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1997 Discrimination Against Russow on Grounds of Political Opinion: Will C51 Be the Same? PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Posted by Joan Russow
Thursday, 04 February 2016 13:22

 

By Joan Russow PhDGlobal Compliance Research Project,  

See update bio in Annex; What actions was I involved in to justify the government's designating me as a threat; in 2016, I have still have not found out the reason for my being placed on a threat assessment List

 

 

 

Image result for image of apec 1997 inquiry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt from a submission to the 2005 Senate Committee on anti- terrorism Act

 

The intelligence community appears to be inept at assessing what constitutes real national and international threats to security. This ineptitude was confirmed recently at a colloquium, entitled the ‘Challenges of Security Intelligence Review Committee SIRC’. An official from SIRC acknowledged the following:

 

In assessing the distinction between those who have a disagreement with politics and those who are deemed to be terrorists...Police agencies are not good at making that distinction and err on the side of security "."Our Intelligence community came out of a cold war culture. We are in a very different world. There is a lot of catch up. We have to have the ability to identify clearly this distinction. If we don’t do this we are threatening the fabric of the civil liberties of Canadians.

The fabric of civil liberties of Canadians has definitely been threatened through the designation of citizens who have a disagreement with the politics of the Government of Canada to be threats to Canada.

 At least since 1997, I have been on an RCMP Threat Assessment Group (TAG) List. I have a doctorate, I was a former lecturer in global issues at a university, and I am a former federal leader of a registered political party in Canada. I found out about being on a Threat Assessment Group List inadvertently, during the release of documents in the APEC RCMP Public Complaints Commission inquiry. Evidence emerged during the APEC inquiry that I was put on the list as a result of a directive from the Prime Minister's Office. My picture along with eight others was placed on a RCMP Threat Assessment Group List entitled "other activists". I have enclosed a copy of the RCMP threat Assessment. Exhibit A and Exhibit B.

 Under the CSIS Act, “threats to the security of Canada” means

   (a) Espionage or sabotage that is against Canada or is detrimental to the interests of Canada or activities directed toward or in support of such espionage or sabotage

B) Foreign influenced activities within or relating to Canada that are detrimental to the interests of Canada are clandestine or deceptive or involve a threat to any person

c) activities within or relating to Canada directed toward or in support of the threat or use of acts of serious violence against persons or property for the purpose of achieving a political objective within Canada or a foreign state and

d) Activities directed toward undermining by covert unlawful acts or directed toward or intended ultimately to lead to the destruction or overthrow by violence of the constitutionally established system of government in Canada.

 

Threat to security does not include lawful advocacy, protest or dissent, unless carried on in conjunction with any of the activities referred to in paragraphs (2) TO (D). 1984 C.21, S2.

 Citizens engaged in lawful advocacy, protest, or dissent have been designated as “threats”. Given the definition of “threats” in the CSIS Act, the only conclusion is that citizens engaged in lawful advocacy, protest, or dissent, and designated as a threat, must have been linked to espionage, sabotage, violence against persons or property, the destruction of the constitutionally established system of government, etc. There really is no other logical conclusion. 

 

The Solicitor General who is responsible for the RCMP and CSIS has a dual role: a role as a party member and a non-partisan role as officer of the Crown. The importance of the non-partisan role was recently emphasized by Dir. Wesley Pue, Professor of law at UBC, in his submission to the Senate when he cautioned:

 Imagine a malafide person occupying the position of minister of police because we do not have a Solicitor General, or even that notion.If that person does not like members of the NDP, they may decide to have the police investigate people because of their party stripes

 Although I was not a member of the NDP at the time, I presume that his comment applied to any opposition political party. 

When news that I had been placed on the RCMP Threat Assessment List was broadcast and published across the country, the Solicitor General’s office feared that there might have been a challenge in parliamentary question period about the RCMP and CSIS placing the leader of a registered political party on a threat assessment list. The Solicitor General’s office prepared an Aide Memoire to deflect the potential criticism, and rather than addressing the serious allegations of the violations by intelligence agencies of their own statutory law, the Solicitor General in his reply wrote: "As I have indicated, the APEC RCMP Public Complaints Commission will address all concerns raised, and we should allow them the opportunity to do their work."

I assumed from this statement that I would have my concerns addressed and be able to appear before the RCMP Public Complaints Commission, to have the opportunity to clear my name, and to prove that I am not a threat. I was subsequently not permitted to appear, even though I had been one of the original 49 complainants.

 I have never engaged in any activity which could be even remotely be construed to fall into within the CSIS definition of a ‘threat.  I have been a strong policy critic of government practices, nationally and internationally, and could be considered to have a “difference in politics”. I have spent over twenty years calling upon governments to discharge obligations incurred through international covenants, treaties and conventions, and to enact the necessary legislation to ensure compliance. I have called upon governments to act on commitments made through UN Conference Action plans, and to fulfill expectations created through UN General Assembly Resolutions and Declarations.

 I have exercised my constitutional right to lawful advocacy, protest, and dissent. I have, however, not engaged in activities directed toward undermining by covert clandestine, unlawful acts, directed toward or intended ultimately to lead to the destruction or overthrow by violence of the constitutionally established system of government in Canada

 Placing citizens who engage in lawful advocacy, protest or dissent on threat lists is an act of discrimination on the grounds of political and other opinion – one of the grounds that has been included in years of international human rights instruments such as the following:

 (i)      Art. 2, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948;

(ii)      Art. 27, Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War,     1949);

(iii)    Art.1.1, International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial           Discrimination, 1965;

(iv)     Art. 2, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966);

(v)    International Covenant of Social, Economic and Cultural rights 1966, in force, 1976;

(vi)   Art. 7, International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families;

(vii)  Art. 2, Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons 1975;

 (vi)   Art. 2, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989;

(ix)     Principle 1.4, Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and the Improvement of Mental Health Care, 1991.

 I will refer here only to Article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 2. affirms that

 Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

 Although under art 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, there is a reference in Art. 2.

 

 Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression

 

This article implements the obligations in Art: 18 of (ICCPR).

 

1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

 

Unfortunately the ground of "political and other opinion" was not included as one of the listed grounds in article 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

 Although there does not appear to be a remedy in Canada for discrimination on the ground of political and other opinion, there is a remedy under Article 2 of the Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Under this article, citizens who have been discriminated against, and have exhausted all domestic remedies, can file a complaint with the UN Human Rights committee responsible for the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. I have now proceeded to submit this complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee.

 The listing of citizens engaged in legitimate advocacy has also violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; the right to security of the person; the right to mobility, and freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly. Now with facial recognition technology, there is the possibility that listed activists will not be able to enter the United States or fly over US Territory.

 Since the fact that I was placed on a threat assessment list was broadcast and published across the country, I have had to live with the stigma of being designated a threat and the repercussions from this stigma –mistrust, andloss of employmentand income.On a panel associated with the Arar inquiry, Warren Allman, a former Solicitor General recognized that being associated with a listed group could impact on one’s ability to obtain gainful employment. This recognition would presumably also apply to being listed as a threat.

          Even if proved unfounded, the taint of being designated as a threat, remains. Once a reputation has been damaged or impugned, recovery from this designation is almost impossible.

 Since the lists have possibly been shared with ‘friendly nations’ prior to September 11, 2001 and probably, shared with ‘friendly nations’ after September 11, 2001 when caveats were down, I have traveled with great trepidation. I have resorted to using my maiden name when traveling internationally, but now with the institution of facial recognition technology, I presume that it willbe impossible for me to travel to the US or to travel over US air space.

 I had a legitimate expectation that, after being placed on a RCMP Threat Assessment Group List, I would be able to correct the presumed misinformation through provisions in the Privacy and the Access to Information Acts. I was mistaken. In order to justify

 not revealing the reason that I had been perceived to be a threat, the government exercised exemption such as “for national and international security reasons”, or “for [being] injurious to the conduct of international affairs”, or “for the defence of Canada”. 

 I have filed complaints with the RCMP, with CSIS, with DND, and with the review bodies such as SIRC and the RCMP Public Complaints Commission. I had presumed that I had a legitimate expectation that, after being placed on an RCMP Threat Assessment Group list, I would be able to correct the presumed misinformation if not through complaints and reviews through provisions in the privacy and the access to information acts. To justify not revealing the reason that I had been perceived to be a threat, the government exercised exemption such as for "national and international security reasons" or “for [being] injurious to the conduct of international affairs”, or “for the defence of Canada".

 After almost eight years, I still do not know the reason for my being placed on an RCMP Threat Assessment Group List. I submitted, and in some cases resubmitted, almost 60 Access to Information and Privacy requests, and subsequent requests for reviews by the Privacy and Access to Information Commissioners. These requests resulted is a series of outrageous financial demands, unacceptable delays, unjustifiable retention of data and redacted documents, along again with questionable government exemptions. In the end, the only recourse offered was to hire a lawyer, go to court, and if unsuccessful, pay court costs – an option that was not open to me, and I assume not open to many other citizens engaged in lawful advocacy, protest, and dissent.

Citizens engaged in lawful advocacy, protest, and dissent are often those who are addressing activities, by governments and corporations, which could be designated as threats to “true” security.

 

 

 

True security is not human security or a so-called “responsibility to protect” which has been recently used to support substantial increases in the military budget and to legitimize past, present, and future military expeditions wrapped in the guise of humanitarian interventions

 True security is common security – a concept initiated by Olaf  Palme, a former president of Sweden – and has been extended to embody the following objectives:

 • to achieve a state of peace, and disarmament; through reallocation of military expenses

 • to promote and fully guarantee respect for human rights including civil and political rights, and the right to be free from discrimination on any grounds

 • to enable socially equitable and environmentally sound employment, and ensure the right to development and social justice; labour rights, social and cultural rights- right to food, right to housing, right to universally accessible not for profit health care system, and the right to education

 

• to ensure the preservation and protection of the environment, respect the inherent worth of nature beyond human purpose, reduce the ecological footprint ,and move away from the current model of over-consumptive development.

 

• to create a global structure that respects the rule of law and the International Court of Justice;

 

To further Common Security, the member states of the United Nations have incurred obligations through conventions, treaties and covenants, made commitments through Conference Action plans, and created expectations through UN General Assembly resolutions, and declarations. Member states of the United Nations have incurred obligations, made commitments and created expectations

 

The blue print for Common Security has been drawn; the issue is compliance and implementation.

 

The Senate Committee reviewing the Anti-terrorism Act has a real opportunity to determine what constitute real threats to common security.

 

ANNEX  UPDATE BIO POTENTIAL ACTIONS THAT COULD HAVE LED TO DISCRIMINATION;

 

 

Joan Russow  BA, M Ed (Ph.D)

 

 

PERSONAL

Widow, mother of two sons and two daughters and seven granddaughters; daughter of former Asst Auditor General of Canada  and lived in New York in 1946 when my father worked at the United Nations.

 

GLOBAL COMPLIANCE RESEARCH PROJECT

* In 1994, founded, the Global Compliance Research Project

*Co-ordinator of the Global Compliance Research project: a project examining the interdependence of peace, environment, human rights, and socially equitable and environmentally sound development., and documenting lack of compliance.

Global Compliance research Project

The purpose of the project is

(i)                to remind governments of the years of obligations incurred , commitments made, and expectations created through the UN system.

(ii)             To inform NGOs of these obligations, commitments, and expectations, so that NGOs will not ask governments to agree to less that governments have already undertaken to do

(iii)           To use international instruments to support, policy statements, and resolutions related to common security:  peace, environment,  social justice and human rights

 

 Proposed an International Court of Compliance in 1995 --a court linked with the ICJ- where citizens could take evidence of state and corporate non- compliance with international law. Initially, for  UN Conference on Women, there were women from about 60 states supporting the project.

 

Attended the 1995 "We the Peoples Conference", in San Francisco, on the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations and drafted a resolution which was passed by the NGOs and was sent to the UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros Ghali who responded indicating his support.

 

*Attended Commission on the Status of Women in New York, between 1996 -2015, co-drafted various submissions to the CSW and the Petition on  Confronting Militarism: De-legitimization of war

 

Attended 1999 Hague Peace Conference, along with Peace Conference organized by WWSF when I had a chance to present the Global Compliance Research Project and attend a session at the ICJ.

 

Since 1995, I have continued to work on Compliance and in 2015, I was asked by IPS to write an op-ed on compliance   “The UN at 70: Time for Compliance”

 

In 2015, worked on placing the Sustainable Development Goals in the context of previous international obligations and commitments, including SDG 5, and attended the SDG Conference in New York in September.

 

 

BACKGROUND: ISSUES AND EDUCATION

 

-Studied Art and architecture in Rome, Seville and Paris, and one year of law in Ottawa.

 

BA in Art History, working on the Codex Borgia, - a pre-Columbian indigenous Manuscript from Mexico.

 

Master’s Degree in Education University of British Columbia developed a method, "Principle based education"--Issue-principle analysis", of teaching human rights linked with peace, social justice and environment issues. “Principle-based education within a framework of international principles drawn from international legal instruments. 

 

Doctorate in Interdisciplinary studies, University of Victoria addressing, in dissertation, the problem of expressing and communicating complexity and on the need to move away from simplistic models imposed on thought.

 

 

For about forty years, concerned about the complexity and interdependence issues and have worked for the following objectives:

 

•  to promote and fully guarantee respect for human rights including labour rights,  civil and political rights, social and cultural rights- right to food, right to housing,  right to safe drinking water, and to sewage treatment, right to health care, right to education  and social justice;

•  to enable socially equitable and environmentally sound employment;

•  to achieve a state of peace, justice and common security;

•  to create a global structure that respects the rule of law; and

•  to ensure the preservation and protection of the environment, respect the inherent worth of nature beyond human purpose reduce the ecological footprint and move away from the current model of overconsumptive development.

 

*have lectured widely on the complexity and interdependence of the above issues, and particularly on the need for the implementation of international law nationally and locally.

 

Former lecturer in Global Issues in Sustainable Development at the University of Victoria, Canada, and researcher for 8 country study based in Harvard, and for North American Institute (NAMI)

 

1997-2001- National leader of the Green Party of Canada, ran in three elections.  1997 and 2000 (Victoria, against Hon David Anderson) and in 2000 by-election against Stockwell Day)

 

 

 

INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE WORKING ON COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW

 

* Since 1995,a member of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

 

*Attended  UN conferences, as a member of various accredited NGOs, the Whistler Foundation on a Sustainable Environment, Ecological Rights Association, United Nations Association, and since 1995, for the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace,   

 

Prep Com New York for UNCED - (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED Rio ,1992); the Women’s Conference (1995) - drafted an Alternative Earth Charter and worked on the NGO Earth Charter

 

• submitted an analysis of human rights instruments for the Vienna Conference 1993

 

*Attended prep coms for the UN Conference on Women: Equality 

-For the UN Women’s conference,  received a CIDA grant to survey 50 years of

(i) obligations incurred through Conventions, treaties and covenants,

(ii) expectations created by General Assembly Resolutions    and

(iii) commitments made through Conference Action plans. From these international instruments, extracted the strongest statements that governments had agreed to in the area of peace, environment social justice, labour and human rights.  The statements were compiled in a 350 page “Charter of Obligations” and officially distributed to every state delegation at the Conference in Beijing.

 

- prepared a Charter with all the member states of the UN, with  a list of human rights agreements, peace, and environment and documented which states had signed and ratified different instruments

 

* Participated in  Habitat II (1996).  in Istanbul

-chaired the NGO committee on Urbanization, and served as an editor of NGO statements on peace, human, environment and social justice.

- prepare a 178 page document "Habitat II: moving beyond Habitat !  and circulated it to member states

-presented a statement, to the UN Committee II meeting of all the member states of the UN, calling upon governments to significantly reduce the military budget (50%) and transfer the peace dividend into socially equitable and environmentally sound development. Presented a statement at the “partnership meeting with Industry” on the need for Mandatory International Normative standards drawn from International principles to drive industry to socially equitable and environmentally sound development.

 

* Participated in Rio +5 prep com in New York- worked on document linking commitments from UNCED with subsequent commitments from World Conference on Human Rights, ICPD, Beijing Platform of Action, Habitat II Agenda.

 

* Participated in Rio +5 conference in New York - wrote and circulate a critique of Canada's environmental rhetoric and worked in various caucuses

 

* Participated in Beijing +5 in New York 2000 worked with various caucuses

 

* Participated in Habitat +5 in New York 2001, worked with various caucuses, and chaired the urbanization caucus

 

* Participated in WSSD - did an analysis of WSSD bracketed sections in the context of previous international obligations, commitments and expectations. and prepared a dictionary of terms examining the evolution of terms like "security" and "threat" etc.

 

* Attended 2003 March Commission on the Status of Women at the UN in New York; initiated a demonstration in front of the UN “Women say No to War”

 

* Attended 2003 DPI conference at the UN , and made a presentation on a Panel organized by the Uniting for Peace Coalition.

 

* Attended 2005 Beijing +10 in New York, and worked with the Peace caucus on drafting

a statement which was presented to the  UN Commission on Status of Women

Attended DPI Conference in 2007 worked on a Declaration with the Peace Caucus and Anti militarism caucus calling upon the need to include the contribution of militarism to Greenhouse gas emissions

 

*Attended Commission on the Status of Women in New York, between 1996 -2015, and co-drafted the Petition on  Confronting Militarism: De-legitimization of war

 

*Attended the 2013 High level conference on Nuclear arms in New York

 

* Attended, as a reporter the 2009 COP Climate Change conference in Copenhagen and submitted document on Climate Change

 

*Attended, as a reporter for the Watershed Sentinel, the 2009 World trade Conference in Geneva

 

*Participated in drafting documents for the Peoples Conference on Climate Change, and attended the conference in Cochabamba, and worked on the Peoples Agreement.

 

 

*Attended, as a reporter for the Watershed Sentinel the 2010 COP 16 Conference in Cancunsubmitted document on Climate Change

 

*Attended, as a reporter for the Watershed Sentinel the 2015 COP 20 Conference in Paris, and   submitted document on Climate Change

 

 

OTHER: CONFERENCES

- attended Eugene Conferences on International Environmental law, and made a presentation on NAFTA, and on Climate Change

- attended British Columbia Environmental AGMs, and gave presentations on International issues for the International Affairs Caucus

- attended IUCN AGMs and made presentations on Principle based education and worked on resolutions

 

- Participated in the 1998 Biodevastation ! conference on Genetically Engineered Foods and Crops in St Louis- drafted a Biodevastation Declaration calling for the Banning of GE foods and Crops- Declaration was adopted by the plenary at Conference.

- Participated in Vandana Shiva's Biodevastation II 1999 Conference, drafted a Global resolution banning GE foods,  Biopiracy, and patenting of life forms and advocating a fair and just transition program for farmers and communities affected by the proposed ban, and a promotion of ecologically sound  farming practices..

- Drafted a proposal for a UNGA resolution calling for the Banning of GE foods and crops, and circulated it at international meetings Beijing +5,

 

Habitat +5 and WSSD, and drafted an "Alternative Biosafety" protocol

- Attended Peace Conference in 2004 in Puebla, Mexico and worked on Puebla Declaration

- Attended Peace Conference in 2014 in The Hague and drafted statement on the ICJ and reduction of the military budget

 

* Launched a petition, with Nnimmo Bassey, calling for the UN General Assembly to draft a Declaration calling for the banning of genetically engineered food and crops and circulated the petition at the UN

 

 

 

 

ANTI-GLOBALIZATION ACTIVITIES

*MAI

- April drafted a treaty proposal to counteract the MAI

- campaigned as the National leader of the Green Party against the MAI

 

*APEC BC 1997

- November 1997 Revised the MAI Treaty as a Citizen's Treaty of State and

Corporate Compliance: Nemesis of APEC                                      

- November 1997 Attended sessions at the Peoples Summit

at APEC

- complainant in the RCMP APEC hearing

 

* WTO

participated in anti-WTO rally in Seattle

- updated Treaty - anti-WTO Citizen's Treaty as Public Trust Treaty

- updated anti-WTO Treaty 2005 Anti-WTO Hong Kong treaty

 

* FTAA- profiled the FTAA in the November 2000 Federal Election, and held a press conference in front of the jail that was being emptied to accommodate the protesters

and spoke on behave of the Council of Canadians at Anti- FTAA rally in Victoria

 

* G8 meeting in Kananaskis 2002

- updated treaty

- updated treaty for the G8 summit in Edinburgh Alternative  G8 Edinburgh Declaration of Common Security

 

2003- 2014 Circulated a documents calling for Trade agreements to be declared null and void because they violate international peremptory norms

 

PAST AFFILIATION

Current:

* Member of UNESCO (Canadian division) Working Group on Science and Ethics.

Worked on a content analysis of the UNESCO 5year proposal, placing document in context of international obligations and commitments-- in preparation for the US rejoining UNESCO

 

*Co-ordinator of the Global Compliance Research project: a project examining the interdependence of peace, environment, human rights, and socially equitable and environmentally sound development., and documenting lack of compliance.

Global Compliance research Project

The purpose of the project is

(iv)           to remind governments of the years of obligations incurred , commitments made, and expectations created through the UN system.

(v)             To inform NGOs of these obligations, commitments, and expectations, so that NGOs will not ask governments to agree to less that governments have already undertaken to do

(vi)           To use international instruments to support, policy statements, and resolutions related to common security:  peace, environment,  social justice and human rights

 

 Proposed an International Court of Compliance in 1995 --a court linked with the ICJ- where citizens could take evidence of state and corporate non- compliance with international law. Initially, for the UN Conference on Women, there were women from about 60 states supporting the project.

 

*Member of the IUCN (World Conservation Union) Commission on Education and Communication

 

-Participated in IUCN AGM in 1994 in Argentina. Drafted with others a  Resolution condemning forest practices in Canada and US - and calling for the preservation of a network  of old growth forests as World Heritage sites (resolution passed with only one country abstaining Canada. Lobbied against increased corporate intrusion into IUCN

 

 

-Participated in IUCN AGM in Montreal- in 1996- continued to oppose corporate intrusion, and worked on an emergency  resolution on the implementation of the International Court of Justice decision that the use of the threat to use nuclear weapons was contrary to international humanitarian law (resolution did not pass)

 

* Member of the Uniting for Peace Coalition which had attempted to call for an emergency UNGA resolution to prevent the US-led invasion of Iraq.

 

*Director, Council of Canadian (Victoria Branch) . recently drafted a resolution on Common Security ( Olaf Palme's concept of redefining security in terms of peace, human rights, and social justice) - opposing current proposal for military integration with US

 

* Director, Victoria Peace Centre- groups that launched a court case against the circulating and berthing of nuclear powered and nuclear capable vessels in Canadian waters and Canadian ports

* UN Vienna representative for the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace ( recent not yet attended meetings in Vienna)

 

Former

- Co- founder of the Vancouver Island Human Rights Coalition, former director, Capital Region Race Relations Association and Coalition Against Racism

- Founder  and chair of the International Affairs Caucus of the British Columbia Environmental Network

- Former Director of the United Nations Association

 

Present affiliations

New York Representative of the Canadian Voice of Women

Member of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 04 April 2016 11:27
 

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