10 RIGHTS

First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Second Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Third Amendment: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Fourth Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fifth Amendment: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Sixth Amendment:  In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Seventh Amendment: In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Eighth Amendment: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Ninth Amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Tenth Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

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Is the U.S. still the “Greatest Country”

There are 196 countries in the world today – the United States of America ranks:

1st in number of adults who believe angels are real
1st in defense spending – spending more than the next 10 countries combined,
8 of whom are our allies

140226_bi_militarychart

NOTE: Defense spending accounts for about 20 percent of all federal spending —
nearly as much as Social Security, or the combined spending for Medicare and Medicaid.

1st in production of oil and natural gas – daily output exceeding 11 million barrels
1st in the super rich – a net worth of at least USD 50 million (46% live in the U.S.)
1st in incarceration – 527,080 more prisoners than China, which ranks 2nd
1st in death by violence
1st in small arms imports
2nd largest trading nation in the world
2nd largest manufacturer – representing a fifth of the global manufacturing output
2nd for approval of drone strikes – Israel ranks 1st
4th in exports
6th in median household income – down from second highest in 2007
7th in literacy
10th in economic freedom
10th in purchasing power of minimum wage
11th in labor force
11th in minimum wage
15th in perceived press freedom
17th in education
17th in happiness
19th in national satisfaction
22nd in science
22nd in gender equality
23th in math
23rd in wage distribution
24th in freedom from corruption
27th in leisure and personal care
29th in intellectual property protection
43rd in homicide rates
44th in health care efficiency
49th in life expectancy
66th in religious diversity
67th in slavery
89th in depth of global connectedness
99th in peacefulness
101st in peace
125th in GDP growth per capita
178th in infant mortality

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Patriot Ed Snowden

http://mashable.com/2014/06/05/edward-snowden-revelations/

Secret court orders allow NSA to sweep up Americans’ phone records
Verizon had been providing the NSA with virtually all of its customers’ phone records. It soon was revealed that it wasn’t just Verizon, but virtually every other telephone company in America. This revelation is still one of the most controversial ones. Privacy advocates have challenged the legality of the program in court, and one Judge deemed the program unconstitutional and “almost Orwellian,” while another one ruled it legal.

PRISM
PRISM was the second NSA bombshell, coming less than 24 hours after the first one. Initially, reports described PRISM as the NSA’s program to directly access the servers of U.S tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple, among others. Its reality was slightly different. PRISM, we soon learned, was less less evil than first thought. In reality, the NSA doesn’t have direct access to the servers, but can request user data from the companies, which are compelled by law to comply.

Britain’s version of the NSA taps fiber optic cables around the world
The British spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), taps fiber optic cables all over the world to intercept data flowing through the global Internet, we learned. The GCHQ works closely with the NSA, sharing data and intelligence in a program that’s codenamed Tempora. Tempora is one of the key NSA/GCHQ programs, allowing the spy agencies to collect vasts troves of data, but for some reason, it has sometimes been overlooked. After a couple of months from the Tempora revelation, a German newspaper revealed the names of the companies that collaborate with the GCHQ in the Tempora program: Verizon Business, British Telecommunications, Vodafone Cable, Global Crossing, Level 3, Viatel and Interoute.

NSA spies on foreign countries and world leaders
NSA targets at least 122 world leaders. Other stories over the past years have named specific targets like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazil’s President Dilma Roussef, and Mexico’s former President Felipe Calderon, the French Foreign Ministry, as well as leaders at the 2010 G8 and G20 summits in Toronto.

XKeyscore, the program that sees everything
XKeyscore is a tool the NSA uses to search “nearly everything a user does on the Internet” through data it intercepts across the world. In leaked documents, the NSA describes it as the “widest-reaching” system to search through Internet data.

NSA efforts to crack encryption and undermine Internet security
NSA has a developed a series of techniques and tricks to circumvent widely used web encryption technologies. The NSA, however, isn’t able to compromise the encryption algorithms underlying these technologies. Instead, it circumvents or undermines them, forcing companies to install backdoors, hacking into servers and computers, or promoting the use weaker algorithms. In any case, technologists were alarmed. “Even as the NSA demands more powers to invade our privacy in the name of cybersecurity, it is making the Internet less secure and exposing us to criminal hacking, foreign espionage, and unlawful surveillance. The NSA’s efforts to secretly defeat encryption are recklessly shortsighted and will further erode not only the United States’ reputation as a global champion of civil liberties and privacy but the economic competitiveness of its largest companies,” Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said at the time.

NSA elite hacking team techniques revealed
The NSA has at its disposal an elite hacker team codenamed “Tailored Access Operations” (TAO) that hacks into computers worldwide, infects them with malware and does the dirty job when other surveillance tactics fail. Der Spiegel, which detailed TAO’s secrets, labelled it as “a squad of plumbers that can be called in when normal access to a target is blocked.” But they can probably be best described as the NSA’s black bag operations team. TAO comes in for specific, targeted operations when the NSA can’t find intelligence or needs more detailed information on a target through its bulk surveillance programs. Before Snowden, most of their operations and techniques were shrouded in secrecy, and their secrets make for one of the most fascinating revelations.

NSA cracks Google and Yahoo data center links
When bulk collection or PRISM fails, the NSA had other tricks up its sleeve: It could infiltrate links connecting Yahoo and Google data centers, behind the companies’ backs. This revelation was made famous mostly by a Power Point slide that included a celebratory smiley face. This story truly enraged the tech companies, which reacted with much more fury than before. Google and Yahoo announced plans to strengthen and encrypt those links to avoid this kind of surveillance, and a Google security employee even said on his Google+ account what many others must have thought privately: “Fuck these guys.”

NSA collects text messages
The NSA, following its unofficial motto of “collecting it all,” intercepts 200 million text messages every day worldwide through a program called Dishfire. In leaked documents, the agency described the collected messages as a “goldmine to exploit” for all kinds of personal data. Other documents also revealed that the NSA can “easily” crack cellphone encryption, allowing the agency to more easily decode and access the content of intercepted calls and text messages.

NSA intercepts all phone calls in two countries
The NSA intercepts and stores all phone calls made in the Bahamas and Afghanistan through a program called MYSTIC, which has its own snazzy logo. The Bahamas was revealed by The Intercept, Greenwald’s new website, while the second was revealed by WikiLeaks, which protested The Intercept‘s decision to withhold the second country’s name. The NSA also collects all phone calls’ metadata in Mexico, Kenya and the Philippines.

And this is what they say about Snowden
http://www.forwardprogressives.com/let-me-show-why-edward-snowden-traitor-not-patriot/

Telling a newspaper in China that the United States government spied on Chinese computers isn’t “revealing unconstitutional surveillance of Americans”. Writing an “open letter” trying to get Brazil to grant him political asylum by offering to help Brazil investigate United States surveillance, because Snowden leaked information about the U.S. spying on the Brazilian government, isn’t “standing up for the Constitutional rights of Americans.” Saying that the NSA is “in bed” with Germany and other governments, working together on elaborate surveillance programs, isn’t “protecting the freedom of American citizens.” Leaking documents showing that Sweden has helped the United States spy on Russia isn’t “being a patriot.” Producing documents that reveal details on how the NSA gets some of its intelligence on the location of dangerous terrorists isn’t “being a passionate supporter of our Bill of Rights.” Revealing that the United States uses cyber-attacks as an “intelligence weapon” for overseas targets has nothing to do with our Constitution. Neither did producing documents that showed the British government set up surveillance of G20 delegates and phones during the G20 summit in 2009. Last I checked, countries in Latin America weren’t protected by our Constitution either – yet Snowden still leaked information about how the NSA listens in on phone calls in many of those nations. Can’t say I see any connection to our Constitution in Snowden’s leak of documents pertaining to al-Qaeda’s efforts to shoot down or hack our drones. I’ll admit that I’m not a Constitutional scholar, but I’m pretty sure French citizens aren’t protected by our Constitution. Neither are Norwegians. And I have no idea what Canada’s intelligence gathering has to do with American rights. Though I’m fairly certain revealing that the NSA helped the Dutch spy on Somalia has absolutely nothing to do with the Constitution. I’ll go ahead and stop there.  There were plenty of other examples (such as the United States government hacking the German chancellor’s phone and spying on the Mexican president) but I think I made my point. So even if  you’re on the side of believing that he’s a “patriot” for revealing that the NSA has been unconstitutionally and illegally spying on Americans – that doesn’t recuse him of being a traitor.  The fact is that he illegally stole this information and much of what he took, and subsequently leaked, has nothing to do with our Constitution or the rights of Americans.

MY OPINION

So, Edward Snowden protects American citizens and all they have to say is:

 The fact is that he illegally stole this information and much of what he took, and subsequently leaked, has nothing to do with our Constitution or the rights of Americans.

What about these:

First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Collecting all data from everyone of the planet, or just in the U.S., is abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

Second Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Collecting all data on every citizen infringes upon your privacy to buy a gun, they now know who is armed, by collecting all the records.

Third Amendment: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Collecting all data on every citizen is done by government personnel listening to all your communications, that is without the consent of the Owner, they are in your house electronically.

Fourth Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Collecting all data on every citizen infringes on the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Fifth Amendment: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Collecting all data from everyone breaks this law.

Sixth Amendment:  In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Collecting all data on every citizen does not inform the party of the nature and cause of the accusation.

Seventh Amendment: In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Collecting all data on every citizen does not conform to the rules of the common law.

Eighth Amendment: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Collecting all data on every citizen and manipulating that data, results in unusual punishments inflicted.

Ninth Amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Collecting all data on every citizen construes to deny or disparage others.

Tenth Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Collecting all data on every citizen is not delegated to the United States by the Constitution and takes away the States rights.

Posted in My Thoughts, NWO, The Truth, USA | Leave a comment

Peace in the Ukraine: a work in progress

In 1710, Ukrainian Hetman Pylyp Orlyk introduced “Pacts and Constitutions of Rights and Freedoms of the Zaporizhian Host”, at that time a super-progressive document which meant to separate powers into three branches and regulate the rights and responsibilities of the government and citizens. Some researchers believe that this document is one of the world’s first constitutions. For example, U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1787 and French and Polish in 1791.

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe. Ukraine borders Russia to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively.

The territory of modern Ukraine has been inhabited by humans since 32,000 BC. During the Middle Ages, the area was a key center of East Slavic culture, with the powerful state of Kievan Rus’ forming the basis of Ukrainian identity. Ukraine has long been a global breadbasket because of its extensive, fertile farmlands, and it remains one of the world’s largest grain exporters.

Ukraine continues to maintain the second-largest military in Europe, after that of Russia, when reserves and paramilitary personnel are taken into account. The country is home to 45.4 million people (including Crimea), 77.8% of whom are Ukrainians by ethnicity, and with a sizable minority of Russians (17%), as well as Romanians/Moldovans, Belarusians, Crimean Tatars, and Hungarians. Ukrainian is the official language of Ukraine; its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodoxy, which has strongly influenced Ukrainian architecture, literature and music.

Ukraine also has huge deposits of coal and iron that feed heavy industry, particularly in the Donbas (Donets Basin) and Kryvyy Rih regions. Ukraine has the world’s largest reserves of manganese ore – 2.3 billion tons or about 11% of all deposits of the world. The oldest map known to scientists, as well as the most ancient settlement of Homo Sapiens were found in Ukraine, in the village of Mezhireche. They are 14.5 – 15 thousand years old. The map is cut out of the bones of a mammoth. The settlement is made of the same material.

Neanderthal settlement in Ukraine is seen in the Molodova archaeological sites (43,000–45,000 BC) which include a mammoth bone dwelling. The territory is also considered to be the likely location for the human domestication of the horse.

Modern human settlement in Ukraine and its vicinity dates back to 32,000 BC, with evidence of the Gravettian culture in the Crimean Mountains. By 4,500 BC, the Neolithic Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture flourished in a wide area that included parts of modern Ukraine including Trypillia and the entire Dnieper-Dniester region. During the Iron Age, the land was inhabited by Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatians. Between 700 BC and 200 BC it was part of the Scythian Kingdom, or Scythia.

The Cimmerians or Kimmerians were an ancient Indo-European people living north of the Caucasus and the Sea of Azov as early as 1300 BC until they were driven southward by the Scythians into Anatolia during the 8th century BC. Linguistically they are usually regarded as Iranian, or possibly Thracian with an Iranian ruling class.

The Scythians, also known as Scyth, Saka, Sakae, Sai, Iskuzai, or Askuzai, were Eurasian nomads, probably mostly using Eastern Iranian languages, who were mentioned by the literate peoples surrounding them as inhabiting large areas in the central Eurasian steppes from about the 9th century BC up until the 4th century AD. The “classical Scythians” known to ancient Greek historians were located in the northern Black Sea and fore-Caucasus region. Other Scythian groups documented by Assyrian, Achaemenid and Chinese sources show that they also existed in Central Asia, where they were referred to as the Iskuzai/Askuzai, Saka and Sai respectively. Their westernmost territories during the Iron Age were known to classical Greek sources as Scythia.

The Scythians were among the earliest peoples to master mounted warfare. In the 8th century BC they possibly raided Zhou China. Soon after they expanded westwards and dislodged the Cimmerians from power on the Pontic Steppe, and subsequently came to dominate a vast region stretching from the Carpathian Mountains of Europe to the plains of central China, creating what has been referred to as the first Central Asian nomadic empire. Based in Crimea the western Scythians were ruled by a wealthy class known Royal Scyths.

The Sarmatians were a large confederation of Iranian people during classical antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD. They spoke Scythian, an Indo-European language from the Eastern Iranian family.

Later, colonies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and the Byzantine Empire, such as Tyras, Olbia and Chersonesus, were founded, beginning in the 6th century BC, on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea, and thrived well into the 6th century AD. The Goths stayed in the area but came under the sway of the Huns from the 370s AD. In the 7th century AD, the territory of eastern Ukraine was the centre of Old Great Bulgaria. At the end of the century, the majority of Bulgar tribes migrated in different directions, and the Khazars took over much of the land.

Khazaria existed from 652 to 1016. Over a thousand years ago, the far east was ruled by Jewish kings who presided over numerous tribes, including their own tribe: the Turkic Khazars. After their conversion, the Khazar people used Jewish personal names, spoke and wrote in Hebrew, were circumcised, had synagogues and rabbis, studied the Torah and Talmud, and observed Hanukkah, Pesach, and the Sabbath. The Khazars were an advanced civilization with one of the most tolerant societies of the medieval period. It hosted merchants from all over Asia and Europe.

The Kievan Rus’ was founded by the Rus’ people, Varangians who first settled there around Ladoga and Novgorod, then gradually moved southward eventually reaching Kiev about 880. Kievan Rus’ included the western part of modern Ukraine, and Belarus. The larger part was situated on the territory of modern Russian Federation. According to the Primary Chronicle the Rus’ elite initially consisted of Varangians from Scandinavia.

During the 10th and 11th centuries, it became the largest and most powerful state in Europe. In the following centuries, it laid the foundation for the national identity of Ukrainians and Russians. Kiev, the capital of modern Ukraine, became the most important city of the Rus’.

The Varangians later assimilated into the local Slavic population and became part of the first Rus’ dynasty, the Rurik Dynasty. Kievan Rus’ was composed of several principalities ruled by the interrelated Rurikid knyazes (“princes”). The seat of Kiev became the subject of many rivalries among Rurikids.

The Golden Age of Kievan Rus’ began with the reign of Vladimir the Great (980–1015), who turned Rus’ toward Byzantine Christianity. During the reign of his son, Yaroslav the Wise (1019–1054), Kievan Rus’ reached the zenith of its cultural development and military power. This was followed by the state’s increasing fragmentation as the relative importance of regional powers rose again. After a final resurgence under the rule of Vladimir II Monomakh (1113–1125) and his son Mstislav (1125–1132), Kievan Rus’ finally disintegrated into separate principalities following Mstislav’s death.

The 13th century Mongol invasion devastated Kievan Rus’. Kiev was totally destroyed in 1240. On today’s Ukrainian territory, the state of Kievan Rus’ was succeeded by the principalities of Halych and Volodymyr-Volynskyi, which were merged into the state of Galicia-Volhynia.

Danylo Romanovych (Daniel I of Galicia or Danylo Halytskyi) son of Roman Mstyslavych, re-united all of south-western Rus’, including Volhynia, Galicia and Rus’ ancient capital of Kiev. Danylo was crowned by the papal archbishop in Dorohychyn 1253 as the first King of all Rus’. Under Danylo’s reign, the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia was one of the most powerful states in east central Europe.

In 1657–1686 came “The Ruin”, a devastating 30-year war amongst Russia, Poland, Turks and Cossacks for control of Ukraine, which occurred at about the same time as the Deluge of Poland. Khmelnytsky, deserted by his Tatar allies, suffered a crushing defeat at Berestechko, and turned to the Russian tsar for help. In 1654, Khmelnytsky signed the Treaty of Pereyaslav, forming a military and political alliance with Russia that acknowledged loyalty to the tsar. The wars escalated in intensity with hundreds of thousands of deaths. Defeat came in 1686 as the “Eternal Peace” between Russia and Poland divided the Ukrainian lands between them.

The hetmanate was abolished in 1764; the Zaporizhska Sich abolished in 1775, as Russia centralised control over its lands. As part of the partitioning of Poland in 1772, 1793 and 1795, the Ukrainian lands west of the Dnieper were divided between Russia and Austria. From 1737 to 1834, expansion into the northern Black Sea littoral and the eastern Danube valley was a cornerstone of Russian foreign policy.

After the Russians annexed the Crimean Khanate in 1783, the region called New Russia was settled by Ukrainian and Russian migrants. Despite promises of autonomy in the Treaty of Pereyaslav, the Ukrainian elite and the Cossacks never received the freedoms and the autonomy they were expecting. However, within the Empire, Ukrainians rose to the highest Russian state and church offices. At a later period, tsarists established a policy of Russification, suppressing the use of the Ukrainian language in print, and in public.

In the 19th century, Ukraine was a rural area largely ignored by Russia and Austria. With growing urbanization and modernization, and a cultural trend toward romantic nationalism, a Ukrainian intelligentsia committed to national rebirth and social justice emerged. The serf-turned-national-poet Taras Shevchenko (1814–1861) and the political theorist Mykhailo Drahomanov (1841–1895) led the growing nationalist movement.

After Ukraine and Crimea became aligned with the Russian Empire in the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774), Catherine the Great and her immediate successors encouraged German immigration into Ukraine and especially into Crimea, to thin the previously dominant Turk population and encourage more complete use of farmland.

Ukrainians entered World War I on the side of both the Central Powers, under Austria, and the Triple Entente, under Russia. 3.5 million Ukrainians fought with the Imperial Russian Army, while 250,000 fought for the Austro-Hungarian Army. During 1917–20, several separate Ukrainian states briefly emerged: the Ukrainian People’s Republic, the Hetmanate, the Directorate and the pro-Bolshevik Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (or Soviet Ukraine) successively established territories in the former Russian Empire; while the West Ukrainian People’s Republic and the Hutsul Republic emerged briefly in the former Austro-Hungarian territory.

Ukraine became a founding member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the Soviet Union in December 1922. Starting from the late 1920s, Ukraine was involved in Soviet industrialisation and the republic’s industrial output quadrupled during the 1930s. The peasantry, demographically the backbone of the Ukrainian nation, suffered. Stalin instituted a programme of collectivisation of agriculture and enforced the policies by the regular troops and secret police. Those who resisted were arrested and deported and agricultural productivity greatly declined. As members of the collective farms were not allowed to receive any grain until sometimes unrealistic quotas were met, millions starved to death in a famine known as Holodomor or “Great Famine”. Scholars are divided as to whether this famine fits the definition of genocide, but the Ukrainian parliament and other countries recognise it as such. The famine claimed up to 10 million Ukrainian lives as peasants’ food stocks were forcibly removed by the NKVD secret police. On 13 January 2010, Kiev Appellate Court posthumously found Stalin, Kaganovich and other Soviet Communist Party functionaries guilty of genocide against Ukrainians during the Holodomor famine.

The vast majority of the fighting in World War II took place on the Eastern Front. It has been estimated that 93% of all German casualties took place there. The total losses inflicted upon the Ukrainian population during the war are estimated between 5 and 8 million. Of the estimated 8.7 million Soviet troops who fell in battle against the Nazis, 1.4 million were ethnic Ukrainians.

Post-war ethnic cleansing occurred in the newly expanded Soviet Union. As of 1 January 1953, Ukrainians were second only to Russians among adult “special deportees”, comprising 20% of the total. In addition, over 450,000 ethnic Germans from Ukraine and more than 200,000 Crimean Tatars were victims of forced deportations.

Following the death of Stalin in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev became the new leader of the USSR. Having served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukrainian SSR in 1938–49, Khrushchev was intimately familiar with the republic; after taking power union-wide, he began to emphasize the friendship between the Ukrainian and Russian nations. In 1954, the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Pereyaslav was widely celebrated. Crimea was transferred from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR.

On 26 April 1986, a reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded, resulting in the Chernobyl disaster, the worst nuclear reactor accident in history. This was the only accident to receive the highest possible rating of 7 by the International Nuclear Event Scale, indicating a “major accident”, until the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011. At the time of the accident, 7 million people lived in the contaminated territories, including 2.2 million in Ukraine.

On 16 July 1990, the new parliament adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine. This established the principles of the self-determination, democracy, independence, and the priority of Ukrainian law over Soviet law. A month earlier, a similar declaration was adopted by the parliament of the Russian SFSR. On 24 August 1991 the Ukrainian parliament adopted the Act of Independence.

The Euromaidan (“Eurosquare”) protests started in November 2013 after the president, Viktor Yanukovych, began shying away from an association agreement that had been in the works with the European Union and instead chose to establish closer ties with Russian Federation. Violence escalated after 16 January 2014 when the government accepted new Anti-Protest Laws.

Owing to violent protests on 22 February 2014, Members of Parliament found the president unable to fulfill his duties and exercised “constitutional powers” to set an election for 25 May to select his replacement. Petro Poroshenko, running on a pro-European Union platform, won with over fifty percent of the vote, therefore not requiring a run-off election. In October 2014, Ukrainians voted to keep Poroshenko in power.

On 6 March 2014, the Crimean Parliament voted to “enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation” and later held a referendum asking the people of these regions whether they wanted to join Russia as a federal subject, or if they wanted to restore the 1992 Crimean constitution and Crimea’s status as a part of Ukraine. Though passed with an overwhelming majority, the vote was not monitored by outside parties and the results are internationally contested; it is claimed to have been enforced by armed groups which intruded and enforced voting according to their demands. Crimea and Sevastopol formally declared independence as the Republic of Crimea and requested that they be admitted as constituents of the Russian Federation. On 18 March 2014, Russia and Crimea signed a treaty of accession of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol in the Russian Federation, though the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a non-binding statement to oppose Russian annexation of the peninsula.

Talks in Geneva between the EU, Russia, Ukraine and USA yielded a Joint Diplomatic Statement referred to as the 2014 Geneva Pact in which the parties requested that all unlawful militias lay down the arms and vacate seized government buildings, and also establish a political dialogue that could lead to more autonomy for Ukraine’s regions. When Petro Poroshenko won the presidential election held on 25 May 2014, he vowed to continue the military operations by the Ukrainian government forces to end the armed insurgency. More than 4,700 people have been killed in the military campaign. According to the United Nations, 730,000 Ukrainian refugees have fled to Russia since the beginning of 2014 and 117,000 have fled to other parts of Ukraine. As president-elect, Poroshenko promised to pursue the return of Crimea to Ukrainian sovereignty.

In August 2014, a bi-lateral commission of leading scholars from the United States and Russia issued the Boisto Agenda indicating a 24-step plan to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. In February 2015, after a summit hosted in Belarus, Poroshenko negotiated a ceasefire with the separatist troops. This included conditions such as the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the front line and decentralisation of rebel regions by the end of 2015. It also included conditions such as the Ukrainian control of the border with Russia in 2015 and the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the Ukrainian territory. The ceasefire will begin at midnight on the 15th of February, 2015. Participants in this ceasefire also agreed to attend regular meetings to ensure that the agreement is respected.

Significant natural resources in Ukraine include iron ore, coal, manganese, natural gas, oil, salt, sulphur, graphite, titanium, magnesium, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber and an abundance of arable land.

In 1999–2001, Ukraine served as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Historically, Soviet Ukraine joined the United Nations in 1945 as one of the original members following a Western compromise with the Soviet Union, which had asked for seats for all 15 of its union republics. Ukraine has consistently supported peaceful, negotiated settlements to disputes. It has participated in the quadripartite talks on the conflict in Moldova and promoted a peaceful resolution to conflict in the post-Soviet state of Georgia. Ukraine also has made a substantial contribution to UN peacekeeping operations since 1992.

Ukraine currently considers Euro-Atlantic integration its primary foreign policy objective, but in practice it has always balanced its relationship with the European Union and the United States with strong ties to Russia.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited a 780,000-man military force on its territory, equipped with the third-largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. In May 1992, Ukraine signed the Lisbon Protocol in which the country agreed to give up all nuclear weapons to Russia for disposal and to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state. Ukraine ratified the treaty in 1994, and by 1996 the country became free of nuclear weapons.

Ukraine’s population has been declining since the 1990s due to its high death rate and a low birth rate. The population is shrinking by over 150,000 annually since 1993. The birth rate has recovered in recent years from a low level around 2000, and is now comparable to the European average. It would need to increase by another 50% or so to stabilize the population and offset the high mortality rate.

In 2007, the country’s rate of population decline was the fourth highest in the world.

Ukrainian is the dominant language in Western Ukraine and in Central Ukraine, while Russian is the dominant language in the cities of Eastern Ukraine and Southern Ukraine. Surveys of regional identities in Ukraine have shown that the feeling of belonging to a “Soviet identity” is strongest in the Donbas (about 40%) and the Crimea (about 30%).

The Jewish population is a tiny fraction of what it was before World War II. In Tsarist times, Ukraine had been part of the Pale of Settlement, to which Jews were largely restricted in the Russian Empire. The largest Jewish communities in 1926 were in Odessa, 154,000 or 36.5% of the total population; and Kiev, 140,500 or 27.3%. Orthodox Judaism has the strongest presence in Ukraine. Smaller Reform and Conservative Jewish (Masorti) communities exist.

The Pale of Settlement was the term given to a region of Imperial Russia in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited. It extended from the eastern pale, or demarcation line, to the western Russian border with the Kingdom of Prussia (later the German Empire) and with Austria-Hungary. The English term pale is derived from the Latin word palus, a stake, extended to mean the area enclosed by a fence or boundary. With its large Catholic and Jewish populations, the Pale was acquired by the Russian Empire (which was majority Russian Orthodox) in a series of military conquests and diplomatic maneuvers between 1791 and 1835, and lasted until the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917. It comprised about 20% of the territory of European Russia and largely corresponded to historical borders of the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth; it included much of present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Moldova, Ukraine, and parts of western Russia. At its height, the Pale, including the new Polish and Lithuanian territories, had a Jewish population of over five million, and represented the largest component (40 percent) of the world Jewish population at that time.

According to the 1897 census, the Southwestern Krai (part; now in Ukraine), had the following percentages of Jews:

  1. Kiev guberniya [12.19%]
  2. Volhynia guberniya [13.24%]
  3. Podolia guberniya [12.28%]
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Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise

Michael (who is like God?) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans refer to him as “Saint Michael the Archangel” and also as “Saint Michael”. Orthodox Christians refer to him as the “Taxiarch Archangel Michael” or simply “Archangel Michael”.

Michael is mentioned three times in the Book of Daniel, once as a “great prince who stands up for the children of your people”. The idea that Michael was the advocate of the Jews became so prevalent that in spite of the rabbinical prohibition against appealing to angels as intermediaries between God and his people, Michael came to occupy a certain place in the Jewish liturgy.

In the New Testament Michael leads God’s armies against Satan’s forces in the Book of Revelation, where during the war in heaven he defeats Satan. In the Epistle of Jude Michael is specifically referred to as “the archangel Michael”. Christian sanctuaries to Michael appeared in the 4th century, when he was first seen as a healing angel, and then over time as a protector and the leader of the army of God against the forces of evil. By the 6th century, devotions to Archangel Michael were widespread both in the Eastern and Western Churches. Over time, teachings on Michael began to vary among Christian denominations.

In Islam, Mikail (Michael) provides nourishments for bodies and souls. Mikail is often depicted as the archangel of mercy who is responsible for the rewards doled out to good persons in this life. Michael, is one of the two archangels mentioned in the Quran, alongside Jibreel (Gabriel). In the Quran, Michael is mentioned once only, in Sura 2:98. Some Muslims believe that the reference in Sura 11:69 is Michael, one of the three angels who visited Abraham.

The Qur’an mentions Michael together with Gabriel in the sura Al-Baqara:

“Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and messengers, to Gabriel and Michael,- Lo! Allah is an enemy to those who reject Faith.”

—Quran, sura 2 (Al-Baqara) ayat 97-98

In Sunni Islam, Michael will be sent to bring a handful of Earth, but the Earth will not want to yield a piece of itself, some of which will burn. This is articulated by Al-Tha’labi whose narrative states that God will tell Earth that some will obey him and others not. The Ahmadiyya movement believes in Michael along with other angels such as Gabriel. They are called Mala’ikah and are described as spiritual beings who obey Allah’s command.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, and the Old Testament, the prophet Daniel experiences a vision after having undergone a period of fasting. In the vision in Daniel 10:13-21 an angel identifies Michael as the protector of Israel. Daniel refers to Michael as a “prince of the first rank”. Later in the vision in Daniel 12:1 Daniel is informed about the role of Michael during the “Time of the End” when there will be “distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations” and that:

“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise.”

In view of this, Michael is seen as playing an important role as the protector of Israel, and later of the Christian Church.

Although the three occurrences of Michael in the Book of Daniel 10:13, 10:21 and 12:1 all refer to the same individual, who acts in similar ways in all three cases, the last one is set at the “end times”, while the first two refer to local time in Persia. These are the only three references to Michael in the Hebrew Bible.

The references to the “captain of the host of the Lord” encountered by Joshua in the early days of his campaigns in the Promised Land (Joshua 5:13-15) have at times been interpreted as Michael the Archangel, but there is no theological basis for that assumption, given that Joshua then worshiped this figure, and angels are not to be worshiped. Some scholars also point that the figure may refer to God himself. In the book of Joshua’s account of the fall of Jericho, Joshua “looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand”. When the still unaware Joshua asks which side of the fight the Archangel is on, the response was, “neither…but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come”.

According to rabbinic Jewish tradition, Michael acted as the advocate of Israel, and sometimes had to fight with the princes of the other nations (cf. Daniel 10:13) and particularly with the angel Samael, Israel’s accuser. Michael’s enmity with Samael dates from the time when the latter was thrown down from heaven. Samael took hold of the wings of Michael, whom he wished to bring down with him in his fall; but Michael was saved by God. Michael is also said to have had a dispute with Samael over the soul of Moses.

There were two prayers written beseeching him as the prince of mercy to intercede in favor of Israel: one composed by Eliezer ha-Kalir, and the other by Judah ben Samuel he-Hasid. But appeal to Michael seems to have been more common in ancient times. Thus Jeremiah is said to have addressed a prayer to him. “When a man is in need he must pray directly to God, and neither to Michael nor to Gabriel.”

The rabbis declare that Michael entered upon his role of defender at the time of the biblical patriarchs. Thus, according to Rabbi Eliezer ben Jacob, it was Michael who rescued Abraham from the furnace into which he had been thrown by Nimrod (Midrash Genesis Rabbah xliv. 16). It was Michael, the “one that had escaped” (Genesis 14:13), who told Abraham that Lot had been taken captive (Midrash Pirke R. El.), and who protected Sarah from being defiled by Abimelech. He announced to Sarah that she would bear a son and he rescued Lot at the destruction of Sodom.

It is said that Michael prevented Isaac from being sacrificed by his father by substituting a ram in his place, and saved Jacob, while yet in his mother’s womb, from being killed by Samael. Later Michael prevented Laban from harming Jacob.(Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer, xxxvi). It was Michael who wrestled with Jacob and who afterward blessed him.

The midrash Exodus Rabbah holds that Michael exercised his function of advocate of Israel at the time of the Exodus also, when Satan (as an adversary) accused the Israelites of idolatry and declared that they were consequently deserving of death by drowning in the Red Sea. Michael is also said to have destroyed the army of Sennacherib.

There is a legend which seems to be of Jewish origin, and which was adopted by the Copts, to the effect that Michael was first sent by God to bring Nebuchadnezzar (c. 600 BC) against Jerusalem, and that Michael was afterward very active in freeing his nation from Babylonian captivity. According to midrash Genesis Rabbah, Michael saved Hananiah and his companions from the Fiery furnace. Michael was active in the time of Esther: “The more Haman accused Israel on earth, the more Michael defended Israel in heaven”. It was Michael who reminded Ahasuerus that he was Mordecai’s debtor; and there is a legend that Michael appeared to the high priest Hyrcanus, promising him assistance.

In late medieval Christianity, Michael, together with Saint George, became the patron saint of chivalry and is now also considered the patron saint of police officers, paramedics, firefighters and the military. Apart from his being a patron of warriors, the sick and the suffering also consider Archangel Michael their patron saint. Michael was the patron saint of the Holy Roman Empire and still is the patron saint of modern Germany and other German speaking regions formerly covered by the realm. He has been the patron saint of Brussels since the Middle Ages. The city of Arkhangelsk in Russia is named for the Archangel. Ukraine and its capital Kiev also consider Michael their patron saint and protector.

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Law of Return

http://www.richw.org/dualcit/faq.html
It is interesting to note that Israel’s “Law of Return” confers Israeli citizenship automatically, without the immigrant having to apply for it, attend any ceremony, or swear any oath of allegiance.

Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U.S. 253 (1967)

Beys Afroyim (born Ephraim Bernstein in Poland in 1893) immigrated to the US in 1912 and became a naturalized US citizen in 1926. In 1950, Afroyim moved to Israel. He tried to renew his US passport in 1960, but the State Department refused on the grounds that he had lost his citizenship by voting in an Israeli election in 1951. Afroyim sued the State Department, and the Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that he was still a US citizen.

The basic point of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Afroyim v. Rusk was that the “citizenship clause” of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution — while originally intended mainly to guarantee citizenship to freed Negro slaves and their descendants, and subsequently interpreted in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898) as conferring citizenship at birth to virtually everyone born in the US — had effectively elevated citizenship to the status of a constitutionally protected right. Hence, Congress had no right to pass a law which had the effect of depriving an American of his citizenship without his assent.

Thus, the court ruled, a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act mandating automatic loss of citizenship for voting in a foreign election was invalid. Other, similar provisions providing for loss of citizenship for serving in a foreign army, or even swearing allegiance to a foreign country, were similarly invalid unless the action was accompanied by an intent to give up US citizenship.

The Supreme Court noted that the Civil Rights Act of 1866 had already tried to confer citizenship on all persons born or naturalized in the US. However, proponents of the 14th Amendment had expressed fears that this provision could be repealed by a later Congress, and so they insisted that the new amendment should contain its own definition of citizenship that Congress could not change later on.

Further, the court pointed to a proposed (but never ratified) constitutional amendment, early in the 19th century, which would have revoked the US citizenship of anyone who accepted a foreign title or gift, as evidence that Congress was not believed at that time to have the power to do such a thing via ordinary legislation. (Incidentally, this is the same proposed amendment which some foes of the federal income tax allege was in fact duly ratified, then suppressed by lawyers who supposedly feared their “foreign” title of “Esquire” would result in the loss of their US citizenship and their positions of power in the government.)

By ruling as it did in the Afroyim case, the Supreme Court explicitly threw out the principles held nine years earlier in Perez v. Brownell, 356 U.S. 44 (1958).

The Supreme Court’s Afroyim ruling did not definitively throw out all prohibitions against dual citizenship in the US. Although the court clearly stated that loss of citizenship required the individual’s assent, some uncertainty remained as to whether an actual swearing of allegiance to a foreign country would, by itself, constitute such assent. (The question of how, or even whether, Afroyim had become a citizen of Israel, or sworn allegiance to Israel, did not come up in his case.)

Also, the court did not address the issue of what standard of proof would be required in citizenship cases — i.e., whether intent to give up citizenship had to be proved clearly and convincingly (as in a criminal trial), or by a preponderance of evidence (as in a lawsuit). This question would not be resolved until Vance v. Terrazas, 444 U.S. 252 (1980).

It should additionally be noted that the Afroyim case did not deal with Congress’s right to require new citizens to renounce their prior allegiances as a prerequisite for naturalization.

The statutory provision calling for loss of US citizenship for voting in a foreign election, struck down by the court in this case, was repealed by Congress in 1978 citizenship law amendments (Pub.L. 95-432) (Public Law 95-432 – H.R.13349).

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Does the US jeopardize its own security?

THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY
http://mearsheimer.uchicago.edu/pdfs/IsraelLobby.pdf
John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt
Dr. Mearsheimer is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. Dr. Walt is a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

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Why has the United States adopted policies that jeopardized its own security in order to advance the interests of another state? Are U.S. and Israeli interests essentially identical?  

American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), “The United States and Israel have formed a unique partnership to meet the growing strategic threats in the Middle East . . . . This cooperative effort provides significant benefits for both the United States and Israel.”

Total direct U.S. aid to Israel amounts to well over $140 billion in 2003 dollars. Israel receives about $3 billion in direct foreign assistance each year, which is roughly one-fifth of America’s foreign-aid budget. In per capita terms, the United States gives each Israeli a direct subsidy worth about $500 per year. This largesse is especially striking when one realizes that Israel is now a wealthy industrial state with a per capita income roughly equal to that of South Korea or Spain. Israel receives its entire appropriation at the beginning of each fiscal year and thus earns extra interest.

Israel can use roughly 25 percent of its aid allotment to subsidize its own defense industry. Israel is the only recipient that does not have to account for how the aid is spent. The United States gives Israel access to intelligence that it denies its NATO allies and has turned a blind eye toward Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

Since 1982, the United States has vetoed 33 United Nations Security Council resolutions that were critical of Israel, a number greater than the combined total of vetoes cast by all the other Security Council members. It also blocks Arab states’  efforts to put Israel’s nuclear arsenal on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s agenda.

In April 2004, for example, 52 former British diplomats sent Prime Minister Tony Blair a letter saying that the Israel-Palestine conflict had “poisoned relations between the West and the Arab and Islamic worlds” and warning that the policies of Bush and then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon were “one-sided and illegal.” 

Israel has provided sensitive U.S. military technology to potential U.S. rivals like China, in what the U.S. State Department inspector general called “a systematic and growing pattern of unauthorized transfers.” According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, Israel also “conducts the most aggressive espionage operations against the U.S. of any ally.”

Israel’s backers also argue that it deserves unqualified U.S. support because 1) it is weak and surrounded by enemies; 2) it is a democracy, which is a morally preferable form of government; 3) the Jewish people have suffered from past crimes and therefore deserve special treatment; and 4) Israel’s conduct has been morally superior to its adversaries’ behavior.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) won quick and easy victories against Egypt in 1956 and against Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1967 – before large-scale U.S. aid began flowing to Israel. Israel is the strongest military power in the Middle East.

The United States is a liberal democracy where people of any race, religion or ethnicity are supposed to enjoy equal rights. By contrast, Israel was explicitly founded as a Jewish state, and whether a citizen is regarded as Jewish ordinarily depends on kinship (i.e., verifiable Jewish ancestry). Given the priority attached to Israel’s Jewish character (which explains its longstanding commitment to maintaining an unchallenged Jewish majority within its territory), it is not surprising that Israel’s 1.3 million Arabs are treated as second-class citizens or that a recent Israeli government commission found that Israel behaves in a “neglectful and discriminatory” manner towards them.

Israel does not permit Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens to become citizens themselves and does not give these spouses the right to live in Israel. Israel is formally democratic, but the millions of Palestinians that it controls are denied full political rights, and the “shared democracy” rationale is correspondingly weakened.

When political Zionism began in earnest in the late nineteenth century, there were only about 15,000 Jews in Palestine. In 1893, for example, the Arabs comprised roughly 95 percent of the population, and, though under Ottoman control, they had been in continuous possession of this territory for 1300 years. 

Even when Israel was founded, Jews were only about 35 percent of Palestine’s population and owned 7 percent of the land.

As David Ben-Gurion put it in the summer of 1937, “After the formation of a large army in the wake of the establishment of the state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine.” According to Israeli historian Benny Morris, “Zionist mainstream thought had always regarded a Jewish state from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River as its ultimate goal.” The vision of ‘Greater Israel’ as Zionism’s ultimate objective did not end with the 1948 war. This opportunity came in 1947-48, when Jewish forces drove up to 700,000 Palestinians into exile. After the war, Israel barred the return of the Palestinian exiles.

As Ben-Gurion told Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, “If I was an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it’s true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been antisemitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?”

- the tragic history of the Jewish people does not obligate the United States to help Israel no matter what it does today.

In 1967, it expelled between 100,000 and 260,000 Palestinians from the newly conquered West Bank and drove 80,000 Syrians from the Golan Heights. The Swedish “Save the Children” organization estimated that “23,600 to 29,900 children required medical treatment for their beating injuries in the first two years of the intifada,” with nearly one-third sustaining broken bones. It also estimated that “nearly one-third of the beaten children were aged ten and under.

The goal is to prevent critical commentary about Israel from getting a fair hearing in the political arena. Controlling the debate is essential to guaranteeing U.S. support, because a candid discussion of U.S.-Israeli relations might lead Americans to favor a different policy.

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