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IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE® NEWSLIST
http://www.irishfreedomcommittee.net/
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Subject: IRISH REPUBLICAN POW BIRTHDAYS - JANUARY
Date: Dec. 21, 2004

Please send birthday cards to the following Irish Republican prisoners whose birthdays are in the month of JANUARY:

JANUARY

Stiofan O Dalaigh, January 1, 1976, Serving 12 Years, from Fermanagh, Maghaberry Prison

Liam Grogan, January 1, 1977, Serving 22 years, from Kildare, Portlaoise Prison (No wing indicated)  

Alan Ryan, January 3, 1980, Serving 7 Years, from Dublin, Portlaoise Prison (E-4)

Alan Crowley, January 4, 1983, Held on Remand, Portlaoise Prison  (E4)

John Brady, January 31, 1969, Held on Remand, from Tyrone, Maghaberry Prison

Prison addresses are printed below. Airmail postage for a card from the United States costs 80 cents.

For more information please contact us at:
IFCPOWDept-at-irishfreedomcommittee.net (substitute @ for -at-)

+++++++++++++++++++++

PRISON ADDRESSES:

PORTLAOISE PRISON, Dublin Road, Portlaoise, Co. Laois, Ireland (Please 
indicate wing #)

MAGHABERRY PRISON, Upper Ballinderry Road, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, BT 28, 
Ireland


Go raibh maith agat;

The Irish Freedom Committee®
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SUPPORT IRISH REPUBLICAN POWS
JOIN THE IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE!

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IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE® NEWSLIST
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Subject: Marian Price interview: Old Bailey bomber ashamed of Sinn Fein
Date: Weds. Dec. 08, 2004


The Village
December 7, 2004

Old Bailey bomber ashamed of Sinn Fein
Suzanne Breen

A well-dressed, articulate, middle-aged woman, Marian Price wouldn't look out of place on a Sinn Féin negotiating team meeting Tony Blair or Bertie Ahern. 

But she'd face jail and hunger-strike all over again rather than take part:"I would be ashamed to be on any delegation to Downing Street given what’s on the table. The only reason for going there should be to negotiate the freedom of our country. 

"If I went to agree to British rule, restoring Stormont, or signing up to a partitionist police force, I'd hope at least to have the decency to hang my head in shame." 

The last time Price visited London was to blow it up. With her sister Dolours and Gerry Kelly, now a Sinn Féin negotiator, she was part of an 11-strong IRA unit which in March 1973 planted bombs at the Old Bailey, New Scotland Yard, Whitehall, and the British Forces Broadcasting Office. 

They were arrested attempting to fly home from Heathrow Airport. A 200-day hunger-strike and force-feeding regime made the sisters household names. "I did what I believed in," Price says. "Nothing Provisional IRA or Sinn Féin leaders do can denigrate that. 

"But I'm very angry when I see so much has been sacrificed for so little. All these lives have been lost - IRA volunteers, civilians, policemen, British soldiers - and for what? If this is what they’re settling for, we all could have joined the SDLP back then." 

Price (50) came from a staunch republican family in west Belfast. She believes IRA membership is too often explained away as an emotional response to events: "I made an ideological choice to join. It wasn't a reaction to Bloody Sunday, internment or anything else." 

Her childhood ambition was to be a nurse. She left school with a string of 'O' and 'A' levels and secured one of only five places on a course at the Royal Victoria Hospital. She denies there was a huge contradiction between IRA membership and nursing. 

"One day, a wounded British soldier was brought into casualty. He was wearing a dirty vest. He looked frightened. I felt very sorry for him. That night, I told my comrades and one joked that I should have finished him off. 

"I asked why on earth I'd do that. He was no longer a soldier, he'd been taken out of the battlefield. He was a patient now, I'd have no difficulty looking after him." 

The bombing mission was the Provisional IRA's first to England. The idea and planning came from the sisters. Price travelled on the Dublin-Liverpool ferry with one of the four car bombs which was then driven to London. 

Did she never consider the morality of planting bombs in densely populated areas?: "The warnings given were twice as long as in Belfast. That was a conscious decision because we knew the English lacked experience of evacuation. We didn't want civilian casualties, from a moral or pragmatic viewpoint." 

Yet there were casualties. Two bombs were defused but those at the Old Bailey and Whitehall exploded, injuring 200 people, mainly with flying glass. Price expresses regret but says the injuries "weren’t intentional". 

"I've never had a sleepless night over anything I've done as an IRA volunteer. Bombs are weapons of war. Western states have used them far more brutally than we ever did. 

"George Bush and Tony Blair send other people's sons out to die without ever venturing onto the battlefield themselves. They drop far bigger bombs from B52s on women and children and they don't give any warnings at all." Price is an atheist: "When I look around the world, I think if there’s a God, he's a bad God." 

After her arrest at Heathrow, she was interrogated for five days. "I was stripped in the police station and given a grey blanket to wear. I was embarrassed because there were a lot of policemen about and I was sexually innocent. 

"They used no physical violence but I wasn't let sleep once. The lights were kept on in my cell and the police were there at all times. If I started to doze off, they clapped their hands." 

She remained remarkably unfazed: "I remember a detective saying to me, ‘I bet your mother will be proud of you' and I thought 'yes, she will be very proud of me'. My father was on a bombing mission to England in the forties, so it was a family tradition." 

The sisters were charged and moved to Brixton prison. They were strip-searched daily and locked 23-hours a day in cells where again the lights were permanently on. 

As a 19-year-old facing potential life imprisonment in England, wasn’t she depressed?:"It never entered my head. I'd known what I believed in and the risks involved. 

"My mother, her sisters, and my granny had been in Cumann na mBan. My Aunt Bridie was badly injured lifting an IRA arms dump in the 30s. It exploded and she lost her hands and sight. She was 26. 

"When we were growing up, it was never a case of 'poor Bridie'. We were just proud of her sacrifice. She came home from hospital to a wee house with an outside toilet, no social worker, no disability allowance, and no counselling. She just got on with it." 

Price claims that during their 1973 trial, the bombers learned they had been compromised by a high-placed informer in Belfast who knew all the details but didn't take part in the operation. 

"It emerged in court that customs at Liverpool realised one of the cars had false number plates. They phoned Scotland Yard but were told to wave it through. 

"The authorities allowed the bombs to happen. They had details of the operation in advance that could only have come from a senior figure in Belfast. We learned that photos of Dolours and I had been circulated at airports and ports across Britain nine hours before the bombs exploded,” 
says Price. 

She claims that during the trial they agreed it would be less damaging for the IRA if they appeared "young, stupid and incompetent", rather than publicly exposing an informer. She claims to know the identity of the alleged informer whom, she says, remains in a leadership position. 

The Price sisters, Gerry Kelly and Hugh Feeney went on hunger-strike in Brixton prison in November 1973 as part of a campaign to be repatriated to serve their sentences in Northern Ireland. 

"Four male prison officers tie you into the chair so tightly with sheets you can't struggle," says Price. "You clench your teeth to try to keep your mouth closed but they push a metal spring device around your jaw to prise it open. 

"They force a wooden clamp with a hole in the middle into your mouth. Then, they insert a big rubber tube down that. They hold your head back. You can't move. 

"They throw whatever they like into the food mixer - orange juice, soup, or cartons of cream if they want to beef up the calories. They take jugs of this gruel from the food mixer and pour it into a funnel attached to the tube. 

"The force-feeding takes 15 minutes but it feels like forever. You're in control of nothing. You're terrified the food will go down the wrong way and you won't be able to let them know because you can't speak or move. You're frightened you'll choke to death." 

Price was force-fed 400 times over six months. "I knew nothing about force-feeding beforehand," says Price. "I thought it was like when you hold a baby's nose and put a spoon in its mouth. Ignorance was bliss." 

After the sisters went on hunger-strike, the British Home Office dispatched eminent psychiatrist Peter Scott to examine them. "He said he’d been sent to certify us so we could be force-fed. He left saying we knew exactly what we were doing and the problem was we were too sane,” 
Price says. 

They built a good rapport with Dr Ian Blythe, the prison doctor: "He called us 'my girls'. As the hunger-strike went on, he arm-wrestled with us, pretending it was a game but really testing us to see how much we were weakening." 

Dolours was first to be force fed, three weeks into the hunger-strike. "I met her in the exercise yard afterwards. She was in a terrible state. She said it she couldn't go through that again. I told her she didn't have to, she could come off the hunger-strike immediately, but I'd stay on. 

"She said we'd come off together or not at all. She was much braver than me because she was so much more afraid of force-feeding yet she didn't give in." Two days later, Marian was force-fed. 

While Dolours endured the procedure once a day, Marian suffered it twice daily because she vomited so often afterwards. "I always threw up when they pulled the tube out of my stomach. It was vile. I would be exhausted afterwards but you couldn't even lie in bed in your cell in privacy because the screws came in with you. 

"Sometimes when they arrived to force feed me, I would struggle; other times I didn't have the energy to fight. The low point was having no control over your weight. But not for one minute did I think of giving up. They were never, ever going to break me." 

One day, a doctor put the tube into Price's lung, not her stomach, and water flooded in. "I felt like I was drowning. I passed out. They carried me back to my cell. The doctors were standing over me when I came round. If had been food, not water in the tube, it would have killed me. The medical and prison staff told the authorities they wouldn't force feed me again." 

A fortnight after that incident in May 1974, the hunger-strike ended and a deal was reached. The sisters were moved to Armagh prison the following March. 

The British Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, was loathed by republicans for his treatment of the hunger-strikers. Price says she doesn't hate him: "He was caught up in the politics of the situation. He followed orders. I once asked the psychiatrist Peter Scott who knew him to invite him to Brixton to visit us. He said he wouldn't come because if he met us, he’d want to send us home." 

Price was freed after five years in Armagh jail, suffering from anorexia and tuberculosis. Ten-and-a-half stone when she was arrested, she left prison half that weight. 

On release from jail, she says she was in no physical or mental state to rejoin the IRA and had no interest in a Sinn Féin career: "I like politics but not politicians. To be a politician, you must be a liar and a hypocrite." 

Still, she was initially positive about Sinn Féin's rise, believing it would strengthen the IRA campaign: "I remember watching TV as Sinn Féin swept down the stairs in Belfast City Hall with Tricolour ribbons and champagne after an election victory. 

"My father was disgusted. He pointed to Gerry Adams and said, 'I've been around longer than you, that boy will sell you out'. I told him to give Sinn Féin a chance. I was wrong." 

From 1994, Price had "serious concerns" about the leadership's political direction but "loyalty to the movement" kept her quiet. Eventually, she spoke at one 'republican family' meeting in west Belfast, expressing doubts. A senior IRA member visited her home: "He told me what I was saying wasn't appreciated and he'd shot people for less." 

She claims the republican movement underwent a transformation: "People began to make financial gain from the movement. Those who had never worked a day in their lives, now had better homes, cars, and holidays than their neighbours. 

"It used to be what you could do for the movement, now it's what the movement can do for you. In the past, to be a republican brought financial hardship. But that was okay because to be a republican was to be something special. You knew you were right." 

Price says that while the peace process has secured "a measure of equality" for Catholics, a British withdrawal and the ending of partition is further away than ever. 

Five years ago, she joined the 32 County Sovereignty Movement which security sources say is the Real IRA's political wing, a claim the group denies. She says her military days are over but she won't condemn others "for doing what I did myself". 

She claims 'armed struggle' is morally justified "while the British occupy part of this country". The Real IRA has proved itself incapable of waging a sustained campaign against the state and lacks popular support. Physical force republicanism has never been weaker in recent decades. 

Price refuses to recognise 'armed struggle' is now pointless: "Sometimes it’s necessary to do something just to let it be known there are people out there who don't accept the status quo. 

"Being a minority of a minority is nothing new for republicans. You don’t join for an easy life or to be popular. As a child, I remember 50 people at an Easter parade on the Falls Road." 

Despite everything, she has no regrets: "Disappointments maybe. I’m disappointed in Gerry Kelly. I expected more of him but I'd never detract from the physical bravery he showed. Gerry Adams and I were once friends. We certainly aren't now. He may have difficulty admitting his IRA past but I'm very, very proud of mine." 

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This article appears in the December 4, 2004 edition of the Village 
<http://www.villagemagazine.ie/>.


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IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE® NEWSLIST
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Subject: Colm Murphy appeals begin on 45 counts
Date: Dec. 08, 2004


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Murphy appeals Omagh conviction 

07 December 2004 17:32 
Lawyers for Colm Murphy have begun an appeal against his Omagh bombing conviction. 

Murphy, 51, is serving a 14-year sentence for conspiring to cause explosions that killed 29 people in August 1998. He is the only person convicted in the case. 

However, his lawyers have launched 45 grounds of appeal, some based on the fact that two garda detectives were found to have falsified interview notes. 

Colm Murphy arrived from prison amid tight security for the appeal hearing that is expected to last at least three days. 

He was found to have provided two mobile phones used by the bombers who carried out the Omagh attack. This finding was backed up by verbal admissions to gardaí and by mobile phone records. 

However, Michael O'Higgins SC said ESDA tests revealed that a garda interrogation team rewrote its interview notes after realising it had inserted a false statement concerning Murphy's wife. 

The false statement has suggested that his wife was a sister of a woman associated with a Real IRA figure. 

Mr O'Higgins said the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four appeals had been won with the results of ESDA tests that proved police had lied. 

He said the Special Criminal Court had dismissed the testimony of the two officers involved but failed to give any evidence to show that other officers had not been contaminated by their perjury. 


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IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE® NEWSLIST
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Subject: Christmas Cards to Irish Political Prisoners
Date: Dec. 07, 2004

Please send Christmas cards to Irish Political Prisoners in Britain and Ireland this weekend! Writing cards is a small effort anybody can make to bring a great boost in morale to an Irish republican locked up for the Christmas holidays. It is also an enormous help to the families left behind to know that we are here in the US and we have not forgotten the sacrifices their loved ones have made.

Christmas cards can be purchased in bulk packs of 15 to 18 for under $10.00 at most discount stores. Your message doesn't have to be long or involved, even just a signature will do if you're pressed for time. Include your address INSIDE the card if you would like a reply (envelopes are not given to the prisoner). Make sure to address each card individually with the prisoners name on the inside of each card.

Please see a list of sentenced prisoners HERE.  Please note several new additions and some address changes.

You will need a total of 70 cards for this list – one for each named prisoner, and one group card each for “Remand Prisoners” at Portlaoise on wings E-2 and E-4, and “Remand Prisoners”  at Maghaberry for Roe 3/4 (total 3x "Remand" cards - indicate wing or landing).

A single stamp to Ireland or North Ireland costs .80¢; or you can place all cards going to each prison ( Portlaoise, Maghaberry, etc.) into a large envelope, separating Wings E2, E4, Roe 3+4, etc,  POWs --(ask us more here)-- and mail them Airmail Letter Post, or Global Priority at the post office for a few dollars more. A link is provided below for the US Postal Service for parcel rates and delivery times.

If you have questions regarding sending Christmas cards or small gifts to Irish political please email the Irish Freedom Committee POW Dept. here

Christmas blessings to you and your families!

Beannachtaí na Nollag



The Irish Freedom Committee® 
www.irishfreedomcommittee.net

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IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE® NEWSLIST
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Subject: IFC at JERICHO NYC this weekend
Date: Monday, December 06, 2004

A reminder for supporters in the NYC area:

A representative from the Irish Freedom Committee has been invited to participate in the Safiya Bukhari International Human Rights Weekend, sponsored by the Jericho Movement, this weekend in New York City. All events are open to the public.

Events are scheduled as follows:
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FRIDAY DEC. 10, 2004
7 PM to 10 PM

CULTURAL EVENING IN SOLIDARITY WITH POLITICAL PRISONERS WORLD-WIDE


John Jay College of Criminal Justice
445 West 59 Street, Manhattan
Lecture Hall 1311-N
(Between 9 & 10 Ave.)

The Irish Freedom Committee will have a table dedicated to Irish Republican POWs with informational material as well as artwork and poetry by today’s Irish Republican POWs

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SATURDAY DEC. 11, 2004
2 PM to 5 PM

DEMONSTRATION AND RALLY IN SUPPORT OF POLITICAL PRISONERS WORLDWIDE

Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
47th St. & 1st Ave.

The Irish Freedom Committee will participate in a Rally and Protest in support of Irish Republican POWs and will speak on ongoing human rights violations in Irish and British jails to republican POWs held for their rightful belief in a United, Sovereign, 32-County Irish Republic.
Look for our banner and flags and join us!

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SUNDAY DEC. 12, 2004

Working meeting for Political Prisoner/POW activists

9 AM – 2 PM

Location TBA
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Jericho Movement
http://www.thejerichomovement.com/

For more information please visit the Irish Freedom Committee website or contact us at info-at-irishfreedomcommittee.net (substitute @ for -at-)


The Irish Freedom Committee®
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IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE® NEWSLIST
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Subject: Three arrests following raids
Date: Dec. 6, 2004

Irish Independent
December 6, 2004


'Foiled: IRA bomb outrage to spoil deal '

Tom Brady 
Security Editor 

GARDAI last night disrupted plans by republicans to wreck the (so-called)peace process in the North with a major new bombing campaign. 

The new offensive was to have been mounted by the Real IRA to coincide with an expected agreement on the restoration of power-sharing government. 

Three key republican suspects were in Garda custody after a series of raids on the homes of republicans across the State. 

The house raids followed an anti-terrorist operation in which a car travelling from Dublin to Donegal was stopped by armed gardai in Edgeworthstown. 

Inside the car detectives found eight timers to have been used in bombs and arrested two suspects, from Dublin and Donegal. 

A third man was detained late last night in Inchicore in Dublin and further house searches were carried out in the capital, Donegal and Mullingar. 

The operation, which involved the Special Branch, Emergency Response Unit, National Surveillance Unit and Donegal gardai, had been under way for several days. 

A senior anti-terrorist officer said: "The most significant aspect of this operation is that we have disrupted plans by a group of the Real IRA based in Derry and Donegal for a new bombing campaign that was due to have got under way almost immediately. 

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IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE® NEWSLIST
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Subject: Derry man target of MI5 harassment in Spain
Date: Dec. 3, 2004

For more please see the STATEMENT below from Sean Burns.

The Irish Freedom Committee®
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Derry Journal
Friday 3rd December 2004 

Derry Man In MI5 Spanish Sting Operation

Prominent Derry solicitor Paddy MacDermott says it appears armed British security agents are operating in a foreign country after a local republican currently living in Spain claimed that he was approached by MI5 this week in an intricate operation he believes was designed to get information from him. 

Mr. MacDermott, whose client was the man approached, said he had been in contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Spanish authorities about what he said was a "deeply disturbing' incident." 

He told the 'Journal': "This is a deeply disturbing incident in which a Derry republican was approached by armed individuals in Spain who claimed to be from MI5. 

"I have been in contact with the Spanish authorities over what appears to be members of the British security services operating in a foreign country and I want to know who authorised this operation." 

The Derry republican, who asked not to be named in order to protect family members still living in the city, described his ordeal. 

He told the 'Journal': "I have been working in this small mountain village in Catalonia for the past couple of days restoring an old house. "On Wednesday about 2 p.m. I went to a local bar for some coffee and lunch. As I was sitting there I heard an English accent calling me by name and I turned and saw a couple in their 30's with three bottles of beer. 

"I assumed they wanted some work done as English speaking builders are hard to find." 

He went on: "No sooner had they sat down the man said quite calmly, 'We work for MI5,' at the same time moving his jacket to show a gun. I immediately put the beer down and got up to leave telling them to go 'f - -themselves.'" 

The Derry man said that as he headed towards the door he noticed two other men sitting at another table, one of whom he had seen earlier in the day loitering near where he was working. 

He added: "As I went towards the door I noticed the English couple were coming behind me. The man said: 'Don't worry we're not going to follow you, we just want a quick chat outside.' 

"I stopped and instead went to talk to the barman as I knew they would not want witnesses." 

The man said he then phoned the Spanish police to tell them that he had been approached by an armed man and was told the police would be there shortly. 

The Derry man said that he then got angry and left the bar and had words with the people who had approached him. 

He said: "I told them to go home, that the Empire was over and that Spain was not British. As I followed them two more men appeared from a side street talking on a radio and in total I noticed seven people working in a team." 

The Derry man said that he was a republican but had never been convicted of anything. 

He added: "The only thing I can think of is that when I was in Derry I worked for the prisoners. 

"I would advise anyone if they are approached in this manner to make it clear that they do not want to talk to these people, contact their solicitor and the media." 

The Derry man has been in contact with the Spanish police who arrived on the scene shortly after the incident and he gave them the number of the car used by some of the group who approached him.


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IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE® NEWSLIST
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Subject: Human Rights group condemns harassment of Derryman by MI5
Date: Dec. 3, 2004

STATEMENT below from Sean Burns International spokesperson for an widely recognized human rights group.

The Irish Freedom Committee®
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Press Release

Contact: Seán Burns (International Dept.) 

Date: 3/12/04. 


(We) totally condemn the harassment of a Derryman by MI5 in Spain earlier this week. 

This man worked tirelessly with (prisoners' welfare organization) on behalf of Republican prisoners before going to Spain to work. 

He was approached by two armed MI5 agents in a bar in a small village in the mountains of Catalonia last Wednesday. They were backed-up by a further five armed agents. 

Their purpose was to try to get this man to work for them as an agent on his return to Derry. The man had the good sense to tell them he wanted nothing to do with them and to then leave the bar. 

He has already contacted his family solicitor in Derry about the matter. 
We ... would ask is it now the norm for armed British agents to operate with impunity in whichever country they choose contrary to International law and, despite having the most draconian laws ever, why do they find it necessary to try to recruit agent provocateurs to ensnare Republicans in Ireland. 

We have seen this in operation with the American David Rupert in Dublin and more recently in many cases in the Belfast courts where only the excellent work of dedicated lawyers ensured other Republicans were not sent to prison at the behest of British agents. 

It will be interesting to watch if any action is taken by either the Spanish Government over the violation of its territory or the Dublin government over the hounding of one of its citizens while abroad.


ENDS


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