Civil Rights

Who’s burning Black Churches-What a Cowardly Act!

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Most people are questioning why, black churches are burning? As The Atlantic pointed out in a recent article on the subject, there’s a long history of terrorism against black churches in America, one that begins in the era of slavery and continues up through Reconstruction, the civil-rights era, and into the 1990s.  

There has been a recent flurry of black churches burning since October 8 (In the last 20 days) all within a few miles of each other around St. Louis. Five fires have been at predominantly black churches, while the sixth was at a mixed denomination church. Unlike the last wave of black church fires this summer in which weather played a role in some of the fires, these all appear to be the work of arsonists. Each fire has been set at the door, and while most have done minimal damage—one pastor called them “amateur hour” arsons—one nearly destroyed a building. The lack of media coverage about these fires is highly-noticeable, given the media’s hyper-intensive coverage of rioters in Baltimore setting fire to a CVS earlier this year.

The FBI is investigating the multiple fires as possible acts of hate crimes, but to date no arrests have been made, they (FBI) are waiting for more facts to come to light before drawing any conclusions about what happened and beyond that they warn communities  “to move with caution.” (See statistics below)

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Federal investigators have said they have so far found no links among the fires at the predominantly black churches across the South, and currently none have been labeled hate crimes. Action against black churches is prevalent throughout the south, and in northern states minor reports have come to light but it exists.

Regardless of the investigation’s outcome, racism and KKK activity remain a fact of life in the United States. The last known stream of about 670 arsons, bombings or attempted bombings at mostly African-American churches was in the 1990s.

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Will history be kind to Barack Obama’s Legacy as a Black President, many say no!

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History was changed-on election night November 4th, 2008, when a more youthful Barack Obama walked out to as the newly elected American President with his wife and young daughters by his side, every step thereafter seemed by many to represent a great leap of racial progress by citizens of the United States. I  agree with British historian Arnold Toynbee-who warned historians against trying to understand the present—let alone imagining what historians would say about current events in the future.

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There are those who say, President Obama did not do enough to elevate or even fight for the rights of African-American people, they would suggest the antagonism of Obama’s own blackness was not provoked; still others, may suggest- the way in which his racial self-consciousness constrained him, not as to openly advocate in an effort to avoid showing any resemblance of outright favoritism toward his own race. In an article for NYmagzone.com when 53 Historians weighted in on the Presidency of Barack Obama (link Below) it was suggested that we will care a great deal less about his race generations from now — just as John F. Kennedy’s Catholicism hardly matters to current students of history.
 
If the “Legacy,” of Barack as President is to be challenged, then should we consider questions about Barack Obama’s sojourn in Kenya, the land of his father. In Kenya, where President Obama is saluted as an absolute “Hero,”-coming after un-numbered African generations suffer the agonies of enforced servitude and historical exile, a favored native son, blood of the land, who returns in triumph to claim the mantle of “world leader and heroic figure.” Without a doubt, White House spin doctors would love to have this story told. Yet notwithstanding the tired cynicism of the political age and the familiarity of Obama’s much-told personal journey, this remarkable reversal of fortunes, briefly glimpsed and savored, remains genuinely uplifting.(photoshoped Kenyan version of President Obama source unknown, below)
 
Barack with Braids (photoshoped) source unknown
Kenyan version of Barack with Braids (photoshoped) source unknown
In post 2012 America, So great has been the increase in political power that the black voter turnout rate surpassed that of whites with the 2012 presidential race, and the number of black elected officials has risen sevenfold. But while school segregation and workplace discrimination have declined, too many African-Americans go home to segregated, often impoverished neighborhoods. How much can we attribute the overwhelming number of political seats as to being inspired  by this President.
 
According to recent polls-The black poverty rate has dropped from more than 40% in the 1960s to about 27% today; child poverty similarly has dipped from 67% to about 40%. Those numbers still are glaring, however. And the gap in overall wealth is more than 5-to-1 between whites and blacks: The average white household had nearly $800,000 in assets in 2011, compared with $154,000 for blacks.
 
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Many feel that President Obama, could have been significantly instrumental in making progress on civil rights an area which has surprisingly has been much slower. Yes, it is true that today-America has many post civil rights issues to openly deal, examples being the flurry of Police Brutality issues: Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Andrew Joseph, Freddie Gray, Mike Brown and the list goes on. We may never understand the dynamics that have been at the heart of America’s seemingly non-existent policies with Civil Rights, and why Present Obama did not do more?
 
In closing if history is to be kind  President Obama, we must consider the fact that a person of color who became the President of the United States of America has inspired many, many children and others around the world who never really believed that  they could achieve this feat, and they are now saying, “one day I’ll be President of the United States of America.” that alone has challenged the hearts of the detractors who say, “President Obama did not do enough for African-Americans.” In addition we must agree with another great President-John F. Kennedy who knew the challenge wasn’t just passing laws, but changing hearts and minds. “Law alone cannot make men see right,” he said. “We are confronted primarily with a moral issue.” We have to inspire people so change is in their hearts (a hard pressed task), I believe President Obama has accomplished this task-so in this respect-History will show President Barack Obama favor.
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Southern Lives Matter_Alabama Rally turns out to be a “DUD” with no attendees!

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The a group of 30 Angry Pro Confederate Flag Supporters/Protestors sparked a controversial debate when the crowd showed up for a rally this past Friday August 28, 2015 at the Alabama Capitol State House in favor of the flag and carrying ‘Southern Lives Matter’ posters to mock the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. . Many were singing “Dixie,” some were taking selfies.  The rally was organized primarily to bring attention to legislators and all regarding the widespread support and approval for keeping the current confederate state flags in light of recent demonstrations calling for removal. 
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Another aim was for attendees to have an opportunity to address the Southern Folks message of Southern Nationalism and secession, as well as several other topics. Initially the rally was well received by the majority of over 300 demonstrators via Facebook and many of them expressed interest in exploring the merits of “Southern Nationalism,” but only 30 attended on the day of the rally. A few young black bystanders decided on an attempt to explain to the delusional men in Confederate uniforms that the war had ended, only to have the protesters tell them “Go back to where you came from.” Then stating to the onlookers  “If you don’t accept history behind flag, find a new country.”
Burn your Own
Standing at the bottom of the Capitol’s steps, where 50 years ago Martin Luther King Jr. led a march for civil rights, Tim Steadman said it wasn’t right to remove the flags.  “Right now, this past week with everything that is going on, I feel very much like the Jews must have felt in the beginning of the Nazi Germany takeover,” he said. “I mean I do feel that way, like there is a concerted effort to wipe people like me out, to wipe out my heritage and to erase the truths of history.”  A statement from the groups facebook page says;
We are spreading the news across America about this tragic and illegal action of hate toward our Southern family. Like our page to get up to date news and announcements about this fight for freedom. Have a news story we should tell? Message us! Tell America and be heard!

The two groups briefly discussed heritage and racism while Confederate flag supporters proudly waved their flags, before ending the conversation. No arrest were made by Capitol Police, the rally ended two hours short of it’s original goal-due to low turnout.

For more information on the Conferderate/Southern Lives Group see:

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One World Honors-Amelia Platts Boynton Robinson-A True Hero!

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Hero

Amelia Platts Boynton Robinson (born August 18, 1911) is an American woman who was a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama and a key figure in the 1965 march that became known as Bloody Sunday. In 1984, she became founding vice-president of the Schiller Institute. She was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Medal in 1990.

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In 1964 and 1965 Boynton worked with Martin Luther King, James Bevel, and others of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to plan demonstrations for civil and voting rights. While Selma had a population that was 50 percent black, only 300 of the town’s African-American residents were registered as voters in 1965, after thousands had been arrested in protests.By March 1966, after passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, some 11,000 were registered to vote.

ABR

To protest continuing segregation and disenfranchisement of blacks, in early 1965 Amelia Boynton helped organize a march to the state capital of Montgomery, initiated by James Bevel, which took place on March 7, 1965. Led by John Lewis, Hosea Williams and Bob Mants, and including Rosa Parks and others among the marchers the event became known as Bloody Sunday when county and state police stopped the march and beat demonstrators after they left the Edmund Pettus Bridge and crossed into the county. Boynton was beaten unconscious; a photograph of her lying on Edmund Pettus Bridge went around the world.[8] Another short march led by Martin Luther King took place two days later; they turned back. With federal protection and thousands of marchers joining them, a third march reached Montgomery on March 24, entering with 25,000 people.

**More information on Amelia**

http://www.birminghamtimes.com/2015/08/statement-from-the-family-of-dr-amelia-boynton-robinson/

http://www.biography.com/news/black-history-unsung-heroes-amelia-boynton

**Editors Note**

It appears that at 104 years old Dr. Boynton was still appearing at conferences and engagements but unfortunately -few weeks ago, Dr. Amelia Boynton Robinson was hospitalized after suffering a massive stroke.  Presently, she is in stable, but critical condition. I was scheduled to appear with her at the Community Advocates In Action, Inc 4th Annual Youth History Civil Rights and Voter Education Conference for youth organized by Community Advocates in Action. Inc. Instead her Advocate Leon Frazier will appear. Please keep Amelia in your prayers. For more information on the conference contact communityadvocatesinaction@yahoo.com. One World Honors-Amelia Platts Boynton Robinson-A True Hero!

KELLFLY

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Cleveland City Council pass a questionable possibly “unconstitutional” protesting ordinance.

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CLEVELAND, OH— Freedom First International, The ACLU (Ohio), and a growing list of civil rights organizations are questioning  a recent Cleveland City Council’s action repealing and replacing the ordinance regulating demonstrations without any public hearings. The hastily passed legislation updating the City of Cleveland’s permitting process violates protesters’ rights of free speech and assembly. In other communities courts have required conditional use ordinances to set forth “definite specifications in standards” in order to constitute a valid conditional regulation.

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The new ordinance applies to parades and protests on city streets, parks, malls and other public spaces. According to the local ACLU “There are several “First Amendment” red flags in the revised ordinance.”  

  • The failure to provide the number of people that would constitute a parade could result in absurd and potentially unconstitutional outcomes. For example, two people who choose to march through a park could be considered a parade and be required to obtain a permit.

  • A city official might subjectively deny a parade permit application if it was determined that the parade or demonstration is “dangerous,” requires a high number of police officers, or otherwise places a burden on city resources.

  • The ordinance could prohibit the spontaneous gathering of individuals to meet and peaceably demonstrate in parks or other public places.

It also is troubling that the city council failed to allow the community to comment  and engage on the proposed legislation, which would have afforded the opportunity for any issues to be discussed and ironed out.”

The real tests of its constitutionality are awaiting challenge, both in the legislation and in the process city hall establishes. In the event the ordinance condition is found to be arbitrary, the normal procedure would be for the  local court to remand the ordinance back to the governing body for further consideration as to whether any modifications to the ordinance are necessary in order to permit the legislative body to take its action.

Obviously, this has an enormous potential to create significant delay. It also provides an issue for an objecting party to raise to both delay and potentially challenge a conditional use ordinance through subsequent legislative review with hope a arbitration will end this unnecessary policy.

#glg1W#

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Press Release: Civil Rights Group and Families of Police Brutality Victims Urge GOP Debate to Address Discriminatory Policing

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August 6, 2015

For Immediate Release: August 6, 2015 (Reissue)

Contact: Michele Setteducato, 732-614-3818, michele@fitzgibbonmedia.com
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Samaria Rice, Mother of Tamir Rice, issued the following statement:
“I agree with ColorofChange’s efforts and support any effort that assists with bringing an end to police violence. We believe that many people nationwide stand with us in our call for justice for Tamir Rice. Our city’s ongoing refusal to take responsibility and indict the officers can only continue to spark moral outrage in the local Cleveland community and communities across our country. We must do all we can to prevent the pattern and practice of unreasonable and unnecessary use of force and the repeated violations our civil rights.”
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John Crawford Sr., father of John Crawford issued the following statement:“We are continuing to relentlessly pursue justice and reform of the criminal justice system, in efforts to vindicate the victims and hold accountable the wrongdoers of egregious acts of violence. We support ColorOfChange’s billboards campaign and call on elected leaders to do everything in their power to stop the crisis of discriminatory policing.”

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Rashad Robinson issued the following statement:

“The families of Tamir Rice, John Crawford and Tanisha Anderson have faced unconscionable tragedy. No person should have to experience the pain of losing a loved one to discriminatory police violence, let alone having to fight for justice. It’s unacceptable that the Department of Justice and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tom McGinty haven’t indicted these officers and we urge them to do so immediately.
The billboards around the convention center honor Tamir, Tanisha and John, while holding candidates accountable for prioritizing systemic reforms to policing and mass incarceration. It’s likely that no candidate will raise the fact that police kill Black Americans at nearly the same rate as Jim Crow era lynchings and more than 175 Black people have been killed by police this year alone. But we cannot afford to allow this political apathy and dangerous silence to continue. It’s time to hold their feet to the fire.”

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With more than one million members nationwide, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.

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The Sandra Bland Incident-A total breakdown of law and order”

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SB!
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The arrest of Sandra Bland may leave many questions and has left the masses confused once again. During the past two years many folks have marched in various cities, following grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City that failed to indict police officers who killed citizens, a frequent sign that can be seen, carried by protesters, is: “Black lives matter. “Yes, in truth the case of Sandra Bland defiantly in spirit -highlights the true nature of the problem on the public streets of urban America. It is very likely that, as often alleged, while laws need to change for everyone-but blacks in urban cities are disproportionately stopped and harassed by police more often than whites or others. This, however, is not the full picture of the harassment and threats that occur on urban sidewalks-it goes much deeper.

But, singular as it may seem, there is no turning back from the fact that laws of our country are on a collision course with change. Our government has to determine all of the problems and flaws within the race oriented system and the criminal justice system problem they are confronted. To put it  more directly, no doubt-the criminal justice system issue is a serious problem in the United States!

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          Bland Police Video

Video: I decided to add a laundry list of possible violations of Bland rights.

After my review of the video I decided to add a laundry list of possible violations of Bland’s  constitutional rights. Ms. Bland was an African-American from the Chicago area who had come to Texas for a job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, was arrested after she was stopped July 10, 2015 for failure to signal a lane change. This list doesn’t necessarily mean that the courts will find the officer coerced, forced or lied in the statement or anything else with his report about the incident. But if the courts rule that he did act out of policy, not only is the statement inadmissible, but so too is any evidence that the police obtain as the result of it. I’m hard pressed to find in most of the video, where the officer had the level of control that his training should have dictated.

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When the officer demanded loudly that Sandra Bland step out of her vehicle, Bland knew her rights and asked “Why am I being apprehended?” to which the officer simply replied, “I am giving you a lawful order” without articulating any reasonable suspicion of a crime. (Neither the stun gun nor the confrontation over the cigarette was mentioned in Trooper Encinia’s incident report according to police statement.) Why!!

 It doesn’t matter whether an interrogation occurs in a jail, at the scene of a crime, on a busy downtown street, or the middle of an open field: If a person is in custody (deprived of his or her freedom of action in any significant way), the police must read the Miranda rights if they want to ask questions and use the answers as evidence at trial.

If someone is not in police custody, however, no Miranda warning is required and anything the person says can be used at trial. Police officers often avoid arresting people—and make it clear to them that they’re free to go—precisely so they don’t have to give the Miranda warning. Then they can arrest the suspect after getting the incriminating statement they wanted all along.

For more detail on these issues, see Miranda: The Meaning of ‘Custodial Interrogation.

Pre-Arrest Questioning

Do you have to respond to police questions if you haven’t been arrested? Generally, no. (You typically don’t have to answer even if you’re under arrest.) A police officer generally cannot arrest a person simply for failure to respond to questions. (There are, however, situations where you might have to provide information like identification.

 Video: I also decided to add a laundry list of possible violations on the video.

The video showed the officer pulling Ms. Bland over and their encounter escalating into a physical altercation in which he threatened her with a stun gun.

  • “I will light you up,” the trooper said, pointing the stun gun at her.

  • The video also confirmed an account from the family’s lawyer that the confrontation between Ms. Bland and the trooper, Brian T. Encinia, escalated after she refused his order to put out a cigarette.

 But this conflicts with Officer Encinia’s seeming  lies of omission in both his report and in his verbal recap to the Texas DPS dispatch.

  •  In fact, in frame 23:24 Officer Encinia claimed that he tried to de-escalate the situation when he encountered an unarmed woman with half of his body mass with a taser in hand.

Video: Minutes 23 through 24 the Officer produces a serious of incorrect statements that I subjectively one could conclude as lies.

Video: 25 though 34.05 video shows credible evidence of technical difficulties suggesting the possibility of editing or some undisclosed technical error combination

 The audio sounds like a continuous stream of discussion between dispatch or phone and Officer Encinia, the video below shows the tow truck driver leaving his car multiple times without going back to the cab of his wrecker. The same vehicles can clearly be seen to pass multiple times. It is unknown at this time if the irregularities signal intentional editing, technical difficulties or a combination of both.  A lot can happen in 2 minutes.

 

 Other Problematic areas with this story.

 Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, speaks with Texas Standard about the footage of the arrest, point-by-point. Here’s a transcript of the conversation, edited for brevity and clarity:

 The trooper asks, “You mind putting out your cigarette please?” And Ms. Bland says, “Well, I’m in my car – why do I have to put out my cigarette?” Does she have to put out her cigarette?

  • No, she doesn’t have to put out her cigarette. And you wonder why the officer is even bothering with that. This is part of his escalation of the whole event that unfolded, unfortunately.

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The next part: “Step out of the car.” Ms. Bland says, “You do not have the right.” He interrupts – “I do have the right, step out of the car or I will remove you.” Does he have the right, first, to order her to step out of the car? And second, to actually physically remove her from the car?

  • He does not have the right to say, get out of the car. He has to express some reason. ‘I need to search your car,’ or, whatever; he needs to give a reason. He can’t just say ‘get out of the car’ for a traffic offense.

 

Ms. Bland says, “I refuse to talk to you other than to identify myself.” Is she right or wrong.

  • She’s right. Unfortunately, officers don’t like it when you know the law. In this case, even if you are right, you are still in danger. And that’s what we see unfolding here.

The trooper says, “I am giving you a lawful order.” Now, is the lawful order to extinguish the cigarette, or to get out of the car, or neither.

  • Certainly, telling her to put out the cigarette was not a lawful order.

  • Just saying ‘Get out of the car,’ in and of itself, without an explanation, is not lawful. And you see him say that throughout the video without ever saying why [or] what’s .

  • It’s clear to me that he’s trying to assert authority that he probably does not have under the law, and he’s escalating the situation because he is upset. [He] doesn’t exercise the training that he needs to be exercising to de-escalate this situation.

“I’m gonna yank you out of here,” is what the trooper says. Can he physically “yank” her out of her vehicle?

  •  He can’t do that either, unless she’s posing a threat to his welfare and safety. What he should have done was just wait for backup, if he couldn’t de-escalate it himself. But you don’t just pull somebody out of the car, and point that taser in her face. What if it had gone off? She’d have permanent brain damage.

She says, “Dont touch me, I’m not under arrest.” Trooper says, “You are under arrest. She says, “Under arrest for what?” He then turns to his shoulder-mounted radio, and asks for another unit. Does he have an obligation as a law enforcement officer to tell her why she is under arrest?

  • Yes. He needs to – it’s not clear to her what’s going on. He needs to tell her, ‘You’re under arrest because …,’ but you can’t really tell her that.

  •  Because you can’t tell from the video that there’s any reason to have her under arrest.

She asserts her right to record this with her cell phone. That’s a right that has been clearly established. Is that true? 

  •   She has a right to do that. But that’s another example where the officer perceives this as a challenge to his authority – and it further escalates the whole scenario.

When he says “get out of the car, or I will light you up,” he is apparently referring to the use of a taser. Is that a legitimate threat? Is that something that’s okay for officers to do in that situation?

No – here’s the situation where he is clearly violating her constitutional rights.

  • This is excessive force on the part of the officer – to take that taser and point it in her face and say, “I’m going to harm you.”

  • Taser is the last recourse to a gun. And if he can’t get her out, he can’t de-escalate it, he’s got to wait for another officer to come and talk through this.

Right now, the trooper has been placed on administrative duty. He’s not on leave, he’s still working for DPS. It’s our understanding that there is a violation of policy here – he should not have allowed it to escalate.

We are talking about a certain level of discretion that the state apparently entrusts with its troopers. Should officers have that much discretion.

He clearly exceeded that….

  • The discretion here is, how do you de-escalate the situation? He could have just given her the ticket and walked away.

  •  Just like that. But he had to go through this confrontation. Of course, there are questions of race that come up here. And the fact that this is an out-of-state car moving through the town – and we know in Texas that’s a pretty typical profiling event.

  • What bothers me a lot is that troopers are supposed to be the best-trained police officers we have in the state. This guy is clearly out of control – clearly shouldn’t be out on the streets dealing with people – [given] this level of escalation that he provokes.

 I noted the time frames with digital Breaks (2 second drift)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBh3wzXd3vg

 8:45 – The altercation starts.

9:15 – Officer asks her to put out the cigarette, she refuses.

9:30 – Officer opens her car doors.

10:05 – Officer tells her she’s under arrest.

10:30 – Officer: “I will light you up.”

10:35 – Sandy gets out of the car.

10:44 – They leave the view of the dashcam.

12:20 – They briefly re-enter the frame.

13:20 – Struggle offscreen.

12:40 – Sandy: “You’re about to break my fucking wrist.”

13:15 – Sandy: “You’re about to break my wrist. Stop!”

14:15 – Officer tells bystander to stop filming

15:00 – Sandy claims her head was knocked into the ground.

15:50 – Sandy not heard after this point.

16:00 – Police officer claims he was kicked.

16:10 – Car is searched

22:15 – Tow truck arrives

31:05 – Officer starts talking about arrest.

32:38 – CAR DISAPPEARS

49:35 – Car is towed

END

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