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Under Lock & Key

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[Organizing] [Campaigns] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Hunger Strike a Shot Across Bow of CDCR Battleship

The recent mass hunger strike got the prisoncrats' attention even though the prisoncrats seek to downplay or minimize the success of the strike by spoon feeding the media. In particular, their Sacramento Bee spin doctor stooge accepts the official representations which contain very few facts mixed with the typical misleading, provocative and confusing innuendo so as to perpetuate their coined myths.

The public is gullible and must be constantly educated to see through muddy water. Such has been the case for years because of the assumption that government officials and law enforcement allegedly have their safety, security and best interests at the forefront when it's really all about the money or budget. The CDCR purveys to the public that the most dangerous and supposedly most hardened prison gang leaders called for the hunger strike even though they also claim that the modus operandi of gangs are violence and intimidation which is totally contrary to the utilization of a passive non-violent form of protest which requires self restraint and determination.

The secretary, Matthew Cate, stated in a CDCR prepared statement that "hunger strikes are dangerous and ineffective as a means for prisoners to attempt to negotiate." Yet, the administrative appeal process is also dangerous and ineffective as each level rubber stamps the arbitrary decision of the prior level. Even when the decision was obviously in error and a threat to prisoner health and safety, they refuse to accept responsibility and accountability.

What the secretary has not said is that the hunger strike by masses of prisoners have in fact overwhelmed the prison medical department with additional medical expense to an already overburdened prison healthcare system. The strikers pose a more significant problem for the prisoncrats' budget than the shooting and gassing of violent prisoners in prison uprisings or even non-violent prisoners who are also shot, gassed/sprayed and beat with zeal as prisoncrats claim they were a threat to institutional security [see grievance campaign].

Prisoncrats, as any conscious prisoner should know, could not care less about the health of prisoners. They do care about the expense of providing constitutional mandated medical care. Therefore we should question the prisoncrats' claim to have had plans since January to review and change some policies, which were only revealed to us after weeks of food strikes.

Prisoncrats tend to take full advantage of the divide and conquer concept and are at their best when they are able to pit the lumpen divisions against each other for amusement or distraction which is why one should be suspicious of any claim by the prisoncrats to want to eliminate what they have for years encouraged and perpetuated in the penal system to justify the excessive prison budget.

The mass hunger strike may have only lasted 20 days, but it was like a shot across the bow of the CDCR's battleship by an enemy they can not justifiably target with all their massive violent resources and infrastructure. Yes the mass hunger strike got the prisoncrats' attention and their immediate response was to again expand the censorship of information prisoners receive so as to keep us unaware of what's going on. However, it also got their budgetary attention via their healthcare pocketbook.

The hunger strike also got the attention of the CCPOA which realizes that such strikes benefit the SEIU who are gaining more clout in the prison system and custody staff have effectively been rendered impotent as they do not have a real or effective contingency for dealing with non-violent forms of protest that they can not counteract or employ violence to suppress and to that extent the mass hunger strike was a success.


MIM(Prisons) responds:
Many are writing in disappointed with the outcome of the California hunger strike so far. But as this comrade points out, the strategy of the hunger strikers was effective in a number of ways. And as the CDCR is given a "brief grace period," as one of the strike initiators called it, we are regrouping. There are many who just found out about the strike as it was happening. If the CDCR continues to drag its feet on making any real changes, as we all expect they will, we should see an even stronger and more widespread response from prisoners across California and beyond. Of course, CDCR is regrouping as well, and we must guard against efforts to trick prisoners into thinking they do not share the same conditions and the same enemies.

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[Organizing] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 22]
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HDSP USW report: Pigs Bribe Prisoners Not to Strike

Here's an update on what's going on at High Desert State Prison: A second Correctional Officer was busted for bringing in drugs and phones. Boby Joe Corby was arrested for accepting $10,000 for that. And we just had an Afrikan national overdose on heroin 3 days ago.

The pigs here were feeding us double the amount of food to prevent us from going on the hunger strike - it only lasted a couple of days (July 1 - 3).

I have been doing a lot of organizing to unite the nations captive in these U.$. warehouses. A lot of my homies tell me I am crazy because I want to revolutionize my mentality, as well as my fellow brothaz, from criminal to revolutionary, to stand up and fight for true freedom.

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[Organizing] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Ad-Seg Joins Pelican Bay Hunger Strike July 8

hunger strike outreach san quentin
Hunger strike supporters outreach to visiting friends and family as hunger strike begins.
We in facility "A" Ad-Seg Unit A1 will be following suit with a hunger strike July 8 2011, one week after the Secure Housing Unit (SHU) strike begins here at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP). Your support would be highly appreciated.

I am requesting to be provided the PBSP SHU strike campaign update with flier. Any information that you could assist in this endeavor would be greatly appreciated.

Letters or phone calls made in support of the abolishment of these foul, inhumane and unsanitary living conditions would be highly appreciated.

Thank you. Could you please forward most recent Under Lock & Key.

Thank you.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We have received news from other A units in Pelican Bay that they are going to be participating in the hunger strike as well. Isolation is so severe in Pelican Bay that many had not heard of the strike until receiving our notice, but word is spreading through many avenues and supporters on the outside and support is strong and growing.

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[Organizing] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Using ULK to Help Organize and Fight Oppressive Conditions

The ULK will be a great help to me and others to promote education, unity, and legitimate struggle among prisoners in my area. This is an ongoing and continuous task/duty that I, and a few others, have accepted. We need informational and motivational materials such as ULK to help enlighten and recruit others.

One recent example of success: the administration at this facility recently turned off all electricity to the wing I'm housed on - a disciplinary type wing - in violation of state policy, and took all personal fans. I managed to get 3 prisoners to file grievances and 6 to sign an affidavit, which I sent to outside agencies. It took 2 months, but last week the electricity was turned back on and fans were returned.

But, of course, my fan wasn't returned because I was moved to a lower level of housing where there isn't even an outlet. This is my next task, getting outlets in all cells. Additionally, these cells now have padlocks on the doors, in violation of state fire safety codes. I'm in the process of recruiting others to act on that issue as well.

Regarding the petitions against corrupt grievance processes noted on page 12 of the ULK, would you please send me several of them? I've been trying to work on that issue - I have documentation that clearly shows the inadequacy of the process - and the petition might be a great help. I will recruit others to send them.

Thanks so much for the ULK and the motivation.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Write us to get a copy of the grievance petition for your state if you reside in California, Missouri, Oklahoma or Texas, or a generic petition that you can customize for your state if you are anywhere else.

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[Organizing]
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I am We! Kill Me for My People

Kill Me for My People
Engulfed in the day to day war of oppressed against oppressor, sometimes the pressures can be overwhelming, especially in these concentration camps of the united $nakes (prisons). If you're not blind you can clearly see on the faces of our brothers the lack of dignity and the lack of hope. You can hear when they speak, that their spirits have been crushed and ambition has been washed away along with the privilege and rights entitled to them as men at birth.

But why? We have accepted these oppressive conditions, almost embracing them as if they belong to us. We've grown accustomed to the establishment's evil ways and put it off as if nothing can be done about them. In a way we have sold our souls and hope is in constant suffering because of this. Where are the elders? Where is the hope? Did the hope die along with the revolutionaries of the past who were brave enough to protest and take a stand against the establishment, later being assassinated because they did? If so, then the future of the people is in question.

The future of the people is of no success without the hope and bravery of the people now! The future of the people is determined by the immediate actions of the people. There is honestly no more time to waste. Wasted time means wasted lives and enough of our peoples lives have already been taken not just by the hands of the oppressor but by reactionary suicide which of course is because of the oppressor.

Many of us, just like Huey P. Newton in the earlier stages of his life, have been searching. Searching for meaning. The meaning of life. Huey recognized, there is no meaning to life unless there is something to die for. To die for the people is what he later discovered as being his role in life. The people being his meaning for life.

He, along with many others influenced by him, put their lives on the line, for the lives of their people. He knew long after his death, that the conditions of the oppressed will continue unless there was social change. Change in which he set out to make. Not fearing death but accepting it as his fate by the hands of the oppressor, for a new life for his people.

So you may ask, what is your role? If you are a brother like myself, oppressed, exploited, victim of racism, victim of Amerikanism, which we all are, then I say our role is the same as brother Huey's was. Why wouldn't it be? Knowing that these conditions will not change unless we the people oppose the oppressive forces, then what more could our role be in life? What has more meaning to life than pursuing liberty and happiness? If not for thy people then at least for thyself, which would ultimately catapult amongst the people. I see no other role adequate.

But this is where the problem occurs. Many brothers are aware of the oppressive conditions. But yet grown so used to them that they are "normal" within our communities. I assure you that it is not normal. If it was then there wouldn't be classes of society, in which we are in fact the lowest class.

As humans, we are mistreated and unrecognized (along with our social needs). We are underprivileged, we are undereducated, we are underpaid, we are poorly housed and we are under attack by the hands of the government, through forces of oppression caused by capitalism and racism. Yet some feel it is unnecessary to take a stand. I beg to differ, I feel it is a necessity. With no stand, there's no future. We must liberate ourselves.

To die for the people, literally means to be suicidal. This is how Huey came up with the name of his book, Revolutionary Suicide. It is almost impossible to remain alive living as a revolutionary, because revolutionaries are objects of sacrifice for their people.

A revolutionary may not be fortunate to see the revolution since it is not an action but a process. But during their lives they advance the people towards a revolution, probably dying in the process.

Do not mistake revolutionary suicide with reactionary suicide, which is ultimately taking your own life due to the overwhelmingness of oppression or engaging in action caused by your reaction that will also ultimately lead you to death.

History shows us that revolutionaries are often assassinated at the hands of the oppressors they oppose for having influence over the masses, therefore preventing a revolution and or revolutionary advancement (raising people's conscience) etc. I think it is cowardly to see brothers who have been murdered as the sacrifice of my liberty to ignore their cause because of the dangers. We will die, but we will die for our people and that alone gives meaning to our life. Some are born just to die. These people have no meaning of life. Revolutionaries are awoken to die for the cause of bringing meaning to life.

We see that they assassinated MLK. We see that they assassinated Malcolm X. We see that they assassinated Mark Clark, Fred Hampton, Bobby Hutton, attempts on Huey and all because of the brave roles that were necessary for the liberation of the people. I accept my role as a young revolutionary which is why I coined this very phrase "kill me for my people."

I am we is an old saying that our ancestors used when asked "who are you?" "I am we" they would respond. "I, we, all of us are then and the multitude." This is revolutionary suicide.


MIM(Prisons) adds: For more on the Black Panther Party and Huey Newton, check out the Newspaper Archives.

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[Organizing] [ULK Issue 22]
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Debating the Violent Nature of the Lumpen

After having the pleasure of reading ULK 20, I would like to opine concerning some of its contents. While I found numerous articles to be informative and inspiring. I really want to focus on the letter entitled SMU Used to Prevent Activism and the subsequent response from MIM(Prisons).

The letter was written by a federal prisoner, and, among other things, he expressed discontent with the fact that many gang members in the BOP who have been subjected to the SMU program have been broken by it and failed to carry out strategies to thwart the oppressive system. Furthermore, most of these gang members are quick to engage one another in physical combat; however, reluctant to attack the real enemy with similar ferociousness. The prisoner then gave a call for "hard-core, guerilla, strategic revolutionary action" aimed at the "pigs."

MIM(Prisons) responded by expressing a disapprobation of the call for "hard-core, guerilla, strategic revolutionary action," saying that, at this time in imperialist countries the conditions are not ripe for armed struggle. This opinion was based on an analysis of history and current conditions.

Though I concede that overall the masses in america may not be ready for armed struggle, I don't believe the class of people that the prisoner pointed out (i.e. gang members in prison) should be discouraged from physically assailing those holding them in captivity. In prison, the oppression that one experiences is a lot more cruel than what people in society endure. And many of the gang members have the potential to formulate the vanguard needed to lead to coup. They already know how to unite, possess warrior spirits, and have displayed defiance toward the government, even if just through criminal behavior.

Keep in mind, we're not talking about the Boy Scouts here. We're talking about some of the most murderous and gladiatorial individuals america has ever created. One way or another, these gang members are going to fight violently. Not only because of their natures, but because the harsh conditions of prison life will cause them to. And I think it best that, rather than continue exterminating each other, they federate and become america's Frankenstein.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We disagree with this writer's assumption that members of lumpen organizations are violent by "nature." It is the imperialist system that forces the oppressed into organizations for self-defense and preservation. People's "nature" is not innate, it is created by their environment. And even imperialists can sometimes be retrained and become useful servants of the revolution. So we should not assume that members of lumpen organizations will always have to be violent and must channel this violence somewhere. We should give these comrades more credit and instead help them learn how to channel violent inclinations into productive avenues to fight their real enemies in the criminal injustice system and the imperialist government.

Even in a country where there is no proletariat, we should uphold the principles of People's War. Spurts of anger leading to violence against the pigs does nothing more to liberate humynity than killing another thug. We need to build understanding and support for proletarian struggle in the broadest ways that we can. If we do not win the hearts and minds of these "gladiators" then they will just as quickly be used by the state against us.

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[Organizing] [Connally Unit] [Texas]
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Restrictions and Struggle in Texas

To acknowledge your struggle which coincides with mine and many other prisoners around the globe, I would like to state some facts concerning the prison (Connally Unit) I am housed at here in Texas. The prison population is 2,812 prisoners, very understaffed due to better service at the oil fields popping up all round this prison complex.

This unit is split A and B side and then we have the dorms which are set apart for those non-gang affiliated and those who pose no threat to the establishment of the institution. Just recently we've been given Johnny's (paper sack lunches) on the weekends for the past month or so and this is due to cuts in the budget. This also constrains a lot of movement to and from the chow hall. B-side is even split two times. On B-side you have 7 building and 8 building. 7 building gets to go to chow with general population but 8 building is restricted. The new major Daniels in town has built a mini chow hall for such sections of the prison population which to them is best. They usually house those prisoner who they feel are the worst such as wine makers, tattoo artists, etc.

These institutions are set up for failure. This is why I congratulate those organizations whether they be lumpen or otherwise who have taken up the banner of rehabilitation and have started or engaged in the process of revolutionizing the minds of the masses. Revolutionizing the knowledge needed in order to free our thinkers from this blind deceptive demagogue. If we ain't the solution then we surely are the problem because until the wheels stop turning it is my duty to struggle and awaken those inactive participants into being a part of this mass movement of prisoners inside and out.

This unit (Connally) is getting worse by the minute and as one good comrade (Blaze) from New York stated, "They're taking every liberty away." Until we acknowledge collectively that there is a problem we will continue to be deceived. Just recently we have been restricted from attending religious services. Before the process of this denial, we could attend church freely without restrictions. Now we must submit an I-60 requesting to attend and if approved we can attend. Ain't that a violation of our 1st Amendment Constitutional right?

I will continue to do my investigative and organizational work for this is what I live for. When my heart and mind stop I will live in the spirits of those true to our cause, but until then I will pump out the revolutionary spirit needed in order to encourage and empower those most in need of such: Lumpen!


MIM(Prisons) adds: The need for struggle against these institutions set up for failure is a primary reason behind the launching of the United Front for Peace in Prisons which stresses the need to stand together in unity with those who share our common interests.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Lovelock Correctional Center] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 21]
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Fighting Repression in PS Housing

On April 28, 2011 a complaint was made against two lieutenants and the associate warden of operations (AWO) at Lovelock Correctional Center (LCC) for threatening the entire Protective Segregation (PS) housing unit population with group punishment if the gambling, homosexual activity, tattooing, etc. continued, despite the fact that those who'd been caught were known and identified and/or already facing disciplinary procedures.

The same night, a number of individuals were caught gambling, and the following morning both PS housing units 3A and 3B were locked down. The lockdown was purportedly in response to the gambling incident.

On May 10, 2011 a minor altercation occurred between two prisoners in the LCC dining hall. These two individuals were placed in more secure housing where they received:

  1. telephone access
  2. law library access
  3. library access (i.e. book cart)
  4. cleaning supplies for cells
  5. full food portions in two hot meals per day
  6. yard access
  7. due process prior to loss of privileges and punishment

The remaining PS prisoners in 3A and 3B, having nothing to do with any of these incidents, received:
  1. lockdown for 6 days with showers on first and fourth days
  2. loss of cell visiting privileges (permanently)
  3. loss of open access to cells and toilet accommodations (permanently)
  4. no law library access
  5. no religious access
  6. no library access
  7. no telephone access
  8. no cell cleaning supplies
  9. no tier time/yard time
  10. refused grievances and "advised" not to "fly paperwork if we want off of lockdown"

During the lockdown a shakedown (described as getting the unit into compliance) was done resulting in the confiscation of appliances, which was later returned because "it should not have been taken in the first place."

Upon being let off of lockdown some of the population united around these and other issues long overdue for redress and formulated a complaint alleging several violations of civil and human rights which are embraced by the following acts and holdings among others:
22 USCA 6021 (9)
22 USCA 6401 (in toto)
42 USCA 1997a (CRIPA)
42 USCA 2000cl (RLUIPA)
Bounds v Smith 37SCT1491 430US817
Heck v. Humphrey 114SCT2364 512US477
Wolff v McDonnell 94 SCT 2963 418 US 539
Breenholtz v Nebraska 99 SCT 2100 442 US 1
Estelle v Gamble 97 SCT 285 429 US 97
Turner v Safley 102 CT 2754 482 US 78
All of which are US Supreme Court holdings which are binding upon Nevada (Nevada constitution article 1 Sec 2 Bargas v Warden NSP 482 P2d 317 87 Nev 30 91 SCT 1267 403 US 935 29 LED 715)

The complaint raises the following (and other) issues which are constant and pervasive conditions at LCC among PS prisoners:

  1. unsanitary/unsafe dining hall conditions
  2. inadequate food and medical treatment
  3. compulsory strip searches daily (to boxers) frequently done by females
  4. verbal abuse by staff in the form of derogatory racial, cultural and gender charged epithets
  5. abusive and retaliatory behavior toward adherents of non-traditional religions
  6. inadequate legal access and retaliation for accessing legal process
  7. coercion/harassment in the form of cell searches and theft/destruction of personal property as retaliation and for furtherance of personal agendas
  8. withholding/theft of mail, opening legal mail outside of prisoner's presence
  9. use of prisoners in supervisory capacity and as facilitators/teachers of rehabilitative and psych programs which impact earned sentence credits, parole board decisions and sentence duration
  10. fomenting hostility and animus between prisoners using confidential or otherwise sensitive information
  11. group punishment/threats of collective retaliation and punishments

The above is a summary of the mentioned complaint and does not contain much in the way of detail and specificity. However, it serves to articulate the overall conditions here (and elsewhere) and exemplifies the need for solidarity and presenting a united front against oppression. It should never be allowed to get this bad before action is taken, but it apparently must get bad enough to inspire action.

It is easier to keep what one has than it is to regain what one has already lost, but this is not a message which is widely understood by the new prisoner class.

In any event, if information concerning our struggle becomes available, it will be put "before the world."


MIM(Prisons) adds: We applaud prisoners coming together to fight repression in their housing units. In this case it is prisoners in protective custody, a place our prison comrades are fond of reminding us is rife with people who informed on other prisoners (often falsely) to save their own hides. We cannot often know who, in PC or general population, is a snitch, but we can judge prisoners by their actions and uphold the correctness of struggles against prison brutality wherever they arise.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Florida State Prison] [Florida] [ULK Issue 21]
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Inhuman Living

I am currently serving a state sentence at Florida State Prison on Close Management (24 hour lock-down). The prisoners are treated like hogs in a barn, not human beings. The clothes here are filthy and stained with blood, urine, feces, oil, and semen. They are passed out on a weekly basis. We can catch a disease this way.

And the meals are always underdone. Prisoners have gotten sick from this, a stomach virus. If you file a grievance on it, the correctional officers won't feed you the next day.

The pigs will write prisoners bogus disciplinary reports sometimes, and if you try to file an appeal after they found you guilty of the infraction your appeal comes up missing. How can a prisoner win like that? The system is designed for us to lose even if we're right in our argument.

The correctional officers like to jump on prisoners in handcuffs/shackles in the assigned cells, on the rec yard, anywhere where there's not a camera to catch the injustice. How can anyone defend themselves when they're helpless?

The COs try to discourage prisoners on a daily basis out of their institutional call-out, meaning they will bribe them with contraband like cigarettes, chewing dip, coffee, knives, etc. A lot of them will fall for it all the time because they are trying to support their bad habits. It's sad on both parties' behalf.

Florida prisoners have no unity whatsoever and they never will as long as they continue to be brainwashed by the COs and continue accepting contraband that is being brought in by DOC workers to prisoners. As long as this keeps going on there will always be fights between one another.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The oppressive conditions in Florida are similar to those throughout the criminal injustice system, and this comrade's call for prisoners to unite underscores the motivation behind the United Front for Peace in Prisons. One of the 5 principles of the United Front is Independence. The oppressed need to develop institutions that meet their needs. There are plenty of examples of prisoners pooling their resources to take care of each other, rather than relying on the COs who only hope to poison the prison population with drugs, weapons, rumors and jealousy.

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [Tecumseh State Correctional Institution] [Nebraska] [ULK Issue 21]
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Fighting the System is Dangerous

As mentioned in prior writings by comrades, the struggle, especially for those incarcerated, must encompass not merely a study of history but an application of those strategies that in some way benefit the cause as a whole. One aspect of such application are the legal remedies which can set precedence for many who may need such standards in proving the wrongs done by prison officials. However the opacity and cover-up culture of prison industry in some instances allows for these same freedom fighters to unknowingly sacrifice their very lives for the sake of the many. Here at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in a rural part of Nebraska this fact remains ever alive.

We are still mourning the death of a prisoner who has on several occasions successfully challenged institutional policy, winning both injunctive and compensatory judgments. In the process he made enemies, invoking the wrath of those running this warehouse. And although this comrade was in phenomenal physical condition he somehow experienced an aneurysm and mysteriously died. Some have postulated his diet of tuna was the cause, other more conspiratorial minds say he was murdered because of his success in exposing questionable actions by those officials. I myself have chosen to accept the latter.

I mention this with regards to a legal battle I will enter very soon pertaining to a number of constitutional rights that have been violated. This struggle is real in every sense of the word and unfortunately requires its martyrs, without which one would not perceive the seriousness of our collective struggle.

The constant study, comprehension and application of the tenets of independent thinking, which will always remain applicable to our situation, must continue for substantial change to occur.

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