TBR News May 9, 2010

May 09 2010

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., May 9, 2010: “ Our pushing the fact that the mortgage “protection” service, MERS, is a Federal cover to keep homeowners from learning that their home or business mortgage has been so sliced and diced (and sold abroad) that no one with MERS “protection” will ever be able to get a clear title has brought forth a paniced response from the Obama administration. It is a form letter, to be signed by the sucker brigade and it won’t take a Harvard graduate to see that if you sign it, you are screwed to the wall and can never get your title. If you are dumb enough to sign this, you deserve what you get, buddy.”

“Dear [Borrower and Co-borrower name (s)]

“If you are looking for help selling your home and avoiding foreclosure,  the federal government has introduced the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) Program to help you.  As your mortgage servicer,  we are offering you the opportunity to participate in this program by utilizing HAFA’s short sale option.”

It goes on to explain the program,  and then at the bottom of page 3 of 7 it reads:

“By signing this letter,  you are agreeing not only to a short sale,  but also to a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure if a short sale is not successful.  If you have any questions about the deed-in-lieu of foreclosure,  please call us before signing and returning this letter.]”

We know from our studies that the odds of pulling off a short sale are remote because you are negotiating with the servicer,  not the investor,  and because of MERS,  the investor can never be found.

So,  the Government is setting you up for hope in getting out of your house without having to go through a foreclosure,  and then when you can’t (oh,  too bad,  we tried),  you are forced to give it up.  You are signing away all hope of fighting an illegal foreclosure.

Short sales & loan modifications are a suckers game.  And now it is the government who is getting in on the act of throwing people out of their homes with no hope.

Hope for America’s homeowners.  Change you can count on.”

Well, you count on being yenched yet again by your predatory and useless government. And attached, find an interesting observation on the same subject:

“Advocates and judges have only recently become aware of just how failed this whole system is.  Some judges are just covering their eyes, holding their noses and continuing to grant foreclosures despite the growing body of evidence that the law firms and the clients they represent are engaged in such widespread and systemic improper practices.  This will all come back to haunt every American for decades to come. The biggest problem is this represents a fundamental breakdown in the rule of law.  Courtrooms and judges are no longer owed respect and honor and fear…the pressures placed on our courts have turned them into fast food flop houses operating in servitude to the Millionaire Foreclosure Mills.  The only real objective is to plow through these hundreds of thousands of foreclosures as quickly as possible so that the foreclosure mills and their clients can continue to make millions.”

Matt Weidner  Fl Foreclosure Defense Atty.


Terror Scare in Times Square

Blowback from Predator Terror in Pakistan

May 8, 2010

by Tom Turnipseed


Was the botched terror attack in Times Square retaliation for US terrorism perpetrated by predator drones in Pakistan?   Our war in Afghanistan and Pakistan is tremendously more expensive than such amateurish blowback attacks by sympathizers of al Qaeda or the Taliban.  We have spent almost $270 billion on the war in Afghanistan. It is a big money bonanza for the US military industrial complex and big oil companies.  One of Osama bin Laden’s tactics has been to use relatively inexpensive terror attacks to provoke the US into increasingly expensive military ventures and higher energy costs that bleed our economy.

Pentagon parlance for the war in Afghanistan is “Operation Enduring Freedom” but a more accurate term is Operation Enduring Terror. According to Pakistan authorities,  44 predator strikes carried out by the CIA in Pakistan in 2009 killed more than 700 innocent civilians and only four of their intended al Qaeda and Taliban targets.  As a result, those attacked might be striking back.   Hakimullah Mehsud, one of the leaders the CIA said they killed in January seems to be alive.  Mehsud appeared on a video on May 3, threatening attacks on major US cities in acts of retaliation against the US drone attacks on Pakistan.  A second video showed Mehsud saying that “good news will be heard within some days or weeks.”

Mehsud referred to reports of his death as lies and propaganda in the footage that was apparently recorded in April.  The BBC’s correspondent in Islamabad said if the video is verified it will end all speculation about his death.  US and Pakistani officials had claimed until recently that Mehsud was killed in a US missile attack in the remote tribal region of north-west Pakistan. But last week Pakistani intelligence officials said they believed Mehsud was only wounded.

Is there a link to the failed weekend bomb attack in New York and Mehsud?  Claims by the Taliban group that it was responsible for the failed attempt to detonate the car bomb in Times Square have credibility.   Faisel Shahzad, the person arrested for committing the act, is a 30 year old naturalized US citizen originally from Pakistan.  He spent much of the past year in Peshawar province of Pakistan, a haven for Taliban activists.  Shahzad is reported to have trained with Taliban operatives.  Whether or not he acted alone, blowback seems to be the most logical motive for the Times Square scare.

The Dawn newspaper in Pakistan reported, “For each al Qa’eda and Taliban terrorist killed by US drones, 140 innocent Pakistanis also had to die. Over 90 per cent of those killed in the deadly missile strikes were civilians, claim authorities.”

President Obama has been much less reticent than President Bush to increase air strikes on Pakistan and shares responsibility for the blowback in Times Square. The President doesn’t get it.  Obama made a crude and dehumanizing joke at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.  He said his daughters were huge fans of the Jonas Brothers and warned, “but boys, don’t get any ideas. Two words for you: predator drones. You’ll never see it coming.”

Shahzad was on board a Dubai-bound flight at Kennedy Airport when FBI agents and New York Police Department detectives arrested him.  He lived with his wife and two small children in Shelton, Conn. for three years.   After Shazad became a naturalized U.S. citizen on April 17, 2009, he spent much of the past year in Pakistan where his wife is currently living. Details of his activities in Pakistan remain speculative, but Shahzad last entered the U.S. on Feb. 3, 2010 after a five-month visit to the country of his birth. The NY Times reported that 7 or 8 people allegedly linked to the Times Square scare have been arrested in Pakistan.

In the past two years several people with American citizenship or residency have been accused of terrorism in the U.S. like Maj. Nidal Hasan, a U.S.born Army psychiatrist of Palestinian descent charged with fatally shooting 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, and Najibullah Zazi, an airport shuttle driver from Afghanistan, who pled guilty to a bomb plot on New York subways.

Terrorizing Afghanistan and Pakistan with war brings blowbacks of terror from the terrorized and their sympathizers.  War is not the answer.  The two bumper stickers on my car read; War is Terrorism: With a Bigger Budget and Peace on Earth.

Tom Turnipseed is an attorney, writer and peace activist in Columbia, SC. His blog is http://tomandjudyonablog.blogspot.com/

Volcanic ash cloud grounds more flights and could bring summer of disruption

Air passengers face sporadic flight disruption as Iceland volcano expected to produce more ash over coming months

May 5, 2010

by Dan Milmo and David Adam

The Guardian

The volcanic eruption in Iceland disrupted services for thousands more air passengers in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland yesterday as the Civil Aviation Authority admitted more problems were possible in summer.

Flights to and from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Derry and Dublin were grounded, as increased activity from Eyjafjallajokull produced an ash cloud dense enough to cancel hundreds of services, despite revised guidelines that now permit flying through contaminated airspace.

The cloud also drifted into north-west England and Wales yesterday, but airports remained open across the rest of the UK. The UK air traffic controller Nats said it hoped “fewer restrictions” would be imposed today as the cloud moved in a southwesterly direction, which allowed Edinburgh airport to reopen yesterday evening, although Glasgow and Northern Ireland remained under no-fly zones.

“There is no doubt that if the volcano continues to erupt and the ash is of a density that is unsafe, we will see more no-fly zones,” said a CAA spokesman.

However, the CAA believes the new safety limits, which permit flying through ash-contaminated clouds when none was allowed previously, will lessen disruption. “The new limit means that hopefully we will not see the levels of closures that we had last month.”

Vulcanologists predict that some ash will be produced for months ahead. Colin Macpherson, at Durham University, said the only point of reference to estimate the duration was the history of Eyjafjallajokull. “The only thing we know for certain is that the last time, this volcano erupted, it erupted for two years [from 1821 to 1823],” he said. The volcano appeared to be producing mostly magma-based ash, he said.

The key to flight disruption, and a summer of discontent, is not ash, but the wind, however. Without the unusual northerlies last month, the ash would have stayed away from Europe’s crowded airspace.

The prevailing winds over the UK are southwesterlies, which bring damp air from the Atlantic and would keep any ash in the Arctic. Northerly winds on average occur 15% of the time during the summer, a Met Office spokesman said.

“Wind direction is actually one of the easier things to forecast in what is a very complicated picture, but we wouldn’t look more than about six days ahead with any confidence.”

Airlines remain concerned about the cost of the eruption, after European Union transport ministers this week played down the prospect of immediate state aid for carriers. The six-day shutdown of European airspace cost airlines more than £1bn, and the trade association for UK airlines yesterday urged EU transport ministers to accelerate the reform of compensation rules making airlines responsible for their stranded passengers, with multi-million pound accommodation and food costs.

Ryanair has led the attack on the EU261 regulation. It claims the rule was designed to help passengers caught out by cancellation of individual flights, rather than the prolonged closure of swaths of airspace.

“It is concerning that the timescale for reform points toward the end of the year,” said Roger Wiltshire, secretary general of the British Air Transport Association. “We want it reviewed urgently because it is not a credible regulation.”

Travel insurers said they were unlikely to offer payouts to customers who had bought policies since last month’s wave of disruption. Many insurers have refused to pay out on claims from last month, citing clauses excluding disruption caused by any kind of natural event. HSBC and the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba) Biba were among those who honoured claims, but yesterday they warned they were unlikely to do so in future.

Among the thousands caught in the disruption yesterday were Britons concerned that they will not get back in time to vote in the general election.

Greg O’Ceallaigh, 28, a former Labour voter, was stranded in Dublin and desperate to get back to Poplar in east London, where he is planning to vote for the Liberal Democrats. “It’s very annoying. I was looking forward to voting. I’ve never not voted before, but I’ve just got this text from Aer Lingus telling me the flight has been cancelled. I’m thinking of getting a boat if it still looks like I can’t get a flight tomorrow.”

Casper, stuck in Northern Ireland, said: “I contacted electoral services who said that the only emergency proxy vote allowed is for a medical emergency. To clarify, I asked if this meant I would lose my vote entirely if flights were cancelled. The answer was a definitive yes. I’m really surprised there has been no provision made.”

James Thorpe, a spokesman for HSBC, which also offers policies through its First Direct and M&S Money brands, said: “Although the bank was considering claims from customers who bought policies before the first problems arose, it may not do so in future.

“If you took out a policy and a similar thing happened, we would look at it again … but it isn’t the case that the policy was actually covering you. It was just in that instance we decided we would pay out.”

Biba, which in April said it was confident that all claims made under its Protect travel insurance policies would be met, has taken a similar stance, saying that while customers who bought cover before the initial disruption will be able to seek compensation if there are any more problems, customers who had bought a policy since would not be covered. RBS, which offered payouts on policies sold under its brands, including Direct Line and NatWest, said it was trying to decide what to do about future claims.

Customers buying holidays independently do get some cover from their airline if they are travelling within the EU or on an EU airline, but this does not extend to pre-booked hotels, car hire or any other arrangements at their destination. Under EU rules, airlines must cover the cost of putting travellers on a new flight if theirs is cancelled and pay out for any accommodation and food costs while passengers are waiting for departure. They are not liable for any money lost as a result of cancelling.

Usually, travel insurance would step into the breach, but a spokeswoman for Holiday Which? said the consumer group had been unable to find any insurer willing to categorically state it would offer cover against cancellations resulting from the ongoing eruption, with the exception of a specialist policy from the airline Flybe. She added: “The only way to fully protect yourself is to buy a package holiday.” Under the package holiday regulations, if a flight is cancelled the travel operator must offer a rebooking or refund of the whole holiday.

The Association of British Travel Agents said its members have reported an increase in bookings since last month’s disruption, and that the extra protection afforded by booking through an agent was likely to have been a factor. Sean Tipton, a spokesman for Abta, said although there was no legal requirement for travel operators to pay the bills of customers who were stranded abroad, they had done so last time and customers could be confident that they would do so again in the event of further problems.

Merkel braces for electoral backlash over Greece

May 9. 2010

BERLIN : Polls in Germany’s most populous state opened for a key election Sunday, with surveys showing voters angry at the bailout for Greece could hand Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party a bitter defeat.

Just two days after the German parliament approved an unpopular three-year loan package for Athens worth billions of euros, some 13.5 million voters in the western region of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) elect a new legislature.

A reverse for Merkel could cost her the majority in the upper house of parliament, giving her opponents the power to block several promised reforms including sweeping tax cuts she hopes will invigorate Europe’s top economy.

And the most recent opinion polls showed that the 22.4 billion euros (28.4 billion dollars) in aid for Greece could punish Merkel’s conservatives, who have governed NRW with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) in 2005.

The two parties, also in coalition at a national level, are poised to win between 43 to 45 percent of the vote, according to polls.

The rival centre-left Social Democrats (SDP), who held power in the state for four decades until 2005, and their preferred partners, the Greens, are polling between 45 and 47 percent.

Greece was certainly to the fore in the final hours of campaigning, with the conservative candidate, Juergen Ruettgers, seeking desperately to defend the bailout in an industrial region that has itself has been hit by recession.

On the other hand, the SPD abstained in Friday’s parliamentary vote, a tactical move that analysts said could pay off in NRW.

A YouGov poll published in mass circulation daily Bild on the eve of the election showed that the bailout would affect how one in five NRW voters cast their ballot.

Beyond control of the NRW state legislature, the dominance of Merkel’s coalition in the Bundesrat upper house also hangs in the balance.

The conservatives and the FDP currently hold 37 of the 69 in the Bundesrat, just over the 35 needed for a majority. Losing NRW would deprive them of six seats and risk bringing their plans to a shuddering halt.

“Scarcely one of the big projects that the conservatives and the FDP promised seven months ago in their coalition agreement will — if the polls are correct — survive this Sunday,” wrote the Tagesspiegel am Sonntag weekly.

Bild am Sonntag said the vote was a “day of fate” for Merkel, adding that policies such as a drive to slash taxes by 16 billion euros by 2012 were doomed if her party lost.

Political scientist Gerd Langguth of the University of Bonn said that life had been on hold in Germany, politically speaking, until this vote took place.

“For months, federal politics has been nearly at a standstill because all decisions have been taken with a view to this election, or postponed until after it takes place,” he said.

Ballot boxes in the state opened at 0600 GMT and are due to close at 1600 GMT, when exit polls will be released.

Russian special forces free sailors hijacked by Somali pirates

Pirates held on board after dawn raid on oil tanker off Somali coast

May 6, 2010


Russian special forces have freed 23 Russian sailors from a disabled oil tanker and arrested the Somali pirates who had taken it over, the commander of the European Union naval force said.

The dawn raid today on the Liberian-flagged ship Moscow University came 24 hours after pirates had taken over the ship and the crew locked itself in a safe room. The vessel is carrying about 86,000 tonnes of crude oil worth $50m (£33m).

The special forces, which had been on board the Russian anti-submarine destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov, rushed to the scene after the attack, boarded a helicopter and rappelled down to the Moscow University, said Rear Admiral Jan Thornqvist, force commander of the EU naval force

Shots were fired during the raid but no one was injured, Thornqvist said.

A Russian defence ministry spokesman, Colonel Alexei Kuznetsov, said the pirates were being held on board the tanker. Russian news agencies reported the death of one pirate during the raid, but Kuznetsov told AP that information was still being investigated.

The tanker crew had previously told officials they believed the pirates were trying to enter the engine room, Thornqvist said. The ship had been disabled and was not moving. Safe rooms, where crews seek shelter, are typically stocked with food, water and communications equipment and have reinforced doors that can only be opened from the inside.

The ship’s owner, Novoship, said in a statement that the decision to free the ship was made knowing “that the crew was under safe cover inaccessible to the pirates and that the lives and health of the sailors was not threatened by anything”.

Commander John Harbour, a spokesman for the EU naval force, called the rescue “an excellent operation all around”. He said the force had been working at a tactical level with the Russians, and that force personnel talked to the Russian crew by VHF radio. He said the EU had offered support to the Russians.

The attack occurred about 500 miles (800km) east of the Somali coast. The ship, which was not registered with the Maritime Security Centre, was travelling from the Red Sea to China. Novoship is a subsidiary of Sovcomflot, which is owned by the Russian government.

The raid on the tanker shortly after it was taken over is in line with a move for international military forces to be more aggressive in combating piracy.

In February, Danish special forces prevented the hijacking of a ship after pirates had boarded it. Special forces from the Danish Absalon boarded the Ariella while the crew locked themselves in a secure room.

EU naval force ships are disrupting pirate groups and destroying their ships at a much higher rate than in previous years. US warships have fired back on pirates and destroyed their boats in several skirmishes in the last few weeks.

Pirates currently hold more than 300 hostages taken from ships attacked off east Africa in the last several months. Eleven suspected Somali pirates were indicted in a US federal court late last month, but the international community has had problems formulating an accepted policy to try to jail pirate suspects.

However, the increased aggression against pirates has faced criticism.

On Wednesday, a French prosecutor said a French rescuer was responsible for killing the skipper of a sailboat hijacked by Somali pirates during a rescue operation.

In Rennes, the chief prosecutor Hever Pavy said investigators found a French military bullet had killed Florent Lemacon in April 2009 when a special intervention team came to rescue his yacht, the Tanit, off the Somali coast.

Four other hostages were saved after a week on the hijacked ship. Three suspected pirates who survived the rescue operation are on trial in France.

Illegal Immigration: The Dark Side

Many illegal aliens are not your casual immigration violating, ID theft committing, law breaker. Many are recidivists – a.k.a. career criminals, like Juan Leonardo Quintero, who was deported after being convicted of indecency with a child, but who later came back and then just recently killed a Houston cop in cold blood, leaving a widow and five now fatherless children.

Many of the brutal crimes referenced in the two previous sections are gang related with the growing Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang being notoriously brutal in carrying out its criminal activities. How much is unknown because NOBODY IS TRACKING IT.

If you do not yet have any of the violent illegal alien gangs in your area, you might want to take note of US Undocumented Settling in New Areas where it noted that illegal aliens are moving away from traditional illegal immigrant enclaves and settling in mass in newer areas and a fairly recent Washington Times article, Gang follows illegal aliens, that noted:

“The violent MS-13 – or Mara Salvatrucha – street gang is following the migratory routes of illegal aliens across the country, FBI officials say, calling the Salvadoran gang the new American mafia.

MS-13, has a significant presence in the Washington area, and other gangs are spreading into small towns and suburbs by following illegal aliens seeking work in places such as Providence, R.I., and the Carolinas, FBI task force director Robert Clifford said. “The migrant moves and the gang follows,” said Mr. Clifford, director of the agency’s MS-13 National Gang Task Force.”

As reported by Known Gangs, one of the nation’s leading private organizations specializing in gangs training and information, here is some information on one of the most violent gangs that has a very high illegal alien involvement, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13):

In the 1980s, “A group of Salvadorian immigrants created a new gang calling themselves Mara Salvatrucha also known as MS-13. It is believed they got their name from combining the name of “La Mara,” a violent street gang in El Salvador with Salvatruchas, a term used to denote members of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. This was a group of Salvadorian peasants trained as guerilla fighters.           The “13” was added to pay homage to the California prison gang, the Mexican Mafia.

Members of this newly formed gang soon engaged in violent criminal acts. They quickly became known as one of the most violent gangs in the area because many of their founding members had experience or training in guerilla warfare, thus gaining a level of sophistication that superseded their rivals.

Mara Salvatrucha has become Central America’s greatest problem. In addition to violent acts committed by the gang against citizens and gang rivalries, the gang has even engaged in organized violent acts against the government. In 1997 the son of Honduras President Ricardo Maduro was kidnapped and murdered by MS-13 members. MS-13 members have continued to taunt Central American government officials. Members also left a dismembered corpse with a note for the Honduras president that “more people will die … the next victims will be police and journalists.” In 2004, Guatemalan President Oscar Berger received a similar messages attached to the body of a dismembered man from MS-13 members.

In 2002 in the city of Tegucigalpa in the Honduras, MS-13 members boarded a public bus and immediately executed 28 people including 7 small children. Again, they left a message written on the front of the bus taunting government officials.

… Currently El Salvador has a murder rate of approximately 54 per every 100,000 people, while the United States murder rate is approximately 6 per every 100,000.

… MS-13 members in our country are known to be involved in all aspects of criminal activity. Some law enforcement sources have reported that because of their ties to their former homeland, MS-13 members have access to sophisticated weapons thus making firearms trafficking one of their many criminal enterprises.

Despite their access to weaponry, there have been many high-profile murders and assaults in which MS-13 have used machetes to attack their victims.

The federal government has increased efforts to locate and deport illegal MS-13 members living in our nation but with the lack of cooperation from many cities whom support sanctuaries policies, has made the government’s job an uphill battle.”

As noted in Gangs Or Us, “Since there are no “precise” statistics, it is difficult to estimate the number of cliques or the number of members. It has been estimated that MS-13 has over 15,000 members and associates in at least 115 different cliques in 33 states, and these numbers are continually increasing.”

These gangs are not your Mafia of the past that had a “criminal code of conduct” that was enforced by the Godfather. As noted in ICE Deports Teenage Hondruran Gang Member – Gang sexually assaulted 2 girls in suspected initiation rite at vacant Maryland apartment:

“A 17-year-old Honduran citizen and MS-13 gang member convicted as an adult for participating in the sexual assault of two teenage girls in Maryland was deported today by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Reinaldo Ramos-Ramos, an illegal alien who entered the United States in June 2002 by crossing the Southwestern border, was one of 10 gang members who sexually assaulted the minor girls, ages 16 and 17, inside a vacant Adelphi, Md. apartment March 14, 2003.

The assaults might have been a savage gang initiation rite that calls for female gang prospects to either endure being “jumped in” through a beating by gang members, or be “sexed in” by multiple male gang members.”

Although notable, don’t think that the illegal alien crime wave is just a Mexican or Salvadorian problem. Also see:

for information on equal opportunity illegal alien gangsters.

What is on the horizon if we don’t get serious? A November 29, 2006 article in the Washington Post Foreign Service, Surge in Violence Shocks Even Weary Mexico – Drug Killings Nearly Doubled In Past Year, reports:

“… A hit man had decapitated Sauzo’s son, then chopped off his arms and legs. The killer was so unconcerned about being brought to justice that he scrawled his own name and nickname — “El Barby” — on a note left with the mutilated corpse.

Still, Sauzo’s mother, Cristina Gomez, didn’t bother to go to the police. “Why waste my time?” she said in an interview. “This is the way it is in a town without laws.”

Gomez’s reaction and the audacity of Sauzo’s murder – one of 11 decapitations in the state of Guerrero this year and one of 2,000 killings in a nationwide war between rival drug cartels – are symptomatic of the unraveling of the rule of law that has plagued Mexico for years.

But in the past year, the number of spectacularly gruesome killings and the intensity of civil unrest have spiked to such alarming levels that even Mexicans who were once hardened by years of violence are shocked.

… The bulk of the violence is the result of a barbaric, five-year war between Mexican drug cartels which are now approaching the strength and size of the notorious Colombian cartels of the 1980s. Drug killings have nearly doubled in the past year; in a single incident this month, six police officers were fatally shot in the troubled state of Michoacan.

… “We have a huge problem, a problem that exists throughout the country; it’s difficult, complicated, dynamic,” said Juan Heriberto Salinas Alt’, a retired army general who serves as Guerrero state’s public security director. “It’s something we’ve never seen before.”

… In Guerrero, a southern Mexican state best known for its Acapulco resorts, drug killings have ballooned from 32 at this point last year to 281, according to Salinas Alt’s, the public security director. Only a handful of those murders have been solved because of “a high level of police corruption,” he said.

… Tamayo Hernendez, known as workaholic family man, was found Nov. 10 naked and dead in a cheap roadside motel room. That day, a Tijuana police chief was shot to death. A headline in the Mexico City newspaper El Universal called it “A Normal Day in the Country,” and in an editorial, the paper lamented that “bit by bit, murder by murder, the country is winning an international reputation for danger.”

As noted in Mexico’s Drug Wars Heat Up “In the once-chic beach resort of Acapulco, the severed heads of two police officers who had been clamping down on drug traffickers were found a few months ago with a note attached: “So that you learn to respect.” The grisly method soon caught on. In August alone, four more heads accompanied by threatening notes appeared in the central Mexican state of Michoacán.”

Something to think about the next time you are vacationing in Mexico.

In any case, these are some of the criminal illegal aliens that are freely coming across the southern border to set up shop and operation in America. How serious is the problem? In answer to that question, you might want to check out what Congressman Tom Tancredo says about the problem as noted in a World Net Daily report, Mexican drug cartels take over U.S. cities.


Where now for immigration reform?

With midterm elections looming, and Democratic fortunes fading fast, immigration is becoming an albatross for Obama

May 9, 2010-

by Stewart J Lawrence

The Guardian

Arizona’s draconian new immigration law has prompted calls from civil rights groups for a boycott of the state’s industries and sports teams. But don’t get too excited. It turns out that the new law is quite popular – and not just in Arizona. Two recent national polls – one by Gallup, the other by CBS – have found that a majority of Americans strongly approve of the state’s immigration crackdown. In fact, some even some think it doesn’t go far enough.

Have Americans become rightwing nuts? Hardly. But Washington’s endless dithering on immigration policy has the whole country at a boiling point. And if Arizonans want to vent their anger, well, bully for them, say voters – including a majority of independents, and even a solid third of Democrats.

With the midterm elections just six months away, and Democratic fortunes fading fast, immigration is fast becoming an albatross for Obama. Egged on by his disaffected Latino base, Obama decided to denounce the Arizona law. But voters obviously don’t agree with him.

And Obama has also decided to urge Congress to begin work on comprehensive immigration reform, even though his key GOP ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, a moderate, isn’t playing ball. Graham warned Obama months ago that if he rammed healthcare reform through Congress, he could kiss immigration reform goodbye.

Apparently, the president wasn’t listening.

And neither was Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who is trailing both of his GOP opponents in the polls, and could well lose his seat this November. Reid tried to rally Latino voters in Nevada last month by promising that Democrats would try to pass immigration reform this year, even if the GOP won’t help.

Apparently, though, Reid forgot to consult with other Democrats. Because it turns out, post-Arizona, that there aren’t enough Democratic votes to pass immigration reform. In fact, Reid may not even be able to get the 50 votes necessary to bring a Democrat-only bill to the Senate floor – let alone secure its passage.

What’s Obama to do? Right now, he’s caught between his angry and mobilised Latino base, which is demanding that he push forward with a plan to legalise undocumented immigrants, and mainstream voters, who seem to be leaning toward the GOP’s view that border and workplace enforcement should come first.

It’s a recipe for disaster.

Many Democrats – and not just Reid – need Latinos and other base groups to turn out in large numbers if they hope to prevail against Republicans this November – and preserve their party’s control of Congress.

According to political experts, in some 35 congressional election contests in the West, a high Latino voter turn out could well provide the margin of difference.

Also up for grabs, depending on Latino voting, are critical races in high-density Latino states like Florida. There, a rising GOP star, Marco Rubio, who is Latino, is seeking to win a three-way Senate race in which former GOP Gov. Charlie Crist is running as an independent.

On the other hand, there are just as many competitive districts in the South and Midwest where key swing voters overwhelmingly support the new Arizona crackdown, according to polls. Any move by Obama and the Democrats in the direction of legalization – even stepped criticism of Arizona’s new law, perhaps – could well doom Democratic fortunes there.

For the GOP, meanwhile, it’s a question of how to balance the short-term political gain of holding out on immigration reform with the potential long-term damage to the party of appearing hostile to Latino aspirations.

Everyone knows, Latinos especially, that the Arizona GOP was responsible for the Arizona law. And since many Republicans at the national level have refused to criticize the law, they are not winning any new friends among a key swing constituency they lost in 2008.

But most Republicans are calculating that Latinos are just as concerned as mainstream voters about the deficit and the state of the economy – and won’t penalise the GOP for not focusing on immigration before November.

And, in fact, like many Democrats, the GOP is also finding itself boxed in by its nativist wing. Just ask Senator John McCain, who has enthusiastically backed the state’s new immigration crackdown because of nativist pressure from GOP challenger, and Tea Party favorite, JD Hayworth.

If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t stand a chance of getting re-elected, observers say.

With only a narrow legislative window remaining – Congress takes a break on May 28, and when it returns, candidates start ginning up their election campaigns – serious action on immigration is unlikely.

Reid, already under fire from the GOP for his grand-standing on immigration, has promised to focus on an energy, bill first and foremost.

Obama, meanwhile, recently took advantage of the annual White House “Cinco de Mayo” celebration to say that he still hoped that Congress would “start work” on immigration this year.

In the game of verbal inches that often passes for Washington politics, that statement was taken as a positive sign.

Of what, though, no one’s exactly sure.

Losing Afghan hearts and minds

May 7, 2010

by Julien Mercille

Asia Times

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is losing hearts and minds in Afghanistan, according to a report by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) that gives a clear signal of the dangers of the military operation against Kandahar planned for this summer.

Contrary to its stated objectives of protecting the population from insurgents, NATO is actually raising the likelihood that poor Afghans will join the Taliban – not a great report card for General Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, whose strategies seem to be backfiring.

The report, entitled Operation Moshtarak: Lessons Learned [1], is based on interviews conducted last month with over 400 Afghanmen from Marjah, Lashkar Gah and Kandahar to investigate their views on the military operation to drive out the Taliban, launched in February in Helmand province, and its aftermath.

It corroborates previous assessments, such as one from the Pentagon released last week which concluded that popular support for the insurgency in the Pashtun south had increased over the past few months. Not one of the 92 districts that are deemed key to NATO operations supported the government, whereas the number of those sympathetic to or supporting the insurgency increased to 48 in March, from 33 in December 2009. [2]

There is no doubt Operation Moshtarak has upset Afghans: 61% of those interviewed said they now feel more negative about NATO forces than before the offensive. This plays into the insurgents hands, as 95% of respondents said they believed more young Afghans are now joining the Taliban. In addition, 67% said they do not support a strong NATO-ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) presence in their province and 71% said they just wanted foreign troops to leave Afghanistan entirely. Locals don’t have much confidence in NATO “clearing and holding” the area, as 59% thought the Taliban would return to Marjah once the dust settled, and in any case, 67% didn’t believe NATO and the Afghan security forces could defeat the Taliban.

The anger is easy enough to understand. Whereas aid agencies and human rights groups have estimated the number of civilian killed during Operation Moshtarak at fewer than 50, the great majority of respondents believe the toll to be about 200, or roughly a third of the number of insurgents killed; a “collateral damage” clearly too high to “win hearts and minds” – if such damage can ever be justified at all. Moreover, the operation against Marjah displaced about 30,000 people, many forced into refugee camps nearby with inadequate food, medical services or shelter. Such camps are good recruitment sites for the Taliban.

Locals say the main reason why their young men join the Taliban is for the job or money it provides, even if they don’t necessarily share the leaders’ ideological convictions. Indeed, the majority of those who join the ranks of the insurgency are often unemployed and disenfranchised. One solution could therefore be to spend more funds on reconstruction and development to generate employment. But this has never been a NATO priority: the US alone has spent US$227 billion on military operations in Afghanistan since 2001, while international donors together have spent less than 10% of that amount on development aid.

To make things worse, NATO seeks to eliminate the drugs industry, which makes up about 30% of the country’s total economy, often the best source of income for poor farmers. According to the ICOS report, eradication was opposed by 66% of those interviewed, not a surprising finding given that Helmand province cultivates over half the country’s poppies and produces about 60% of its opium, with Marjah dubbed by many to be Helmand’s “opium capital”. Even NATO’s new policy of paying farmers as an incentive for them to eliminate their own crops undermines the economy because sustainable alternative livelihoods are not offered.

The survey also points to a paradoxical finding: notwithstanding their negative perceptions about NATO, two-thirds of interviewees said foreign troops should clear the Taliban from the road linking Lashkar Gah to Kandahar and Kabul and start an operation against insurgents in Kandahar.

This apparent contradiction can be explained in immediate terms by the fact that locals wish to travel and conduct business more easily. From a broader perspective, it suggests that locals simply dislike both the Taliban and foreign troops. As summarized concisely by a major tribal leader from Kandahar, “Ten percent of the people are with the Taliban, 10% are with the government and 80% of the people are angry at the Taliban, the government and the foreigners.”

The roots of the dire situation of insecurity faced by many Afghans were explained by the mayor of Kandahar, Ghulam Haider Hamidi, who stated. “It was the international community that went to the warlords after the Taliban and brought them back,” with appalling consequences up to this day. [3]

Those views reflect those of democratic-minded Afghans such as member of parliament Malalai Joya and the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), who have been campaigning for years against both the Taliban and the warlords and their NATO backers. Yet, their views have been completely ignored by coalition governments.

Rather, NATO and US forces have specialized in (botched) night raids that kill civilians, including pregnant women as happened in February in Paktia province. McChrystal has increased those Special Operations Forces raids since he became the top commander in Afghanistan, skills he had previously honed as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) from 2003 to 2008. Even though civilian deaths from air strikes have declined, those caused by night raids have increased, so much that the UN now estimates they account for half the civilians killed by foreign troops. This has contributed to the 33% increase in civilian deaths last month compared to the same period last year, adding to Afghans’ anger. [4]

Finally, 74% of those interviewed by ICOS support negotiations and dialogue with the Taliban, a clear sign that Afghans are tired of war. Bringing Taliban leaders in a political process already dominated by actors whose human rights record is atrocious might not be the ideal solution, but since in practice it is unlikely that NATO will push to have the warlords it allied itself with taken to court, it might be the best political alternative in the short term.

1. The International Council on Security and Development, formerly known as The Senlis Council, is an international think-tank known for its work in Afghanistan and other conflict zones such as Iraq and Somalia. It is a project of the Network of European Foundations’ Mercator Fund. ICOS currently runs three programs: Global Security, Public Security and Public Health and Drug Control.
2. Alissa J Rubin, US report on Afghan war finds few gains in six months. New York Times, April 29, 2010; Gareth Porter, Pentagon map shows wide Taliban zone in the South. Inter Press Service, May 1. 2010.
3. Kathy Gannon, Afghans blame both US, Taliban for insecurity. Associated Press, April 16, 2010.
4. Gareth Porter, Pentagon map belies Taliban’s sphere. Asia Times Online, May 4, 2010.

Julien Mercille is lecturer at University College Dublin, Ireland. He specializes in US foreign policy and geopolitics. He can be reached at jmercille@gmail.com.

Wall Street share plunge to be investigated by SEC

May 7, 2010

BBC News

The US financial watchdog has said it will look into stock market activity which led to the Dow Jones share index plummeting 9% at one point on Thursday.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said it would “review the unusual trading activity” and “take appropriate steps to protect investors”.

There are rumours the drop may have been caused by an erroneous “fat finger” trade at a Wall Street bank.

The term refers to when a trader enters data incorrectly.

There was speculation that a Citigroup employee had been responsible for an erroneous trade – however, the bank said there was no evidence of this.

“We, along with the rest of the financial industry, are investigating to find the source of today’s market volatility,” Citigroup spokesman Stephen Cohen said in a statement.

“At this point, we have no evidence that Citi was involved in any erroneous transaction.”

US President Barack Obama said the authorities were evaluating the unusual activity and hoped to prevent it from happening again.

“They will make findings of their review public along with recommendations for appropriate action,” he told reporters on Friday.


Among those affected were 3M, whose shares fell 25% at one point, and Procter & Gamble, which saw its stocks fall by 37%.

There have been reports that a “fat finger” incident involved trade in Procter & Gamble shares, when a trader entered a “b” for billion instead of “m” for million.

All share trading is processed electronically – with stocks changing hands in fractions of a second.

One theory is that algorithms on which systems rely automatically triggered thousands of transactions to be executed after an error was made.

The tumultuous session on Wall Street saw the Dow Jones index fall by almost 1,000 points in a matter of minutes.

It later recovered, closing down 3.2%, or 347.8 points, at 10,520.32.

The Nasdaq exchange also saw sharp drops and said it was also investigating what happened.

Tea Party ousts Republican senator at Utah convention

May 9, 2010

BBC News

The conservative Tea Party movement in the US has blocked a three-term Republican senator from Utah, Bob Bennett, in his bid for re-election.

Sen Bennett came third at a Republican Party convention in Salt Lake City.

The two challengers, one backed by the Tea Party, will face each other in a primary next month for the right to contest November’s Midterm elections.

It is the first major victory for the grassroots movement that objects to big government and opposes high spending.

Sen Bennett was criticised by Tea Party activists for supporting the Wall Street bail-out, co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill mandating health insurance coverage and aggressively seeking funding “earmarks” for his state.

“The political atmosphere obviously has been toxic and it’s very clear that some of the votes that I have cast have added to the toxic environment,” he told reporters after Saturday’s convention vote.

“Looking back on them, with one or two very minor exceptions, I wouldn’t have cast any of them any differently even if I had known at the time they were going to cost me my career.”

Sen Bennett is barred by state law from running as an independent, but he has not ruled out standing as a write-in candidate – whose name does not appear on the ballot and so must be written on the ballot by the voters.

“I do think I still have a lot of juice left in me,” he added.

The two candidates in June’s primary, businessman Tim Bridgewater and Tea Party-backed lawyer Mike Lee, both claimed during the campaign that they were better suited to rein in government spending than Sen Bennett.

“There is a mood that has swept across this country and has certainly swept across Utah that is demanding a new generation of leaders. Leaders committed to constitutionally limited government,” Mr Lee told the Reuters news agency.

Correspondents say the winner of the Republican nomination is all but guaranteed victory in November because Utah is so conservative.
The Babi Yar Reality

Babi Yar is the name of a ravine situated just outside the city of Kiev, capital of  the Ukraine.  At the time that the events depicted below took place, Kiev was part of the USSR.  In the early hours of June 22, 1941, the armed forces of the Third Reich streamed across its eastern border with the USSR, initiating a military conflagration codenamed Operation Barbarossa, a conflict that in terms of the numbers of fatalities, wounded, barbarities committed,  human suffering, both military and civilian, and the scale and scope of its international implications, most probably has no equal in human history.  Kiev fell to the German forces on September 19.  Prior to evacuating the city the Soviet security services had left explosives in a number of buildings set  to detonate between September 24 and 28.   The buildings in which they had been placed were comandeered by the military administration  and substantial casualties were sustained.

At a meeting which was attended by the military governor, the Higher SS and Police Leader, SS-Obergruppenführer Friedrich Jeckeln, the commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe C, SS-Brigadeführer Dr. Otto Rasch, and the commanding officer of Sonderkommando 4a, SS-Standartenführer Paul Blobel, it was decided that the appropriate response to this would be the elimination of the Jews of Kiev.   They, needless to say, had absolutely nothing to do with the explosions.  Sonderkommando 4a, included Security Service (Sicherheistdienst), Waffen-SS, and police battalion personnel.  Other police battalions and Ukrainian auxiliay police were drafted to assist in the operation.

On September 28, the Germans posted a notice all over town that read:

All [Jews] living in the city of Kiev and its vicinity are to report by 8 o’clock on the morning of Monday, September 29th, 1941, at the corner of Melnikovsky and Dokhturov Streets (near the cemetery). They are to take with them documents, money, valuables, as well as warm clothes, underwear, etc.
Any [Jew] not carrying out this instruction and who is found elsewhere will be shot.
Any civilian entering flats evacuated by [Jews] and stealing property will be shot.

Beginning on September 29, the Jews of Kiev were assembled and marched to the vicinity of the ravine.  Not far from its edge they were told to strip off their clothes and remove their valuables.   In groups of ten they were marched to to the edge, whereupon they were shot and fell into the Yar. The accepted estimate is that 33,771 Jews were executed in this manner.

Babi Yar continued to be an execution spots for many months subsequently.  Jews from other parts of the Ukraine were brought there for execution.  So to were Roma and Sinti, and Soviet prisoners of war.  The Soviet authorities estimated that approximately 100,000 corpses lay strewn across the bed of Babi Yar.  Beginning in July 1943 SS personnel were given the task of eliminating all evidence of the massacre.  To achieve this the corpses were exhumed and burnt.  The task of exhumation, moving and burning the corpses, was forced on inmates of the concentration camp Syretsk, 100 of whom were Jewish. Aided by landmoving machinery, the task was completed in six weeks.  No trace, apparently, was left.  With the exception of fifteen prisoners who new what their ultimate fate was likely to be, and who escaped, the concentration camp inmates who had carried out this work were executed by the SS.

Although this method of eliminating Jews in areas occupied by the Germans post-June 22, 1941, was repeated on a massive scale by personnel of the Einsatzgruppen, various auxiliary forces, and police battalions in the occupied areas of the USSR,  resulting in some 1.5 million Jewish dead, as well as the dead of members of other ethnic and national groups, the destruction of Kiev Jews at Babi Yar has come to symbolise the methods and incomprehensible barbarity of this phase of the Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe.


The Müller Reports

The Official German RSHA Daily Reports on the Action of all Einsatzgruppen engaged in Anti-Partisan Warfare on the Eastern Front 23 June 1941 through 21 May 1943 inclusive

The information in the following tables comes directly from twelve folders of IV A 1 Lagezimmer and are the only surviving originals of Ereignismeldung UdSSR. Numbers 1-195 from 23. June 1941 through 24 April 1942 by CdS/Amt IV A1 and Meldungen aus den besetzeten Ostgebeiten, Numbers 1-55 between 1 May 1942 and 31 May 1943 by CdS Kommando stab. Copies of these important documents can be found in the U.S. National Archives, Rolls T-175 No’s 233 through 236, the Berlin Document center in Berlin and the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich.

With the invasion of Soviet Russia on 21 June 1941, Reinhard Heydrich, Chief of the RSHA instituted these reports into a comprehensive daily summery of the various daily reports submitted by the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos. “Sammelmeldung UdSSR, Nr. 1” was prepared by SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller, head of Amt IV, the Gestapo. They were classified as “Geheime Reichssache” or Secret State matters and circulated to a limited distribution list (at first 10 copies, then distribution was expanded successively.)

The only known copies of these daily summaries was from the IV A 1 Lagezimmer. A typical; Ereignismeldung contains a list of Standorte of each HSSPF, KdS, Einsatzgruppe, Einsatzkommando, and Sonderkommando reporting, accounts of Bandenbekämpfung operations, including the shooting of Jews and Soviet Political Commissars, and reports on political and economic conditions much like those to be found in standard SD reports.

Since a great deal of fictional data has been presented concerning the number of Jews who died as a result of interactions with the Einsatzgruppen and their subgroups, it is instructive to study all of these daily, highly classified reports, and set down the actual numbers of the casualties on the Soviet Russian side. It is clearly obvious from reading through these over 4,000 pages of detailed reports that Jews were singled out for murder both because they were Jews but also because they were basically allied with the Soviet Partisan movement and were killed in combat with German security units.

It should be noted that these Müller reports were classified as highly secret and had a very limited circulation within the organs of the Third Reich. As Müller was noted for his accuracy and thoroughness, it is not possible that he invented these figures in the event that future scholars would be mislead by their contents

Very often numbers of Communist party officials and the dreaded Commissars were executed by the SD units when they were captured. As there were a significant number of Jews in these organs, it has been impossible to differentiate between the makeup of the totals. The reports of executions were, in a number of cases, marked: Execution of Communist officials and Jews. In these cases, the totals of those executed are duly noted in the tables.

The following several examples of messages are from the Einsatzgruppen Reports.

The number of the report and the date will be noted with each excerpt. The

Einsatzgruppen reported on their activities to their respective headquarters which sent the information to Berlin. There the RSHA compiled concise reports in the name of the Chief of Sipo and the SD. Copies were distributed to high- ranking army, police and SS officers, diplomats, members of the foreign office an even to industrialists as they related to economic factors in the Soviet territories.  The Einsatzgruppen Reports were discovered by the U.S.Army in Gestapo headquarters in Berlin after the war. They were initially impounded by a research analyst attached to the Berlin branch of the Office of the Chief of Council for War Crimes. They were sealed and transported in the custody of the US Army to Nuremberg. During the first days of the Einsatzgruppen Trial, the authenticity of the reports was established beyond doubt and none of the German defendants challenged their validity.

After the trial, the original reports were sent to the National Archives in Washington, DC. In 1960 they were given to the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz. Photocopies of all the reports remain in the National Archives, the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz , the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich and at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

Examples of the Einsatzgruppen Reports

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 17


According to instructions by RSHA, liquidations of government and party officials, in all named cities of Byelorussia, were carried out. Concerning the Jews, according to orders, the same policy was adopted. The exact number of the liquidated has not as yet been established.

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 19


In Kaunas, up to now a total of 7,800 Jews have been liquidated, partly through pogroms and partly through shooting by Lithuanian Kommandos. All of the corpses have been removed. Further mass shootings are no longer possible.  Therefore, I summoned a Jewish committee and explained that up to now we had no reason to interfere with the internal arrangements between the Lithuanians and the Jews.

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 106


In agreement with the city military command, all the Jews of Kiev were ordered to appear at a certain place on Monday, 29 September, by 6 o’clock. This order was publicized by posters all over the town by members of the newly organized Ukrainian militia. At the same time, oral information was passed that all the Jews of Kiev would be moved to another place. In cooperations with the HQ of EGC and two Kommandos of the police regiment South, Sonderkommando 4a executed 33,771 Jews on September 29 and 30.

[NOTE: This took place in the ravine of Babi Yar outside of Kiev.]

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 111


These were the reasons for the executions carried out by the Kommandos: political officials; plundereres and saboteurs; active Communists and political representatives; Jews who gained their release from prison camps by false statements; agents and informers of the NKVD; persons who by false depositions and witness influencing were instrumental in the deportation of ethnic Germans; Jewish sadism and revenge;

undesirable elements; partisans; politruks; danger of plague and epidemics; members of Russian bands; armed  insurgents supplying Russian bands; rebels and agitators; drifting juveniles; Jewsin general.

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 117


The districts occupied by the Kommandos were cleansed of Jews. 4,091 Jews and 46 Communists were executed during the time span covered by the report, bringing the total to 40,699 [for the period of 1-15 October 1941 by Einsatzgruppen D].

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 126


The difficulties in carrying out such a large action – first of all with respect to sowing disunity – were overcome in Kiev by a call via posters to the Jewish population that they were to move. Although at the start, one could count on the participation of about 5,000-6,000 Jews, more than 30,000 Jews turned up who, due to extraordinarily skillful

organization, believed in the transfer right up to the moment of their execution.

Thus, even if about 75,000 Jews had been liquidated so far, it has already become clear that a solution of the Jewish question will not be possible in this way. True, we have succeeded in bringing about a total solution to the Jewish problem, particularly in smaller towns and also in the villages.  However, in bigger towns it was observed that all the Jews have disappeared after such an execution.

Operational Situation Report USSR No.127


In this area the Security Police has come up against two major groups of adversaries. They are: 1) the Jews, 2) those once active in the former Soviet regime … In this regard it should be pointed out that in the Ukraine, those who sympathized with the Soviets were predominantly Jews … It can now be stated without reservation that the Jews were, without exception, supporters of Bolshevism. “Over and over again, particularly in the cities, the Jews are cited as the real Soviet rulers who exploited the people with  indescribable brutality and delivered them to their deaths at the hands of the NKVD. The (German Security Police) units have carried out approximately 10,000 interrogations during the past four months. Again and again, the Jews were cited as having worked actively for the Soviets, if not in responsible positions then at least as agents, collaborators or informers. Not a single Jewish corpse had been found in any of the numerous mass graves. In any case, it is evident that  the Jews share the greatest guilt with others for the slaughter of the Ukrainian people and the ethnic Germans.

For this reason, special measures against the Jews are considered necessary by the Security Police

Operational Situation Report USSR No. 173


In the course of a routine Security Police screening of an additional part of the civilian population around Leningrad, 140 more people had to be shot. The reasons for this were as follows:

a)   Active participation in the Communist Party before the arrival of

the German troops;

b)   Seditious and provocative activity since the arrival of the

German Army;

c)   Partisan activity;

d)   Espionage;

e)   Belonging to the Jewish race. “

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