Saturday, October 19, 2002

Are you starting to notice that the media is full of references to the “Vietnam experience”, but never the “Kuwait Experience”, the “Kosovo Experience” or the “Afghanistan Experience”. How about the “Normandy Experience”? The “Cold War Experience”?

The Left has to keep hammering at Vietnam since it represents the only significant defeat in what has basically been a string of successes that continue through to today. Each time the US goes to war, less civilians are killed, less soldiers are killed, the wars get faster and faster, humanitarian consequences get smaller. Without Vietnam, they have no touchstone, no compass.

And remember, Vietnam represents the high water mark for Dissent in the West. How many of today’s veteran activists are People Power leftovers? How many of their children are keeping the faith, just like second and third generation Klansmen? They have never affected policy before or since, so their continual harking back to the 60’s is only about their desperate attempts to appear relevant long after technology, opinion and politics passed them by.

So the next time some WBW-leghumper mentions “Vietnam!”, you say I’ll see your Vietnam, and raise you Kuwait. Watch them flounder; it’s fun.

Stephen Green has shaken his illness, and is back in the game.
A sample:
Granting that Europe has to rely on someone else to defend them, what policy would be in the best interest of Brussels, Paris, and Berlin?
Simple: Europe should sit down and shut up and let the grown ups take care of the danger.
Imagine there’s an arsonist in the neighborhood. He’s already burned down your garage, and he’s started several other fires around the block. Meanwhile, your old friends across the street, in as much danger as you – and without fire insurance – hinder your every effort to find and stop the terrorist. Er, arsonist. Adding insult to injury, they sometimes whisper that you’re the real pyromaniac.
These are not the actions of good neighbors. They are not the actions of friends. They aren’t even rational actions.

More more more.

Just got the latest helping from Sp!ked Central, chock-full o’ nuts as usual. Take the first off the rank: Bush is Losing the Culture War at home. Yes. The President is lying awake at night fretting about how to raise the haiku ratio of his crack 101st poet-trooper regiment. Deep in the War Room, anxious generals declare “we can’t invade without the approval of the Writer’s Guild! I will not see my boys return home like so many unsolicited manuscripts!”.

This article is too loopy to bother going through at the moment, if ever. But I would like to give you a sample of the hoops they had to jump through to get to their conclusions.
Since traditional notions of American superiority became publicly indefensible, the new politics of human rights have provided just about the only way for the USA and the West to justify their foreign interventions. Even the conservative Bush felt obliged to stage humanitarian gestures to legitimise his war in Afghanistan last year, dropping food parcels on the locals at the same time as bombs. But the White House has found it far harder to present any plausible humanitarian case for invading Iraq.

I thought the opponents of the war were the ones talking about how badly off the Iraqis were. Must have missed something.

In the aftermath of 11 September, America once more seemed united under the Stars-and-Stripes, and the few voices of dissent were choked off as US forces launched their 'war on terror' in Afghanistan. Yet a year later, the Bush administration seems to have lost much of that goodwill.
In fact the cracks in the consensus were there to be seen almost immediately after 11 September. The lack of certainty about America's role in the world was starkly evident in ambivalent public attitudes towards Islam.

“Choked off”?

The article goes on to talk about the official Poet Laureate of New Jersey, Imamu Amiri Baraka, and although Sp!ked acknowledges that Baraka’s claim that US forces new September 11 was coming is “nonsense”, the writers attach some approving significance to the fact that New Jersey appointed Baraka after he wrote the poem. Naturally, Sp!ked skips the news that New Jersey is trying to sack him but is actually unable to by law.

Under the heading “The Vietnam experience has undermined the effectiveness of the US armed forces”, the article declares
The calling into question of America's traditional values has had a corrosive effect on every institution, even including the US military.

As exidenced by:
For some years there has been a shortage of recruits willing to fight for their country.

How do you define “shortage”? Incredibly, Sp!ked uses two articles to support this claim. The first admits that:
the Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force surpassed their recruiting goals for the 2002 federal budget year

And the second confirms it:
Military officials and others who track recruitment trends say the number of candidates seeking to join the four military branches appears largely unaffected by the terrorist attacks.

Jeez. When even your own sources and citations don’t back you up, perhaps the game is not worth the candle anymore.

Friday, October 18, 2002

There is literally no limit to the depravity of the North Korean regime. They kidnap Japanese nationals, hold them prisoner, kill some of them, and finally cough up the confirmation that they did it.
Then they try for some brownie points by allowing some of them to return home for a visit. Except:
The returnees have been unable to return with their children. Hitomi Soga, who is married to a former US soldier, Charles Robert Jenkins, has also been forced to leave her husband in North Korea. Even though North Korea says the kidnapped Japanese are now free to return to their home country if they wish, the families say the children are being kept in North Korea as hostages.

And these idiots have actually admitted to having The Bomb? Why not just paint a big target on your foreheads fellas?
Thanks to Juan Gato for the link.


Well-fed public thinker Hilary McPhee is worried:
How do we think straight after this? Is there any way back to the kind of place we thought we were building here?

Hilary, as befits a member of the Yarts Establishment, is not affected by any sort of woolly thinking. She goes straight to the source:
Kids and families and friends are paying for the politics of hatred and lunatic fanaticism - but also for the decisions of politicians, in Indonesia, in the United States and in Australia.

How did she miss Israel?

McPhee speculates on Prime Minister John Howard’s state of mind:
Was there not a moment, on being woken by the phone call at 6.40 on Sunday morning with the first news of the outrage, when he permitted himself the thought that occurred to large numbers of his fellow Australians - that the bombings in Bali might have been in some way connected to words uttered and actions taken by the Australian Government?
Did it not cross his mind that the suggestion that Australia might play US deputy in the region did no one any good? That this, along with certain other politically astute departures from our engagement in the region, just when the scars of White Australia were starting to heal, might have reaped a whirlwind?

Not grief, mind you. Not anger, resolve, revulsion, determination, sadness, fear, or any other reaction. The proper reaction, straight away, is “why do they hate us? Where is our fault?” BTW, the White Australia policy was ditched in 1970, and Australia has the highest rate of foreign-born nationals in the world.
The key is having an “independent” foreign policy. Here independent means “anti-US”. In McPhee Land, all it takes is a bit of thought and the Government will see the error of their ways. The idea that anyone who can actually think coming to the conclusion that the US alliance might be a good idea, is beyond the pale.

Hilary wants us to follow the example of Prime Minister Ben Chifley, leader at the end of WW2.
Our leaders rightly seek a "measured response". We need not doubt their sincerity, yet I would feel more confident if I had heard them say: we will fight terrorism with iron in our souls, but we will recognise, as Ben Chifley did with communism, that this includes fighting the conditions that allow it to flourish.

I wonder which Ben Chifley policies on communism Hilary is advocating. Is it the one about using troops to break strikers? Is it the US-Australia alliance, started by Chifley’s predecessor, which Chifley never veered from? Who knows? Maybe she wants to nationalise the banks. I thinks we can assume that Hilary want ssiome distance between herself and Chifley, who supported the White Australia Policy.
McPhee wants to “fight terrorism with iron in our souls”, but offers no ideas beyond not wanting to have
demands for increased defence expenditure and troop commitment, for evermore draconian detention and counterterrorism legislation, in the climate of propaganda, misinformation and lies we have inhabited during the past year

Because after all, the real cause of mass slaughter of civilians is easy to spot:
the insults that breed in Western hegemony, hubris and triumphalism.


Saw Richard Holbrooke and Jeane Kirkpatrick on the News Hour yesterday. Holbrooke made an interesting comment on why the French behave as they do.
RICHARD HOLBROOKE: Well, I agree with everything that Jeane Kirkpatrick just said. It reminds me a little of that famous line from 'My Fair Lady,' where Professor Higgins says to Eliza Doolittle, "The French don't actually care what you say as long as you pronounce it correctly." This is really the French concern with two things, in addition to what Jeane just said.
Number one, the French want to preserve a special role for the Security Council in such affairs because the Security Council, which gave the French a permanent seat and the right of a veto when it was created in 1945 is France's most important claim to big power status. After all, if you were reconstructing the Security Council in 2002, France and the UK would not both get permanent seats and vetoes. So that's important to the French.

This would explain things further than the “surrender monkey” argument, which is also has the ring of truth.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Germaine Greer left her country many years ago, and despite many promises, has returned several times to bother us. I for one am willing to pay hard currency if the UK will confiscate her passport.

In her latest screed, she lines up firmly with the “blame whitey” crew.
The only way to get along with everyone is to take sides with no one, but successive Australian governments have chosen to ignore this obvious fact.

There are so many internal inconsistencies in this steaming pile, it is tempting to let them speak for themselves. But where is the fun in that?
The vast country lies as defenceless as a turtle on its back, because there is not sufficient wealth in the economy to underwrite the cost of developing any kind of infrastructure along the endless coastline.

Except that:
Any foreign power that invaded Australia from the north would pretty soon wish it hadn't. The limitless expanse offers no support of any kind;

Please keep this woman in the UK, to spare her the pain of coming back:
The paradox of a poor country which remains undeveloped while its citizens squander their substance on what they are proud to call a "sophisticated recreational lifestyle" has always struck me as painful.

I’d like to thank the international community for their forebearance and lack of invasion:
The rest of the world lets Australian uranium mines operate with impunity.

And watch out Canada, China, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Romania and Russia.

Germaine dabbles in some historical what-ifs:
In 1939, prime minister Robert Menzies declared war on Germany before Britain did, probably because he needed to silence considerable opposition to the war on the part of Irish-Australians by bringing in war-time restrictions on freedom of speech and association.

It was all a plot, see? Just to keep the (insert name of downtrodden here) down.

Here’s her view of the War in the Pacific:
The abandonment of the Japanese offensive

Interesting choice of words in “abandonment”. I would have picked defeated, perhaps repelled, or even turned back, but I’m not a public-teat-sucking intellectual.

Australia sent troops to Korea, to Vietnam and to the Gulf.

Without a single instance of terrorist attack.

Australian involvement in that conflict [GW1] meant very little to its allies, the actual contribution being minuscule

I know it’s difficult for Greer to understand loyalty, and why our willingness to step up might account for the ability to call on Allies at another time and place. Yeah, we’re doing very little, apart from this year taking charge of the sanctions blockade in the Gulf.

Come and see the Magic defence budget, where
during the 1980s the Australian defence establishment had gradually and deliberately been reduced to next to nothing.

Australian defence spending will certainly increase, with little effect on Australia's stature as an ally and policy maker but with crushing impact on the Australian people. Already, funding for essential social services has been cut and long-term welfare initiatives are being abandoned.

Crushing impact, yes. I myself can barely keep body and soul together, but The Good Lady Wife has her chums rolling bandages for Our Boys. Except that defence spending has declined as a percentage of GDP from the mid 1980’s to 1999.

Greer is desperately hoping that no-one actually reading this swill has any knowledge of Australia, and has not read an Australian newspaper for a while.
Meanwhile, tension between Muslims and non-Muslims in Australia is mounting, fuelled by media massaging of deplorable cases of gang-rapes of girls who happened to be Christian by boys who happened to be Muslim.

I must have missed all the hate crimes, graffiti, attacks and general mopery directed at Muslims. Because it didn’t happen. And despite Greer’s assertion that the “boys” only “happened to be Muslim:
· Nine of them got a total of240 years, one sentenced to a maximum 55 years
· The rapists repeatedly identified themselves by nationality and religion
· Routinely sent SMS racial slurs directed at Anglos from phone to phone, calling in associates to the rapes.

And in case you still don’t get who the real bastards are:
In allowing the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, to be the first to identify the Bali bombers as al-Qa'eda, American intelligence has sent an ill-prepared Australia into the front line.

Stupid of me, I know. I could have sworn it was the murder of my countrymen that put us on the front line. What was I thinking?

UPDATE: Silent Running has sunk the slipper into Greer. Good read.
I’ll use the LGF Headline:


Maintaining ideological purity in the face of common decency, Indymedia is now claiming the Washington sniper is a Mossad or CIA operation.
A CIA hit team or Mossad agents sent by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the United States are the likely suspects behind the string of sniper killings in the Washington, D.C., metro area, according to informed sources.

Further, the Informed Source recommends conservation of Precious Bodily Fluids, and the increased consumption of microwaves as therapy.

No-one who has read his books can doubt the writing ability of Clive James. I have harboured scepticism of his role as a professional expatriate, but he presents a better view of Oz than, say, Germaine Greer.

In the Guardian of all places, James calmly beats on fools like Bob Ellis, who have no doubt that
international terrorism is to be explained by the vices of the liberal democracies.

James is on the case of the consensus view that it’s all about the Palestinians:
The consensus will die hard in Australia, just as it is dying hard here in Britain. On Monday morning, the Independent carried an editorial headed: "Unless there is more justice in the world, Bali will be repeated." Towards the end of the editorial, it was explained that the chief injustice was "the failure of the US to use its influence to secure a fair settlement between Israelis and Palestinians." I count the editor of the Independent as a friend, so the main reason I hesitate to say that he is out to lunch on this issue is that I was out to dinner with him last night. But after hesitating, say it I must, and add a sharper criticism: that his editorial writer sounds like an unreconstructed Australian intellectual, one who can still believe, even after his prepared text was charred in the nightclub, that the militant fundamentalists are students of history.

The idea of loony-tune bombers poring over learned texts on the geopolitical overtones of the Middle East would be laughable, if not for the serious treatment this concept gets. James takes it down:
A typical terrorist expert on the subject believes that Hitler had the right idea, that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a true story, and that the obliteration of the state of Israel is a religious requirement. In furthering that end, the sufferings of the Palestinians are instrumental, and thus better exacerbated than diminished. To the extent that they are concerned with the matter at all, the terrorists epitomise the extremist pressure that had been so sadly effective in ensuring the continued efforts of the Arab states to persuade the Palestinians against accepting any settlement, no matter how good, that recognises Israel's right to exist.

Geddit? No peace, ever. It’s not going to happen until the Palestinians and Arabs recognise that they have lost, repeatedly, that they will never win, and that the biggest losers in the deal are themselves. Certainly ole Yasser isn’t missing any meals.

How Clive got this into the Guardian I’ll never know.

Thanks to Scott Wickstein for the link.


Greg Sheridan has some harsh words for the blame Australia/US alliance.
Some things are said which are too foolish to be uttered in this serious and solemn time. It is demeaning and almost demented to say the terrorists hate us primarily because we have supported aspects of US foreign policy. Did the terrorists also target innocent Balinese because of their US connections?

And more reality:
Those who doubt terrorists would use weapons of mass destruction last week doubted they would target us as Australians at all. The week before that they doubted that al-Qa'ida had deeply penetrated South-East Asia. A little more than a year ago they doubted terrorists would kill thousands of civilians on the US mainland.
Now they doubt Saddam Hussein would give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists with whom he has well established connections.
I no longer have faith in their doubts. I no longer wish to live by their doubts.

Go read. Go.


Your family is murdered by international criminals. Should you withdraw from the system that is capable of tracking the perpetrators, or make sure that your commitment is sufficient to guarantee that your loss will be avenged? Hugh White’s solution in today’s Herald thinks that we should have more soldiers at home to “deal with the threat”

White seems to think that the SAS are willing or capable of acting as the Sword and Shield to prevent terrorist attacks in Australia. That pulling them home from Afghanistan will be the best idea.
I wonder, for example, if now is not the time to bring the SAS home from Afghanistan, where by all accounts the operations are winding down. And if push comes to shove in Iraq, the size and shape of any Australian contribution would need to take careful account of the risks in our immediate neighbourhood.

SAS troops are not policemen, nor intelligence officers. There are only a few hundred troopers, if that. From what White is suggesting, he wants a massive ramping up (and corresponding fall in standards) of SAS recruitment, as well as a new role for them on the streets of Sydney.

White has also utterly failed to see who is holding the whip hand in our relationship with Indonesia:
Of course we should push and prod, but the Government is right not to push too hard. Australia's standing in Indonesia is not high. Too much pressure will be counterproductive. And we cannot afford to hold the future of our relationship with Indonesia hostage to a satisfactory outcome that Jakarta may be incapable of delivering anyway.

Hey Hugh! The Indonesian fucked up royally. If anyone has to make nice, it’s them. They have to make it up to us. Our future relationship is on the line, but the question is whether we are going to bother pretending that that silly woman can claim to be in charge, or should we deal with terrorists inside Indonesia ourselves.
Bali's tragedy has become a critical test for Megawati's leadership. If she fails, we may see a reversion to military-backed authoritarian rule.

Please explain how this is a bad thing for Australia, compared with a situation where terrorists presently feel free to murder out citizens.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Thanks for the emails, especially Steve Polain and Bruce, Just Bruce, who treated me to this as part of his wish that our “snake-eaters” will do well.
SOMEBODY tell Bob Brown to shut the hell up.
Greens Senator Bob Brown says while the priority is to help the victims and track down those responsible for the attacks, questions about the claim need to be answered.

"There are serious concerns about the intelligence warnings or failure to warn," he said.

This from a guy that has resolutely resisted any increase in intelligence capabilities. This from the Party that only six weeks ago said this:
ASIO [Australian domestic spy agency] can obtain intelligence relating to potential terrorism through their usual working arrangements with the Australian Federal Police. These powers or any other extension of powers to ASIO are not needed

Terrorists in Indonesia? Obviously the correct response is to send a delegation to ….
investigate human rights abuses by US-trained troops in the Philippines.

After years of demonising the CIA and the USA, suddenly Bob is bitching that Australia didn’t pay enough attention to their warnings. "They're lying, and they're not sharing their lies!". This is craven politicking of the worst kind, by a man who thinks devotion equals legitimacy.

Stuff it mate.

UPDATE: Maybe we should have an inquiry, like Bob asks for. But let's make sure it includes an assessment of what we might have been able to find out had fanatics like Brown not been there to stymie every advance.

Is this our very own Ted Rall? The Canberra Times apparently published a cartoon on Monday featuring a man wearing a blood-spattered t-shirt with the line “My brother went to Bali and all I got back was this bloody t-shirt”.
Cop this cartoon from The Australian.
Just found the Fiends of the Earth satire site. I especially enjoyed this reprint
of a WSJ article about the FOE’s attempts to shed their too-white image
The Mobilization for Global Justice, the coalition of activists that's organizing A16, aims to change that. "It's not totally white Jews," organizer Adam Eidinger says of the protest cadre. "I'm Jewish, and so are some other people working on this, but we looked around the room and said, `We're a little weak on this one.'" So after a unanimous decision in February, the coalition allotted $4,257 (4,481 euros), almost a third of its budget, to hire veteran black activist Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture to muster support among African-Americans and other minorities.

Fiends of the Earth: Changing the world because we scare.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

There is an increasing insistence that some action by Australia can prevent or deter further massacres like the Sari Club. That there is an onus on Australians to understand what role our country has had in contributing to the circumstances that lead to this. Once we understand, we can take the steps needed to avert another. The words are unimpeachable: dialogue, negotiation, root causes, regional engagement. But they amount to the same thing.

What has not been done, is an examination of where such a path might lead us to. What if we did decide that it was cheaper in blood and treasure, to simply fold our tent and satisfy the demands of the terrorists. After all, they’re not here, and we might be able to keep it offshore if we can successfully find out what they want, and give it to them.

This is a demand that the foreign policy of a democratic nation be altered to please nameless, faceless mass murderers. The reason given is fear that they will kill and maim randomly selected Australians. The victims will not be related to policy in any fashion, apart from their citizenship. This is different only in degree to a practice of targeting an ethnic, racial or religious group based only on their membership in a particular group.

The foreign policy will need to be shaped in advance of any overt demand by the killers. The Australian Government must act in ignorance, attempting to satisfy the unknown desires and aspirations of anonymous criminals. These goals may shift at any time before or after policy decision are taken.

These demands may be limited or unlimited. They may include performance markers that are impossible to achieve. They may include conditions that are unacceptable to a significant minority or majority of Australians, For instance, there may be a demand of non-interference in East Timor, or the forced repatriation to Australia of all Christian Indonesians. They may involve internal Australian changes, such as unlimited unchecked immigration, or the banning of some sects of Islam from practising within Australia.

Those that may be making the demands take considerable pains to remain unknown. There are no credentials or identification to allow the proper identification of members of the gang. Anyone who presents themselves as a spokesperson has as good a claim to legitimacy as anyone else. So new groups with conflicting demands may multiply without check. The gangs have no checkable base of popular support, which may or may not be a result of their domestic political situation. Either way we have no way of deciding which, if any, of the conflicting demands should be met first, in what order, or at all. Voices in the Australian political scene may appoint themselves as interpreters of the killers’ demands, but their revealed truths are as likely to conflict as any other.

When the only sorting system available is the severity of the threatened reprisals and the demonstrated willingness of each group to carry out their threats, the gangs now compete with each other in murder with the aim of proving themselves more dangerous than each other, by using randomly chosen victims as their arena. Since the previous aim of the gangs was to be more inhuman than liberal democracies, this situation represents the beginning of an endless escalation of kill and counter-kill.

Further attacks can only be seen as evidence of failure on the part of Australia to satisfy the group carrying out the attack. The only acceptable response is to increase efforts to meet demands that may or may not be made known, by people who may or may not be the people carrying out the attack.

Thus the Australian Government is set on a downward path of attempted appeasement, while the gangs have an incentive to constantly raise their demands, and their consequences of non-compliance. The incentive is provided through competition with other gangs for policy impact, and from past successes when achieved. The cycle, once started, would be extremely difficult to halt, much less reverse. Australian prestige in the area would decline in the most direct sense, that of our ability to project influence abroad and enforce domestic policy within. Again, this may contribute to further cycles as our ability to deliver outcomes declines.

There is a reason that foreign policy has always been to never, ever deal with terrorists. Once encouraged, they or their descendants can never, ever be satisfied. The conflict between a liberal democracy like Australia, and the aspirations of groups that commit the mass murder of people for no other reason than their membership of a racial, ethnic, religious or national group is absolute. This is a war to the death; either our values or theirs.


Those who assume global responsibility for poverty are the first to demand isolationism on any response to terrorism.

To say that the Bali attacks diminishes our need to attack Iraq, means that the absence of such an attack would make our participation in the next Gulf War more acceptable.

The Left uses terrorism like it uses global warming. No matter what effect occurs, the root causes are always the same, and the solution never varies.

Anyone who thinks American nuclear sites should be inspected along with Iraqi weapons sites, should remember who won and who surrendered. Would they have advocated that the US submit to arms controls, as the price of demanding disarmament by Nazi Germany?

Those who worry about the “slippery slope” of American imperialism after Iraq, should stop and consider the consequences of giving any impression that terrorist attacks might influence our policy.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Back from holidays, and frankly I’m buggered. So there will be a little to say tonight about Bali, and then to bed.

First point: this was an attack directed at Australians, by Indonesian Islamic terrorists seeking to influence Australian policy. This was not a random attack, nor was it a coincidence that these venues were targeted. They were after us.

Second Point: Australia is now irrevocably committed to the war on terrorism. It is as much our war as the USA’s, or anyone else’s. We have to accept the fact that there are people living close by who hate us and wish us dead, for the simple fact that we are not of their faith. There is nothing that secular, freedom-loving Australian can do, say or wish that will appease, pay off, divert, distract or in any way satisfy religious fanatics who are prepared to incinerate unidentified people to make a political point. Who will choose soft civilian targets over military options that are as readily presented, simply because it’s less risky to kill unarmed civilians. This is war to the death.

Third Point: Indonesia will now have to choose. They are either with Australia, or against us. Australia is the country that has done more to assist their development than any other. The country that trains big pieces of their army; donates cash and development aid; the country that bailed them out of their last financial crisis. The Indonesian Government had better provide full, total devotion to identifying, catching and prosecuting the animals that did this. We want to see action. Now.

Fourth Point: Indonesia did not do this. Regular off-the-shelf Islam did not do this. These killers are, as Aaron Sorkin put it in his post-September 11 West Wing episode, the Islamic version of the Ku Klux Klan. They are right-wing religious crackpots who will brook no deviation from the path to a world-wide Islamic state. This is not the way Islam is practised in Indonesia or in Australia. But mark this: the first sign here of this brand of intolerance, of fanaticism, of death-worship, and I expect the Hammer of God to come down repeatedly and from a great height. I want anyone involved who does not have full citizenship to be booted unceremoniously back to the country they bloody left to choose this place. I want their families out. I want their friends and associates marked as suspect and a possible threat to security.

There will be more over the days to come.

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