The plot thickens further in the Guergis/Jaffer affair Part III

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KenS
The plot thickens further in the Guergis/Jaffer affair Part III

continuation of The plot thickens further in the Guergis/Jaffer affair Part 2

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

What's the latest, if anything? Last I heard, their accusers were backtracking a bit.

ETA: ah, I see Ken posted just a few minutes before I did. Ignore this post, go read Ken's.

KenS

The full transcript of the interview with the private investigator at the centre of this makes a good read.

Here's what I take from it.

The guy comes across considerably less shady than he sounds in some of the reports. There's a lot less to this story- as far as Guergis and Jaffer go- than there has made out to be.

Its all but made explicit that the PI in bringing Jaffer and Guergis names into it he had no concern with them or with some kind of agrandizing of himself. That he saw tossing their names in as an opportunity to get more attention paid to the authorities investigating and prosecutiong Gilliani.

He had an already long running campaign to get more attention paid to the mode of operation of Gilliani. And by his account- a seemingly credible account- Gilliani had a history of getting pictures of clients and investors playing at his parties, and then blackmailing them with the pictures if they treatened to talk about his business practices.

So he has heard Jaffer's name come up. Hears that Jaffer and apparently Guergis were at one of these social activities. And thats all he ever knew. He then takes the possibility they were at some seedy social event, and the possibility that some pictures could have been taken of them by Gilliani, and dangles out the possibility of a minister being vulnerable to blackmail.... and he shops around this hypothetical scenario in the hopes some one will take it up... which ultimately could serve his goal of getting more attention paid to Gilliani.

And who takes up all this tenuous information, but the PMO. That they should pay attention to it is to be expected. But that they would be the ones to go public with it, when its about one of their own, lets just say thats not how it usually works.

And these are the "serious allegations"- nothing more than that when Harper heard about it- over which Harper immediatey kicks Geurgis out of Caucus.

Transcript: Interview with Derrick Snowdy

Frmrsldr

I think Harper feels he is under the gun and in the spotlight over Torturegate. It's making him nervous. Given the control freak that he is, his actions are not surprising. Remember what happened to Maxime Bernier?

I know it will be impossible to control your laughter, but the Cons were elected in 2006 on a ticket of clean, open, transparent and accessible government. Once again (if it ever truly was) Harper is taking the position that not only must his government be honest and ethical, it must be seen to be honest and ethical. Foot in mouth

Joey Ramone

Last summer Guergis' constituents fought to prevent the massive Dump Site 41 from opening on top of a pristine aquifer.  Guergis' cousin, Tony Guergis, was Warden of Simcoe County at the time and was the leading proponent of the dump, along with a sleazy group of politicians and developers.  A popular grassroots uprising defeated Tony Guergis and the dump never opened. Now that evidence has emerged that during last summer's blockade Helena lobbied her cousin on behalf of one of Jaffer's sleazy business associates who is in the "waste management" business, Helena claims she opposed the Dump.  To the activists who fought the dump (18 were arrested and charged, several faced huge civil damages claims from the County Council under cousin Tony) these claims are absurd.

http://stopdumpsite41.ca/?p=4560

Caissa

The New Democrats have pulled their support for special parliamentary committee hearings to look into the conduct of former Conservative cabinet minister Helena Guergis and her husband, Rahim Jaffer.

The NDP had previously said it would support a Liberal motion calling for the government operations and estimates committee to call several witnesses, including Guergis, former Conservative MP Jaffer and his business partner, Patrick Glémaud, to appear in Ottawa to answer questions about a billion-dollar green infrastructure fund.

But NDP Leader Jack Layton's office said Monday the party would no longer back the motion

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/04/19/guergis-jaffer-hearings.html#ixzz0lZhOQdpT

Polunatic2

Perhaps Guergis is getting ready to join the NDP caucus? 

Unionist

Good for Jack! Let the Liberals wallow in this irrelevant sideshow.

The only thing I have against Helena Guergis is her politics - especially her association with an anti-women government and portfolio. The rest is either unproven or unimportant. For those who prefer "scandals" to politics, Harper will no doubt come out looking good for dumping her unceremoniously.

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
The only thing I have against Helena Guergis is her politics

 

The only thing I'd have had against Al Capone would have been his mob activities. But if the only way to nail him was for tax fraud, no complaints here.

Unionist

Snert wrote:

Quote:
The only thing I have against Helena Guergis is her politics

 

The only thing I'd have had against Al Capone would have been his mob activities. But if the only way to nail him was for tax fraud, no complaints here.

Brilliant analogy. Only I don't recall Scarface getting fingered by a bigger mob boss the way Guergis was.

Polunatic2

CBC update

Quote:
It's not entirely clear at this point why Martin has changed his mind -- according to the Globe, it may have something to do with his concern that a committee investigation could "jeopardize the work of the RCMP," which is an objection that I don't recall him raising when Public Accounts was investigating the sponsorship scandal, or, more recently, when Ethics conducted hearings into the Mulroney/Schreiber Affairs, but he's scheduled to scrum after Question Period, so I'm sure he'll explain it all -- in colourful, pull-quote friendly soundbites, no less.

KenS

Newer update on that Kady O'Malley [CBC] update:

Quote:

UPDATE: As promised, Martin scrummed after QP, and told reporters that they - the NDP, presumably -- have "always had some reservations" as to whether this committee is the "appropriate place" to bring Jaffer and other witnesses, but he now "firmly believes that there're more of a downside than there is a benefit," so for the time being, they're pulling support for calling "these particular witnesses on this study." 

"The issue of influence peddling is so serious that all the other salacious stuff pales in comparison," he stressed, adding that he really doesn't care about all that stuff -- "the substance abuse issues, the busty hookers". Influence peddling, on the other hand, "is right up there with treason in terms of high crimes and misdemeanours ... if the RCMP has an investigation underway regarding influence peddling by these people, I don't want anything at our committee at this time. We don't know  that. we don't know what they've been asked to investigate. and we don't want to jeopardize any investigation the RCMP has underway." 
That doesn't preclude the committee from re-calling the witnesses in future, he assured the assembled media masses. But "as interesting as it may be for us to hear what Mr. Jaffer has to say at this point in time, it could compromise a serious investigation into very serious criminal charges .. I always had reservations about bringing these witnesses before the committee. I had to be talked into it, and now I'm convinced that I am right. There's no rush in this. It's a timely matter -- let the rcmp at least conclude what investigation they're doing."

I don't remember what Martin was saying before. And if there is a bit of revisionist history going on, it hardly matters. This mud slinging on the salacious stuff never looked good, and it looks worse now.

RedRover

"As for the fact the NDP did not even mention Jaffer or Guergis in question period: merely a coincidence.  How to explain it then? "This is Pat Martin being Pat Martin," a source tells me.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/politics/insidepolitics/2010/04/trying-to-figure-out-pat-martins-flip-flop-on-jaffer.html

 

Some New Democrat communications thingy throwing one of his/her MP's under the bus. How nice.

 

Something tells the ball was dropped a little higher up the food chain on this one.

Stockholm

Setting aside the predictable "concern trolling" - don't people think that we are getting to a saturation point on the Guergis/Jaffer affair and that its getting to a point where the lurid gossip is actually taking attention away from other things the government is doing that are much more serious a deserve much more attention. I think the opposition is getting close to the point of having sucked this scandal dry.

al-Qa'bong

As someone who helped soak this issue to the saturation point on babble, aren't you flip-flopping a bit, Stockholm?

ottawaobserver

RedRover wrote:

"As for the fact the NDP did not even mention Jaffer or Guergis in question period: merely a coincidence.  How to explain it then? "This is Pat Martin being Pat Martin," a source tells me.

http://www.cbc.ca/politics/insidepolitics/2010/04/trying-to-figure-out-pat-martins-flip-flop-on-jaffer.html

Some New Democrat communications thingy throwing one of his/her MP's under the bus. How nice.

Note, she never claimed it was an NDP source who said that.  I saw Brad Lavigne on Power Play give a perfectly sensible explanation, that is defensible based on what I know of the jurisprudence on this.

Soliciting testimony before a Parliamentary committee now means that evidence can't be used in court.  Also, bringing certain facts into the open could interfere with the logical order of a police investigation.  If you actually want the police investigation to work, and any criminal charges to stick, you have to do things in the right order.

The Liberals have lawyers in their caucus too, who know this perfectly well.  The parliamentary press gallery are being led around by their noses by Liberal spinners, and the truth is that they don't *want* to cover anything else.

Unionist

Did someone post this already?

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/04/19/guergis-jaffer-hearings.html... testimony to go ahead[/url]

Quote:

It appears former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer will get a chance to speak publicly this week in Ottawa about allegations of improper lobbying, despite a last-minute move by the NDP to postpone his appearance before a special parliamentary committee.

RedRover

Yeah.  You're right Observer.  She didn't explicitly say that.

Common sense applies though.  Read the whole passage again and tell us if you really think her "source" is someone from another party?

Someone from another party would be expected to say that sort of thing, and they have - on panels today.  They don't need cover or to be cited as a "source."  Only someone NOT wanting to be identified would need that sort of cover when speaking on background to a reporter. 

This has 'NDP insider distancing the party from this communications debacle' written all over it.

PS - I think they will succeed too.  It'll be an embarassing story tommorrow, but then the testimony will go ahead and everything will be forgotten.  It's just too bad they have to throw an MP under the bus in the process.

Polunatic2

Maybe Jaffer is seeking the NDP nomination somewhere? 

Augustus

Caissa wrote:

The New Democrats have pulled their support for special parliamentary committee hearings to look into the conduct of former Conservative cabinet minister Helena Guergis and her husband, Rahim Jaffer.

The NDP had previously said it would support a Liberal motion calling for the government operations and estimates committee to call several witnesses, including Guergis, former Conservative MP Jaffer and his business partner, Patrick Glémaud, to appear in Ottawa to answer questions about a billion-dollar green infrastructure fund.

But NDP Leader Jack Layton's office said Monday the party would no longer back the motion

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/04/19/guergis-jaffer-hearings.html#ixzz0lZhOQdpT

Why is the NDP having trouble making up its mind as to how it wants to proceed?

KenS

Its very sweet all this solicitous concern for the positioning of the NDP on this; but alas, very misplaced.

Explain to me how changing your mind about how much attention to pay to a scandal is a "flip flop". Whatever change of tack there is has zero profile for the public. It even has very limited traction among the punditry- with obvious dotted lines between the characterization of "flip flop" and the Liberals scraping the barrel to trump up their "issue".

Rosemay Barton's "source" in the blog linked above has the hallmarks of a Liberal backroom operative. The backroom operative's name carries no weight, so gets called "source."

And they've got it all backwards anyway: as if Pat Martin's change of heart is freelancing. All the signs are precisely the opposite. The NDP makes a choice to downgrade this, and its Pat Martin's job to explain. He doesn't sound entirely natural or comfortable in doing so- or, at least the Liberals are trying to portray it that way [dutifully passed on by Barton]. Big whoopdy -do.

And by the way- even I don't remember what Pat Martin said about l'affair Geurgis last week, or how far he dialed the rhetoric. So whatever change there was- thats how noticeable it really was.

bekayne

ottawaobserver wrote:

Soliciting testimony before a Parliamentary committee now means that evidence can't be used in court.  Also, bringing certain facts into the open could interfere with the logical order of a police investigation.  If you actually want the police investigation to work, and any criminal charges to stick, you have to do things in the right order.

Were there the same objections to the testimony of Chuck Guite?

RedRover

Great question.  Can anyone explain/theorize on the difference?

KenS

Deep.

Augustus

"Asked Tuesday how they see the committee meeting unfolding, NDP MPs point blank refused to answer."

 

 

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/798370--rahim-jaffer-s-parlia...

KenS

This is a fishing expedition with thin material to go on.

In a court of law thats part of the game. A lawyer can engage in it on the odds something can be turned up, as long as the presiding judge allows.

In the House, fishing expeditions are not primarily about drawing out the facts. In most cases, and definitely in this one, its all about "the journey"... not about getting to the bottom of anything.

Leaving aside even the question of risks of compromising potential prosecution- the benefits of "the journey" are all tactical: keeping the scandal on the public stage for as long as it can be played out.

If thats what the Liberals and Bloc want to do- they are entitled to shovel as much as they like.

If the NDP makes a decision that it isn't worth it- thats all there is too it. That when this was all newer they may have been more into it, is nothing of any consequence.

Having made the minimal statement that they don't think it should be pursued further in this manner- thats where you stop. Beyond that, anything more will not help, and will in turn become the focus. Having already decided you don't want your name on this, it would be really stupid to turn that itself into "the news".

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Oh, I got the impression from listening to Pat Martin that the NDP willl go after this issue once the RCMP investigation is over, especially if there are still questions unanswered. Martin's whole argument that I heard on P&P was that they do not want to jeopardize the investigation, but are still extremely interested in it.

KenS

Its perfectly legitimate that people don't want to take what Martin says totally at face value. In practice, the RCMP investigation and the House process are about really different things. And its apparent that the NDP has reservations about the House process that go beyond the risks of compromising the investigation and the possibility of prosecution following that.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I don't know if this has been asked yet, but is anyone in the NDP contradicting Pat Martin?

KenS

Not that I have heard. And its pretty unlikely. The only reason that the notion is out there is because the Liberals put it into circulation.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Okay, thanks, Ken.

ottawaobserver

This is going to turn out to be about as much of a tempest in a teapot as the NDP changing its strategy of always voting against the government, in favour of trying to negotiate for small but tangible victories. The Liberals and their drinking buddies in the Ottawa media went into high dudgeon over that one, but it was Ignatieff who read the public wrong.

Layton is getting very good at staying in touch with public opinion outside Ottawa and two steps ahead of the Liberals. Apparently we're set to see some interesting data out of Ekos on how the public is reacting to the continued political focus on this scandal.

I know I groan whenever I see Jane Taber launch yet another speculative puff piece on this story now, and it's a wonder the Liberals can't find anything else worth raising in the House either.

The influence-peddling charges are the most serious, and if Jaffer winds up getting off on any of those because the only available evidence was his earlier privileged testimony that can't be used criminally, there is going to be an even worse outcry than on his coke situation.

Polunatic2

Can someone explain this privilege business? The way it's been explained so far is that if Jaffer says anything incriminating at the Parliamentary committee that he can never be prosecuted in the future for those admissions. I find that very hard to believe, particularly if the police are able to uncover evidence on their own. Can that evidence be nullified because of Jaffer's testimony? 

KenS

ottawaobserver wrote:
This is going to turn out to be about as much of a tempest in a teapot as the NDP changing its strategy of always voting against the government....

That was indeed a tempest in a teapot. But this broo-ha now doesn't even rate a fraction of that. A light breeze in a teapot.

As to the privilege thing. I think if the police find other evidence to corraborate, then it can still fly. But even if thats true- or at least somewhat true; having the best and most evidence dissalowed is a huge handicap, and one many prosecutions never recover from. In this case it could simply keep the case from getting to court. Influence peddling isn't easy to prosecute at the best of times.

Polunatic2

Quote:
most evidence dissalowed is a huge handicap, and one many prosecutions never recover from.

Any examples where prosecutions have been hampered because of testimony at a Parliamentary committee? 

Augustus

Pat Martin was the most aggressive MP at the Committee this afternoon in going after Rahim Jaffer.

But the Conservative MP's also made it clear that they are not happy with the way Rahim Jaffer's ethical failures have brought the reputation of all MP's into disrepute.

KenS

Twilight zone.

 

I saw a comment by Polunatic [after his #32], hit quote button, which worked, and I replied.

All gone.

 

oldgoat

Is it back now?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Jaffer said he found it ironic that the one MP (Pat Martin) who didn't want this committee to turn into a circus - has turned it into a circus. LOL

skdadl

Polunatic2 wrote:

Quote:
most evidence dissalowed is a huge handicap, and one many prosecutions never recover from.

Any examples where prosecutions have been hampered because of testimony at a Parliamentary committee? 

 

I'm ashamed to say that I don't know of any Canadian examples -- my ignorance entirely -- but the infamous American example would be Iran Contra. Please don't make me look all that up again, but it is a long and complicated history that has made many Merkins shy away from congressional inquiries.

RedRover

Martin was on today and devastated Jaffer.   Feeling as I do about him and other slimeball Cons who no doubt engage in or support similar behaviour by other...this was an immensely gratifying spectacle to watch.

These two clowns, Jaffer and his partner, had no idea what they were getting into.  The Committee now can investigate, in the light of public, their clients, practices, contacts, emails (from Guergis' office), etc...so long as it relates to the investigation of lobbying by their company.

I predict this will get very ugly and I could not be happier.

Frmrsldr

ottawaobserver wrote:

This is going to turn out to be about as much of a tempest in a teapot as the NDP changing its strategy of always voting against the government, in favour of trying to negotiate for small but tangible victories. The Liberals and their drinking buddies in the Ottawa media went into high dudgeon over that one, but it was Ignatieff who read the public wrong. Layton is getting very good at staying in touch with public opinion outside Ottawa and two steps ahead of the Liberals. Apparently we're set to see some interesting data out of Ekos on how the public is reacting to the continued political focus on this scandal. I know I groan whenever I see Jane Taber launch yet another speculative puff piece on this story now, and it's a wonder the Liberals can't find anything else worth raising in the House either. The influence-peddling charges are the most serious, and if Jaffer winds up getting off on any of those because the only available evidence was his earlier privileged testimony that can't be used criminally, there is going to be an even worse outcry than on his coke situation.

That's precisely it. If after this fracas, Rahim Jaffer and (more important still) Helena Guergis are vindicated, then the Conservative government will look bad on two counts:

1. An MP and former MP had an embarassing habit of hanging out with Hell's Angels types and other shady characters in strip clubs, sitting at tables surrounded by busty hookers and people snorting lines of cocaine. Remember, that as recently as today, Jaffer confirmed that he had cocaine in his possession when he was pulled over by the police. It won't alter the fact that this simply doesn't look good. It will raise the question in people's minds of where these Conservatives come from and if perhaps, we voted for a lie.

2. That Harper over-reacted by requesting the RCMP to investigate the "affairs"(?) of Guergis. If no wrongdoing or misconduct is found, the fact is Guergis' political career is destroyed. More people will see what a small minded, mean, spiteful and vindictive individual Harper is.

Both of these scenarios will cause harm to the Conservative government.

 

-=+=-

Jaffer comes off looking bad and again believing the rules don't apply to him:

1)  What he was doing was not lobbying, but hanging out and talking to old friends.

2)  Has never done drugs.  That cocaine just jumped in to his pocket by itself.

He seems to believe he can just talk his way out of it, and everything will be okey-dokey.  Not this time.

Augustus

Frmrsldr wrote:

That's precisely it. If after this fracas, Rahim Jaffer and (more important still) Helena Guergis are vindicated, then the Conservative government will look bad on two counts:

1. An MP and former MP had an embarassing habit of hanging out with Hell's Angels types and other shady characters in strip clubs, sitting at tables surrounded by busty hookers and people snorting lines of cocaine. Remember, that as recently as today, Jaffer confirmed that he had cocaine in his possession when he was pulled over by the police. It won't alter the fact that this simply doesn't look good. It will raise the question in people's minds of where these Conservatives come from and if perhaps, we voted for a lie.

2. That Harper over-reacted by requesting the RCMP to investigate the "affairs"(?) of Guergis. If no wrongdoing or misconduct is found, the fact is Guergis' political career is destroyed. More people will see what a small minded, mean, spiteful and vindictive individual Harper is.

Both of these scenarios will cause harm to the Conservative government.

That is not necessarily the case.

Polls so far are showing that most Canadians do not associate the unethical behaviour of Rahim Jaffer, Patrick Glemaud and/or Helena Guergis with the Conservative Government itself or Stephen Harper.  The controversy and scandal is limited so far to these isolated individuals.

The Prime Minister is also being given credit for taking swift action in removing Helena Guergis from the Conservative Government, and Conservative MP's are being given credit tonight for being tough on Mr. Jaffer at the Committee today.

Frmrsldr

-=+=- wrote:

Jaffer comes off looking bad and again believing the rules don't apply to him:

1)  What he was doing was not lobbying, but hanging out and talking to old friends.

2)  Has never done drugs.  That cocaine just jumped in to his pocket by itself.

He seems to believe he can just talk his way out of it, and everything will be okey-dokey.  Not this time.

Who's Jaffer? He's nobody, just like those guys in that "third rate burglary" over at Watergate. But it was/is the company he kept and who will subsequently get soaked by the toxic splash this scandal is creating that makes him important. I mean his connections with motorcycle clubs and other nefarious 'businessmen', strip clubs, busty hookers, illicit drugs, tax evading offshore investments, insider dealing, and the involvement of MPs, the government, Cabinet members, the Prime Minister's Office, the Prime Minister himself (with his punting the man's wife, Helena Guergis out of cabinet and calling investigations on her from the Ethics Commissioner and RCMP), where will this all end? Yes, this combined with the Afghan prisoner torture scandal is starting to turn into Canada's Watergate.

Frmrsldr

Augustus wrote:

That is not necessarily the case.

Polls so far are showing that most Canadians do not associate the unethical behaviour of Rahim Jaffer, Patrick Glemaud and/or Helena Guergis with the Conservative Government itself or Stephen Harper.  The controversy and scandal is limited so far to these isolated individuals.

The Prime Minister is also being given credit for taking swift action in removing Helena Guergis from the Conservative Government, and Conservative MP's are being given credit tonight for being tough on Mr. Jaffer at the Committee today.

So by the sounds of it, it seems that the people polled are operating under the assumption that IF Harper removed Guergis from cabinet and called an investigation by the Ethics Commissioner and the RCMP, THEN he must have had just reason to do so, ERGO they have a prejudiced opinion that Guergis is guilty until proven innocent (ultimately depends on how the questions were worded).

I guess the tipping point on this issue hasn't been reached yet. All the Cons supporting zombies are still clinging to the (now tarnished, IMO) belief that Harper is still Dear Leader* or Strong Leader, or whatever the hell they call this war criminal.

* "Dear Leader" is the name North Korean autocrat Kim Jong Il likes the people (ie., forces the people) to call him.

Augustus

Frmrsldr wrote:

Who's Jaffer? He's nobody, just like those guys in that "third rate burglary" over at Watergate. But it was/is the company he kept and who will subsequently get soaked by the toxic splash this scandal is creating that makes him important. I mean his connections with motorcycle clubs and other nefarious 'businessmen', strip clubs, busty hookers, illicit drugs, tax evading offshore investments, insider dealing, and the involvement of MPs, the government, Cabinet members, the Prime Minister's Office, the Prime Minister himself (with his punting the man's wife, Helena Guergis out of cabinet and calling investigations on her from the Ethics Commissioner and RCMP), where will this all end? Yes, this combined with the Afghan prisoner torture scandal is starting to turn into Canada's Watergate.

I think you have a bit of an over-active imagination.  Wink

Frmrsldr

Augustus wrote:

I think you have a bit of an over-active imagination.  Wink

We'll see.

Hope springs eternal.

Caissa

A company co-founded by former MP Rahim Jaffer pitched three project proposals to the federal government - including one involving a division of a waste management firm touted by his wife, ex-cabinet minister Helena Guergis - newly released documents show.

One of the proposals signed by Jaffer's business partner Patrick Glémaud names Green Rite Solutions Inc., the marketing arm of Wright Tech Systems Inc., as the stakeholder in a proposed $480-million "shovel-ready" electricity generation and waste-disposal infrastructure project to be considered for the federal Green Infrastructure Fund.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/04/22/politics-jaffer-proposals.html#ixzz0lrCwwfty

Tommy_Paine

 

I was watching CBC and CTV thisaft, and it seems the Conservatives are starting to do some pre-emptive damage control,  pointing out that it is not the responsibility of Cabinet Ministers to ask people their lobbying registration, that the onus is on the lobbyist. 

 

Cabinet Ministers are free to assume that anyone who lobbys them is doing so legally.

 

How Conveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenient.

 

Weasels.

Augustus

No doubt you will find this latest story interesting:

 

The director of a solar power company says he was “shocked” to learn Green Power Generation Corp. – the consulting firm co-founded by ex-MP Rahim Jaffer – had submitted a proposal for federal money without its permission.

 

 

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/799240--solar-company-shocked...

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