• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 7 februari 2015

Geert Mak en Het Neoliberalisme 5



This book has a basic thesis, that the Bomb altered our subsequent history down to its deepest constitutional roots. It redefined the presidency, as in all respects America's 'Commander in Chief' (a term that took on a new and unconstitutional meaning in this period). It fostered an anxiety of continuing crisis, so that society was pervasively militarized. It redefined the government as a National Security State, with an apparatus of secrecy and executive control. It redefined Congress, as an executor of the of the executive. And it reddened the Supreme Court, as a follower of the follower of the executive. Only one part of the government had the supreme power, the Bomb, and all else must defer to it, for the good of the nation, for the good of the world, for the custody of the future, in a world of perpetual emergency superseding ordinary constitutional restrictions,
zo maakt de Amerikaanse bestseller-auteur, winnaar van de Pulitzer Prize, Garry Wills, duidelijk in zijn boek Bomb Power. The Modern Presidency and the National Security State (2010). Eerder beschreef de Duitse filosoof Peter Sloterdijk in zijn Kritiek van de cynische rede (1983) de kernbom als volgt:
De atoombom is eigenlijk de Boeddha van het Westen, een perfecte, abstracte, soevereine apparatuur. Onbeweeglijk rust ze in haar atoomsilo, toppunt van werkelijkheid en toppunt van mogelijkheid. Ze is het summum van de kosmische energie en van het menselijk aandeel daarin, de topprestatie van de mens en zijn vernietigster, een triomf van technische rationaliteit en verheffing daarvan tot het paranoïde. Met de atoombom verlaten wij het gebied van de praktische rede, waar men doeleinden met gepaste middelen nastreeft. De bom is al lang geen middel tot een doel meer, want zij is het mateloze middel dat elk mogelijk doel te boven gaat. Juist omdat zij echter geen middel tot een doel kan zijn, moet zij veranderen in een medium voor de zelfbeleving. Ze is een antropologisch gebeuren, het toppunt van objectivering van de machtsgeest die aan het werk is achter de drift tot zelfbehoud. Als wij haar geconstrueerd hebben om onszelf te 'verdedigen,' dan heeft dat ons in werkelijkheid een onvoorstelbare weerloosheid opgeleverd. De bom is een voltooiing van de mens in zijn 'slechte' vorm. Slechter, intelligenter en defensiever kunnen wij niet meer worden.

In feite is de bom de enige Boeddha die ook door de westerse rede wordt begrepen. Eindeloos zijn haar rust en haar ironie. Haar maakt het niets uit hoe ze haar missie volbrengt, door zwijgend afwachten of als gloeiende wolk; voor haar maakt de aggregatietoestand geen verschil. Net als bij Boeddha is alles wat er te zeggen zou zijn, alleen al door haar bestaan gezegd. De bom is geen zier slechter dan de werkelijkheid, en geen haar destructiever dan wij. Ze vertegenwoordigt slechts onze ontplooiing, een materiële uitbeelding van ons wezen. Ze is reeds belichaamd als iets volmaakts, terwijl wij in onze relatie tot haar nog gespleten zijn. Tegenover een dergelijk apparaat zijn geen strategische overwegingen meer op hun plaats, maar men moet aandachtig luisteren. De bom eist van ons strijd noch berusting, maar zelfbeleving. Wij zijn zelf die bom. Zij is het volmaakte westerse 'subject.' Onze enorme bewapening maakt ons zo weerloos dat wij weer zwak worden, zo zwak dat wij verstandig worden, zo verstandig dat wij bang worden. De enige vraag die blijft is of wij de uitwendige weg kiezen, of de innerlijke — of het inzicht vanuit de bezinning zal komen, of uit de vuurgloed boven de aarde.

Omdat de overgrote meerderheid van burgers en militairen de consequenties van de heersende 'rationality without reason' niet kunnen verwerken, wordt de realiteit door de gevestigde orde, haar 'vrije pers,' en haar militairen verzwegen. Zo constateerde de Amerikaanse fotograaf Paul Shambroom in zijn fotoboek Face to Face with the Bomb. Nuclear Reality after the Cold War (2003)

Military people used terminology that seems a denial of the real function of the hardware. Words such as ‘bomb’ and ‘warhead’ are rarely used. Instead, the air force uses the acronym ‘RV’ (for ‘Reentry Vehicle’). The navy, perhaps just to be different, uses ‘RB’ (for ‘Reentry Body’). I was sharply corrected the first time I referred to the MX missile and told that the official name is ‘Peacekeeper.’ Bombs are ‘gravity weapons.’ Warheads are jokingly referred to as ‘physics packages.’ Anything nuclear is ‘non-conventional.’

Het openingscitaat in zijn fotoboek is van 'Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld' die tijdens zijn 'testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,' op 17 juli 2002 verklaarde:

Some have asks why, in the post-Cold War world, we need to maintain as many as 1,700-2,200 operationally deployed warheads. The end of the Soviet threat does not mean we no longer need nuclear weapons. To the contrary, the U.S. nuclear arsenal remains an important part of our deterrence strategy, and helps us to dissuade the emergence of potential or would-be peer competitors, by underscoring the futility of trying to reach parity with us.

Het 'nucleaire arsenaal' dient 'potentiële' mededingers af te schrikken om te pogen gelijkwaardig te worden aan de VS. Washington en Wall Street dulden geen gelijkheid, omdat zij dan gedwongen zijn tegenspraak te accepteren. De wereld, inclusief de EU van 'Geen Jorwert zonder Brussel,' dient de Amerikaanse politieke en economische elite klakkeloos te gehoorzamen. Als dit niet goedschiks gaat dan kwaadschiks, met als uiterste consequentie: de nucleaire holocaust. In deze werkelijkheid leeft iedere wereldbewoner dag in dag uit. 'Rationality without Reason.' Het rationalisme is inderdaad in ultieme irrationaliteit ontspoort; de hegemonistische macht chanteert ons en zichzelf met de massale vernietiging. Zij drukt de loop van het wapen tegen het eigen hoofd. Nu de trekker gespannen is, dringt de tijd als nooit tevoren. In een fractie van een seconde kan de tijd voorgoed gestopt worden. 'We live with the knowledge that we have the means to eradicate our own species,' schrijft Paul Shambroom in de proloog. 'Strategic weapons are weapons targeted at an opponent's nuclear weapons, command centers, or civilian populations,' laat hij weten, terwijl algemeen bekend is dat volgens het internationaal recht burgers absoluut nooit als doelwit mogen dienen. De westerse burger accepteert de dreiging, want

It's natural to want, to need NOT to believe that hardware for our extinction exists, is made of real nuts and bolts, and is kept at the ready by living, breathing, human beings.

De mens is gedwongen in een verzonnen werkelijkheid te geloven om te voorkomen dat de waanzin het laatste restje zingeving vernietigt. De collectieve gekte is reëler geworden dan het gezond verstand. Intussen wordt de mensheid van alle kanten bedreigd. De Amerikaanse intellectueel Eugene Jarecki, regisseur van de 'Award-Winning Film Why We Fight' (2008) schreef in verband hiermee:

Traditional military threats have been in many ways overshadowed today by nontraditional ones: climate change, infectious diseases, overpopulation, resource scarcity, non state terror, and international economic disorder. These and other sources of international instability are of increasing concern on an ever more interconnected planet, requiring radical solutions and unprecedented levels of international coordination. Yet efforts at reform to date have been too confined by outmoded Cold War thinking.

Nu 'Wij zelf die bom [zijn]' en 'Zij het volmaakte westerse ''subject'' [is],' moet duidelijk zijn hoe absurd Geert Mak's bewering is dat 

De kracht van onze westerse samenleving onze democratie [is], onze variatie in ideeën, onze tolerantie, onze openheid tegenover andere culturen.

Mak's 'democratie' is al een halve eeuw geleden door het ontstaan van de National Security State ten onder gegaan, zoals talloze Amerikaanse intellectuelen, onder wie Garry Wills, omstandig en gedocumenteerd hebben aangetoond. In zijn vuistdikke bestseller Reizen zonder John, waarin hij 'op zoek naar Amerika' was, realiseerde Geert Mak zich nog steeds niet dat de atoombom 'redefined' de Amerikaanse Grondwet, en dat de VS de afgelopen halve eeuw is getransformeerd in een 'society pervasively militarized,'  een ontwikkeling waar niemand minder dan president Eisenhower in zijn afscheidsrede in 1961 nadrukkelijk voor waarschuwde. De VS heeft geen militair-industrieel complex, maar is er één. De gescheiden staatsmachten zijn daardoor niet meer gescheiden, alles staat er in het teken van het grootscheeps georganiseerd geweld, hedendaags zowel als toekomstig, zoals ook de invloedrijke senator, ambassadeur en socioloog Daniel Patrick Moynihan stelde in zijn boek Secrecy: The American Experience (1998) waarin hij erop wees dat 'American society in peacetime began to experience wartime regulation.' Het is de in de polder zo geprezen opiniemaker Geert Mak allemaal ontgaan, en hetzelfde geldt voor de rest van de zogeheten 'politiek-literaire elite' alhier. Zij allen herhalen leugens over democratie en mensenrechten, blijven propaganda maken voor een niet bestaand systeem. Nederland is in dit opzicht uniek. Bij gebrek aan een kritische intelligentsia is hier het corrupte poldermodel tot ultieme waarheid uitgeroepen. Daarentegen zien we in cultuurlanden dat grote denkers ook tot de mainstream-media weten door te dringen. Zo publiceerde de alles behalve radicale Huffington Post op 31 augustus 2014 een essay van de kritische Amerikaanse geleerde Noam Chomsky over de VS als National Security State, getiteld 'Whose Security? How Washington Protects Itself and the Corporate Sector.' Chomsky is niet de eerste de beste, zo beseft de Huffington Post:
Chomsky has been a highly influential academic figure throughout his career, and was cited within the field of Arts and Humanities more often than any other living scholar between 1980 and 1992. He was also the eighth most cited scholar overall within the Arts and Humanities Citation Index during the same period. His work has influenced fields such as artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, logic, mathematicsmusic theory and analysispolitical scienceprogramming language theory and psychology. Chomsky continues to be well known as a political activist, and a leading critic of U.S. foreign policycapitalism, and the mainstream news media.
Desondanks, of beter, juist daarom is het ondenkbaar dat de visie van Chomsky, wiens boeken aanzienlijke oplagen bereiken en in vele talen zijn verschenen, uitgebreid en met zekere regelmaat in de Nederlandse mainstream-media verschijnt. Alle voor de kleinburgerlijke Hollandse elite 'dissidente' informatie wordt ogenblikkelijk gemarginaliseerd dan wel domweg verzwegen. Het is dan ook niet verbazingwekkend dat Geert Mak in zijn Reizen zonder John (2012), waarin hij claimt 'Op zoek naar Amerika' te zijn geweest, Noam Chomsky 573 pagina's lang negeert, en dat Mak geen enkel boek van hem gelezen heeft. 'De middelmaat heeft de regel lief,' stelde Flaubert al in de negentiende eeuw vast, terwijl op zijn beurt de Amerikaanse auteur Wendell Berry in The Unsettling of America (1996) beschreef hoe het kleurloze midden het grote gevaar vormt, omdat het mentaal niet in staat is zich aan te passen aan een radicaal veranderende situatie. Sterker nog:
Like many another orthodoxy, it would rather die than change, and may change only by dying. This determination is enforced both from within and from without.

Verandering is onmogelijk zolang de orthodoxie de macht heeft. Wendell Berry geeft het volgende voorbeeld:

The pattern of orthodoxy in religion, because it is well known, gives us a useful paradigm. The encrusted religious structure is not changed by its institutional dependents – they are part of the crust. It is changed by one who goes alone to the wilderness, where he fasts and prays, and returns with cleansed vision. In going alone, he goes independent of institutions, forswearing orthodoxy ('right opinion'). In going to the wilderness he goes to the margin, where he is surrounded by the possibilities – by no means all good – that orthodoxy has excluded. By fasting he disengages his thoughts from the immediate issues of livelihood; his willing hunger takes his mind off the payroll, so to speak. And by praying he acknowledges ignorance; the orthodox presume to know, whereas the marginal person is trying to find out. He returns to the community, not necessarily with new truth, but with a new vision of the truth; he sees it more whole than before.

Vandaar dat opiniemakers als Geert Mak nooit een nieuwe visie kunnen bieden, daarvoor zijn ze teveel onderdeel van het zieke systeem. Dat blijkt vooral ook door de talloze prijzen waarmee de gevestigde orde Mak overlaadt. Elke prijs is als het ware een brevet van zijn eigen onvermogen. De enigen die daadwerkelijk een alternatief kunnen aandragen zijn de gemarginaliseerde critici. Daarom opnieuw Chomsky over 'Wiens Veiligheid?':

The question of how foreign policy is determined is a crucial one in world affairs.  In these comments, I can only provide a few hints as to how I think the subject can be productively explored, keeping to the United States for several reasons.  First, the U.S. is unmatched in its global significance and impact.  Second, it is an unusually open society, possibly uniquely so, which means we know more about it.  Finally, it is plainly the most important case for Americans, who are able to influence policy choices in the U.S. -- and indeed for others, insofar as their actions can influence such choices.  The general principles, however, extend to the other major powers, and well beyond.

There is a 'received standard version,' common to academic scholarship, government pronouncements, and public discourse.  It holds that the prime commitment of governments is to ensure security, and that the primary concern of the U.S. and its allies since 1945 was the Russian threat.

There are a number of ways to evaluate the doctrine.  One obvious question to ask is: What happened when the Russian threat disappeared in 1989?  Answer: everything continued much as before.

The U.S. immediately invaded Panama, killing probably thousands of people and installing a client regime. This was routine practice in U.S.-dominated domains -- but in this case not quite as routine. For first time, a major foreign policy act was not justified by an alleged Russian threat. 

Instead, a series of fraudulent pretexts for the invasion were concocted that collapse instantly on examination. The media chimed in enthusiastically, lauding the magnificent achievement of defeating Panama, unconcerned that the pretexts were ludicrous, that the act itself was a radical violation of international law, and that it was bitterly condemned elsewhere, most harshly in Latin America.  Also ignored was the U.S. veto of a unanimous Security Council resolution condemning crimes by U.S. troops during the invasion, with Britain alone abstaining. All routine. And all forgotten (which is also routine).

From El Salvador to the Russian Border

The administration of George H.W. Bush issued a new national security policy and defense budget in reaction to the collapse of the global enemy.  It was pretty much the same as before, although with new pretexts.  It was, it turned out, necessary to maintain a military establishment almost as great as the rest of the world combined and far more advanced in technological sophistication -- but not for defense against the now-nonexistent Soviet Union.  Rather, the excuse now was the growing 'technological sophistication' of Third World powers.  Disciplined intellectuals understood that it would have been improper to collapse in ridicule, so they maintained a proper silence.

The U.S., the new programs insisted, must maintain its 'defense industrial base.' The phrase is a euphemism, referring to high-tech industry generally, which relies heavily on extensive state intervention for research and development, often under Pentagon cover, in what economists continue to call the U.S. 'free-market economy.'

One of the most interesting provisions of the new plans had to do with the Middle East. There, it was declared, Washington must maintain intervention forces targeting a crucial region where the major problems 'could not have been laid at the Kremlin’s door.' Contrary to 50 years of deceit, it was quietly conceded that the main concern was not the Russians, but rather what is called 'radical nationalism,' meaning independent nationalism not under U.S. control.

All of this has evident bearing on the standard version, but it passed unnoticed -- or perhaps, therefore it passed unnoticed.

Other important events took place immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall, ending the Cold War.  One was in El Salvador, the leading recipient of U.S. military aid -- apart from Israel-Egypt, a separate category -- and with one of the worst human rights records anywhere. That is a familiar and very close correlation. 

The Salvadoran high command ordered the Atlacatl Brigade to invade the Jesuit University and murder six leading Latin American intellectuals, all Jesuit priests, including the rector, Fr. Ignacio Ellacuría, and any witnesses, meaning their housekeeper and her daughter. The Brigade had just returned from advanced counterinsurgency training at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and had already left a bloody trail of thousands of the usual victims in the course of the U.S.-run state terror campaign in El Salvador, one part of a broader terror and torture campaign throughout the region.  All routine.  Ignored and virtually forgotten in the United States and by its allies, again routine.  But it tells us a lot about the factors that drive policy, if we care to look at the real world.

Another important event took place in Europe.  Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to allow the unification of Germany and its membership in NATO, a hostile military alliance.  In the light of recent history, this was a most astonishing concession.  There was a quid pro quo.  President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker agreed that NATO would not expand “one inch to the East,” meaning into East Germany.  Instantly, they expanded NATO to East Germany. 

Gorbachev was naturally outraged, but when he complained, he was instructed by Washington that this had only been a verbal promise, a gentleman’s agreement, hence without force. If he was naïve enough to accept the word of American leaders, it was his problem.

All of this, too, was routine, as was the silent acceptance and approval of the expansion of NATO in the U.S. and the West generally.  President Bill Clinton then expanded NATO further, right up to Russia’s borders.  Today, the world faces a serious crisis that is in no small measure a result of these policies.

The Appeal of Plundering the Poor

Another source of evidence is the declassified historical record.  It contains revealing accounts of the actual motives of state policy.  The story is rich and complex, but a few persistent themes play a dominant role.  One was articulated clearly at a western hemispheric conference called by the U.S. in Mexico in February 1945 where Washington imposed 'An Economic Charter of the Americas' designed to eliminate economic nationalism 'in all its forms.' There was one unspoken condition.  Economic nationalism would be fine for the U.S. whose economy relies heavily on massive state intervention.

The elimination of economic nationalism for others stood in sharp conflict with the Latin American stand of that moment, which State Department officials described as 'the philosophy of the New Nationalism [that] embraces policies designed to bring about a broader distribution of wealth and to raise the standard of living of the masses.' As U.S. policy analysts added, 'Latin Americans are convinced that the first beneficiaries of the development of a country's resources should be the people of that country.'

That, of course, will not do. Washington understands that the 'first beneficiaries' should be U.S. investors, while Latin America fulfills its service function.  It should not, as both the Truman and Eisenhower administrations would make clear, undergo 'excessive industrial development' that might infringe on U.S. interests.  Thus Brazil could produce low-quality steel that U.S. corporations did not want to bother with, but it would be 'excessive,' were it to compete with U.S. firms.

Similar concerns resonate throughout the post-World War II period.  The global system that was to be dominated by the U.S. was threatened by what internal documents call 'radical and nationalistic regimes' that respond to popular pressures for independent development.  That was the concern that motivated the overthrow of the parliamentary governments of Iran and Guatemala in 1953 and 1954, as well as numerous others.  In the case of Iran, a major concern was the potential impact of Iranian independence on Egypt, then in turmoil over British colonial practice.  In Guatemala, apart from the crime of the new democracy in empowering the peasant majority and infringing on possessions of the United Fruit Company -- already offensive enough -- Washington’s concern was labor unrest and popular mobilization in neighboring U.S.-backed dictatorships.

In both cases the consequences reach to the present.  Literally not a day has passed since 1953 when the U.S. has not been torturing the people of Iran.  Guatemala remains one of the world’s worst horror chambers.  To this day, Mayans are fleeing from the effects of near-genocidal government military campaigns in the highlands backed by President Ronald Reagan and his top officials.  As the country director of Oxfam, a Guatemalan doctor, reported recently,

'There is a dramatic deterioration of the political, social, and economic context.  Attacks against Human Rights defenders have increased 300% during the last year.  There is a clear evidence of a very well organized strategy by the private sector and Army. Both have captured the government in order to keep the status quo and to impose the extraction economic model, pushing away dramatically indigenous peoples from their own land, due to the mining industry, African Palm and sugar cane plantations.  In addition the social movement defending their land and rights has been criminalized, many leaders are in jail, and many others have been killed.'

Nothing is known about this in the United States and the very obvious cause of it remains suppressed.

In the 1950s, President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles explained quite clearly the dilemma that the U.S. faced.  They complained that the Communists had an unfair advantage.  They were able to “appeal directly to the masses” and 'get control of mass movements, something we have no capacity to duplicate.  The poor people are the ones they appeal to and they have always wanted to plunder the rich.'

That causes problems.  The U.S. somehow finds it difficult to appeal to the poor with its doctrine that the rich should plunder the poor.

The Cuban Example

A clear illustration of the general pattern was Cuba, when it finally gained independence in 1959.  Within months, military attacks on the island began.  Shortly after, the Eisenhower administration made a secret decision to overthrow the government. John F. Kennedy then became president. He intended to devote more attention to Latin America and so, on taking office, he created a study group to develop policies headed by the historian Arthur Schlesinger, who summarized its conclusions for the incoming president.

As Schlesinger explained, threatening in an independent Cuba was 'the Castro idea of taking matters into one's own hands.' It was an idea that unfortunately appealed to the mass of the population in Latin America where 'the distribution of land and other forms of national wealth greatly favors the propertied classes, and the poor and underprivileged, stimulated by the example of the Cuban revolution, are now demanding opportunities for a decent living.' Again, Washington’s usual dilemma.

As the CIA explained, 'The extensive influence of "Castroism" is not a function of Cuban power... Castro’s shadow looms large because social and economic conditions throughout Latin America invite opposition to ruling authority and encourage agitation for radical change,' for which his Cuba provides a model.  Kennedy feared that Russian aid might make Cuba a 'showcase' for development, giving the Soviets the upper hand throughout Latin America.

The State Department Policy Planning Council warned that 'the primary danger we face in Castro is... in the impact the very existence of his regime has upon the leftist movement in many Latin American countries… The simple fact is that Castro represents a successful defiance of the U.S., a negation of our whole hemispheric policy of almost a century and a half' -- that is, since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, when the U.S. declared its intention of dominating the hemisphere.

The immediate goal at the time was to conquer Cuba, but that could not be achieved because of the power of the British enemy. Still, that grand strategist John Quincy Adams, the intellectual father of the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny, informed his colleagues that over time Cuba would fall into our hands by 'the laws of political gravitation,' as an apple falls from the tree. In brief, U.S. power would increase and Britain’s would decline.

In 1898, Adams’s prognosis was realized. The U.S. invaded Cuba in the guise of liberating it. In fact, it prevented the island’s liberation from Spain and turned it into a 'virtual colony' to quote historians Ernest May and Philip Zelikow. Cuba remained so until January 1959, when it gained independence.  Since that time it has been subjected to major U.S. terrorist wars, primarily during the Kennedy years, and economic strangulation.  Not because of the Russians.

The pretense all along was that we were defending ourselves from the Russian threat -- an absurd explanation that generally went unchallenged.  A simple test of the thesis is what happened when any conceivable Russian threat disappeared. U.S. policy toward Cuba became even harsher, spearheaded by liberal Democrats, including Bill Clinton, who outflanked Bush from the right in the 1992 election.  On the face of it, these events should have considerable bearing on the validity of the doctrinal framework for discussion of foreign policy and the factors that drive it. Once again, however, the impact was slight.

The Virus of Nationalism

To borrow Henry Kissinger’s terminology, independent nationalism is a 'virus' that might 'spread contagion.' Kissinger was referring to Salvador Allende’s Chile.  The virus was the idea that there might be a parliamentary path towards some kind of socialist democracy.  The way to deal with such a threat is to destroy the virus and to inoculate those who might be infected, typically by imposing murderous national security states. That was achieved in the case of Chile, but it is important to recognize that the thinking holds worldwide. 

It was, for example, the reasoning behind the decision to oppose Vietnamese nationalism in the early 1950s and support France’s effort to reconquer its former colony. It was feared that independent Vietnamese nationalism might be a virus that would spread contagion to the surrounding regions, including resource-rich Indonesia.  That might even have led Japan -- called the “superdomino” by Asia scholar John Dower -- to become the industrial and commercial center of an independent new order of the kind imperial Japan had so recently fought to establish.  That, in turn, would have meant that the U.S. had lost the Pacific war, not an option to be considered in 1950.  The remedy was clear -- and largely achieved. Vietnam was virtually destroyed and ringed by military dictatorships that kept the 'virus' from spreading contagion.

In retrospect, Kennedy-Johnson National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy reflected that Washington should have ended the Vietnam War in 1965, when the Suharto dictatorship was installed in Indonesia, with enormous massacres that the CIA compared to the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.  These were, however, greeted with unconstrained euphoria in the U.S. and the West generally because the 'staggering bloodbath,' as the press cheerfully described it, ended any threat of contagion and opened Indonesia’s rich resources to western exploitation. After that, the war to destroy Vietnam was superfluous, as Bundy recognized in retrospect.

The same was true in Latin America in the same years: one virus after another was viciously attacked and either destroyed or weakened to the point of bare survival.  From the early 1960s, a plague of repression was imposed on the continent that had no precedent in the violent history of the hemisphere, extending to Central America in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan, a matter that there should be no need to review.

Much the same was true in the Middle East.  The unique U.S. relations with Israel were established in their current form in 1967, when Israel delivered a smashing blow to Egypt, the center of secular Arab nationalism.  By doing so, it protected U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, then engaged in military conflict with Egypt in Yemen.  Saudi Arabia, of course, is the most extreme radical fundamentalist Islamic state, and also a missionary state, expending huge sums to establish its Wahhabi-Salafi doctrines beyond its borders.  It is worth remembering that the U.S., like England before it, has tended to support radical fundamentalist Islam in opposition to secular nationalism, which has usually been perceived as posing more of a threat of independence and contagion.

The Value of Secrecy

There is much more to say, but the historical record demonstrates very clearly that the standard doctrine has little merit. Security in the normal sense is not a prominent factor in policy formation.

To repeat, in the normal sense.  But in evaluating the standard doctrine we have to ask what is actually meant by 'security': security for whom?

One answer is: security for state power.  There are many illustrations.  Take a current one.  In May, the U.S. agreed to support a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in Syria, but with a proviso: there could be no inquiry into possible war crimes by Israel.  Or by Washington, though it was really unnecessary to add that last condition. The U.S. is uniquely self-immunized from the international legal system. In fact, there is even congressional legislation authorizing the president to use armed force to 'rescue' any American brought to the Hague for trial -- the 'Netherlands Invasion Act,' as it is sometimes called in Europe.  That once again illustrates the importance of protecting the security of state power.

But protecting it from whom? There is, in fact, a strong case to be made that a prime concern of government is the security of state power from the population.  As those who have spent time rummaging through archives should be aware, government secrecy is rarely motivated by a genuine for security, but it definitely does serve to keep the population in the dark.  And for good reasons, which were lucidly explained by the prominent liberal scholar and government adviser Samuel Huntington, the professor of the science of government at Harvard University.  In his words: 'The architects of power in the United States must create a force that can be felt but not seen. Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.'

He wrote that in 1981, when the Cold War was again heating up, and he explained further that 'you may have to sell [intervention or other military action] in such a way as to create the misimpression that it is the Soviet Union that you are fighting. That is what the United States has been doing ever since the Truman Doctrine.'

These simple truths are rarely acknowledged, but they provide insight into state power and policy, with reverberations to the present moment.

State power has to be protected from its domestic enemy; in sharp contrast, the population is not secure from state power.  A striking current illustration is the radical attack on the Constitution by the Obama administration’s massive surveillance program. It is, of course, justified by “national security.” That is routine for virtually all actions of all states and so carries little information. 

When the NSA’s surveillance program was exposed by Edward Snowden’s revelations, high officials claimed that it had prevented 54 terrorist acts.  On inquiry, that was whittled down to a dozen.  A high-level government panel then discovered that there was actually only one case: someone had sent $8,500 to Somalia. That was the total yield of the huge assault on the Constitution and, of course, on others throughout the world.

Britain’s attitude is interesting.  In 2007, the British government called on Washington’s colossal spy agency 'to analyze and retain any British citizens’ mobile phone and fax numbers, emails, and IP addresses swept up by its dragnet,' the Guardian reported.  That is a useful indication of the relative significance, in government eyes, of the privacy of its own citizens and of Washington’s demands.

Another concern is security for private power.  One current illustration is the huge trade agreements now being negotiated, the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic pacts. These are being negotiated in secret -- but not completely in secret. They are not secret from the hundreds of corporate lawyers who are drawing up the detailed provisions.  It is not hard to guess what the results will be, and the few leaks about them suggest that the expectations are accurate.  Like NAFTA and other such pacts, these are not free trade agreements.  In fact, they are not even trade agreements, but primarily investor rights agreements.

Again, secrecy is critically important to protect the primary domestic constituency of the governments involved, the corporate sector.

The Final Century of Human Civilization?

There are other examples too numerous to mention, facts that are well-established and would be taught in elementary schools in free societies.

There is, in other words, ample evidence that securing state power from the domestic population and securing concentrated private power are driving forces in policy formation.  Of course, it is not quite that simple.  There are interesting cases, some quite current, where these commitments conflict, but consider this a good first approximation and radically opposed to the received standard doctrine.

Let us turn to another question: What about the security of the population? It is easy to demonstrate that this is a marginal concern of policy planners. Take two prominent current examples, global warming and nuclear weapons. As any literate person is doubtless aware, these are dire threats to the security of the population.  Turning to state policy, we find that it is committed to accelerating each of those threats -- in the interests of the primary concerns, protection of state power and of the concentrated private power that largely determines state policy.

Consider global warming.  There is now much exuberance in the United States about '100 years of energy independence' as we become 'the Saudi Arabia of the next century' -- perhaps the final century of human civilization if current policies persist. 

That illustrates very clearly the nature of the concern for security, certainly not for the population. It also illustrates the moral calculus of contemporary Anglo-American state capitalism: the fate of our grandchildren counts as nothing when compared with the imperative of higher profits tomorrow.

These conclusions are fortified by a closer look at the propaganda system.  There is a huge public relations campaign in the U.S., organized quite openly by Big Energy and the business world, to try to convince the public that global warming is either unreal or not a result of human activity.  And it has had some impact. The U.S. ranks lower than other countries in public concern about global warming and the results are stratified: among Republicans, the party more fully dedicated to the interests of wealth and corporate power, it ranks far lower than the global norm.

The current issue of the premier journal of media criticism, the Columbia Journalism Review, has an interesting article on this subject, attributing this outcome to the media doctrine of 'fair and balanced.' In other words, if a journal publishes an opinion piece reflecting the conclusions of 97% of scientists, it must also run a counter-piece expressing the viewpoint of the energy corporations.

That indeed is what happens, but there certainly is no “fair and balanced” doctrine. Thus, if a journal runs an opinion piece denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin for the criminal act of taking over the Crimea, it surely does not have to run a piece pointing out that, while the act is indeed criminal, Russia has a far stronger case today than the U.S. did more than a century ago in taking over southeastern Cuba, including the country’s major port -- and rejecting the Cuban demand since independence to have it returned.  And the same is true of many other cases.  The actual media doctrine is 'fair and balanced' when the concerns of concentrated private power are involved, but surely not elsewhere.

On the issue of nuclear weapons, the record is similarly interesting -- and frightening.  It reveals very clearly that, from the earliest days, the security of the population was a non-issue, and remains so.  There is no time here to run through the shocking record, but there is little doubt that it strongly supports the lament of General Lee Butler, the last commander of the Strategic Air Command, which was armed with nuclear weapons.  In his words, we have so far survived the nuclear age 'by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.' And we can hardly count on continued divine intervention as policymakers play roulette with the fate of the species in pursuit of the driving factors in policy formation.

As we are all surely aware, we now face the most ominous decisions in human history.  There are many problems that must be addressed, but two are overwhelming in their significance: environmental destruction and nuclear war. For the first time in history, we face the possibility of destroying the prospects for decent existence -- and not in the distant future.  For this reason alone, it is imperative to sweep away the ideological clouds and face honestly and realistically the question of how policy decisions are made, and what we can do to alter them before it is too late.

De feiten die Chomsky aandraagt, én de context waarin hij die feiten plaatst, wil Geert Mak bewust niet weten omdat ze niet passen in zijn hoopvolle en commercieel goed verkopende boodschap dat bijvoorbeeld de VS 'decennialang als ordebewaker en politieagent' van de wereld 'fungeerde.' Liever een leugen verkopen die een lucratieve bestseller oplevert dan de waarheid vertellen waardoor status en rijkdom als sneeuw voor de zon verdwijnen. Liever nu bekend en geprezen dan na je dood uitgelachen worden voor zoveel doortraptheid en onnozelheid.  En dus wordt op zaterdag 21 maart 2015 de 
Comenius-prijs uitgereikt aan iemand die zich op onderscheidende wijze inzet voor activiteiten op het gebied van educatie, zingeving en samenleving. In navolging van Robbert Dijkgraaf, Paul Schnabel en Louise Fresco wordt de Comenius-prijs in 2015 uitgereikt aan Geert Mak.

Dames en Heren, ik dank u voor uw aandacht, en welterusten. 

Geert Mak krijgt Comenius-prijs vanwege zijn 'activiteiten op het gebied van educatie, zingeving en samenleving.' De neoliberale zingeving, wel te verstaan. Ons prijst ons, net zolang tot het niet meer kan. En dan? Dan is men uitgelachen. Zo is het de hele geschiedenis geweest.


Zionists Telling Congress to Start War

Joe Biden To Miss Controversial Netanyahu Speech

Posted: Updated:

JOE BIDEN


WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden is expected to miss Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial address to a joint meeting of Congress because of foreign travel, Biden's office said Friday.
The announcement comes amid deep White House irritation over Netanyahu's decision to accept an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, without either party consulting the administration. The White House blasted the move as a breach of diplomatic protocol and said President Barack Obama would not meet with Netanyahu during next month's visit.
But Biden, as president of the Senate, would typically have attended a joint meeting of Congress, taking his familiar seat just behind the speaker's podium. Whether Biden would still carry out his ceremonial duties became the focus of increased speculation this week as some Democratic lawmakers said they planned to skip the March 3 speech.

On Friday, Biden's office confirmed that the vice president was expected to be abroad during Netanyahu's visit. Biden's office did not announce any details of where the vice president would be traveling, but insisted the unspecified trip had been in the works before the prime minister's speech was announced.
Biden has only missed one prior joint meeting of Congress: a 2011 address to lawmakers by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whose speech coincided with another overseas trip by the vice president.
Obama and Netanyahu have long had a tense relationship, in part because of the Israeli leader's skepticism of the U.S.-led nuclear negotiations with Iran. Netanyahu has backed congressional efforts to pass new sanctions on Iran during the negotiations, again putting him at odds with Obama, who has vowed to veto such legislation.
Biden had his own tense run-in with Netanyahu in 2010, when Israel announced new settlement construction in East Jerusalem while the vice president was in the country for meetings with the prime minister and other officials. The move infuriated the U.S., and then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the timing of the Israeli announcement "insulting."
Netanyahu's visit to Washington next month has its own timing issues, beyond Biden's travel plans. The prime minister will speak to Congress just three weeks before the deadline for the U.S. and its international partners to reach a framework nuclear agreement with Iran, one that could provide an outline for a more comprehensive deal to be finalized by late June.
Senate Democrats have agreed to withhold their support for sanctions legislation until after that March deadline.
Netanyahu will also arrive in Washington on the heels of Israel's March 17 election, sparking criticism that he is trying to use the visit to bolster his political prospects. The White House cited the close proximity of the election as the reason Obama won't meet with Netanyahu, saying the president wanted to avoid the appearance of taking sides.
At least three prominent Democratic lawmakers have vowed to skip the speech as well, saying they disapprove of Boehner's decision to invite the Israeli leader without consulting Obama. Reps. John Lewis of Georgia, G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon announced their decisions earlier this week.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the president believes individual members of Congress should make their own decisions about whether or not to attend.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/06/joe-biden-netanyahu-speech_n_6633888.html

Miko Peled

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When Everything You Know Is Not True
Miko Peled Debunking Jewish Myths 

"If Anybody here, came hoping to hear a balanced presentation, then they are going to be sorely disappointed. I say this, because a lot of the things that you are about to hear to night are difficult to hear."
“Miko Peled is a peace activist who dares to say in public what others still choose to deny. He has credibility, so when he debunks myths that Jews around the world hold with blind loyalty, people listen. Miko was born in Jerusalem in 1961 into a well known Zionist family. His grandfather, Dr. Avraham Katsnelson was a Zionist leader and signer on the Israeli Declaration of Independence. His father, Matti Peled was a young officer in the war of 1948 and a general in the war of 1967 when Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and the Sinai. http://mikopeled.com/
Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son, whose father was the renowned Israeli general Matti Peled, speaking in Seattle, October 1, 2012. 
Video Posted October 13, 2012

Mainstrea Media Lie. Here and Everywhere

The Shame of US Journalism Is the Destruction of Iraq, Not Fake Helicopter Stories

By Christian Christensen

February 06, 2015 "ICH" - "Bill Moyers"- The news that NBC’s Brian Williams was not, in fact, on a helicopter in 2003 that came under fire from an Iraqi Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) should come as a surprise to no one. Williams had repeated the lie on several occasions over the course of a decade until a veteran, who was on the actual helicopter that was attacked, had enough of Williams’ war porn and called the TV host out on Facebook. In a quite pathetic effort to cover his tracks, the anchor — who makes in excess of $10 million per year — claimed that his fairy tale was, in fact, “a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran and by extension our brave military men and women” who had served in Iraq. Twelve years, it seems, is enough time for Williams to confuse being on a helicopter that came under fire from an RPG with being on a helicopter that did not.
Given that Williams works for NBC, his participation in the construction of a piece of fiction during the US invasion and occupation of Iraq is apt. US network news, together with outlets such as CNN, aggressively cheer-led an invasionpredicated on a massive falsehood: the Iraqi possession of WMD. What is jarring, however, is the fact that Williams’ sad attempt to inject himself into the fabric of the violence is getting more ink and airplay than the non-existence of WMD did back in the early-to-mid 2000s: a lie that provided the justification for a military action that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.
From embedded journalists to ultra-militaristic news logos and music, US television news media were more than willing to throw gas on the invasion fire. “Experts” in the studio were invariably ex-generals looking to pad their pensions, while anti-war activists (who spoke for sizable portions of the US and UK populations back in 2003) were avoided like the plague. After all, what news organization wants to be tarred with the “peace” brush when flag-waiving jingoism sells so incredibly well? The one-sidedness of coverage, particularly in the US, bordered on the morally criminal.
Despite some limited soul-searching by journalists a decade after 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq about the abject failure of the US news to engage, in a truly critical fashion, with the falsehoods peddled by the Bush administration, the current focus on an inane untruth told by one celebrity news anchor has overshadowed the bigger picture about the US media and Iraq. And I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
In the post-9/11, pre-invasion period, US citizens proved to be spectacularly misinformed about the 9/11 attacks, Iraq, Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein and WMD. When the invasion began, many in the US simply had no clue about what was going on. Was that all the fault of the US media? No, but it’s fair to say a pretty large chunk of the responsibility lay at their feet. Then, once the bombing and street fighting became banal and lost its attractiveness to audiences and advertisers, most US media outlets simply abandoned an Iraq left to fend for itself in a vortex of violence, political instability and corruption. And, who wants to talk about that when you can write about Williams upping his War Zone Reporter street cred? But, if you do want to hear about violence in Iraq, you can rely on Fox News to suggest that this particular hell might also be a liberal conspiracy…
The number of Iraqi citizens who have died as a direct and indirect by-product of the US invasion is enough to populate a mid-sized US city, and thousands continue to die on a monthly basis in non-imaginary attacks.
Yet, here we are, over a decade later, still discussing celebrity fantasies. That isn’t just bad journalism, it’s an affront to all who lost their lives in a brutal and bloody deception. Williams is just sorry about the wrong thing.

Buying the War: How Big Media Failed Us


 

Worse Than Fascism?

Worse Than Fascism?

The contemporary U.S. model is some ways worse than classic or real historical fascism in advancing tyrannical imperial and state-capitalist goals.

By Paul Street
February 06, 2015 "ICH" - "Telesur"- - I’ve never been much for calling the United States (U.S.) “fascist,” something that a significant number of my fellow leftists and progressives like to do in a half-serious way. What do such progressives mean when they use that loaded and ugly term to describe the contemporary U.S.? In their more serious moments, the factors mentioned include a merging of corporate and state power; suppression of unions; a culture and vast apparatus of imperial militarism; celebration of violence and cruelty; nationalism; hostility to equality and democracy; demagogic appeals to a frustrated middle class; hatred of the weak and poor; attachment to tradition and hierarchy; the systematic subordination of racial and ethnic minorities; militarized policing; mass incarceration; the devaluation or erosion of basic civil liberties; and hostility to intellectuals, modern science, liberalism, and socialism.
I would be the first to acknowledge that all of these and other reactionary and authoritarian features and tendencies are all too terribly present in the contemporary U.S. I would add that certain American current events can take on a distinctly fascistic feel, as when paramilitary police crushed the Occupy encampments in Oakland, California and New York City in the fall of 2011 and terrorized locked-down Boston and Boston area residents after the Boston Marathon bombings in April of 2013; when Civil Rights protestors in Ferguson, Missouri faced graphic military-style police repression last summer; and when New York City police accused civil rights protestors and New York City’s liberal mayor of contributing to the murder of two NYPD officers last December. One could mention other examples.
Still, call me old fashioned and overly focused on European history, but I think it is misleading and even a little silly to call the U.S. “fascist.” Here, from historian Robert Paxton’s study Anatomy of Fascism (written largely with Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy in mind), is a useful if incomplete definition of fascism – the real thing – in interwar and WWII Europe:
“A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."
I would elaborate on Paxton’s characterization, adding the existence of a (typically “charismatic”) dictator embodying the “national will,” a strong component of Social Darwinian racism, disdain for elections and normal bourgeois-parliamentary procedures and institutions, the systematic physical destruction of working class organizations, harsh suppression of the Left, and a highly mobilized largely petit-bourgeois sociopolitical base deeply resentful of labor, leftists, and intellectuals and ready to fight and kill liberal, Left, and ethnic/racial others and enemies at home and abroad. I situate fascism within capitalism, seeing it as a product of societal tensions produced by the bourgeois order, as allied with the most reactionary wings of the elite business class, and as unwilling to fundamentally challenge capitalist ownership and direction of the economy.
Held up against these historically appropriate criteria, the United States today is certainly corporatist, imperialist, authoritarian, un- and even anti-egalitarian, objectively racist and sexist, and much more terrible to mention, but not really “fascist.” It has numerous dreadful overlaps with fascism and a number of significantly fascistic components (many if not most of its police agencies, the prison system, much of the U.S. military). But it has no ranting, all-powerful dictator. It has not abolished bourgeois elections and parties, preferring instead to uphold (not-so) “democratic” voting and elections at all levels of government.
Highly mobilized mass movements of nationalist right-wing shock troops do not crush the bones and skulls of liberals, leftists, pacifists, and trade unionists in the streets (or gather to undertake violent campaigns) of ethnic cleansing and war in the U.S. today. American elites, media, and politics make a great point of claiming to be “post-racial” and non-sexist (a first technically female president following two terms of a first technically Black president is a distinct possibility in 2016) and even in many cases gay-friendly. Radical leftists and others do not generally worry about getting beaten up by jackbooted rightist thugs when they speak on behalf of civil liberties, civil rights, ecological sustainability, electoral reform, peace, or even revolutionary socialism.
The hard right is not terribly mobilized or together in the U.S. today. The powers that be here seem to want the masses apolitical, privatized, distracted, divided, and individualized, concerned primarily with consumerism and personal pursuits. Angry white lower middle-class Americans are expected to channel their violent impulses into watching football and playing sadistic video games, not beating up leftists and fighting wars (only a tiny percentage of the population is enlisted in the military). Nationalism is significantly contained by the broader hegemony of corporate globalization, despite obvious tensions.
Dependent on the money of billionaire oil and gas baron Koch brothers and other elite funders, the Tea Party crowd is clueless and disinterested when it comes to building anything like a mass movement, fascist or otherwise. The top U.S. officeholders reach their positions through the slimy, timeworn, and plutocratic machinations of money, media, public relations, and dollar-drenched major party politics, not by deploying enforcers to shoot, club, burn, and bomb their opponents and civil society into submission.
If the U.S. today is “fascist,” its fascism is cooking on a low flame and distant burner. It exhibits a distinctly “inverted” (demobilized and neoliberal, plutocratic, “market”-mediated and corporate-managed) form of the disease that probably doesn’t deserve the use of the term unless the word drained of its basic historical essence.
To say this, however is not to offer anything remotely like grateful praise to the contemporary U.S., with its vicious, eco-cidal ruling class and its reigning sociopathic institutions. Under the “inverted totalitarianism" (U.S. political scientist Sheldon Wolin’s term) that is 21st century America’s “corporate-managed democracy” (Wolin again), many of the basic objectives of fascism – the defeat of unions and the working class, the degradation of democracy, the enforcement of hierarchy and savage inequality, racial subordination, the marginalization of the Left, racial divide and rule, militarization of society, and permanent arms and war economy – are achieved without the discomfort and uncertainly imposed by barking Fuhrers and marching brown-shirts. Chilling as it may sound to say, fascism would be redundant in the United States today. The U.S. ruling class doesn’t need it. It gets the same results with a different – more atomized, privatized, apathetic, consumerized, and “inverted” – model of authoritarian rule, one that makes an insistent and deceptive claim to be a great force for modern Western democracy, Enlightenment values (even if U.S. presidents end every major speech with “God Bless America”), and freedom at home and abroad.
One might even argue that the contemporary U.S. model is some ways worse than classic or real historical fascism in advancing tyrannical imperial and state-capitalist goals. Real-deal European fascism made no pretense of being anything other than authoritarian and anti-democratic. Its hostility to popular governance, civil liberties, social justice, parliamentary deliberation, social diversity, the Enlightenment, free thought and discourse (and more) was open and explicit. It was quite forthright, to say the least. There was no mistaking its vicious, top-down evil. You knew what you were dealing with – and if you forgot, jackbooted thugs were there to remind you.
Things are trickier and more complex with contemporary U.S. state-capitalist and imperial-corporate-financial-neoliberal authoritarianism, which is adept at wrapping itself in the false and illusory false flag of democracy.
Most U.S. intellectuals would no doubt be aghast at the notion that there is any way in which the contemporary U.S. “homeland” might be worse than fascism..Many would remind us of Hitler’s death camps, where six million Jews (along with countless others, including Gypsies, gays, Communists, socialists and Slavs) were systematically butchered by poison gassing and other appalling means. I understand the discomfort, and I repeat that I do not think it is accurate to describe America as fascist.
At the same time, I would urge those who might cite the Nazi Holocaust to question my argument to acknowledge that the contemporary American System is heir to monumental acts and processes of American genocide and mass atrocity at home (the Native American and Black Slavery Holocausts) and abroad (the millions of Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Laotian, Cambodian, Latin American, Iraqi, Afghan, Palestinian, and other civilians the U.S. military and its proxies have directly and indirectly killed since August of 1945). I also advise reflection on the massive crime of ecocide and omnicide being perpetrated by contemporary U.S. (and global) capital in soulless defiance of the ever more desperate findings, pleas, and recommendations of modern Earth science. Corporate- and Wall Street-managed America stands in the vanguard of anthropogenic global warming, “the leading issue of our or any time” (John Sonbanmatsu). Does this crime not amount to the attempted poison-gassing (carbon-gassing) unto death of, well, life on Earth – a transgression that promises to make even the almost unthinkable misdeeds of the ultimate fascist Hitler pale by comparison?

Paul Street’s latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014).
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