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ISSUE: #. 75. March 3, 2003






By Bill Weinberg
with David Bloom, Special Correspondent

1. Turkey to Bush: No Dice!
2. Saddam to Bush: Let's Debate!
3. Iraq Destroys Missiles; U.S. and U.K. Poised for War
4. "Dirty Tricks": NSA Snoops on Security Council Delegations
5. Four U.S. Troops Killed in Kuwait Chopper Crash
6. Australian Troops Refuse Anthrax Shots
7. 100,000 Protest in Cairo
8. Resistance in Europe
9. Protest Count: Fuzzy Math at New York Times
10. WW II Propaganda: "Is This Trip Necessary?" WW3 Propaganda: "Go Shopping!"

1. Israel's "Apartheid Wall": Twilight of Jayyous?
2. Sheik Mohammed's Hermitage
3. Abed Al-Khaber Khalid: The Creation of a Martyr
4. Olive Tree Theft: An Affront to Heritage
5. Concerned Parent: Abdul Raouf Khaled
6. Adwan's Farm: Seized and Denuded
7. From the Heart of Suffering: Email from Jayyous

1. Tunisia Arrests 20 for Web Surfing

1. WTC Site Design Chosen Amid Unseemly Bickering
2. Antonio Gaudi Designed Tower for WTC Site--Not!
3. Survivor Families Sue Administrator of 9-11 Fund
4. Hero Firefighters: Under-Funded

1. Pentagon: Terror War Costs $28 Billion So Far
2. Terror Alert Color Code: Back to Yellow
3. Alleged 9-11 "Mastermind" Arrested
4. Ten Years After: First WTC Attack Still Murky
5. Bush Brother on Board of WTC Security Firm
6. Gunshots on 9-11 Flight?


In a blow to U.S. plans for a "northern front" against Iraq and further clouding President George Bush's efforts to build international support war, on March 1 Turkey's parliament narrowly rejected a motion to allow up to 62,000 US troops to be deployed in Turkish territory. The deployment would have been accompanied by a multi-billion dollar US aid package under a deal negotiated by the White House and the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Gul. (Reuters, March 2) [top]

Interviewed by CBS news anchor Dan Rather Feb. 24, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein challenged George Bush to a televised debate as an alternative to war. "I will say what I want and... [Bush] will say what he wants," said Saddam. "I call for this because war is not a joke." White House spokesman Ari Fleischer dismissed the offer, saying it was "not a serious statement." (Newsday, Feb. 25) [top]

The United Nations confirmed March 1 that Iraq had completed the destruction of all four of the Al Samoud 2 missiles which inspectors had determined exceeded UN-imposed limits on Baghdad's permissible missile range. Chief weapons inspector Hans Blix praised the decision to destroy the missiles, saying "It is a very significant piece of real disarmament." Blix ordered Iraq to begin destroying the missiles after examining 40 test flights. In 13 of them, the missile flew farther than the 150-kilometer limit set by UN resolutions after the 1991 Gulf War. But British ministers told the the Daily Telegraph that the US and UK are prepared to launch military action as soon as the UN Security Council votes on a second resolution--even if the resolution is not approved. (Haaretz, March 2) [top]

A document leaked to the UK Observer reveals that the US is conducting what the paper calls a "dirty tricks" campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes for war against Iraq. The disclosures were made in a memo by a top official at the National Security Agency (NSA) describing orders to step up surveillance operations "particularly directed at...UN Security Council Members (minus US and GBR [Great Britain], of course)" to provide up-to-the-minute intelligence for Bush officials on voting intentions.

The leaked memo makes clear that the targets of the surveillance are the delegations from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Mexico, Guinea and Pakistan at the UN headquarters --the so-called "Middle Six" whose votes are being fought over by the US-UK pro-war bloc and the France-Russia-China bloc arguing for more time for inspections. The memo advises senior NSA officials that the agency is "mounting a surge" aimed at gathering information on "policies," "negotiating positions," "alliances" and "dependencies"--the "whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises."

The Jan. 31 memo was sent by Frank Koza, chief of staff in the "Regional Targets" section of the NSA. Koza specifies that the information will be used for the "QRC"-- Quick Response Capability--"against" the key delegations. In the memo, Koza also addresses himself to an unnamed foreign agency, saying: "We'd appreciate your support in getting the word to your analysts who might have similar more indirect access to valuable information..." Koza makes clear it is an informal request at this point, but adds: "I suspect that you'll be hearing more along these lines in formal channels." (UK Observer, March 2) [top]

Four US troops were killed Feb. 25 when their UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed near Camp New Jersey, a temporary base about 30 miles north of Kuwait City. They were among tens of thousands of US troops stationed in Kuwait in preparation for an attack on Iraq. (Reuters, Feb. 25) [top]

Eleven Australian sailors on their way to the Persian Gulf have been sent home for refusing anthrax vaccinations, the Australian Defence Force confirmed. Local news reports indicate that dozens of other Australian personnel have expressed serious concerns about health risks, fuelled by reports linking the vaccine to sterility and cancer. More than half of the 16,000 British forces being sent to the Gulf have refused the anthrax vaccine. Meryl Nass of the US Vaccine Advisory Board said the anthrax vaccine had been linked in three separate studies to Gulf War Syndrome. "In particular, the anthrax vaccine is dangerous," Nass told reporters. "People who take it and give it should be well aware of the risk-benefit analysis before they go ahead and get themselves injected." In the 1991 Gulf War, hundreds of thousands of coalition soldier were vaccinated against anthrax and other diseases. Graham Bertolini, now with the Gulf War Veteran's Association, was one of them and believes his health has been jeopardized by the vaccines. "The health problems that are coming back are fatigues, rashes, muscle cramps, spasming, joint muscle pains, memory loss, blistering," he told IPS. But Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill maintained there was no danger. "There have been some service personnel that have been reluctant to be vaccinated, which I don't quite understand because I am advised that it's a perfectly safe vaccination," he told ABC Radio. Australia is the third country to send troops to Persian Gulf after the US and UK. 2,000 Australian troops now being mobilized to the Gulf will join 200,000 US and British troops. (IPS, Feb. 13) [top]

Egypt's government has kept a tight lid on anti-US and anti-Israeli protests, with police clearing the streets and arresting those who would dare to defy the ban. But on Feb. 27, tens of thousands filled Cairo International Stadium for a legal rally against the US war drive, organized by a coalition of trade unions and opposition parties. The officially banned Muslim Brotherhood was also said to have a hand in organizing the event. The stadium, with a capacity of over 80,000, was overflowing, and thousands more were turned away by police, citing safety concerns. Protesters chanted "By our soul, by our blood, we will redeem you, Baghdad." This was alternated with chants of "Palestine!" Speakers from both Islamist and leftist parties emphasized the link between the Iraq war drive and the conflict in Palestine. (NYT, Feb. 28) [top]

Italian anti-war protesters linked arms across highways to block convoys of war material bound for Tuscany's Camp Darby, the main US base in Italy, on Feb. 24. Another group of demonstrators forced a train to halt shortly after it left a northern military base that day. The government has vowed zero tolerance and called in police reinforcements after sit-ins, bonfires and disruption over the previous days. But protesters pledge they will also target Italy's ports and airports. Dock workers in Livorno, from where US military material is slated to depart for the Persian Gulf, are threatening pickets like those staged during the Vietnam War. "We must block the trains of death, and if we pull the emergency brakes on rail lines involved we'll slow them down long enough to give protesters time to occupy the rails and block stations," Italian media quoted protest leader Luca Casarini as saying.

Meanwhile in the Netherlands, at least 20 Greenpeace activists were arrested Feb. 20 as they tried to board the MVAS Progress, a cargo ship taking US military equipment to the Gulf, after being pounded with water cannon by Dutch police. (BBC, Feb. 24)

A similar train-stopping action March 1 near Antwerp, Belgium, was thwarted by police, who arrested some 150 who had gathered on the tracks . (Belgium IMC) [top]

John Tierney's Feb. 26 story in the New York Times on that day's anti-war "virtual march" questioned organizers' claim that hundreds of thousands of people had flooded the White House and Congress with e-mails, faxes and phone calls, saying "there was no way to confirm those estimates." But Tierney (who also writes a smugly reactionary column for the Times metro section) seems quite willing to underestimate the ranks of protesters--even when the actual figures can be confirmed. In the same article, Tierney wrote: "On Feb. 15, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets in cities across the United States, Europe and Asia..." Writes one sharp-eyed WW3 REPORT reader: "This is accurate only in that enough hundreds of thousands constitute a million. But the truth would be much better served by the phrase 'millions of demonstrators'... What's the deal here?"

For more on the "virtual march" see WW3 REPORT #74 [top]


The Jan./Feb. edition of Sierra, magazine of the environmentalist Sierra Club, provided a telling contrast between the pro-conservation propaganda of World War II and the current pro-consumption propaganda. In the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, President Bush urged Americans to go shopping. Ron Zarella, president of General Motors' North American division, said "GM has a responsibility to help stimulate the economy by encouraging Americans to purchase vehicles."

During World War II, in contrast, Americans were encouraged to car-pool, with motorists limited to three gallons of gas per week. Leon Henderson, head of the Office of Price Administration, the agency in charge of rationing, rode a "victory bike" to work--and was criticized for it, because new bicycles were supposed to go to those in the armed forces or war industries. Citizens were also encouraged to plant "victory gardens," and to conserve rubber, paper, aluminum, tin cans, toothpaste tubes (for the small amount of zinc they contained), sugar, coffee and even kitchen fats (the glycerin was used to make explosives and ammunition).

Sierra reproduced a series of propaganda posters for the wartime conservation campaign produced by the government-sponsored "Artists for Victory." One shows a smartly-dressed man driving in a big sedan alone--but for the shadowy outline figure of the Fuehrer who sits beside him. The caption reads: "When you ride ALONE, you ride with Hitler! Join a Car-Sharing Club TODAY!" Another shows a news photo of a crippled ship sinking, dark smoke rising from the hull. The caption reads: "ANOTHER TANKER TORPEDOED OFF THE ATLANTIC COAST! Should brave men die so you can drive?" Another simply shows the grim and haggard face of a helmeted GI below the superimposed words: "HAVE YOU REALLY TRIED TO SAVE GAS BY GETTING INTO A CAR CLUB?" Yet another shows a man relaxing at home in his easy chair with a small electric fan aimed at him and a pitcher of lemon-aid at his side. The caption reads: "Me travel? ...not this summer! VACATION AT HOME." Others advocate recycling, frugality and self-sufficiency--such as the image of a farm wife stuffing cans full of fresh produce as her young daughter says "We'll have lots to eat this winter, won't we Mother?" The caption: "Grow your own, Can your own."

Asks Sierra editor Paul Rauber: "Isn't there something more patriotic we can do than buy a new SUV?"

See the posters on-line.

See also WW3 REPORT #70 [top]


Jayyous is a small town of 3,000 in the Qalqilya region of the West Bank, largely dependent on agriculture. Now, 70% of Jayyous' land is either being confiscated for the construction of Israel's "separation fence"--called by Palestinians the "Apartheid Wall"--or will end up isolated on the Israeli side of it. Jayyous is situated high up on a hill, with an excellent view all round; to the west lies the coastal plain of northern Israel. The Israeli cities of Tel Aviv, Netanya and Hadera are easily visible, as is the Mediterranean. Looking at the pollution shrouding Tel Aviv and the congestion throughout Israel, one can understand why 80% of the Israeli settlers who live in the West Bank cite "quality of life" as their main reason for becoming settlers. For the price of an apartment in Tel Aviv, an Israeli family can buy a house in the settlement of Alfe Menashe across the valley to the immediate south of Jayyous, where the air is fresh and children have plenty of space to play--just a 45 minute commute to Tel Aviv on settler-only roads--and never even encounter the people who have lived in the area for generations. The lights of the cities and towns of Israel are yellow; that of Palestinian villages in the West Bank are white. At night, Israel is a sea of yellow up to the Green Line, the invisible "border" separating Israel from the West Bank. Across the Green Line, the Samarian hills start; clusters of white lights mark the Palestinian villages. Yellow lights, occupying the tops of hills, are those of Jewish settlements.

The "Apartheid Wall" will isolate 10,000 dunums of farmland belonging to people of Jayyous (four dunums equals one acre). This land contains seven agricultural wells, 250 greenhouses, many fruit trees, and over 20,000 olive trees. The residents are not receiving any form of compensation. The villagers fear it will be so difficult to reach their land after the wall is finished, that Israel will apply Ottoman or British colonial law and say it is "underused"--and therefore subject to confiscation. This happened to an additional 20% of Jayyous-owned land after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. These lands were eventually given to a Jewish settlement to the west.

The name Jayyous is related to "jaish," the Arabic word for army. Because it is situated on a strategic hilltop, successive armies have made it a garrison town. Roman graves have been discovered there. Crumbling Ottoman foundations and edifices are scattered throughout the village. These ruins are popular with stray cats.

Jayyous has a reputation for resistance, violent and non-violent. The village has three martyrs from the current intifada. During the first intifada, when the army entered, the whole village would take to their roofs, throwing everything they could get their hands on at the Israeli troops. On Dec. 29, 2002, the villagers, accompanied by international activists, staged a large demonstration, which attracted international media coverage. The Israelis regard the people of Jayyous as troublemakers, and the towns' residents find themselves subject to much harassment when moving through Israeli checkpoints throughout the Qalqilya-Tulkarm area.

Jayyous is a close-knit community. In the past, those better off in the village have helped out the less fortunate. But now, the town's livelihood is being taken away, and its people don't know how they will manage. Jayyous is subject to daily incursions by occupation forces--often to abduct village men for interrogation or administrative detention. Some men in the village have shaved off their beards, fearing that even looking religious can be a reason for the army to seize them.

One cannot get very far in Jayyous without encountering a bevy of persistently friendly children. "What's your name, what's your name!!," they inquire repeatedly, seemingly never satisfied with an answer. WW3 REPORT was often called upon to take their pictures. The children insist on showing off their large German rabbits, of which they are quite proud. This reporter was taught to play marbles, and did not prove to be terribly good at it, but the kids were patient and forbearing, trying to teach the right flick of the thumb--to little avail. (David Bloom) [top]

Sheik Mohammed Mahmoud Ahmed Khariashi, 78, is a courtly and deeply religious man. The Sheik has a small hermitage on his land on the side of the biggest hill in Jayyous, where he studies the Koran. Ever since his wife died in 2001, the place has become more of a comfort for him, as he goes there to escape the memories in his home. He eats and sleeps there. The hermitage land is 150 meters from the site of the Apartheid Wall's ongoing construction, and even nearer to mysterious Israeli excavation that many in Jayyous suspect will be a road leading to an IDF outpost at the top of the hill.

Sheik Mohammed had not been to his land since the wall construction began. Israeli security guards had been hanging out on the porch of the hermitage, a small concrete and metal hut the Sheik has built himself. Sometimes, children venture nearby to throw rocks at the construction crew. Sheik Mohammed tells me he uses a firm hand with kids that come throwing stones, because he doesn't want trouble, but he understands why they do it.

This reporter accompanied the Sheik when he returned to the hermitage for the first time in several weeks. It's undamaged. Sheik Mohammed draws water from a nearby well, and he and my translator prepare tea. The water is boiled over a fire from olive branches. I'm told the tea comes out best that way.

We can hear the sound of quail nearby. They will lay their eggs sometime in March. The wall is disturbing migratory patterns of the quail, which rest in the area. A lot of ground animals--deer, rabbit--will be blocked by the wall. It upsets Sheik Mohammed, because he likes to see them.

After tea, we set out to inspect his land. The Israeli construction company--owned a by Palestinian collaborator from Jayyous who fled to Israel--has replanted some olive trees from Sheik Mohammed's cousin's land (where they blocked wall construction) on the Sheik's land. Olive trees can bear replanting well, if it is done with care; but these trees had been uprooted with mechanical diggers, and were not carefully planted. As a result, they may not bear fruit well in the future, or survive. The topsoil has been torn and broken by Israeli bulldozers, and the Sheik fears it will wash away. Sheik Mohammed told WW3 REPORT that he and his land are one, and that it runs through his veins, and it's a part of him. He looked at the ground.

When this reporter remarked that at least after the wall is built, the security guards will leave, my translator responds that similar hermitage huts further north, where the wall has been completed, are still occupied by soldiers. Though he has shown great courtesy and hospitality throughout the course of the afternoon, Sheik Mohammed left without saying goodbye. My translator explains he is simply too upset, after seeing what has happened to his land. (David Bloom)

See Sheik Mohammed at his hermitage. [top]

Abed al-Khaber Khalid, 22, was working as a carpenter in the Israeli Arab village of Jaljuolia at the age of 18. He was working illegally in Israel, but it wasn't such a big deal to do so back then. In 1998, he was captured by Israeli soldiers returning to the West Bank from working. They took him to fields west of the Israeli Arab village of Tira. They stripped him, took his clothes, stole his possessions, and beat him brutally. They broke his right hand, wrist, arm, and jawbone. They left him there in the fields. He reached an Arab household, and called some Israeli Arab friends who took him to an Israeli hospital. The hospital thoroughly documented everything. [WW3 REPORT's translator says that Israeli civilian doctors have a very good reputation, whereas army doctors have been known to just let Palestinian victims bleed to death.] Abed's father went to the Israeli district administration office in nearby Qalqilya to complain. He was told the soldiers would be brought to justice, but nothing ever happened. There was no further communication from the Israeli authorities.

At the beginning of the current Intifada, Abed started throwing stones. His father told him, "Why are you throwing stones? Stones don't do anything, won't hurt them." Abed answered that he would get weapons. His father told WW3 REPORT he didn't take it seriously. Where would his son get weapons? He didn't have any money. He never dreamed his son would actually carry out his threat.

Unknown to his family, Abed had joined the al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades. On the day before his death, Abed picked oranges with his family on their land. He went to see his sister in another town, and called home to say he had arrived at her house safely.

The next morning, Feb. 17, 2001, Abed and his al-Aksa commander, Muhammed Ahmouda from Nablus, went to carry out their operation. Their destination: Army Base 80, a Shin Bet training camp, near Hadera in Israel. Ahmouda wore an explosive belt, and Abed was armed with a Kalashnikov rifle and hand grenades. They were spotted some 100 meters from the base by Israeli police, who noted the car they were riding in was stolen. The police cut them off, and a gun-battle ensued. Abed emptied one magazine at the police, wounding three, and then was shot himself. Abed was wounded, but alive. A soldier came from the base and shot him dead. Ahmouda continued towards the army base on foot. When the police caught up with Ahmouda, he blew himself up.

When the Khalid family found out about Abed's attack and death, they cried. For six days, few of the family slept, or ate or drank. Abed died six days before the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Ahda, and six months before his brother's wedding, which added to all their sadness. When al-Aksa came to inform the Khalid family, it was explained they tried to convince him to wait until after Eid, to spend the holiday with his family, but Abed replied that he wanted to spend the holiday in paradise. The Khalids stress that the condolences of the whole community and the support they received was very helpful to them during this time.

Abed's operation occurred about a year before al-Aksa began to attack noncombatants in Israel. When asked if he would have felt differently if his son had attacked civilians, Abed's father replies affirmatively. "It's the army that's doing this," he says. "What have women and children got to do with it?" When he hears that women and children are killed, "it hurts, because we all have women and children, and killing them, it's un-Islamic." He also notes that killing civilians in Israel is counterproductive, because there are Israelis who are for peace, and such attacks turn them against it.

Abed's body still hasn't been returned, after nearly a year. Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has decreed all bodies of Palestinian martyrs will not be returned, the family tells me. But his father says they know his spirit is in paradise, and his body is in the Holy Land. The family tells me if they had known beforehand, they would have done everything in their power to stop him. When asked if they feel he died in vain, they say this is war, and no martyr dies in vain.

The father tells me the Israelis have taken the Palestinians' land, killed their children, made the situation so bad that "at all times any of us has contemplated that death would be better." They have reached the point where they would have accepted the '48 borders, but the Israelis just kept taking land for settlements during the Oslo process, creating more hardline attitudes on the part of the Palestinians. He says that after seeing what happened in 1948--when people fled, and then could not return--Palestinians will now stay and die, whether it is from war or hunger. The Khalid family has just lost 30 dunums of land to the Apartheid Wall--olive trees, and orange trees. They are left with just 3 dunums.

When asked if there is something they would like to tell the people of the US, the Khalids say they would like them to know that the building of the wall--done with US tax dollars--is not a policy of peace. It will not bring peace to Israel, or Palestine. To the Israeli people they say that if Israel stops stealing land, and withdraws to the '67 borders, there will be peace. But no amount of protective walls or barriers will protect Israel. The Khalids ask the American people to stop the bloodbath, make Israel accept the land they've got, and call it a day. The Israelis will live in Israel, the Palestinians in Palestine, in peace. (David Bloom)

See a picture of Abed al-Khaber Khalid, [top]

WW3 REPORT encountered Thair Faiz Salim, the son of Jayyous' mayor, keeping an eye on his land from atop the hill where Jayyous is situated, by the municipal building. Thair's family has 200 dunums of land, almost all cut off by the security wall. Only two dunums remain on the Jayyous side. The Salims have been informed the last two dunums will be lost to a 30- meter buffer zone around the wall. On Saturdays, Israeli Arabs have been coming and stealing olive trees from the Salims' land. If Thair sees them, he tries to stop them. Some of the olive trees are 500 years old, planted by his ancestors. Thair does not know how long the land has been in his family. Why try to prevent theft, when he can't access his land anymore, anyway? Thair replies that to allow them to steal and sell the trees is like selling his grandfather. "He who sells his land, sells his honor," Thair says. At least he hopes to get his trees for firewood. People who sell their land have to leave, Thair says. When the land has been in your family for that long, you don't even sell it to your neighbors.

Thair says Israeli Arabs don't realize just how bad the theft of trees is, because they've never grown them themselves. "Some people from Azzoun will come and say, our trees have been taken, and Jayyous residents will sell them some in good faith, only to discover those trees end up on the Israeli nursery market. If those Arabs are caught in that process, they would be dealt with as collaborators." (David Bloom) [top]

Abdul Raouf Khaled is a history teacher in the Jayyous secondary school, where he's worked for 38 years. He has 17 kids. Abdul bought 20 dunams of land 15 years ago, spending his life savings on it, in order to give his kids a future. The whole family worked to reclaim the land from scrub for a year, clearing it, removing the stones, making it arable. The Khaleds grow nectarines, apples, lemons, and clementines. Eventually the family built greenhouses.

The Khaleds' land is on the Israel side of the line where the wall is being built. They've often had trouble getting to it. On Jan. 20, Mohammed, 22, tried to walk to their land, but when he arrived at the site of the wall, the Israeli security guards and the army made him crawl through a drainage pipe to get across, even though he could easily have walked across the construction site. They told him if they caught him in the future, they would make him always crawl through the pipe, and though that day it was free, in the future he would be charged a five-shekel toll. So now he cuts through some olive groves, taking a roundabout way, not on a path.

This is not the first time Mohammed has had trouble with Israeli troops. He now needs a $25,000 USD operation, because one of the sensitive vibrating bones of his inner ear was crushed. He says he was walking by the rubbish heap outside of town on his way to school in Tul Karm. Without warning, Israeli soldiers standing nearby threw a sound grenade, which exploded next to Mohammed's head. He didn't see it coming. The soldiers then checked his ID. They were laughing, fooling around, and appeared drunk to him. Mohammed says he is depressed. There isn't much work for him to do. "I sleep a lot," he says, looking forlorn.

All fathers, Abdul Raouf says, fear when their children go to another town, and have to pass a gauntlet of soldiers on the way. They call them up several times on their cell phones, to make sure the kids are OK.

On Jan. 22, this reporter met a young man named Ahmed (not his real name) from a nearby town, at a roadblock on the road to Jayyous, waiting for enough people to show up for a "servis," a shared taxi. Ahmed had about ten round fresh scabs on his face; one on each earlobe. He had just gotten out of the hospital, he explained. Four days earlier, he was walking home from Nablus where he goes to college, when several soldiers grabbed him, and made cigarette burns all over his face. He lifted his shirt to show where they had dripped molten plastic on his lower back. While this was happening, other Palestinians nearby paid little attention; it's a depressingly familiar story to them.

In the first intifada, the repression was less extreme, Abdul Raouf says. Soldiers followed much stricter open fire regulations then. Now it's pretty much anything goes.

Jayyous kids are some of the more enthusiastic rock throwers this reporter saw in Palestine. They travel in small packs to find the army or border police on their forays into the town, and let loose with a variety of slingshots, most homemade, some store-bought. The parents scold the kids and try to keep them from stone-throwing, but it's an uphill battle. This reporter saw one mother desperately clutching on her pre-teen son's sweater as he escaped his home to go face an incoming jeep. I saw another older man yell at a teenager who laid a nail-studded board in the middle of the road when a border police jeep was driving around town, shooting wildly.

"In some ways, the children react more strongly, because it's their future being taken," Abdul Raouf says. He says his children watch TV, see the violence being committed against Palestinian children, women, and it affects them. And they see it happening in their own town. Jayyous has lost the most land, Abdul Raouf explains, so the people have the most reason to resist. It's not just a few families that have lost their land; it's the whole village. They have woken up and found themselves in the situation of refugees, and now have nothing left to lose. Would you accept it if you're livelihood was taken, he asks? "If they want peace, why do they steal our land? Why don't they build the wall along the Green Line? The Israelis have no vision; they aren't far-sighted. They are very one-sided in their way of looking at things. The way they treat people, they are the terrorists. They act surprised when people who've lost everything react the way they do, and go and fight them. What they are doing with the wall will increase attacks, hatred, and negativity towards the Israeli government." He pauses. "He who takes my land, takes my honor," he says. "The Israelis claim it's a wall to prevent attacks on Israel. But it is a wall of theft, not security. It will increase suicide bombings."

Does Abdul Raouf make a distinction between the Israeli government and the Israeli people? "If the people were OK, would they have voted for the Sharon government?," he answers. Adbul Raouf says he feels hurt when innocent Israeli civilians are killed. But until the Palestinians are given self-determination, he says, Israel can't expect attacks on Israel to stop. The Palestinians will always look on Israel as a land of theft, but they realize they can't expect to turn back the clock. They can live with the state of Israel inside the 1967 borders, if the settlements and soldiers are removed and the stolen land in the occupied territories is given back. He sees the main problem as being the idea of "Greater Israel." If that's stopped, the Palestinians will get on with their lives, and quit their resistance. (David Bloom) [top]

Soldiers were at Adwan's farm on Jan. 15. He lives on the outskirts on Jayyous. Adwan is 26, with two children. He teaches Arab culture at a high school in nearby Qalqilya. Almost everyday soldiers or border police come to harass him. Once, they chased him, and he tripped over some farm equipment and cut himself. They are harassing Adwan because he helped organize the Dec. 29 protest. The soldiers have said to Adwan, "Why are you people complaining, you're being compensated." He says the soldiers believe the Palestinians are being compensated, but it's not true; they are not receiving a shekel for their lost land. Some in the village complain that Arafat has not spoken up about the land theft.

The soldiers consistently tell Adwan, "you are a troublemaker." On Jan. 13, three children, including Adwan's five-year-old son, were sitting in front of his house, around an open fire. Four border police drove up in jeep. Two disembarked, and started hitting the children. One of the mothers ran out and asked why they were hitting the children. The police answered, because the kids were throwing rocks at the border police at the wall construction site.

"We can't endure any more," Adwan says. "The Palestinians want peace, and put out their hand for peace, but Israel doesn't want peace, wants to break that hand. There is no peace with occupation. Because the occupation is killing the children and the future." Adwan is losing all his family's land, 20 dunums. He only has one dunum left. He says he wasn't even informed about the land seizure; he just noticed one day that they were bulldozing his land. This land is for the government and the wall, he was told by the Israeli soldiers. The Palestine Authority came and wrote up a report, but they can't do anything. The soldiers first came to Adwan's farm in early November, and said if anyone threw stones, the army would destroy the entire farm. The farm has been in the family for five generations.

Adwan surveys his seized lands, now denuded of trees by Israeli bulldozers. "This doesn't seem real to me," he says; "It is like I'm in a movie." He is very pessimistic for the future. He would leave Palestine if he could, and go somewhere where he could lead a normal life. "I don't see any future here, because occupation leaves us in a dark time." (David Bloom) [top]

"Every morning when the sun rises the story of suffering in my small peaceful town Jayyous begins with the killers of our innocent children's dreams. Two weeks ago the israeli soldiers invaded my town so early in the morning claiming that they were looking for some wanted young men. In that day they forbade us to go out of our houses. The soldiers entered many houses crashing the furniture. Till this moment I still remember one of those soldiers who entered to my bedroom in my house in Jayyous his face was painted with a black material. He asked me furiously in Hebrew 'Do you like Palestine?' I told him 'Yes.' Without saying anything he came near my desk then he threw my books out of the window then he broke the screen of my computer with his weapon. What has increased our sufferings a lot is the apartheid wall that has been expanded too much confiscating more and more of our olive and citrus trees. The 'Jaish' [army] nearly every day come to my town shooting fires and insulting people with bad words. Also they prevent university students from going to their universities in Nablus and Qalqilia. Last week I went to Nablus in order to borrow some books from An-Najah University so as to write about 'Sources of self confidence' it took me five hours to reach there instead of half an hour and while I was at the check point near Nablus one of the soldiers put a knife on my face and asked me 'Do you want to explode yourself tomorrow?' I told him, 'I'm a teacher and I'm going to borrow some books from the library.' He took my university ID then he threw it several metres in the mud shouting at me 'Go to hell.'

" My brother David these provocative, aggressive and unhuman practices have created psychological problems to me because I think a lot of the poor students whose parents have become jobless. I think a lot of the 'flood' of insults 'indignities' at the check point that the young and the old hear every day. Also I think a lot about the coming future that brings more and more miserable bad news.

"Finally, David please take care of your self, work, and land. I hope for you to live in peace, justice and freedom." (Mahmoud, Jayyous: March 5) [top]


Tunisian authorities arrested 20 men for browsing radical Islamist web sites, human rights groups charged. "The 20 men, aged 18-22 and most of them high-school students, were arrested on February 5-9 in Zarzis for entering banned Internet Web Sites," said the Tunisian Human Rights League, the country's only independent rights group. The government has made no statement on the arrests in the coastal city. The North African country tightly controls the media and jailed its first "Internet dissident" last year for disseminating "false information" on the web, activists say. Rights groups say the government has set up a special cyber-police force to track down dissident activity on the net. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists named Tunisia in 2001 as one of the "Ten Worst Enemies of the Press." (Reuters, Feb. 18) [top]


On Feb. 27, New York City authorities announced their choice of the contending architectural firms seeking the honor (and lucre) of redeveloping the World Trade Center site--still known locally as "Ground Zero." Dressed in an austere black suit with what seemed a small American flag pin on the lapel, Daniel Libeskind of Studio Libeskind appeared on the front page of the New York Times the next day grinning shamelessly, his evident glee sickeningly inappropriate to the occasion. But the headline read: "PRACTICAL ISSUES FOR GROUND ZERO; Politics and Economics Figure in Choice of Renewal Plan." The choice had to balance the interests of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the multi-agency Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), the NY-NJ Port Authority (which owns the site)--and private commercial interests. These latter were officially excluded from the decision--and a great pretense of democracy was made, with the public allowed to "vote" on the contending plans over the Internet (non-binding, of course). But the business and development interests that control Lower Manhattan were foremost in the minds of public policy-makers.

In the countdown to the decision, the two finalists of the original six contenders--Studio Libeskind and Rafael Vinoly's THINK--engaged in an unseemly war of words, with Libeskind dissing THINK's proposal for a "World Cultural Center" on the site as "Stalinist" and the group's very name as "Orwellian." (Newsday, Feb. 25) But the two projects were strikingly similar. Both would return to New York the title of home to the world's tallest building--currently held by Kuala Lumpur with the 1,483-foot Petronas Towers. THINK's twin-tower skeletal lattice World Cultural Center would rise 1,660 feet, while Libeskind's five-tower site would be crowned by a 1,776-foot glass spire enclosing a "Vertical Gardens of the World." Both include lots of office space. Both would cost hundreds of millions--perhaps billions--to build. (Newsday, Feb. 5) (The original WTC towers were respectively 1,368 and 1,362 feet.)

Many basic questions remain unanswered. "Who's the client? Who signs the contract with Libeskind?" asked LMDC site-planning committee chair Roland Betts. It remains unclear which agency will hire Libeskind and pay the proposed $300 million. A Port Authority official called the four-year timeline optimistic, predicting overruns of at least two years. Complicating the question is the city government's plan to take over the site from the Port Authority in exchange for the city's two airports (now administrated but not owned by the PA). (Newsday, Feb. 28)

The position of Larry Silverstein, leaseholder of the WTC site, remains unclear pending the outcome of his legal battle with the property's insurers. (NYT, Feb. 26) But he couldn't resist weighing in imperiously. In a nine-page letter to the LMDC he dismissed all the proposals as inadequate and asserted his right to veto power as 99-year leaseholder on the site. His complaint was predictable: not enough office space. He announced: "Unless one is prepared to concede that New York's heyday has passed--something that we cannot do--it is imperative for the economic health of the city and the region that the office space destroyed on Sept. 11 be replaced." (Newsday, Feb. 1) Meanwhile, Silverstein has already started reconstruction of his privately-owned 7 World Trade Center. (Newsday, Feb. 10)

Libeskind's plan won accolades for preserving in public view the so-called "bathtub"--the foundation's outer wall of yard-thick steel-enforced concrete which contained the destruction on Sept. 11 and kept the waters of the Hudson River from rushing in (the WTC was partially built on years of accumulated landfill). The Coalition of 9-11 Families, an umbrella organization of survivor's groups, threw their support behind the plan. Lee Ielphi, a retired firefighter who lost his firefighter son in the disaster, said: "The Coalition of 9-11 Families has been looking at the Libeskind plan since the beginning. We have somewhat endorsed it because it encompasses the bathtub slurry wall down to the bedrock. That area is sacred and hallowed ground and we want a memorial there." But survivors were incensed at plans by the Port Authority to turn part of the bathtub into a bus parking lot for the new transit hub at the site. Said Bill Doyle, a Staten Island resident who lost his son Joseph in the attack: "Inside that slurry wall, in that area, should all be memorial." (Newsday, Feb. 27)

Not even brought to the debate were the concerns of city residents who oppose new skyscrapers as fueling gentrification, resulting in the loss of both affordable housing and community open spaces. There is a special irony in Libeskind's plan for a "Vertical Garden" high in the sky when hundreds of community gardens around the city are slated to be bulldozed to make way for development. WW3 REPORT supports a proposal for a real earth-based garden at Ground Zero instead of new skyscrapers. See WW3 REPORT #50

See also WW3 REPORT #54 [top]

One maverick proposal which gained much attention--including a Jan. 21 story on the front page of the New York Times metro section--calls for a design allegedly created by the late great Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi, whose Barcelona masterpieces are international tourist attractions. The proposal's mastermind, Boston-based architect Paul Laffoley, who worked with a subcontractor for Minoru Yamasaki & Assoc. on the original Twin Towers in the 1960s, claims to have been told by Prof. William H. Jordy of Brown University that Gaudi had designed a 1,181-foot hotel for the very spot where the WTC was built. At the time--1908--it would have been the world's tallest building. Gaudi's files were destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, but Prof. Juan Bassegoda of the University of Barcelona claims to have original pencil sketches of the proposed hotel which he acquired from Gaudi's assistant Juan Matamala in 1971. From these, computer models of the building were reconstructed by Marc Mascort of the Barcelona arts magazine Rojo. But the thing looks, as the Times accurately notes, like a "Buck Rogers rocket ship"--a retro-futuristic style sharply at odds with Gaudi's distinctly flowing and earthy sensibilities.

Unlike all the boosters who stand to profit from the supposed Gaudi project, Prof. Juan Jose Lahuerta of the architecture school at Barcelona's Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, author of "Antonio Gaudi: Architecture, Ideology and Politics" (Editorial Electa, Madrid, 1993) was not quoted or mentioned by the Times. Prof. Lahuerta told WW3 REPORT: "I believe it is a vulgar and kitsch fabrication." Lahuerta's own presentation at the 2002 "Gaudi's Universe" confab at Barcelona's Center of Contemporary Culture looked back at the various exhibitions of Gaudi's many works and proposals over the years, finding no evidence of the so-called "Attraction Hotel," much less that it was actually slated for the WTC site. Lahuerta's 2002 paper also noted that Matamala first came forward with his supposed Gaudi sketches for an addition to the New York skyline in 1956, just as the Franco dictatorship was joining NATO and being embraced by Washington as an anti-Communist ally. Lahuerta writes that Matamala announced the existence of the sketches at that moment "not coincidentally." [top]

The families of seven victims who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, the firm which lost the most employees in the WTC disaster, have filed a lawsuit against Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund, saying he has "run roughshod" over the legislation creating the fund and "alienated and disenfranchised the very constituency he was appointed to serve." Feinberg is accused of improperly calculating awards based on after-tax projections of lost income, discriminating against unmarried victims and imposing an illegal cap that would leave some high-income families with as little as one-tenth of what they say they should be awarded. (NYT, Jan. 27)

See also WW3 REPORT #52 [top]

With deep municipal budget-cuts the order of the day from coast to coast, the nation's firefighters--hailed as heroes in the wake of the WTC disaster--are among those taking a hit. Writes syndicated columnist Marie Cocco: "The politicians, from the president on down, were happy to have firefighters as props when the moment called for pictures to be taken with those who had stood tallest. Now the firefighters stand in line with Washington's other lobbyists. Their place is somewhere behind those pushing this or that tax break, this or that favored group." Added Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, representing 85% of professional firefighters: "The connection is still not made that the very people they cherish and depend on are just underfunded." The new White House budget for 2004 calls for an additional $3.6 billion in "homeland security" funding for localities. Local governments say at least $7 billion is needed. (Newsday, Feb. 18) [top]


The costs of a war on Iraq would be on top of the $28 billion the US has already spent battling terrorists in Afghanistan and around the world since the 9-11 attacks, Pentagon officials announced. Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Gary Keck said that was the sum spent through last Sept. 30--excluding preparations for confronting Iraq. The global War on Terrorism is now averaging $1.6 billion per month, including $750 million in Afghanistan, he said. That amount is expected to grow significantly in coming weeks, with or without a war on Iraq, as military commitments grow in the Philippines and elsewhere. Thus far, the US has spent $2.3 billion deploying troops and equipment to the Middle East in preparation for possible war with Iraq, Keck said. (AP, Feb. 22) [top]

Raised to "orange" on Feb. 7--sparking coast-to-coast jitters and hoarding of duct tape--the national terror alert was again lowered back to "yellow" Feb. 27. But in a joint statement, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge warned: "Al-Qaeda will wait until it believes Americans are less vigilant and less prepared before it will strike again." (AP, Feb. 27) [top]

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the 9-11 attacks and purportedly one of Osama bin Laden's top lieutenants, was handed over to FBI agents following his seizure in a pre-dawn raid in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on March 2. He is to be flown to the US-controlled Bagram air base in Afghanistan. He was reportedly captured with two other men, one Arab and one Pakistani activist of the Jamaat-i-Islami party. Mohammed was believed to be in the process of regrouping the al-Qaeda network in Pakistan. He is also said to be an uncle of Ramzi Yousef, convicted as mastermind of the 1993 bomb attack on the World Trade Center. (AFP, March 3) [top]

Last week saw commemorations in New York City of the 1993 World Trade Center blast, which killed six people and injured over 1,000 others who escaped through smoke-filled stairwells. But the media coverage struck the predictable tones of sanctimony and self-righteous indignation. There was little effort to review the murky reality of the landmark terrorist case that followed the blast--which revealed a shadowy netherworld of interlocking intelligence intrigues surrounding the defendants.

In the Feb. 26, 1993 blast, a van loaded with explosives blew up in a garage below the towers, mostly damaging the lower levels. Four arrested in the aftermath--Mohammed Salameh, 30, Mahmoud Abouhalima, 37, Ahmad Mohammad Ajaj, 31, and Nidal Ayyad, 30--were convicted in 1994 on conspiracy and explosives charges after a six-month trial. In 1998, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the convictions but ordered them re-sentenced because they did not have access to lawyers when their 240-year sentences were instated. They all still face long terms. (CNN, Aug. 5, 1998)

Defendant Mahmoud Abuohalima was extradited to New York for the trial after being arrested in Egypt. He claimed that his alleged statements to Egyptian interrogators admitting to a role in the attack were extracted under torture. (NYT, March 27, 1993) Said Abuohalima's attorney Jesse Berman: "He was skewered like a shish kebab, he told me. Then they beat him with bats and boards, and burned his private parts with a lit cigarette." (Newsday, March 26, 1993)

Most pathetic was the case of Mohammed Salameh, a Palestinian refugee from Jordan, whose voice was heard on a tape presented to the grand jury that brought back the indictment. On the tape, he attempted to convince FBI agent William Atkinson, posing as a Ryder truck-rental employee in Jersey City, to return his $400 deposit on the van used in the attack, which he had reported stolen from a supermarket parking lot the night before the blast. (Newsday, Dec. 16, 1993)

Defense attorneys William Kunstler and Ron Kuby maintained that the entire plot had been contrived and led by the very FBI informant whose testimony was used to secure the convictions. Kunstler and Kuby contended in a letter to US District Judge Michael Mukasey that "Emad Salem, the chief informant in this case, was responsible for the World Trade Center bombing." Informant Salem said in a taped conversation with FBI agent John Anticev: "...we was start already building the bomb, which is went off in the World Trade Center. It was built, uh, uh, uh, supervising, supervision from the Bureau and the DA [District Attorney] and we was all informed about it. And we know that the bomb start to be built. By who? By your confidential informant. What a wonderful great case." (Newsday, Dec. 15, 1993)

The tapes revealed the FBI knew in advance of the bomb plot and planned to thwart it by substituting harmless powder for explosives--but the substitution was called off at the last moment. At one point informant Salem--a 43 year-old former Egyptian army officer--recalls that the FBI had planned on "building the bomb with a phony powder and grabbing the people who were involved in it." But Salem, who is heard lecturing his FBI handlers, said the powder scheme was called off and "we didn't do that." Salem also was heard on the tapes criticizing the agents for ignoring his warnings that the World Trade Center was to be bombed. "Guys, now you saw this bomb went off and you both know that we could avoid that," he says. (NYT, Oct. 28, 1993)

Then-Attorney General Janet Reno declined to comment on the legal team's allegations, citing the trial still underway. (NYT, Oct. 29, 1993)

Meanwhile, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told reporters in Washington his intelligence services had tipped off the US that the attack was coming. "It could have been prevented if you listened to our advice," he said. Asked if he had specific information about individuals involved, he responded: "That's right. And this information has been exchanged with American intelligence." (NYT, April 5, 1993)

Anonymous Israeli intelligence sources told Village Voice journalist Robert I. Friedman that defendant Ahmad Ajaj, a Palestinian, had been recruited as an informant by Mossad when he was in prison in Israel following his 1988 arrest in a counterfeiting ring. (Village Voice, Aug. 3, 1993) From his prison cell, Mohammad Salameh would tell reporters after his conviction: "Everybody knows that the Israeli secret service, the Mossad, planned the tragedy at the World Trade Center. I am innocent of all charges that have been leveled against me." (Newsday, June 16, 1993)

Followers of late right-wing Jewish militant leader Meir Kahane boasted to Newsday columnist Jim Dwyer that the Jersey City mosque frequented by Salameh and other defendants was infiltrated by a member of their group posing as a Muslim. They also claimed the mosque was under close surveillance by the FBI, Mossad and the Egyptian intelligence service. (Newsday, March 9, 1993) Salameh was also alleged to be a cousin of El-Sayyid Nosair, who was acquitted of assassinating Kahane but convicted on a weapons possession charge related to the 1990 slaying. Nosair's alleged brother Ibrahim El-Gabrowny was arrested in the midst of the WTC blast trial when he reportedly threw a punch at police who were sent to search his Brooklyn apartment. (New York Post, March 5, 1993)

Later convicted in a separate trial as mastermind of the conspiracy was Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who was busted in 1995 in a Pakistan safe-house. Authorities claimed the safe-house was secured by the al-Qaeda network--the first explicit attempt to link Osama bin Laden to the attack. (BBC, Sept. 18, 2001)

Fingered by authorities as the spiritual father figure in the terror ring was Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, an exiled Egyptian cleric living in Jersey City, who in 1995 would be convicted in an alleged follow-up plot to destroy several New York City landmarks. The notorious "Blind Sheikh" Rahman was, like Osama, a veteran of the Afghan resistance in the 1980s. Robert Friedman reported in the Village Voice that as part of the Mujahedeen's rearguard support network in Pakistan, Sheikh Rahman "forged operational links" with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a warlord then being backed massively by the CIA. (Village Voice, April 6, 1993) "Have some former Cold War allies turned on the US?" asked the New York Times innocently, noting that Abouhalima had worked at the storefront Alkifah Refugee Center on Brooklyn's Atlantic Ave., which recruited volunteers from New York's Muslim immigrant community for the Afghan Mujahedeen. (NYT, April 11, 1993)

One anonymous US official told AP that it was a CIA officer--acting as a consular official--who approved Sheikh Rahman's visa from Sudan after a clerk at the consulate allegedly assured him the Sheikh's name was not on a list of undesirable aliens. (NYT, July 14, 1993) Egyptian President Mubarak claimed this was no accident, but that the visa had been issued as a payoff for "the services he did." "The sheik has been a CIA agent since his days in Afghanistan," Mubarak was quoted in Egypt's al-Gomhuria paper. "He still earns a salary." A CIA official issued a flat denial: "The Central Intelligence Agency has never employed Sheik Abdul Rahman in any capacity." (Newsday, May 29, 1993)

See also WW3 REPORT #2

For more on Sheikh Rahman see WW3 REPORT's interview with attorney Lynne Stewart [top]

Public records reveal that Marvin P. Bush, the president's youngest brother, was on the board of directors of a company providing electronic security for the World Trade Center, as well as Dulles International Airport and United Airlines. The company was backed by an investment firm, the Kuwait-American Corp., also linked for years to the Bush family. The security firm, formerly named Securacom and now named Stratesec, is in Sterling, VA. Its CEO, Barry McDaniel, said the company had a "completion contract" to handle some of the security at the World Trade Center "up to the day the buildings fell down." It also had a three-year contract to maintain electronic security systems at Dulles Airport, according to a Dulles contracting official. Securacom/Stratesec also handled some security for United Airlines in the 1990s, according to McDaniel. McDaniel also confirmed that the company has security contracts with the Defense Department, but did not detail the nature of the work, citing security concerns. Marvin Bush was a director at Stratesec from 1993 to fiscal year 2000, joining when it was capitalized by the Kuwait-American Corporation, a private investment firm in DC that was the company's major investor, sometimes holding a controlling interest. KuwAm has been linked to the Bush family financially since the Gulf War. One of its principals and a member of the Kuwaiti royal family, Mishal Yousef Saud al Sabah, served on the board of Stratesec. (Margie Burns for Prince George's Journal [MD]. Feb. 4) [top]

Stephen Push, whose wife Lisa Raines was killed on American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, is pressing the government for explanations about inconsistencies between early reports and the official story. Push has an internal FAA memo from Sept. 11 that states a hijacker on American Airlines Flight 11 "shot and killed a passenger in seat 9B at 9:20 AM..." five minutes before the flight hit the World Trade Center's north tower. "One bullet was reported to have been fired." But the government and airline both insist none of the hijackers had guns, calling the memo the result of "miscommunication" between a flight attendant and the FAA. But Push says the memo's specificity leaves him suspicious, and points out that the airline would have an interest in covering it up if any guns had been smuggled on board. He is considering opting out of the government compensation fund to pursue a lawsuit against American Airlines. (Newsday, Jan. 29) [top]


EXIT POLL: Editor Bill Weinberg is leaving on assignment to Chiapas this week. Should we attempt to continue publishing a downsized weekly edition in his absence, or go on hiatus until he gets back, or just quit altogether? If you don't want Editor-in-Chief Weinberg to take external assignments, then somebody offer him $200/week plus bennies to produce WW3 REPORT. Woody Harrleson, where are you?

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