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China Set To Launch World’s First and Only Communication Satellite Into Stationary Orbit On Moon’s Dark Side

ThereAreNoSunglasses

China Launching Relay Satellite Toward Moon’s Far Side Sunday

An artist’s illustration of China’s Queqiao relay satellite, which will relay data between controllers on Earth and China’s Chang’e 4 lander-rover pair on the moon’s far side. Queqiao is scheduled to launch on May 20, 2018; the Chang’e 4 duo will lift off in November or December.

Credit: CNSA

China will launch the next piece of its ambitious robotic lunar-exploration program on Sunday (May 20), if all goes according to plan.

The nation’s Queqiao relay satellite is scheduled to lift off atop a Long March 4C rocket on Sunday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province at about 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT; 5 a.m. on May 21 local Xichang time).

Queqiao will then make its way to the Earth-moon Lagrange point 2, a gravitationally stable spot located 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) beyond…

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#Torture #Islamophobia: ‘Permanent cure’: Inside the re-education camps #China is using to brainwash #Muslims!

‘Permanent cure’: Inside the re-education camps China is using to brainwash Muslims | Gerry Shih | Associated Press | 17 May 2018

 

XinjiangA ethnic Uyghur woman sweeps outside her house on July 1, 2017 in the old town of Kashgar, in the far western Xinjiang province, China. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

  • Chinese authorities have ensnared tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of Muslim Chinese — and even foreign citizens — in mass internment camps.
  • The re-education camps are shrouded in secrecy and operate outside of the legal system.
  • Prisoners are physically and mentally tortured in efforts to quash religious beliefs and any potential separatist movements.

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AP) — Hour upon hour, day upon day, Omir Bekali and other detainees in far western China’s new indoctrination camps had to disavow their Islamic beliefs, criticize themselves and their loved ones and give thanks to the ruling Communist Party.

When Bekali, a Kazakh Muslim, refused to follow orders each day, he was forced to stand at a wall for five hours at a time. A week later, he was sent to solitary confinement, where he was deprived of food for 24 hours. After 20 days in the heavily guarded camp, he wanted to kill himself.

“The psychological pressure is enormous, when you have to criticize yourself, denounce your thinking — your own ethnic group,” said Bekali, who broke down in tears as he described the camp. “I still think about it every night, until the sun rises. I can’t sleep. The thoughts are with me all the time.”

Since last spring, Chinese authorities in the heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang have ensnared tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of Muslim Chinese — and even foreign citizens — in mass internment camps. This detention campaign has swept across Xinjiang, a territory half the area of India, leading to what a U.S. commission on China last month said is “the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today.”

Chinese officials have largely avoided comment on the camps, but some are quoted in state media as saying that ideological changes are needed to fight separatism and Islamic extremism. Radical Muslim Uighurs have killed hundreds in recent years, and China considers the region a threat to peace in a country where the majority is Han Chinese.

The internment program aims to rewire the political thinking of detainees, erase their Islamic beliefs and reshape their very identities. The camps have expanded rapidly over the past year, with almost no judicial process or legal paperwork. Detainees who most vigorously criticize the people and things they love are rewarded, and those who refuse to do so are punished with solitary confinement, beatings and food deprivation.

XinjiangIn this March 29, 2018, photo, Omir Bekali cries as he details the psychological stress endured while in a Chinese internment camp during an interview in Almaty, Kazakhstan. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

The recollections of Bekali, a heavyset and quiet 42-year-old, offer what appears to be the most detailed account yet of life inside so-called re-education camps. The Associated Press also conducted rare interviews with three other former internees and a former instructor in other centers who corroborated Bekali’s depiction. Most spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their families in China.

Bekali’s case stands out because he was a foreign citizen, of Kazakhstan, who was seized by China’s security agencies and detained for eight months last year without recourse. Although some details are impossible to verify, two Kazakh diplomats confirmed he was held for seven months and then sent to re-education.

The detention program is a hallmark of China’s emboldened state security apparatus under the deeply nationalistic, hard-line rule of President Xi Jinping. It is partly rooted in the ancient Chinese belief in transformation through education — taken once before to terrifying extremes during the mass thought reform campaigns of Mao Zedong, the Chinese leader sometimes channeled by Xi.

“Cultural cleansing is Beijing’s attempt to find a final solution to the Xinjiang problem,” said James Millward, a China historian at Georgetown University.

Rian Thum, a professor at Loyola University in New Orleans, said China’s re-education system echoes some of the worst human rights violations in history.

“The closest analogue is maybe the Cultural Revolution in that this will leave long-term, psychological effects,” Thum said. “This will create a multigenerational trauma from which many people will never recover.”

Transformation through education is a “permanent cure”

Asked to comment on the camps, China’s Foreign Ministry said it “had not heard” of the situation. When asked why non-Chinese had been detained, it said the Chinese government protects the rights of foreigners in China and they should also be law-abiding. Chinese officials in Xinjiang did not respond to requests for comment.

However, bits and pieces from state media and journals show the confidence Xinjiang officials hold in methods that they say work well to curb religious extremism. China’s top prosecutor, Zhang Jun, urged Xinjiang’s authorities this month to extensively expand what the government calls the “transformation through education” drive in an “all-out effort” to fight separatism and extremism.

In a June 2017 paper published by a state-run journal, a researcher from Xinjiang’s Communist Party School reported that most of 588 surveyed participants did not know what they had done wrong when they were sent to re-education. But by the time they were released, nearly all — 98.8 percent— had learned their mistakes, the paper said.

Transformation through education, the researcher concluded, “is a permanent cure.”

XinjiangOmir Bekali looks at a computer to trace the location of the Chinese internment camp he was held during an interview in Almaty, Kazakhstan. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

As many as 1 million people are being held in re-education camps

On the chilly morning of March 23, 2017, Bekali drove up to the Chinese border from his home in Almaty, Kazakhstan, got a stamp in his Kazakh passport and crossed over for a work trip, not quite grasping the extraordinary circumstances he was stepping into.

Bekali was born in China in 1976 to Kazakh and Uighur parents, moved to Kazakhstan in 2006 and received citizenship three years later. He was out of China in 2016, when authorities sharply escalated a “People’s War on Terror” to root out what the government called religious extremism and separatism in Xinjiang, a large Chinese territory bordering Pakistan and several Central Asian states, including Kazakhstan.

The Xinjiang he returned to was unrecognizable. All-encompassing, data-driven surveillance tracked residents in a region with around 12 million Muslims, including ethnic Uighurs and Kazakhs. Viewing a foreign website, taking phone calls from relatives abroad, praying regularly or growing a beard could land one in a political indoctrination camp, or prison, or both.

The new internment system was shrouded in secrecy, with no publicly available data on the numbers of camps or detainees. The U.S. State Department estimates those being held are “at the very least in the tens of thousands.” A Turkey-based TV station run by Xinjiang exiles said almost 900,000 were detained, citing leaked government documents.

Adrian Zenz, a researcher at the European School of Culture and Theology, puts the number between several hundreds of thousands and just over 1 million. Government bids and recruitment ads studied by Zenz suggest that the camps have cost more than $100 million since 2016, and construction is ongoing.

Shackled for days without end

Bekali knew none of this when he visited his parents on March 25. He passed police checkpoints and handed over his decade-old Chinese identity card.

The next day, five armed policemen showed up at Bekali’s parents’ doorstep and took him away. They said there was a warrant for his arrest in Karamay, a frontier oil town where he lived a decade earlier. He couldn’t call his parents or a lawyer, the police added, because his case was “special.”

Bekali was held in a cell, incommunicado, for a week, and then was driven 500 miles (804 kilometers) to Karamay’s Baijiantan District public security office.

Xinjiang prisonerIn this March 29, 2018, photo, Omir Bekali demonstrates how he was strung up by his arms in Chinese detention before being sent to an internment camp during an interview in Almaty, Kazakhstan.AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

There, they strapped him into a “tiger chair,” a device that clamped down his wrists and ankles. They also hung him by his wrists against a barred wall, just high enough so he would feel excruciating pressure in his shoulder unless he stood on the balls of his bare feet. They interrogated him about his work with a tourist agency inviting Chinese to apply for Kazakh tourist visas, which they claimed was a way to help Chinese Muslims escape.

“I haven’t committed any crimes!” Bekali yelled.

They asked for days what he knew about two dozen prominent ethnic Uighur activists and businessmen in Kazakhstan. Exhausted and aching, Bekali coughed up what he knew about a few names he recognized.

The police then sent Bekali to a 10- by 10-meter (32- by 32-foot) cell in the prison with 17 others, their feet chained to the posts of two large beds. Some wore dark blue uniforms, while others wore orange for political crimes. Bekali was given orange.

In mid-July, three months after his arrest, Bekali received a visit from Kazakh diplomats. China’s mass detention of ethnic Kazakhs — and even Kazakh citizens — has begun to make waves in the Central Asian country of 18 million. Kazakh officials say China detained 10 Kazakh citizens and hundreds of ethnic Kazakh Chinese in Xinjiang over the past year, though they were released in late April following a visit by a Kazakh deputy foreign minister.

Four months after the visit, Bekali was taken out of his cell and handed a release paper.

But he was not yet free.

Xinjiang womanAn ethnic Uyghur woman walks by the closed Islamic school on July 1, 2017 in the old town of Kashgar, in the far western Xinjiang province, China. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Kept in cells and forced to repeat indoctrinatation

Bekali was driven from jail to a fenced compound in the northern suburbs of Karamay, where three buildings held more than 1,000 internees receiving political indoctrination, he said.

He walked in, past a central station that could see over the entire facility, and received a tracksuit. Heavily armed guards watched over the compound from a second level. He joined a cell with 40 internees, he said, including teachers, doctors and students. Men and women were separated.

Internees would wake up together before dawn, sing the Chinese national anthem, and raise the Chinese flag at 7:30 a.m. They gathered back inside large classrooms to learn “red songs” like “Without the Communist Party, there is no New China,” and study Chinese language and history. They were told that the indigenous sheep-herding Central Asian people of Xinjiang were backward and yoked by slavery before they were “liberated” by the Communist Party in the 1950s.

Before meals of vegetable soup and buns, the inmates would be ordered to chant: “Thank the Party! Thank the Motherland! Thank President Xi!”

Discipline was strictly enforced and punishment could be harsh. Bekali was kept in a locked room almost around the clock with eight other internees, who shared beds and a wretched toilet. Cameras were installed in toilets and even outhouses. Baths were rare, as was washing of hands and feet, which internees were told was equated with Islamic ablution.

Bekali and other former internees say the worst parts of the indoctrination program were forced repetition and self-criticism. Although students didn’t understand much of what was taught and the material bordered on the nonsensical to them, they were made to internalize it by repetition in sessions lasting two hours or longer.

“We will oppose extremism, we will oppose separatism, we will oppose terrorism,” they chanted again and again. Almost every day, the students received guest lecturers from the local police, judiciary and other branches of government warning about the dangers of separatism and extremism.

In 4-hour sessions, instructors lectured about the dangers of Islam and drilled internees with quizzes that they had to answer correctly or be sent to stand near a wall for hours on end.

“Do you obey Chinese law or Sharia?” instructors asked. “Do you understand why religion is dangerous?”

Kazakhstan mosqueOmir Bekali, front right, prepares to pray at a mosque in Almaty, Kazakhstan. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

One by one, internees would stand up before 60 of their classmates to present self-criticisms of their religious history, Bekali said. The detainees would also have to criticize and be criticized by their peers. Those who parroted official lines particularly well or lashed into their fellow internees viciously were awarded points and could be transferred to more comfortable surroundings in other buildings, he said.

“I was taught the Holy Quran by my father and I learned it because I didn’t know better,” Bekali heard one say.

“I traveled outside China without knowing that I could be exposed to extremist thoughts abroad,” Bekali recalled another saying. “Now I know.”

A Uighur woman told AP she was held in a center in the city of Hotan in 2016. She said she and fellow prisoners repeatedly were forced to apologize for wearing long clothes in Muslim style, praying, teaching the Quran to their children and asking imams to name their children.

Praying at a mosque on any day other than Friday was a sign of extremism; so was attending Friday prayers outside their village or having Quranic verses or graphics on their phones.

While instructors watched, those who confessed to such behavior were told to repeat over and over: “We have done illegal things, but we now know better.”

Xinjiang policeKevin Frayer/Getty Images

Some prisoners were illiterate farmers, others who traveled overseas

Other detainees and a re-education camp instructor tell similar stories.

In mid-2017, a Uighur former on-air reporter for Xinjiang TV known as Eldost was recruited to teach Chinese history and culture in an indoctrination camp because he spoke excellent Mandarin. He had no choice.

The re-education system, Eldost said, classified internees into three levels of security and duration of sentences.

The first group typically consisted of illiterate minority farmers who didn’t commit any ostensible crimes other than not speaking Chinese. The second class was made up of people who were caught at home or on their smartphones with religious content or so-called separatist materials, such as lectures by the Uighur intellectual Ilham Tohti.

The final group was made up of those who had studied religion abroad and came back, or were seen to be affiliated with foreign elements. In the latter cases, internees were often were sentenced to prison terms of 10 to 15 years, Eldost said.

While he was teaching, Eldost once saw through the window 20 students driven into the courtyard. Two rows of guards waited for them and beat them as soon as they got out of the police van. He later heard that the internees were recent arrivals who had studied religion in the Middle East.

Violence was not regularly dispensed, but every internee AP spoke to saw at least one incident of rough treatment or beatings.

Eldost said the instruction was aimed at showing how backward traditional Uighur culture is and how repressive fundamentalist Islam is compared to a progressive Communist Party. The internees’ confessions of their backwardness helped drive the point home.

“Internees are told to repeat those confessions to the point where, when they are finally freed, they believe that they owe the country a lot, that they could never repay the party,” said Eldost, who escaped from China in August after paying a bribe.

People cried to sleep every night

Eldost said he tried in little ways to help his internees. Tasked with teaching the Three Character Classic, a Confucian standard taught widely in elementary schools, he would make up mnemonic devices to help his students — including elderly or illiterate Uighur farmers who barely knew their own language — recite a few lines. He also advised students to stop habitually saying “praise God” in Arabic and Uighur because other instructors punished them for it.

Every time he went to sleep in a room with 80 others, he said, the last thing he would hear was the sound of misery.

“I heard people crying every night,” he said. “That was the saddest experience in my life.”

Another former detainee, a Uighur from Hotan in southern Xinjiang, said his newly built center had just 90 people in two classes in 2015. There, a government instructor claimed said that Uighur women historically did not wear underwear, braided their hair to signal their sexual availability, and had dozens of sexual partners.

“It made me so angry,” the detainee said. “These kinds of explanations of Uighur women humiliated me. I still remember this story every time I think about this, I feel like a knife cut a hole in my chest.”

Kayrat Samarkan, a Chinese Kazakh from Astana who was detained while running errands in a northern Xinjiang police station in December, was sent to an internment camp in Karamagay in northern Xinjiang with 5,700 students.

Those who didn’t obey, were late to class or got into fights were put for 12 hours in a loose body-suit that was made of iron and limited their movement, he said. Those who still disobeyed would be locked in a tiger chair for 24 hours. As one form of punishment, he said, instructors would press an internee’s head in a tub of ice and water.

After three months, Samarkan couldn’t take the lessons anymore, so he bashed his head against a wall to try to kill himself. He merely fell unconscious.

“When I woke up, the staff threatened me, saying if I did that again they would extend my sentence to 7 years there,” he said.

“Kill me or send me back to prison.”

After 20 days, Bekali also contemplated suicide. Several days later, because of his intransigence and refusal to speak Mandarin, Bekali was no longer permitted to go into the courtyard. Instead, he was sent to a higher level of management, where he spent 24 hours a day in a room with 8 others.

A week later, he went to his first stint in solitary confinement. He saw a local judicial official walking into the building on an inspection tour and yelled at the top of his lungs. He thought even his former detention center, with the abuse he suffered, would be better.

“Take me in the back and kill me, or send me back to prison,” he shouted. “I can’t be here anymore.”

He was again hauled off to solitary confinement. It lasted 24 hours, ending late afternoon on Nov. 24.

That’s when Bekali was released, as suddenly as he was detained eight months earlier.

A Baijiantan policemen who had always gone easy on Bekali during interrogation appeared and checked him out of the facility.

“You were too headstrong, but what the department did was unjust,” he told Bekali as he drove him to his sister’s home in Karamay.

Bekali was free.

Xinjiang UighurIn this March 31, 2018, photo, Omir Bekali holds up a mobile phone showing a photo of his parents whom he believes have been detained in China, in Almaty, Kazakhstan. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Freedom, but only for some

The next morning, a Saturday, the police opened their immigration office for Bekali to pick up a unique, 14-day Chinese visa. His original had long expired. Bekali left China on December 4.

Seeking compensation from the Chinese government is out of the question. But Bekali keeps a plastic folder at home of evidence that might prove useful someday: his passport with stamps and visas, travel records and a handwritten Chinese police document dated and imprinted with red-ink seals.

The document is the closest thing he has to an official acknowledgement that he suffered for eight months. It says he was held on suspicion of endangering national security; the last sentence declares him released without charge.

At first, Bekali did not want the AP to publish his account for fear that his sister and mother in China would be detained and sent to re-education.

But on March 10, back in China, the police took his sister, Adila Bekali. A week later, on March 19, they took his mother, Amina Sadik. And on April 24, his father, Ebrayem.

Bekali changed his mind and said he wanted to tell his story, no matter the consequences.

“Things have already come this far,” he said. “I have nothing left to lose.”

Associated Press reporter Dake Kang contributed to this report.

#NavelGazing #UN votes to send #WarCrimes investigators to #Gaza!

UN votes to send war crimes investigators to GazaAl Jazeera | 18 May 2018

UN Human Rights Council decides to urgently dispatch experts to probe Israel’s killing of Palestinians in Gaza.

Michael Lynk, UN rights expert, said Israel's use of force may amount to a war crime [Fabrice Coffrini/ AFP]

Michael Lynk, UN rights expert, said Israel’s use of force may amount to a war crime [Fabrice Coffrini/ AFP]

The United Nations’ top human rights body has voted to send a team of international war crimes investigators to probe the deadly shootings of Gaza protesters by Israeli forces.

A resolution calling on the UN Human Rights Council to “urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry” was backed on Friday by 29 members.

The members – United States and Australia – voted against and 14 abstained.

Investigators must “investigate all alleged violations and abuses … in the context of the military assaults on large scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018”, the approved resolution said.

The commission of inquiry will be asked to produce a final report next March.

View image on Twitter

HRC SECRETARIAT

@UN_HRC

The 28th Special Session of the Council “Violations of international law in the context of large-scale civilian protests in the , including East Jerusalem” has concluded.
The draft Resolution has been adopted by 29 votes in favor, 2 against, 14 abstentions.

Earlier on Friday, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN human rights chief, had backed calls for an international probe.

He heavily criticised Israel’s response to the weeks-long mass protests in the Gaza Strip as “wholly disproportionate”.

Israel was an occupying power and under international law, it was obliged to protect the people of Gaza and ensure their welfare, he said. But instead Gaza residents were “caged in a toxic slum from birth to death”, added Zeid.

At least 62 Palestinians were killed and thousands were wounded in a single day of protests on Monday, but Zeid pointed out that “on the Israeli side, one soldier was reportedly wounded, slightly, by a stone”.

“There is little evidence of any attempt to minimise casualties on Monday,” said Zeid.

Since protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed 106 Palestinians, including 15 children. More than 12,000 have been wounded, at least 3,500 by live ammunition.

Hundreds of protesters continued to rally on the Gaza-Israel border on Friday [Mohammed Abed/ AFP]

Speaking to the session via a video recording, Michael Lynk, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine, said Israel’s use of force may amount to “a war crime”.

Both Israel and the  United States rejected the council’s resolution, saying Hamas, which rules Gaza, instigated the violence – an allegation the group denies.

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, said Palestinians “do not believe they can rely on the US to put any pressure on Israel, so they are turning to international institutions for help.

“They hope an investigation or a fact finding mission will expose Israel’s tactics in Gaza to more international scrutiny,” he added.

Israel has defended the killing of protesters, saying it was acting in self-defence to protect its borders and communities. In a statement, the Israeli foreign ministry said the council was “dominated by hypocrisy and absurdity”.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters in the Gaza Strip continued rallying near the fence with Israel on Friday.

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from the protest site, said the atmosphere there was more calm than in recent weeks.

“Protesters burned tires, some of them tried to hurl stones, but we haven’t seen the tensions we have seen in the past few weeks,” she said. “We’ve seen a little bit of tear gas, but there hasn’t been any gunfire”.

Some two million people live in the Gaza Strip, a coastal territory that shares borders with Egypt and Israel.

Both countries maintain a blockade of Gaza for security reasons, a move the UN said has caused the territory’s economy to collapse.

On Thursday, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said he has ordered the Rafah border crossing to be opened for the Muslim month of Ramadan “to ensure the easing of the burdens on the brothers in the Gaza Strip”.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

 

 

#UN – Celebrating 70 Years of #HumanRights – And Condoning 70 Years of #Israel Massacring #Palestine!

United Nations – Celebrating 70 Years of Human Rights – And Condoning 70 Years of Israel Massacring Palestine | Peter Koenig | Global Research | 18 May 2018   

On 14 of May 1948 – Israel declared unilaterally her independence in a foreign land, called Palestine, supported by a UN Resolution sponsored by the UK (the United Nations “Partition Plan of Palestine” at the end of the British Mandate (euphemism for British ‘colony’), was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 29 November 1947 as Resolution 181 II). 1948 was also the year of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights – this year, 2018, the UN declared Human Rights are, like Israel, celebrating their 70th Birthday (United Nations General Assembly, Paris, 10 December 1948 – General Assembly Resolution 217 A). During 70 years of Human Rights, the UN has tacitly allowed Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, who lived in their own land, Palestine.

The UN has allowed Israel’s massacre of Palestine against dozens of UN Resolution to restrain Israel from their aggressions on Palestine, killing tens of thousands of unarmed Palestinians, women, children and men. Destroying their livelihood, schools, hospitals and living quarters. Worse, confining 2 million Palestinians in an open torture and terror camp, called Gaza.

All this under the “watchful eye” of the United Nations, thousands of Blue Helmets patrolling ‘disputed’ – aka Israeli stolen territory from Palestine and surrounding Arab nations. And the world at large – by now 193 member-nations that make up the UN – watching, observing, but not saying beep loud enough to be heard.

It is a shame. Israel is a miserable and criminal disgrace – but a worse shame is the United Nations, the collectivity of 193 countries who collectively hide behind the mantle of the UN. Those who have dared to protest in the defense of human rights and in defense of Palestinians’ self-determination are few and far in between, risking the sword of the emperor and his poodles. Most have bent to and are still bending to – the king bull, Washington – and to its master, Israel. This is what is lamentable, that humanity has become a spineless bunch of nations – all kneeling in front of the big Satan, the torturing and killing monster, the US-armed to the teeth killing machine – the little dog that counts on the unlimited support from the most horrific bulldozer. That is an atrocious and unspeakable shame. – At least one honorable country, South Africa, has expelled Israel’s Ambassador over these most recent bloody atrocities.

That is the ignominy of our humanity in the 21st Century. – Yes, there are Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Syria… and a few more sovereign nations that stand-up in protest, trying to use the corrupted UN system to right the wrongs – to no avail. Of course not. The majority counts – and the majority is being blackmailed by Washington on behalf of Israel into submission – or else – sanctions loom, in the form of blocked trade, blocked international monetary transfers, confiscation of assets abroad – or worse.

Where are the all so revered Human Rights that nobody dares to even cite, let alone enforce, in the case of Israel’s atrocities on Palestine, with the explicit support of the United States and most of her puppet “allies”?

When Trump in December 2017 declared that the US will transfer her Embassy to Jerusalem, he endorsed just once more a promise made over the last 30 years by several US Presidents, from the Bush dynasty to Clinton to Obama – but none of them implemented that promise, lest it would undermine peace negotiations. These promises by Washington were, of course, full of hypocrisy, as Washington always knew that peace was not on the table, that neither Israel or Washington were in favor of peace. Peace would have meant, as per the 1993 Oslo Accord, a two-state solution, meaning Israel and Palestine would live side-by-side in peace; two sovereign nations with equal rights.

The Oslo Accords are a number of agreements between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO]. The Oslo I Accord, signed in Washington DC in 1993; and the Oslo II Accord, signed in Taba, Egypt, in 1995. These Accords marked the start of the Oslo process, aimed at achieving a Peace Treaty, based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, fulfilling the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. The Oslo Accords are valid to this day. They counter then and today the larger objective of Israel and the United States – of a “Greater Israel”, stretching from the Euphrates to the Nile, a nuclearized Israel, dominating the Middle East – and disposing of the energy and other mineral riches of the entire region.

Well, Trump, has made his campaign promise true. He – ordered by his darkest handlers – has cut the hypocrisy, using Israel’s 70th Birthday, 14 May 2018 to make Israel’s obsessive and oppressive dream come true, officially inaugurating the US Embassy in Jerusalem – to the detriment of peace and the total destitution of Palestine. The Oslo Accords saw Jerusalem as the final jewel in the mosaic for peace in a two-state solution – the Capital of both Palestine and Israel.

Trump’s decision – although refuted vehemently by the UN – has not only pushed peace light-years away into a phantom distance, but it has brought about a massacre – an unpardonable massacre – with Israeli soldiers armed to the teeth killing with live ammunition. Tens of thousands of unarmed Palestinians were protesting on the Gaza-Israeli border, in the middle of nowhere, at least 100 km away from the US Embassy inaugural celebration in Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers and police killed at least 60, twenty or more of them children and women, and injuring about 3,000 – people who could not be properly treated at hospitals. Israel has blocked the shipment of medication and is systematically bombing Palestinian health facilities.

The protesters were far away from Jerusalem, where the inaugural US-Embassy celebrations took place, cordoned-off by armed security forces and where the protesters could do no harm. The demonstrations were an expression of anger, of helplessness in the face of so much injustice which nobody, but nobody on this planet manifestly and effectively objected and intervened against. Palestinians know, this will mean more oppression, more subjugation to Israel’s terror tyranny – more killing, more starvation as Israel is blocking vital food shipments to Gaza – where 50% of children below 5, are already chronically malnourished.

What happened on 14 May 2018 in Palestine, those who are behind the apartheid, ethnic cleansing and outright Holocaust Israel has imposed on Palestine during the last 70 years, belong, no doubt, before a Nuremberg-type tribunal – with sentences as harsh as those inflicted by the allies after WWII on the Nazis and their Holocaust.

Trump and his Zion-handlers are responsible for a massacre of unprecedented dimensions since Israel’s war on Gaza in 2014. And how many vassals of the tyrannical and criminal pair, United States and Israel, will now also shift their Embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem just to stay in the limelight of US favors, and, of course, to cement this universal Wrong?

And where are the UN declared Human Rights, ironically also celebrating their 70th Birthday this year? – Under the Human Rights Act the UN has a right to intervene in countries and situations, where massive human rights infractions are committed, like in Palestine. Dozens of such resolutions had been submitted to the UN Security Council, they were all vetoed by Washington. What good is the UN? None, whatsoever. No longer, not today, the system is totally corrupted, bought and blackmailed into submission to the wishes and political whims of the US and Israel.

 

 

Image result for greater israel borders

 

Likewise have all the related UN agencies been corrupted and swayed to favor the Exceptional Nation and the Chosen People. There is no way that the International Courts of The Hague would ever prosecute a war crime committed by the west, let alone by the west’s chief criminals, the US and Israel. It’s simply not going to happen. Not while the current power structures are in place. Why then even believe in this fake justice system? And who still dares quoting them as beacons of international justice? – This is a farce, if there has ever been one.

The noble ideas behind the creation of the United Nations and the Declaration of universal Human Rights have in the last 70 years been corrupted to the point of non-recognition. Corrupted by political pressure, blackmailing, by fear of sanctions, or actual economic sanctions – all of which is only possible because the west is also living with a totally fraudulent US imposed fiat dollar-based monetary system that controls every financial transaction of every “sovereign” nation, hence can block any monetary move, seize assets abroad, and block international contracts, as they (almost) all are written in US dollars.

The latter is gradually fading, as nations are aware of their vulnerability by sticking to the US dollar. Many are now dealing directly in their own currencies, trying to circumvent the US monetary control. But that recognition, again, is weakened itself by the fear of sanctions, or condemnation by US courts which have in fact absolutely no jurisdiction in another sovereign land. But, since under the current western Ponzi fiat scheme all financial transactions have to flow through a US bank either in New York or London, potential non-adherence to the rule is “punishable”, and that mostly by economic strangulation, regime change or death. – It’s a vicious circle, under which Human Rights are just a slogan and a farce; and under which the rights of sovereign nations, for example of Palestine, remain not more than a pipe dream.

But despite all war crimes and massacres – JUSTICE – as human spirituality is still there, cannot be killed. It may be pushed away, subjugated, ignored, castrated and violated, but it doesn’t go away. It’s in all of us; just deep down and asleep in western minds, indoctrinated and brain washed by daily propaganda lies.

The combined neoliberal onslaught with impunity from all sides reaches a level of increasing awareness and rejection; the fearlessness of diabolical actions by neofascist governments is about to cause an awakening, a consciousness that dares to say – enough is enough. Take France’s Macron’s labor reforms – since February this year France has been plagued by strikes no-end – and no end is in sight. This is the worst – or the best – France has known since the 1968 student up-raisings. France, under Macron, the Rothchild-implant, is also the most militarized country in Europe. The European Union – at least for now – and since Washington’s stepping out from Iran’s Nuclear Deal, is distinctly distancing herself from the extremist, unfettered neoliberal politics of Washington. It’s perhaps too soon to call Victory – but this abject, unjustified and criminal slaughter of Palestinians, of another blow of violent oppression of Palestine (there is no word that can properly describe what happened on 14 May 2018), may signal that the monster vessel on high sea is losing notch-by-little-notch its diabolical North.

 

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Vineyard of The Saker Blog; and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance

 

#Palestine: Calls for #ICC investigation as #IDF kills dozens of #Gaza protestors!

Palestine / Calls for ICC investigation as Israel Defence Forces kill dozens of Gaza protestors | Coalition for the International Criminal Court | 18 MAY 2018

Civil society has widely condemned the use of force by Israel Defence Forces causing the deaths of 60 protesters this week at the Gaza border
© Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Calls for International Criminal Court investgations into the alleged commission of grave international crimes in Israel/Palestine came from several quarters this week as Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) opened fire on Palestinian protestors, killing 60 Palestinians and injuring hundreds. The ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda meanwhile said that she was watching closely the unrest in Gaza, and would “take any action warranted” to prosecute crimes.

“My staff is vigilantly following developments on the ground and recording any alleged crime that could fall within” the tribunal’s jurisdiction, warned the prosecutor in a statement to the AFP new agency..

The United Nations and global civil society widely condemned violence in Gaza this week related to the ‘great return march’ of Palestinian protesters towards the Israeli border in Gaza was commemorating the day of Al-Nakba; when approximately 800,000 Palestinians were forcefully displaced from their lands during the 1948 war. There were also demonstations against the opening of the United States embassy in Jerusalem.

“I urge Israel to act in accordance with its international obligations. Palestinians’ right to life, their right to security of the person and rights to freedom of assembly and expression must be respected & protected.” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Pince Zeid at a Special Session of Human Rights Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem on 18 May 2018.

The events have been termed by Al-Haq, amongst others, as violations of the international law, including the prohibition of the targeting of civilians under international humanitarian law, a violation of the obligations of Israel as an occupying force under the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians, and a violation of the right to life of protesters under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Amnesty International highlighted medical reports from Gaza showing that many protesters had been shot in the head or chest. It condemned the use of ‘excessive force’ by the IDF, stating that, “[t]his is another horrific example of the Israeli military using excessive force and live ammunition in a totally deplorable way. This is a violation of international standards, in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes.” It also reiterated an earlier call on the international community to stop the delivery of arms and military equipment to Israel.

Human Rights Watch also condemned the events in Gaza, highlighting the fact that Israeli forces have shot dead over 100 Palestinians in demonstrations in Gaza since March 30, including 14 children, and injured over 3,500 with live fire. Criticising Israel’s policy of justifying the use of live ammunition against protesters, it said that such an approach enables bloodshed on a mass scale and prevents the accountability of Israeli soldiers in domestic courts.

10 of the 15 members of the UN Security Council issued a letter to the UN Secretary General earlier in the week, expressing concern over the United States’ move to open its embassy in Jerusalem; a move that they saw as a direct violation of a 2016 Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building on land that Palestinians want for an independent state.

“The Security Council must stand behind its resolutions and ensure they have meaning; otherwise, we risk undermining the credibility of the international system,” wrote Bolivia, China, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, France, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Peru and Sweden.

The United Statesblocked the adoption of a UN Security Council statement that called for an “independent and transparent investigation” into Israel’s killing of Palestinian protestors on the Gaza border.

Michael Lynk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, condemned Israel’s excessive use of force towards largely unarmed demonstrators:

“This blatant excessive use of force by Israel – an eye for an eyelash – must end, and there must be true accountability for those in military and political command who have ordered or allowed this force to be once again employed at the Gaza fence.”

Meanwhile, global media freedoms watchdog Reporters Without Borders has submitted a formal communication under article 15 of the Rome Statute to the International Criminal Court to investigate “what it regards as war crimes” committed by the Israeli military against Palestinian journalists covering protests in Gaza since 30 March.

The Arab League’s Permanent Committee on Human Rights also called on the International Criminal Court prosecutor to urgently investigate “the crimes of the Israeli occupation” against Palestinians. Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusogludid similar.

Writing in the Washtington Post, academic Mark Kersten said that “[t]he ICC may not open an investigation into the Palestinian territories today— or even this year. But the civilian toll in Gaza and the lack of accountability for alleged crimes in either Israeli and Palestinian courts means that it will only be a matter of time. The court cannot keep Palestinians in the purgatory of a preliminary examination forever. When the time comes, will the international community finally step up and support justice in the territories?”

In January 2015, Palestine acceded to the Rome Statute and gave the ICC prosecutor jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, in Gaza and East Jerusalem. The ICC prosecutor opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine on 16 January 2015, following an article 12(3) declaration lodged by the Palestinian government on 1 January of that same year.

ICC PALESTINE


Palestine

In January 2015, Palestine acceded to the Rome Statute and gave the ICC prosecutor jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, in Gaza and East Jerusalem
Regions:

Middle East – North Africa

Since 1948, the Israel-Palestine conflict has been characterized by well-documented widespread violations of international humanitarian law and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. Civil society long called for both Israel and Palestine to join the ICC to ensure accountability for those responsible.

While the Palestinian Authority expressed its desire to accept ICC jurisdiction, it was only following its upgrade to “non-member state” observer status at the United Nations that Palestine could finally accede to the Rome Statute on 2 January 2015, giving the ICC jurisdiction from that date forward. Several days later Palestine submitted a declaration under article 12(3) of the Rome Statute giving the ICC prosecutor jurisdiction over alleged grave crimes committed in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict in Gaza and East-Jerusalem beginning June 2014. The prosecutor subsequently opened a preliminary examination to determine whether a full investigation is warranted. In June 2016, Palestine ratified both the Kampala amendments, becoming the 30th state to ratify the amendment on the crime of aggression.

 

Background

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the longest running in modern history. Following the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, violence erupted between Israeli armed forces and Palestinian armed groups. During the first and second intifadas in the late 1980s and early 2000s respectively, mass violations of international law occurred, with civilian casualties on both sides. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled to neighboring countries, where many remain in refugee camps. Gaza saw a recurrence of violence in April 2014 after the collapse of US-led peace negotiations. The death of two Palestinian teenagers and the subsequent abduction and death of three Israeli teenagers led to the launch of an Israeli military campaign into Gaza (Operation Protective Edge). The conflict caused a high number of civilian casualties. Between June and November 2014, over 2,000 Palestinians and 70 Israelis were reportedly killed, and more than 11,000 Palestinians and 1600 Israelis injured according to reports by the UN Refugee Agency and others.
ICC situation

ICC situation

ICC preliminary examination into the 2014 Gaza conflict

The ICC prosecutor opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine on 16 January 2015, following an article 12(3) declaration lodged by the Palestinian government on 1 January of that same year. The ICC has jurisdiction over crimes committed on Palestinian territory or by Palestinian nationals as of 13 June 2015. The preliminary investigation is focused on alleged crimes committed by both Palestinian armed groups and Israeli defense forces during the 51-day Gaza conflict in 2014, as well as alleged crimes related to settlement activities in Gaza and the West Bank.

UN Commission of Inquiry calls for investigations into grave crimes during 2014 Gaza conflict

In June 2015, a commission of inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war—mandated by the UN Human Rights Council—presented a report detailing war crimes allegedly committed by both sides during the summer of 2014. Citing indiscriminate and disproportionate rocket fire into civilian populations by both Israel and Palestinian armed groups, the report encouraged local authorities to conduct criminal investigations to uphold accountability and deter future escalations of violence.

Cooperation

Cooperation

The government of Palestine has provided information to the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) on alleged crimes in relation to the 2014 Gaza conflict.

In July 2015, Israel opened a dialogue with the OTP in relation to the preliminary examination, publishing a report on factual and legal aspects of the 2014 conflict.

However, the Palestine preliminary examination has caused a worrying political backlash. Israel and the US have issued strong statements against the recognition of Palestine as a state as well as against the ICC, and both withheld aid to put pressure on Palestine.

Palestine’s responsibilities as an ICC member state include cooperating with the Court and its decisions, incorporating the Rome Statute into national legislation, and assisting the OTP with its preliminary examination. Israel should also engage positively with the Court. The international community—ICC member states in particular—must support the accountability process, whether through national courts or the ICC.

Civil society advocacy

 

Palestine’s quest for ICC membership

Palestine attended the Rome Conference in 1998 as an observer delegation and frequently expressed support for the Court as a tool for accountability, and in particular as a means to end impunity for international crimes allegedly committed in the Palestinian territories.

In April 2012, the OTP rejected a special ad hoc declaration by Palestine under Rome Statute article 12(3) in 2009 accepting the Court’s jurisdiction over acts committed on its territory since 1 July 2002. Such declarations are reserved for states only, as noted by the OTP when it refused to act as proxy for competent UN bodies or eventually the ICC’s Assembly of State Parties (ASP) to resolve legal issues relevant to Palestine’s statehood. The OTP thus deemed itself unable to proceed with a preliminary examination to determine whether a formal investigation would be warranted.

In November 2012, by UN General Assembly Resolution 67/19, Palestine’s status at the UN was upgraded from observer entity to non-member observer state, allowing it to join a number of international treaties. At the December 2014 session of the ASP, Palestine was for the first time invited to participate with non-state party observer status. The Palestinian Authority ratified the Rome Statute, as well as the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities, in January 2015.

Civil society activities

International and local civil society organizations have long advocated for accountability measures to address crimes committed within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Civil society urged Palestine and continues to urge Israel to join the ICC to stem well-documented mass violations of international law during the course of the decades-long conflict.

Since the opening of a preliminary examination in Palestine in 2015, Coalition members have continued documenting and raising awareness about human rights violations and submitting relevant information to the OTP, while working with both Palestine and Israel to ensure cooperation with the ICC.

 

Campaign for global justice

Ratified/acceded (ICC member state)
Ratified
Crime of agression

Ratified

02 JANUARY 2015
26 JUNE 2016
02 JANUARY 2015
Article 8

Ratified

29 DECEMBER 2017
Cooperation:

No known efforts underway

Complementarity (national prosecutions):

No known efforts underway

 


 

 

Exclusive: The Complete Moral Collapse of Labour Friends of Israel

OffGuardian

by John Wight

It is hard to imagine anything so nauseating as a group of affluent liberals defending the mass murder of poor colonized people in the name of democracy and security. Though a species of moral turpitude associated with 19th century colonial tropes, in 2018 it remains very much alive under the banner of the UK Labour Friends of Israel (LFI).

In response to the shocking scenes of violence unleashed by Israeli security forces against Palestinian protestors on the boundary of the besieged Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of at least 58 people, including children, and the wounding of a further 2700, international condemnation of Israel has been near total.

Given that this latest body count raises to over 100 the number of Palestinians killed over the six weeks of Great Return March protests, organized to demand the right of return of refugees to their homes, along with…

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Trump served legal notice warning of Israel false flag operation

People of good conscience everywhere should take heed and add their voices in support of Justice for the genuinely aggrieved victims of unlawful aggression, land thievery and war crimes.

ThereAreNoSunglasses

US President Donald Trump [Gage Skidmore/Flickr]
US President Donald Trump [Gage Skidmore/Flickr]

US President Donald Trump has been served with a legal notice reminding him of his Constitutional duties with regard to the situation in the Middle East, especially his decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and warning him of an impending Israeli false flag operation likely to threaten the lives of US citizens. America’s responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council are also pointed out by the signatories to the notice, who are British journalist Sarah Jane (Lauren) Booth; former CIA Operations Officer Philip Giraldi; ex-Pentagon official Michael Maloof; Scott Bennett, a former US Army Officer and State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism; ex-US Diplomat and Attorney J. Michael Springmann; and Edward C Corrigan, a Canadian Barrister and Solicitor.

Their formal letter has been sent to Trump with copies going to…

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John Pilger endorses Freedom Flotilla to Gaza

“The Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s plans to challenge the blockade of Gaza is good news. The freedom flotillas have achieved extraordinary results in informing the world of the inhumanity and cruelty of the Israelis’ medieval siege of Gaza. I support wholeheartedly the Coalition’s new initiative, the ‘Right to a Just Future for Palestine’.

I specially appreciate the words, ‘Just Future’ – justice is the basic human right missing from the media reporting of Palestine; yet without justice, no peace is possible, no future is secured. The brave young people who go to the perimeters of their open prison to demand justice know this to be a basic truth. They fight for justice on behalf of all of us, and we should stand with them.”

John Pilger

Kia Ora Gaza

John Pilger attended Ramzy Baroud’s talk at the NSW Parliament earlier this week.  Dr Baroud commented on Facebook: ‘It was a great honor to have John Pilger in the audience at the Parliament in Sydney this evening where I launched my book: The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story. I thank everyone who came to see me deliver the #Nakba speech, and all of those who work hard to make Palestinian freedom a priority in their work.’ Dr Baroud is currently on a speaking tour of NZ – see his itinerary on this website.

Australian journalist and film maker, John Pilger endorses ‘the Right to a Just Future for Palestine’ international 2018 flotilla to challenge the siege of Gaza.

“The Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s plans to challenge the blockade of Gaza is good news. The freedom flotillas have achieved extraordinary results in informing the world of the inhumanity and cruelty of the…

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Trump Threatens Economic Warfare Against Germany If Nord Stream 2 Is Built

“But with fresh pressure from Washington and with Germany’s lucrative U.S. trade relationship at risk, Ms. Merkel is traveling to Russia on Friday to meet Mr. Putin in a bid to broker a compromise that would satisfy the U.S. and her European partners.

She will ask Mr. Putin for a deal that would preserve the lucrative transit trade—Ukraine gets a fee for letting Russian gas through its territory on the way to eastern Europe—even after Nord Stream 2 comes online in 2019, a German official said.

German government officials say that since all the permits for Nord Stream 2 have been issued, there is no legal way to stop the project, which is run by Gazprom , the Russian energy giant, under financing agreements with international companies such as Engie, OMV, Shell, Uniper and Wintershall.

Nord Stream 2 is the second phase of an existing pipeline that already channels smaller amount of gas from Russia to Germany. Construction for the second phase started this week in Germany, after investors committed €5 billion ($5.9 billion) to the venture.”

ThereAreNoSunglasses

Trump Presses Germany to Drop Russian Pipeline for Trade Deal

U.S. president is pushing Germany to pull the brakes on a major gas deal as the price for avoiding a trade war

Employees work on pipes at the Nord Stream 2 facility in Sassnitz, Germany on Oct. 19.
Employees work on pipes at the Nord Stream 2 facility in Sassnitz, Germany on Oct. 19. Photo: Carsten Koall/Getty Images

BERLIN—President Donald Trump is pressing Germany to pull the brakes on a major gas deal with Russia as the price for avoiding a trans-Atlantic trade war, according to German, U.S. and European officials.

The officials said Mr. Trump told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in April that Germany should drop support for Nord Stream 2, an offshore pipeline that would bring gas directly from Russia via the Baltic Sea. This would be in exchange for the U.S. starting talks with the European Union on a new trade deal.

The White House pressure reflects its…

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Saudi crown prince goes into hiding since last month’s attack on royal palace

Having bitten off more than he can chew, MbS of Yahudi Arabia gets the jitters?

ThereAreNoSunglasses

[SEE: Incident in Saudi Arabia Sparks Tweets About Unconfirmed Possible Coup Attempt.]

The handout provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on April 16, 2018, shows Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman using binoculars to follow the "Persian Gulf Shield 1" military drills at their closing ceremony in the eastern Saudi region of Dhahran, on the sidelines of the 29th Arab League summit. (Photo via AFP)
The handout provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on April 16, 2018, shows Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman using binoculars to follow the “Persian Gulf Shield 1” military drills at their closing ceremony in the eastern Saudi region of Dhahran, on the sidelines of the 29th Arab League summit. (Photo via AFP)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has not been seen in public since heavy gunfire and explosions reported from outside the royal palace in the Saudi capital Riyadh late last month.

No new photo or video of bin Salman has been released by Saudi state media since that incident, which happened just after the young heir to the throne wrapped up a whirlwind global tour meant to advertise himself as the new…

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