 12:03
Uh, Bannon is an ugly alcoholic white supremacist and neo-Nazi--- hard to see Jews of any stripe supporting such a paragon of 'virtue'.
+44 # librarian1984 2017-04-03 11:22
The power that Trump is wielding, and the apparatus of violence, was put in place by D!ck Cheney and Barrack Obama among others -- Republicans and Democrats.

Why were conservatives silent as W and Co put the surveillance state in overdrive and sent soldiers to war without body armor? Why were liberals silent as Obama stepped up drone killings, assailed constitutional protections and fought for TPP?

Trump is the worst so far but when was the last good president, the last decent Congress?

It is not enough to fear Trump, to be angry at Trump; everyone should have plenty of anger to give generously all around.

When are politicians going to do their job? When will they do ANYTHING for the people? Why don't we have Medicare for all?

When will the media report the truth instead of shovelling propaganda? Why do we believe their lies?

When will the military quit hoovering up all our resources and stop bombing countries all over the world? When do we demand peace?

When will corporations accept the implicit responsibilitie s attached to personhood and citizens stop being led around like lemmings?

The world is what we collectively make it, every day, and that is contingent upon our choices: who we choose to believe, what we decide is worth fighting for, why we surrender.

Reject establishment thinking. Fight for our freedoms. Do not succumb to the tyranny of fear. Reject the status quo. Demand government that is accountable to US.
+11 # Radscal 2017-04-03 13:53
Brilliantly stated, Librarian.
+10 # barkingcarpet 2017-04-03 19:55
+14 # davehaze 2017-04-03 11:33
+26 # Citizen7 2017-04-03 11:40
I appreciate your position on a lot of things, Marc, but on this I wish you would step back a bit and look at a somewhat bigger picture. For one thing, I think more needs to be said about the US interference in Russian politics that apparently enabled Boris Yeltsin to take power, as Naomi Klein describes in The Shock Doctrine; whatever the facts about the present situation, manipulations discovered in retrospect must be acknowledged and responsibility taken. But I think our larger responsibility is to start observing the way we so eagerly paint "the face of the enemy" om some "other" group and then figuratively if not literally "go to war" with that group. Isn't it time we started to grapple with the group psychology behind that sort of behavior--speci es-wide!--inste ad of starting off on that same old path again?
+10 # Citizen7 2017-04-03 11:54
One issue of great concern, amid this nationalist fervor, that so far has gotten very little attention is what is going to happen to all the oil and gas that a melting Arctic is going to make available, if we humans are stupid enough to grab and burn. One could only wonder, watching a group of supposedly intelligent human beings rubbing their hands in glee over this unfolding "honeypot" at the Arctic Forum last week, why the hell do they think the Arctic is melting in the first place? If you want to go for both Trump and Putin--assuming Putin is short-sighted enough to want to sell out his descendents' futures for a pile of symbols ($$) and a short squirt of status from the ill-informed--t hen go for just what their (mutually forged?) plan is on this. Because no, we humans aren't stupid enough to keep going where "money" tells us to go anymore.
+13 # Charles3000 2017-04-03 11:57
Of course! Clinton's State Dept organized the coup in the Ukraine to provoke/weaken Putin and openly expressed her position to effect "regime change" in Russia along with her neocon and interventionist s neoliberal fellow travelers. Hence, Putin had a personal interest in seeing Clinton defeated and he apparently did help, sharing Trump's desire to also see her defeated. To his credit, Putin did a more sophisticated job of it than the US has typically done as in Iran, Chile, Honduras, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and currently in Yemen and Syria. The US critics of Putin are like the kettle calling the pot black.
+16 # Underledge 2017-04-03 11:59
There are over 123 US companies that do business with Russia. Apparently we need to investigate, 3M, American Express, Apple, Boeing, Citi, Coca-cola, Dell, GE, Haliburton, IBM, KFC, McDonalds, United Technologies, etc, etc. They must work for Russia????
-4 # isafakir 2017-04-03 15:41
Quoting Underledge:
There are over 123 US companies that do business with Russia. Apparently we need to investigate, 3M, American Express, Apple, Boeing, Citi, Coca-cola, Dell, GE, Haliburton, IBM, KFC, McDonalds, United Technologies, etc, etc. They must work for Russia????

some do. some don't but none of them regularly have meetings with russia's spy chiefs
+4 # Anonymot 2017-04-04 03:33
Well, fakir, if you read carefully, you may note that anyone they talk to becomes a "spy chief" automatically. There's usually a "I love Birch beer" shoulder patch in the Cracker Jack box if you dig down to the bottom.

It's getting harder & harder to think for oneself in our "democracy", the same problem the Russian public has that we complain about.
+2 # CurtW 2017-04-03 12:42
Most of us figured this out months ago. Circumstantial? Yes. Evidence? It is slowly building. For our country's sake, I wish I were wrong.
+8 # lfeuille 2017-04-03 19:13
It's not building. It is bouncing back and forth in a echo chamber.
+10 # Anonymot 2017-04-03 15:27
It would be very convenient for the continued life of this once-progressiv e news source if the author had really read the articles printed in it and the comments. The Parry articles, the Kiriakous, the Greenwalds, Tom Englehardt, Assange, Snowden, the majority, by far, of the comments such as those above (once The Clinton trolls left.) Those now silent voices who no longer speak to the defeated Clinton mentality.

We need RSN, Mr. Ash. The mass media mob is sinking in its own fear & trembling. There is a world out there that knows full well that Trump is not fit to be President, but that no one with all of their marbles would have kicked the vipers' nest as he has. We recognize that what the Librarian has said is why the Democrats went down in Hillary's wake.

This was a battle between the Old Guard hacks and two very different crazy risk-takers: one was cut off at the knees by dishonest means, the other like him or not, is President. If you dump Trump you'll get his appointees and Pence. That will be worse, because you'll not be able to dispute their "legitimacy" and they'll not waste 2 years of a majority as Obama did to please the CIA.

Have you not read David Talbot, Mike Lofgren, Leibovich? It's a long list, but I'd strongly recommend you start with the Talbot & Lofgren if you've missed them, because there seems to be a lack of awareness that what's really going on is a panicked, desperate scramble by the CIA to keep their control of the American government.
-3 # isafakir 2017-04-03 15:40
"It's time for an end to Putin hysteria."

five year genocidal war in chechnya

armed invasion and occupation of 5 independent countries

cyber warfare shutting down whole economies and whole economic sectors of NATO ally countries

cyber warfar against USA military and intelligience sectors

by a cruel dictator for whom outright murder asassination and corruption are part and parcel of his policy making

sure make accomodation before he actually succeeds in out total overthrow if he hasn't already - munich on steroids
+13 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-04-03 16:30
The scariest thing for me is to see Marc Ash a progressive and administrator of a progressive website citing Clint Watts as a credible source. Clint Watts is a throwback to the old J. Edgar Hoover FBI and the red scares of the 50s and 60s. Did anyone notice he referred to Russia as "the Soviets." He does this often. He does not believe there has been any change in Russia of the Stalin era and today.

Watts is what would have been seen as an extreme right winger John Birth Society type in the 50s to 70s. He sees a communist behind all of the changes in western nations that don't benefit the military industrial complex.

How can he now be allied with the progressive left? Truly frightening. If Progressives really understood the world vision of this senior fellow of an ultra-right wing "think and do tank," they'd see him as the enemy. But in fact what is happening is that the left and right are coalescing around a new cold war and identity politics. Socialism of the old left is no where to be seen.

I'll comment later on the "fake news" reported by Watts in the clip above. Essentially he is saying that if your source of news is anything other than the US mainstream, you are repeating "fake news." Most of us know the real pushers of "fake news" are the NYTimes, Wapo, CNN, FOX, ABC, and the rest. What Watts is staying to us is that we must believe what our masters tell us.
+8 # AlWight 2017-04-03 17:45
As a veteran of two wars and the Cold War, and chief representative of the World Bank assisting Russia with the transition in the 1990s, I find it highly disturbing that so many still want to make an enemy of Russia. I am not a supporter of Trump, but with Hillary's open dislike for and opposition to Putin, who could blame him for not wanting her to lose the election. We should work with him, as he has proposed, to solve the many problems of this world, and stop our interference in the internal affair of other nations, including Russia.
+2 # Hopeless Historian 2017-04-04 04:03
If your credentials are what you actually claim them to be, how can you be so incredibly naive?

Interfering in other nations internal affairs is what we Americans do!

If that were not so, why in Earth do we have approximately one thousand military and intelligence bases around the world???

Bankers - and you claim to be a major player in that game - are the ones who comprehend that above all.

Perhaps having regrets in old age? Kudos, if so, and I hope that America can grow up fast, too.
+5 # lfeuille 2017-04-03 19:17
Democrats’ Blind Obsession on Russia-gate
-6 # ojg 2017-04-03 23:09
I, for one, am finally glad you all voted for bernie, jill and trump. That way, you get the presidency you deserve, the roaring craziness of donnie. Enjoy!
+3 # Kiwikid 2017-04-03 23:18
I'm beginning to wonder how many paid Russian trolls populate this site.
+1 # candida 2017-04-05 00:39
I'm with ya kiwikid!
+1 # librarian1984 2017-04-05 05:32
Occam's razor, and common sense, suggest there are merely people who disagree with you. No need to invent Russian moles.

But wouldn't Joe McCarthy be proud?
+4 # lfeuille 2017-04-05 10:11
Yes he would. I keep wishing that a modern day Edward R. Murrow will appear to slay this monster, but that is too much to hope for in todays media environment.
-2 # librarian1984 2017-04-05 16:23
What a wasted opportunity, eh? With a progressive movement building this is a time ripe for a few transcendent leaders -- but they are stubbornly NOT showing up. I guess it makes sense no one in the msm will speak the truth, but remember Network? Nowadays Howard Beale would not be allowed to proceed, no matter the ratings.

Maddow couldn't even bring herself to apologize for her Capone's safe moment. Too arrogant even to cater to her own aw-shucks persona.
+1 # ericlipps 2017-04-05 20:45
If it was treason for Donald Trump to use those emails in the campaign, what was it when Julian Assange shoveled them to him via Wikileaks?

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