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Weissman writes: "Between Washington's support for the training of Tamarod and the April 6th Youth Movement and Obama's direct participation in the final days, I think it fair to speak of Obama's coup, just as Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger will forever own Gen. Pinochet's coup against Salvador Allende in Chile."

A boy wears a tear gas mask as supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsy pray at the camp set up by supporters in the Nasr City area of Cairo on July 28. (photo: CNN)
A boy wears a tear gas mask as supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsy pray at the camp set up by supporters in the Nasr City area of Cairo on July 28. (photo: CNN)

Inside Egypt's Killer Coup: The Inconvenient Evidence

By Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News

02 August 13


ithout specifically naming the Egyptian military, the Obama White House has condemned the crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protestors in Cairo and Alexandria and has halted shipment to Egypt of four F-16 fighter jets. That is the good news. The bad news is that, for all the wide-eyed celebration of a pro-democratic popular uprising in Egypt, the military has charged the ousted president with espionage and sidelined "the democrats" to little more than cheerleaders for Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has put himself at the center of an extravagant cult of personality.

"In dark sunglasses and a uniform studded with medals, Egypt's top general is everywhere, looking down from posters and banners proclaiming him 'lion of the nation,'" wrote the Associated Press. "Adoring songs vow 'We are behind you.'"

Al-Sisi's bloody attacks against ousted president Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood have greatly embarrassed civilian supporters of the coup, like Nobel prize-winner Mohamed ElBaradei. Though nominally the new government's interim vice president for foreign affairs, he has condemned the "excessive use of force" and - without blaming the military - has called on all factions to denounce violence. Similar calls have come from leaders of Tamarod and the allied April 6th Youth Movement, the groups that led the protests against Morsi, the country's first elected president. Tamarod has also called for branding the Muslim Brotherhood as "a terrorist organization."

According to Human Rights Watch, the generally nonviolent pro-Morsi forces have taken huge casualties from the military and its supporters, who have been shooting their victims in the head and chest. But the Brotherhood and other Muslim allies remain in the streets demanding Morsi's reinstatement. True to their principles, they refuse to give in to direct threats from the military or impassioned entreaties to accept the coup from the European Union's Catherine Ashton.

"Regardless of what happens to the president, we will continue our protest. Our numbers are increasing every day. Citizens are recognizing the tyranny and the long-term danger of the military coup," said Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad. "It may take weeks, months, more than a year - we will still hold our ground."

Even more embarrassing - for Obama as well as the Egyptian liberals - is a brief review of the historical evidence of how the coup came about. Please forgive the clutter of Internet links, but several readers have asked for more documentation.

Start with a prescient article in Foreign Policy magazine on April 6, 2012. It is called "Finish What You Start," and was written by Srdja Popovic, one of the leaders of Otpor, the Serbian student movement that overthrew Slobodan Milosevic, and Robert Helvey, a former top official in the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and later president of the nonviolent Albert Einstein Institution. In March 2000, Col. Helvey taught Popovic and some 20 other Otpor militants how to create a nonviolent revolution against the Serbian strongman, with ample funding, supplies, and backup from Uncle Sam. Popovic went on to co-found the Center for Applied NonViolent Action and Strategies, or CANVAS, which famously taught several young Egyptians how to bring down Hosni Mubarak.

"In Egypt, the success of 19 days of 'nonviolent blitzkrieg' that toppled Mubarak gave way to an interregnum dominated by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF)," wrote Popovic and Helvey by way of follow-up. "The moving forces behind Mubarak's downfall last winter - secular youth groups - have been relegated to the margins."

Popovic and Helvey's solution was to continue direct nonviolent action and keep the newly elected government "under public pressure and accountable from day one."

One year later, in April 2013, a group of young Egyptians organized themselves as Tamarod and began a classic CANVAS-style campaign to "foment rebellion" against Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood. As I documented in a previous column with WikiLeaked emails from the private intelligence group Stratfor, CANVAS is "still hooked into the U.S. funding and basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like)."

The Stratfor emails also showed Washington's ties to another famous group that trained Egyptians to overthrow Mubarak and then Morsi. This was Google and, in particular, the head of Google Ideas, Jared Cohen, who helped train digital activists of the April 6th Youth Movement.

The emails made two points about Egypt's "facebook revolution" that Internet romanticists tend to overlook. The Egyptian military "got exactly what they wanted," wrote Stratfor's CEO, George Friedman. "They got rid of Mubarak and held on to power. The demonstrations were a tremendous help to them in achieving their goals." Another Stratfor exec - former State Department security official Fred Burton - stressed the importance of the White House hand in training Egypt's would-be revolutionaries. "Cohen's rabbi" was Google's billionaire boss and "Obama lackey" Eric Schmidt, wrote Burton, drawing on his Google sources. Google had "White House and State Department support and air cover. In reality, they are doing things the CIA cannot do."

Thanks to WikiLeaks, the Stratfor emails add to the picture of Obama's preference for covert action that David Sanger presents in "Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power." As Sanger makes clear, neither Obama nor the CIA expected the training efforts to bring down Mubarak. But, with the movement against Morsi, Washington had a much clearer view. Accepting support from former Mubarak backers, the leaders of Tamarod openly called for the military to step in. Some, like ElBaradei, saw no alternative. Others, like Mahmoud Badr, one of the founders, went overboard in repeatedly praising the military and still does even after the violence. "We salute the Army! We salute them!" he proclaimed on TV right after Gen. al-Sisi gave Morsi 48 hours to calm the crisis that Tamarod had created. "They have shown that they are with the people."

"The military helped Tamarod from early on, communicating with it through third parties," reported the Associated Press. The Egyptian military also communicated regularly with Washington, expressing their unhappiness with Morsi in May and June of 2013. Obama made no public change in his policy of getting along with Morsi, but no later than Monday, July 1, he urged Morsi to give in to the demand from Tamarod and the military that he step down.

Between Washington's support for the training of Tamarod and the April 6th Youth Movement and Obama's direct participation in the final days, I think it fair to speak of Obama's coup, just as Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger will forever own Gen. Pinochet's coup against Salvador Allende in Chile. But whether or not others agree with my characterization, the question now is whether Obama can step out of the shadows long enough to work with his Republican adversaries, European allies, and sensible Egyptians to limit the human disaster that is already under way.

A veteran of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the New Left monthly Ramparts, Steve Weissman lived for many years in London, working as a magazine writer and television producer. He now lives and works in France, where he is researching a new book, "Big Money: How Global Banks, Corporations, and Speculators Rule and How To Break Their Hold."

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


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0 # 2013-08-02 10:09
You lose all credibility in comparing the military takeover in Egypt to the Nixon/Kissinger coup in Chile. Not only is Obama not responsible for Morsi's removal, he is more like a helpless onlooker, and embarrassed vis a vis moderate Islamic governments with whom the U.S. is trying to make nice.
0 # Activista 2013-08-02 11:48
yes the analogy of Egypt removal of more and more autocratic Morsi supported by majority of Egypt population to Chile coup is very demagogic -
"... generally nonviolent pro-Morsi forces have taken huge casualties from the military .." would not hurt to mention
Qatar, a strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, has joined the calls for Morsi to be released from detention. State news agency QNA quoted a foreign ministry official as saying Qatar ...
A bomb blast has caused up to 20 casualties at the security headquarters of Mansoura city in Egypt, authorities have said. The Associated Press, quoting security officials, said 19 people were wounded – 13 police and six civilians – when the bomb exploded after midnight ...

Hope that Egypt will choose their own path to democracy .. It would not hurt what percent of people support the present regime (guess 80%), with hope that Muslims will be peacefully integrated into the political process.
+1 # RMDC 2013-08-03 06:57
Obama and the US are not helpless on lookers. As the article notes, CIA front organizations were responsible for ginning up the crowds that led up to the coup -- Freedom House, OTPOR, NED, IRI, Google, and and some others always understood that a post-Mubarak military dictatorhip was the goal.

The Egyptian military does not even so much as take a piss without the US military knowing and giving permission. The US government pays the salaries of all Egyptian officers and keeps them in control of corrupt businesses. This is actually true in many nations, not just Egypt.

I think the comparison between the coup in Egypt and the coup in Chile is just exactly right. And it will be just as bloody. There are Egyptians who are being disappeared and tortured. but all this has been done to the Muslim Brothers before by the Egyptian military. The Brothers know what to expect and the will not be suppressed this time.
+1 # tonywicher 2013-08-03 15:19
I don't agree. The Egyptian army is not entirely corrupt. It has genuine secular nationalist elements, Nasserists who can and do piss without US permission. That element acted in behalf of the Egyptian people in throwing Morsi out before he could bring disaster on Egypt by by joining the NATO-backed Isamist fascists in attacking Syria, which is what the imperialists wanted him to do.
+2 # fliteshare 2013-08-02 11:16
Nice disinformation peace here.

Sorry to see there is no word on WHY Morsi got ousted by the Egyptian military.
Him getting caught on a live TV feed arguing a military sneak attack on Ethiopia, Might not be good enough for the American people but the Egyptian army takes their obligations more serious.

Good riddens Morsi, hope you hang for your attempt to commit the worst of all war crimes.
0 # Activista 2013-08-02 13:01
plus Morsi (Qatar puppet) JIHAD on Syria
Morsi role at Syria rally seen as tipping point for Egypt army - The ...‎
Jul 2, 2013 - Mr Morsi himself called for foreign intervention in Syria against Mr Assad ... risking creating a new generation of jihadists, said Yasser El-Shimy, ...
+2 # fliteshare 2013-08-02 11:33
How politicians plan a war:

(with subtitles)
0 # hutchr 2013-08-02 11:43
In the US's world of double standards, I think that I am happy to see a potential radical Islamic government overthrown in any way. It seems that the Egyptian military is against the rabid anti Syrian regime forces. The brotherhood has many members who are potential suicide bombers for Sharia. I'm against any coup that is against progressive governments like that which took place in Venezuela (much to the US's joy, until it was defeated) but I don't care how the overthrow of a reactionary, religious government is overthrown. Maybe against its will , the US has finally backed a "good" coup. Think of 1953 Iran and Guatemala, Chile's 9/11, etc. Good riddance to the religious Right.
-5 # hutchr 2013-08-02 11:53
I don't think that I have a double standard. I am for coups that are for progressive forces and against coups that are against progressive governments. I am not against coups. Just as I don't believe in a morality that says thou shall not kill. Killing has its' place in this world. Ask any military chaplain.
-3 # hutchr 2013-08-02 11:57
A third thing: I don't really know what I am talking about. I only come to my conclusions about Egypt from the little that I know about it. But that isn't unusual.
0 # logical1 2013-08-02 13:31
I do not believe the author made a valid point that this is OBama's Coup.
The US does influence factions around the world. This does not merit being a covert or overt action by the U.S. although the U.S. did most likely support the groups where it is most aligned.
+1 # Activista 2013-08-02 22:11
No, this is NOT Obama coup - there is growing gap between Pentagon and Obama/Kerry pro NEOCON policies.
I believe that Pentagon does NOT want Syria/Iran war as much as Israel and pro Israel congress. Obama is someplace in between.
+1 # tonywicher 2013-08-03 15:35
I think JCS chief Martin Dempsey and his supporters in the military are the main thing standing between the imperialists and a Syria invasion followed by general and thermonuclear war.
+3 # geraldom 2013-08-02 15:05
Just like the coup that took place in Honduras overthrowing the democratic-elec ted government of President Manuel Zelaya in 2009 with foreknowledge and covert support by the Obama administration before the coup actually took place, the overthrow of the Morsi government in Egypt was another coup that the Obama administration apparently had foreknowledge of and covert support for.

In both cases, instead of enforcing the law without exception which requires that all military aid be halted whenever a military coup takes place, the United States failed to do so with Honduras and Egypt. The United States, soon after the illegal military coup in Honduras, recognized the new illegal government that was formed, and in the case of the recent coup in Egypt, I give you the following article that came out on the internet today:

It seems that the United States has flexible laws, flexible in the sense that the United States claims the inalienable right to arbitrarily decide whether or not to enforce a law based on whether or not we helped in the overthrow of said government.

Isn't that a wonderful way to run a country?
0 # tonywicher 2013-08-02 18:43
Muslim Brotherhood = Al Qaeda. Both are run the imperialists. Morsi may have been "democratically elected" but he totally usurped power and was rightly removed - just as we should impeach Obama, the sooner the better. The "coup" was by Nasserist anti-imperial Egyptian nationalists within the army. Down with fascist Islamism! This author is an idiot. Here is some remedial help for the retarded:
+2 # geraldom 2013-08-02 22:04
Not every Muslim is al-Qaeda. Just because the Muslim Brotherhood happens to be Muslim doesn't mean that they just happen to be affiliated with al-Qaeda. As far as Morsi is concerned, I do agree with you that he took his job and his power way too seriously and to extremes, but the coup that overthrew him was backed by the United States, by the Obama admin.

The primary reason why Morsi was overthrown was not so much due to his religious fervor but primarily due to the economic situation. People's lives did not improve very much under his leadership, but that was due to a form of sabotage by the former supporters of Mubarak who somehow were able to throw a monkey wrench into the machinery.

Egypt is a major mess, but the United States was somewhat behind it as we were behind the military coup that took place in Honduras.

My problem is this. I don't like Obama any more than you do, but, I'm guessing, not for the same reasons you don't like him. I don't like most of the presidents that we've had and I don't care whether they were Republicans or Democrats. I not only wanted G.W. Bush impeached as president, I also wanted him arrested and tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as high treason against the United States and the American people, and that included his co-partner in crime, Dick Cheney.

Obama is also guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and is also guilty of high treason and should be held accountable as well.
+2 # tonywicher 2013-08-03 12:07
Harold, did I say every Muslim is Al Qaeda? No, Al Qaeda is the CIA foreign legion. Islam is one of the world's great religions, like Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. Muslims are just people living their normal lives. Every religion has some fanatics, but Al Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood which is just the respectably-dre ssed upper-class version of the same thing, are perversions of Islam funded by imperialism. The reason Morsi was overthrown by the Egyptian army, acting on behalf of the Egyptian people, was that he had usurped power and had announced he was ready for "jihad" against both Syria and Ethiopia, which of course is what the imperialists trying to overthrow Assad want.
I don't see how the United States was behind this "coup" at all.
+2 # tonywicher 2013-08-03 12:09
Harold, I also think you are probably guessing wrong that I don't like Obama for the same reasons you do. What, do you take me for a Republican?? I also called for the impeachment of GWB, among other reasons because of his complicity in 9/11, which was indeed an "inside job". The Bush family is the most evil family in American history. They are total Nazis. Hitler would never have come to power without the financial help of GWB's grandfather, Prescott Bush, and George (Poppy) Bush is the most heinous and most successful criminal in this this country's history. Unfortunately, we have not had a real Democratic president since Kennedy was assassinated. Obama is a Wall Street stooge, a phony, a liar, a warmonger and the ultimate Uncle Tom.
+1 # Activista 2013-08-02 22:21
"The new government has announced a transition plan envisioning parliamentary elections in six months followed by a presidential vote.
Senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam El-Erian on Friday reiterated the Islamists' position that they will not deal with what they consider to be an illegitimate government?"
Morsi is a Qatar pawn - called for foreign intervention in Syria against Mr Assad ... risking creating a new generation of jihadists - so the Muslim Brotherhood want civil war in Egypt aka Syria?
-1 # geraldom 2013-08-03 13:03
Activista, as I had stated in a previous comment, Egypt is a mess and the situation there is extremely complicated beyond comprehension. The one thing I do know is that Egypt and countries like it have always had dictators running the show. It seems that it's in their genes so-to-speak and things only seem to get worse when outsiders like the United States attempt to influence the internal affairs of these countries.

In my lifetime so-far, the only leader of Egypt that was even close to believing in a democracy in Egypt was Anwar Sadat who became president of Egypt shortly after Gamal Abdel Nasser resigned after the 1967 six-day war, and you know how long Sadat survived.

In countries like Egypt, any leader believing in true democracy cannot survive very long. He will either be overthrown by a coup or he will be assassinated. I can safely say the very same thing about developed nations like the United States.

I don't claim that JFK was an angel by any means when it came to his personal life, but JFK was assassinated by his own government because he was planning on doing the right things in terms of his domestic policies and his foreign policies. He was planning on removing all foreign forces from Vietnam and ending the war there. The military-indust rial complex at the time could not allow that to happen.

I'm sorry, Activista, but by its very nature, humanity cannot allow any truly decent leader to survive in office.
+2 # tonywicher 2013-08-03 14:40
Harold, in blaming humanity you are doing the work of the imperialists. They would like you to believe that all that is wrong with the world is the cussedness of human nature, and there is nothing that can be done about it. But it was Wall Street that killed Kennedy, not the cussedness of human nature. Actually, there is something you can do about Wall Street, and they don't want you to hear about it. Join the fight to bankrupt Wall Street by reinstating Roosevelt's Glass Steagall banking law. This will put them out of business and end their rule. Support Elizabeth Warren's Glass Steagall for the 21st Century bill, S 1282, now with six cosponsors, and its companion bill in the House, HR 129, the Return to Prudent Banking act of 2013, now with 79 cosponsors. This is the key battle. Lift yourself out of your depression and despair of human nature and fight! Call your legislators early and often!
0 # tonywicher 2013-08-03 16:12
I just looked and S. 1282 now has eight co-sponsors. If we fight hard enough, this is a battle we can win!
0 # geraldom 2013-08-03 20:20
tonywicher, I know beyond any doubt that 9/11 was an inside job because of the actual physical & visual evidence that existed that fateful in the form of videos & photos which make absolutely no sense when compared to the official BS story put out by the Bush admin. 9/11 was a false-flag event perpetrated by Bush & Cheney to justify all of the endless illegal wars of aggression for U.S. world empire & the virtual destruction of our Constitution & our Bill of Rights.

My general view about humanity being a self-destructiv e species, I can't change that belief. I would ask you to give me one example, just one, of any country in the history of mankind that wasn't, to some degree, a dictatorship of some kind.

There will always be someone who will want more than the rest of humanity & would be willing to do most anything to achieve that goal. That is why we will always have endless wars with people dying & suffering.

I'm not a warmonger, but I also don't have my head stuck in the sand like an ostrich. I would love to see peace throughout the world, but after spending as many years on this planet as I have, I have come to know human nature and I am also a realist.

I would challenge you to tell me when in human history that wars were not taking place somewhere on this planet for power and greed. It's simply human nature. The only problem now is that weapons have become so destructive that the next big war will be the end of humankind and probably this planet.
0 # tonywicher 2013-08-04 01:15

I certainly agree with you about 9/11, but I wouldn't say it was caused by "human nature", I would call it a sociological problem. The world has been largely ruled by an oligarchy for the last 5000 years or so with a few brief historical local exceptions. The struggle of humanity against the oligarchy goes on, and I think these are the final, apocalyptic days of that battle. Know your enemy. Either we defeat him and build a higher human civilization, or humanity will not survive. Glass-Steagall or die!
0 # geraldom 2013-08-04 20:03
I'm sorry, tonywicher, being a realist & considering the current makeup of Congress & the fact that the Repubs are in complete control of our electoral process in this country, the reestablishment of the Glass-Steagall Act has a snowball's chance in hell of ever coming to fruition.

I, like you, support the Glass-Steagall Act, I really do. I'd like to see it back in force, and I'd like to see our govt stop using interest rates to influence, manipulate & regulate the security markets as has happened since Reagen was president, and I'd also like to see our govt stop lying to us about the real unemployment rate as well as the quality of these so-called jobs that they claim are being created each & every month to influence & manipulate the security markets in this country, but that's not going to happen either.

Here's the problem, tonywicher:

o As a result of HAVA, we all now have to use e-voting machines (manufactured & programmed by private companies) in all of our elections. No more paper ballots counted by human hands.

o No.1 above & the fact that Repubs are now in control of many of the important states with their gerrymandering efforts & their voter suppression efforts will assure that the House of Reps will remain in Repub hands & the Senate will always have enough Repubs on hand to guarantee a filibuster.

I'd be very interested to hear from you as to how we're going to overcome these seemingly impossible obstacles in the future.
+1 # RMDC 2013-08-03 07:08
this is the kind of off-handed crap that I cannot stand --

"Robert Helvey, a former top official in the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and later president of the nonviolent Albert Einstein Institution."

Gene Sharp and the Einstein Institute always proclaim their non-violence but in every nation where they have engineered a government overthrow there has been massive violence. they just pretend they are not part of it. Helvery is a vicioious covert warrior who make sure that the bombs are coordinated with the rent-a-crowed organizers like OTPOR.

In the case of Yugoslavia where OTPOR was born, there was 10 years of bloody attacks on Yugoslavia all coming from the US and NATO that were designed to drive people into the streets in protests calling of revolution and break up of Yugoslavia. OTPOR and Einstein Institute pretended that the bombing and the crowds were not connected. Helvey proves that they were connected.

Weissman is not thinking carefully enough about how covert action works.

OTPOR, Einstein Institute are CIA fronts and they play the mass demonstration part of a whole campaign to transform nations into fascist dictatorships. And by fascist here I mean the control of the state by capital. Remember Philip Ageee said that the CIA was really "Capital's Invisible Army." The non-violence of Gene Sharp is always paired with the appropriate violence by other forces.
+2 # tonywicher 2013-08-03 12:42
RMDC - Yes, "color revolutions" are sponsored by the imperialists now running our government and that of all NATO countries. But they are done to head off and co-opt real revolutions. It is a mixed bag. In Egypt, there certainly were many people sick of Mubarak after 40 years who wanted more freedom and democracy. The imperialists also wanted to get rid of Mubarak, who had become uncooperative in recent years. What they wanted was somebody more co-operative, and that man was Morsi, whom they knew would act in concert with the U.S. backed Islamist militias to overthrow the Assad government. The Egyptian military would not co-operate with what they knew would be an absolute disaster for Egypt.
0 # mjc 2013-08-03 09:39
Obama has played a brillant game of hide and not seek, as you mention: "doing things the CIA cannot do." TAMAROD fulfills the bill for a "citizens" attack on Morisi and the Muslim Brotherhood, even in getting support from the always unsupportive right-wing GOP and Teapublican elements. Obama is only cautious as the public persona. The American public is still led to beiieve that the present administration is a left-wing, liberal one, especially since so many of the McConnell crowd say that is the case. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the tightening of our security continues and our police state ripens.
0 # tonywicher 2013-08-03 13:01
mjc, I don't agree with this analysis. There were 10-20 million people in the streets. This was a genuine mass movement, not controlled by the imperialists. Maybe they would like you to think it was.
-1 # ishmael 2013-08-04 01:00
People would have a much clearer view of Egypt by jettisoning the ridiculous view that places the US at the center of every action by every faction on the planet.

Overthrowing Morsi shortly after electing him? The Egyptians seem to have a "revolving door" view that is incompatible with elections. If people don't like whom the've elected it might be a good idea to vote the person out of office when they have a chance.
Otherwise the electoral process is a sham.
0 # tonywicher 2013-08-04 11:21
Not so in this case. Morsi was elected President, not absolute dictator. The Muslim Brotherhood managed to win that election because they were the best funded and organized political party, and that is because they were supported by the same imperialists that organized the Muslim Brother back in the 1920's. Morsi essentially assumed absolute dictatorial power and declared war on both Syria and Ethiopia. In this country those would be considered impeachable offenses. For this he was rightly removed by the Egyptian military on behalf of the Egyptian people. At this point, I am wondering whether JCS chief Martin Dempsey ought to organize a military coup before Obama gets us all killed in a nuclear war. I'm still hoping Congress will do the job, but it may come to that.
0 # tonywicher 2013-08-04 08:48
I see where the author of this column and al Qaeda head/MI6 agent Ayman Zawahiri are in perfect agreement:

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