13 Jun

PRISM and the Hypocrisy from the Left

                                       

Bush-and-Cheney-at-war-crimes-trial

So it’s been over a week since the NSA leak came about and I figured I would weigh in. I don’t laud Snowden as some kind of hero, just as I did not laud Julian Assange. Both of them are narcissistic fools.

These leaks endanger all of us because the war on terror is NOT over. Obama and his supporters can claim it is but they all know it isn’t true, as evidenced by the very programs Obama keeps running from the Bush era.

Still, I understand the worries that people have about this program once you factor in the journalists who were snooped on, and at one point called a co-conspirator of treason, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the ongoing cover-up of the Benghazi attack, and so on.

All these intrusions into civil liberties and cover-ups make Nixon look, well, amateurish.

So now we find out the NSA is gathering data from millions of Americans and it worries me also. Obama has acted as a one man wrecking machine intent on destroying the two party system of our government and to trust that he wouldn’t use this NSA data against conservatives is naive.

After saying all that I still feel that this system is needed. Its target is only on foreign data from non-U.S. sources. That’s not to say that it won’t scoop up U.S. data:

Analysts who use the system from a Web portal at Fort Meade, Md., key in “selectors,” or search terms, that are designed to produce at least 51 percent confidence in a target’s “foreignness.” That is not a very stringent test. Training materials obtained by The Post instruct new analysts to make quarterly reports of any accidental collection of U.S. content, but add that “it’s nothing to worry about.”

Even when the system works just as advertised, with no American singled out for targeting, the NSA routinely collects a great deal of American content. That is described as “incidental,” and it is inherent in contact chaining, one of the basic tools of the trade. To collect on a suspected spy or foreign terrorist means, at minimum, that everyone in the suspect’s inbox or outbox is swept in. Intelligence analysts are typically taught to chain through contacts two “hops” out from their target, which increases “incidental collection” exponentially.

But what’s to stop the government from using that “incidental” data collected from a U.S. source to prosecute Americans for crimes unrelated to treason? The NSA and the administration say “trust us”….they have been proven to be untrustworthy.

Plus, why have this program but stop something like this?

Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.

Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.

We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.

Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists — inside mosques — and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.

In the end I understand that we need this kind of program.

So what to do? Honestly I have no idea. Our leaders in Washington better be insisting on some heavy checks and balances placed on any program like this.

The leak of the program itself angers me but you know what else angers me? The blatant hypocrisy on display by liberals and the media. Bush’s surveillance techniques were vilified. He was subject to completely over the top unhinged criticism for the same damn thing that Obama is doing and now those same liberals are falling all over themselves to make excuses for Obama.

In January 2006, when George W. Bush was president, Pew Research Center asked Democrats how they felt about the NSA’s surveillance programs. Thirty-seven percent labeled the spying “acceptable,” and 61 percent said they were unacceptable. The reverse is true today, as 64 percent of Democrats believe that Barack Obama’s surveillance programs are acceptable and 34 percent say they’re not.

That my friends is hypocrisy.

Glenn Greenwald, who I disagree with more often than not, is one of the few liberals who have stayed consistent. Whether you agree with his arguments or not, he has not rolled over and played dead to support one President over the other.

Greenwald told Business Insider late Tuesday night that he thinks some left-leaning members of the media — such as Time magazine’s Joe Klein and The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin — have shifted stances on surveillance and civil liberties for “principle-free, hackish, and opportunistic” reasons.

“I’m not surprised,” Greenwald said in an email. “I’ve been amazed and disappointed for a long time at how the most slavishly partisan media Democrats who pretended to care so much about these issues when doing so helped undermine George Bush are now the loudest apologists and cheerleaders for these very same policies.

“If they started a club called Liberal Pundits to Defend the National Security State, no auditorium in the country would be large enough to accommodate them.

“To call them principle-free, hackish, and opportunistic is to be overly generous.”

He feels, just as he did under Bush, that these programs are too intrusive. Every liberal in America felt the same way under Bush.

But not under Obama. Now Drone assassinations are cool, NSA data collecting is cool, war in Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan is cool.

It’s all a-ok with Obama in charge.

H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E-S

We need to spend more time focusing on the true scandals. The IRS, Snooping on journalists, Benghazi, and spend less time worrying about a program that is needed in the war on terror.

UPDATE

Two more hypocrites:

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About Curt

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 20 years.
This entry was posted in American Intelligence, Barack Obama, Benghazi Attack, Bush 43, Bush Derangement Syndrome, Congress, Conservatism, Constitution, Culture of Corruption, Deception and Lies, IRS, NSA Wiretap's, Politics, POWER GRAB!, Scandals, War On Terror. Bookmark the permalink. Thursday, June 13th, 2013 at 11:00 am
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18 Responses to PRISM and the Hypocrisy from the Left

  1. Nan G says: 1

    Your portion about how Mosques are not part of our ”nationwide” system of catching terrorists stands out.
    Why especially favor ONE religion over all others?

    At the exact same time as this one religion is given favored-religion status, Obama has been coming down especially hard on military men who happen to be Christians.

    And ObamaCare certainly pushes almost other religions* into a status of only legal INSIDE the four walls of the church building.

    Having a religiously-trained conscience (outside of a Muslim one) is a no-no under ObamaCare when it comes to birth control or abortion.
    Maybe next it will be euthanasia as well.

    Obama’s foreign aid to Egypt and the Palestinian Authority has only freed up those ”governments” to 1. drive out the Egyptian Copts, raping, looting, kidnapping along the way and 2. begin kneecapping their enemies in the case of Fatah’s thugs.

    *Islam believes insurance is haraam (forbidden) and likens insurance to gambling, the religion is excluded from requirements, mandates, or penalties set forth in ObamaCare.
    The only others who fall into this category are the Amish, American Indians, and Christian Scientists.

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  2. rockybutte says: 2

    Curt,

    I don’t know where you have gained the impression that most liberals support spying on Americans under Obama. I especially opposed domestic spying carried out under Bush because his people failed to obtain permission from the FISA court as defined by law. Once the lid was blown, his people grudgingly involved FISA before the end of his second term. That only made me slightly more comfortable with the spying. I don’t support the continuation of the level of snooping under Obama; no civil libertarian does. The liberal talking heads that support spying under Obama that opposed it under Bush are dead wrong, and, yes, they are hypocrites just like the conservative talking heads who supported spying under Bush but oppose it under Obama.

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  3. Skook says: 3

    Oh, the irony, mosques don’t like snooping that interferes with terrorist plans, the surveilance ends: Americans don’t like domestic spying, and we’re told to get used to being observed. We have a major disconnect in this country.

    Leftists should keep these ideas in perspective, sooner or later the voters will put a RINO or a real Conservative in power and it will be time to use these extreme measures against Democrats. The turn around may be much sooner than expected with all the corruption that is being exposed on a daily basis.

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  4. AMERICA upside down, the enemies are protected and the CITIZENS TRUE AMERICANS ARE PUNISH AND TARGET and pursue as CRIMINALS,from a sicko leadership who claim to be SANE.
    and the cold blood democrats follow for fear of retribution,
    they lost their soul,and their love for AMERICA has turned to hate

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  5. Ditto says: 5

    Curt, I suppose you can count me as consistent. I didn’t support the Patriot Act or these agencies spying on innocent people under Bush, and I don’t support it under Obama. As a law abiding citizen the government has no damn business spying on me or infringing on my forth amendment rights. When law enforcement, Federal or otherwise, has good reason to suspect that someone is committing a crime or may be in cahoots with terrorists, they can take their evidence to a judge and get the proper warrant quickly and easily, and they can then aquire the suspect’s records. Granted, the service providers have not been been keeping those records for as long as the government might like (ie. not over 6-months to 5 years,), but this could be addressed by legislation requiring the companies themselves to keep the records longer, perhaps even and allowing some kind of incentive to compensate for the costs of database maintenance.

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  6. Pingback: Edward Snowden - public enemy or hero? - Page 9 - Christian Forums

  7. MataHarley says: 6

    There’s a couple of things in here that I find a confusing interpretation.

    Curt from OP: Plus, why have this program but stop something like this? …snip…In the end I understand that we need this kind of program.

    I’m somewhat bewildered as to the broad interpretation IBD used in saying that mosque investigations and stings were “off limits”. Breitbart went even further into the confusion by suggesting that mosques were excluded from the NSA data mining of metadata. huh?

    How do they get to this conclusion? I read the relevant 2011 FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, where the SORC (Sensitive Operations and Review Committee) was created, and no where does it say that mosques are off limits. (in fact, the word “mosque” doesn’t even appear in the document) Breitbart suggested reading start at pg 171, section 10.1. I suggest you continue reading at least thru section 12.

    It’s a joint review committee, made up of both the FBI and DOJ types, that reviews the methods of undercover operations when it involves potential corrupt politicians and candidates, threats to national security, religious or political groups, news media and academia ( just to mention a few). If anyone wants to read “off limits” to mosques (i.e. religious groups) , would it then be logical to assume that politicians, news media, political groups are equally “off limits”?

    But prohibiting any particular operation doesn’t seem to be the job of the SORC. It appears to be cooperative oversight. I suspect that it comes back to the undercover FBI informant – a convicted forger named Craig Monteilh – and his actions when the FBI was investigating the Islamic Center of Irvine from 2003 to 2007. Oddly enough, Monteilh botched his brief career as an FBI paid informant so badly that not only did the FBI try to cut him loose, but the mosque individuals reported *him* to the FBI as a radical, and all hell broke loose about his keychain recording device, etc. Monteilh, himself, ended up getting arrested on grand theft charges and was ushered back to jail.

    Meanwhile, the bad guy they were trying to trap, Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, ended up with dismissed charges for “the lack of an overseas witness and ‘evidentiary issues.’ “ It also didn’t help that Monteilh contacted Niazi’s lawyers, offering to testify that he was paid to entrap Niazi.

    Needless to say, stings, tripwires and entrapment don’t work very well if it ends up getting thrown out in court because of insufficient evidence, or evidence acquired illegally. Can’t see why you wouldn’t bring the DOJ into the investigation methods, much as local law enforcement confer with DAs.

    There is nothing in the FBI’s DIOG that says mosques – or any other religious, political organization, etal – are exempt from stings or investigations. Just that when some of these “sensitive” organizations and individuals are involved, this joint FBI/DOJ committee reviews how they are conducting the investigation. Considering the damage in trust the FBI suffered with the botched Irvine case, that might be prudent.

    As for Breitbart – well, it’s even a larger stretch to extend this to some imaginary NSA metadata filter that automatically bypasses numbers/metadata that represents Muslims or mosques. Unless they already know the metadata identifier was a mosque (i.e. personal info and not metadata), they can’t tell one metadata’s individual association with another.

    Of course, it would be absurd for the NSA or CIA, who’s primary objective is to look for terrorists and cells, to ignore mosques or suspected Islamists. I don’t think the FBI, NSA or CIA are that stupid.

    As for Greenwald…. well, he’s incorrect about both Toobin and Joe Klein. Neither have changed their tune in light of Snowden’s snowjob.

    Toobin, as of yesterday (haven’t checked any later columns), has never addressed the metadata issue directly, but merely expressed his opinion that there was nothing heroic about Snowden.. an opinion I happen to share. Toobin’s past opinion, expressed when it was the brouhaha over Bush’s warrantless wiretapping, probably mirrors everyone’s… that it has to be done with FISC orders. Since Toobin has not rushed to his keyboard, assuming he knew what everyone thought they knew based on Snowden’s less than accurate and parsed presentation of PRISM, there is no indication that he has changed his opinion in any surveillance of a particular named individual as requiring a court order.

    Joe Klein? Well, he fully admits that he finds himself in agreement with former Dubya speechwriter, Marc Thiessen, on the NSA news. He also agrees with Toobin that Snowden is no hero.

    Klein, who did address the “what is PRISM” confusion briefly, uses the proverbial “trust but verify” caution. He said:

    First of all, we pretty much knew everything that has “broken” in the past week. The NSA has been involved in a legal data-mining operation for almost a decade. Its legality was clarified in the renewal of the Patriot Act, which I supported. It has been described, incorrectly, as electronic eavesdropping. What is really happening is that phone and Internet records are being scanned for patterns that might illuminate terrorist networks. If there is a need to actually eavesdrop, the government has to go to the FISA court for permission.

    Those who see the federal government as a vast corporate conspiracy or a criminal enterprise — in other words, paranoids of the left and right — are concerned about this. More moderate sorts should also have cause for concern — especially if a rogue government, like Nixon’s, were in power. We have to remain vigilant that the snooping stays within reasonable bounds; that’s why we have congressional oversight committees. And that’s where the paranoid tinge comes in: the FISA court, the congressional committees, the President and journalists like me are obviously incompetent or caught up in the conspiracy.

    Of course, there has been absolutely no evidence presented that the current parameters are unreasonable. Yes, I expect that some of my phone and e-mail traffic has been picked up in the data trawling. I travel fairly frequently to places like Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, the West Bank and the rest of the region; part of my job is to talk to partisans on all sides — and also to talk to sources in the U.S. military and intelligence communities. I have no problem with the government knowing that I’m doing my job.

    If Klein supported legal data mining and the Patriot Act in the past, he’s not changing his tune by supporting legally obtained metadata today.

    As far as former Bush staffer, Marc Thiessen…. he’s been there, done that already with Bush the younger. As he points out, the largest difference between this NSA “scandal” and Bush’s is that it not only *isn’t* warrantless, it doesn’t even involve wiretapping.

    Greenwald may be be trying to make himself look good, because the more than comes out about technology and what is, and isn’t, being collected via Vinson’s FISC order to Verizon – (which states NO personal info such as names, addresses, financials, etal are allowed) – the more Greenwald looks like he was suckered by a 29 year old IT “cyber janitor”.

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  8. MataHarley

    I did not say when the order was given to stop the MOSQUE from being visired and ask question
    I read that in theses last few days only
    and it said the MUSLIM ORGANIZATION had complain to OBAMA DIRECTLY theses days
    and OBAMA order the FBI to stop and no more visit or QUESTIONS on them and the MOSQUE,
    so they are no more allowed to go there,
    a great time for a terrorist attack on AMERICA, IS IN IT.

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  9. MataHarley
    On a newspaper, coming from TORONTO CANADA,
    on the 14 JUNE 2013,
    AL-QAIDA remains CANADA biggest terrorist threat,
    even though the group has weakened in reccent years.
    some CANADIANS have travelled to SYRIA to join the anti government forces
    and could return home radicalized,
    global violent extremist groups such as AL_QAIDA have been the LEADING TERRORIST THREAT TO CANADA for many years this has not change,
    CANADA is still a priority target, the report identifies homegrown extremist as a key threat to CANADA security
    AL-QAIDA still provides guidance to regional affiliates and other terror groups and pose a persistant threat to CANADA
    please put them on the PRISM for me.

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  10. MataHarley says: 9

    @ilovebeeswarzone: I read that in theses last few days only
    and it said the MUSLIM ORGANIZATION had complain to OBAMA DIRECTLY theses days
    and OBAMA order the FBI to stop and no more visit or QUESTIONS on them and the MOSQUE,
    so they are no more allowed to go there,

    Bees, I don’t know what you read. But I’ve seen some of the headlines that claim mosques are supposedly off limits, and cite the formation of that committee as the reason. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

    The biggest pain in the rear for the FBI is the botched informant case I mentioned above. The mosque did not go to Obama and complain directly. They hired the ACLU and filed a lawsuit against the FBI in early 2011. Additional, the doofus paid informant filed his own lawsuit against the FBI.. which is kind of a joke in itself.

    It’s probably this that caused the FBI’s Director to request the formation of the SORC. And as far as I can see, there is no prohibition against stings in mosques, churches, news media, political groups or against potentially corrupt politicians or candidates. Only that there is a combined DOJ and FBI oversight to their operations. Probably hoping to make sure the stings are successful, and not the clusterf*@K that happened in Irvine.

    I would guess that with the mess made in Orange County, that similar ongoing stings were probably treading lightly, hoping not to meet the same fate. Maybe they should pick a smarter informant next time, eh?

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  11. MataHarley
    okay I got that,
    it might be the same memo.
    you are better than me to put it to words more intelligible’
    bye

    ReplyReply
  12. Smorgasbord says: 11

    The leak of the program itself angers me but you know what else angers me? The blatant hypocrisy on display by liberals and the media. Bush’s surveillance techniques were vilified.

    This is one reason I call the MSM the propaganda media, because their job is to brainwash us to believe what democrats say, and not to trust the republicans. I compromised by deciding not to trust either party or the propaganda media.

    One way to tell if a school, organization, or individual has been brainwashed is if they call the USA a democracy. We are a REPUBLIC.

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  13. Smorgasbord says: 12

    @Nan G: #1

    Why especially favor ONE religion over all others?

    If you are going to overthrow the USA, there are many things you would do, and they are going on now. One of them is to get people away from the Christian and the Jewish religions. I believe that our congress and the presidency has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, so they are going to promote their own religion over others.

    ReplyReply
  14. This one says: 13

    Ah…Bush started it all. Thanks, George!

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  15. Wordsmith says: 14

    Posting this since Dana Milbank’s piece fits in with the theme of Curt’s post:

    Where have all the liberals gone?

    President Obama, who as a Democratic senator accused the Bush administration of violating civil liberties in the name of security, now vigorously defends his own administration’s collection of Americans’ phone records and Internet activities.

    Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said he thinks Congress has done sufficient intelligence oversight. His evidence? Opinion polls.

    House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi defended the programs’ legality and said she wants Edward Snowden prosecuted for leaking details of the secret operations.

    Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, accused Snowden of treason and defended false testimony given to her committee by the director of national intelligence, who in March had denied the programs’ existence.

    With some exceptions, progressive lawmakers and the liberal commentariat have been passive and acquiescent toward the secret spying programs, which would have infuriated the left had they been the work of a Republican administration.

    When libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced legislation last week to curb the surveillance powers, he had no co-sponsors. When he held a news conference this week to unveil a lawsuit claiming the surveillance is unconstitutional, five members of Congress joined him — all Republicans.

    I kept looking for liberal dissent — and then, on Wednesday morning, the news wires reported that a group called Voice of Resistance was meeting outside the Capitol, where demonstrators would proclaim Snowden a hero and flog an effigy of Republican Rep. Peter King (N.Y.), one of the first to brand Snowden a traitor. I arrived at the appointed place and time but found no protest. Instead, there were six journalists and a lone demonstrator, who was wearing an antiabortion baseball cap. He told me the group was actually a right-wing outfit. “The others are parking the car,” he explained, before turning the topic to Rush Limbaugh.

    Polling this week by The Post and Pew Research Center produced discouraging evidence that Democrats have shed their suspicion of government overreach now that one of their own is in charge. Sixty-nine percent of Democrats say that terrorism investigations should trump privacy as the government’s main concern, compared with 51 percent in 2006, when the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program had come to light. Then, 37 percent of Democrats found the NSA’s actions acceptable, compared with 64 percent now. (Republicans went in the other direction, suddenly becoming more privacy-conscious.)

    Certainly, there are differences between now and then. Today, the program operates under court supervision and has at least the veneer of congressional approval (the administration circumvents the law’s requirement that only “relevant” records can be collected by claiming that all phone records of all Americans are relevant). And it remains to be seen whether Snowden is a true whistleblower or somebody who means his country harm.

    Yet it is jarring to see the left so compliant now that the surveillance has been sanctioned by a Democratic president. Even if the programs ultimately prove defensible, isn’t it worth finding out what they really are, before liberals accept a suspension of civil liberties they may come to regret?

    The weakness of the liberals’ argument for standing down was displayed by Reid, who assured reporters this week that Senate intelligence committee members “have done their very utmost, in my opinion, to conduct oversight. And that’s why the American people, in polls — two polls that I saw today — support what is happening with trying to stop terrorists from doing bad things to us.”

    While Reid tests the political winds to determine which constitutional rights Americans should have, those who should be overseeing the program are instead defending it with a just-trust-me logic. Feinstein declared that “these programs are within the law.” The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), promised that “we’re not violating any constitutional rights.” Both said they’d like to see more about the program declassified, but their past efforts to produce more disclosure have been weak.

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  16. HERE’s another good one,
    CANADA’s FORMER SPY WATCHDOG ARTHUR PORTER remain in PANAMANIAN prison while his wife
    is being extradite to MONTREAL to face criminal charges
    PAMELA PORTER who was arrested the same day as her husband left a PANAMA jail YESTERDAY
    on a flight to TORONTO
    QUEBEC anti corruption squad say: by this morning, she’ll be in MONTREAL’s COURTHOUSE to face
    money laundering charges,
    her husband who was the former head of the FEDERAL SECURITY INTELLIGENCE REVIEW COMMITEE
    face a number of other charges, related to alledged scams in the awarding 1.3 billion MONTREAL HOSPITAL CONTRACT, he was also head of the MCGILL UNIVERSITY HEALTH CENTER and
    is one of several people arrested in connection with that institution’s contruction project,
    one of the biggest in the COUNTRY,
    THE PORTERS WHERE ARRESTED last month in PANAMA on an interpol warrant,
    PORTER who live in the BAHAMAS has been wanted for months in connection
    with QUEBEC ‘s ongoing corruption SCANDALS,
    he was apointed by PRIME MINISTER to HEAD THE SECURITY INTELLIGENCE REVIEW COMMITEE,
    which monitors the work of CANADA’s SPY AGENCY CSIS,

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  17. Blake says: 16

    This program is unconstitutional, even if, as the Supreme Coourt put it, they are only reading the “outside of the envelope” in the cases of the phone calls- but they have access to ALL of the content of the E-mails in PRISM, so there goes your privacy.
    I have never been in favor of the “patriot Act”, and always thought this was but another way to erode our freedoms- I would rather subject myself to more POSSIBLE danger than to erode our Constitution any further than it has been eroded over the last century.
    People who want to “get in touch with their feelings”, well, I will be glad to take a baseball bat to their knees if that will do it, but don’t f$%k with the Constitution.

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  18. Blake
    hi, A good way to type it.
    bye

    ReplyReply

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