Dear Danny

On reading your latest outpouring, 'The Making of a Tout', the first thing to strike me is that I suddenly realised why you wear a big black hat. It helps fend off the hungry woodpeckers that flutter around your head. I was delighted to read your piece and see the photo at the top of Gypo Nolan. Was it a self portrait? His hat might not be as big as your own but it may serve to conceal as much.

In the article Bangers Babble which has so incensed you, I briefly outlined your role in blocking an honourable and satisfactory way out for the six hunger strikers whose one sure destination after you had deprived them of information was the grave. I was aware, given how often Richard O’Rawe had turned you inside out on the matter, that you would not bite. I therefore took the liberty in the closing lines of putting something else on the hook which I knew you were sensitive to, given that many years after the event you publicly flogged the people responsible for the Llewellyn killing in a bid to claim a moral high ground for yourself that you were clearly unwilling to allow to them. Don’t tell us you were not angrily confronted about it. You were. Nor should you feign denial of the contempt you are held in as a result of it.

Don’t worry about what you claim are suggestions of your own involvement in the ‘appalling killing of this innocent man who was brutally killed after a car bomb attack close to our Republican News offices.’ As the late volunteer Skeet Hamilton was fond of saying about you, it was a case of a ballot box in one hand and an armalite in somebody else’s. You argue that ‘the only possible reading of this –– unless Anthony has an explanation I haven’t thought of –– is that he is insinuating that I had something to do with the 1975 sectarian killing of Sammy Llewellyn, who was known as the Good Samaritan.’ You not having thought of something would hardly be an original or unique event. There is a very clear explanation, but then, as you concede, the thought would not have occurred to you. There is nothing in the comments in Bangers Babble to insinuate that you were part of or were even aware of the Llewellyn operation as it was happening. You were an accomplice after the fact. The question is to whom were you an accomplice? It was certainly not the IRA personnel involved in the operation.

Your role at the time was as editor of the Republican News which placed you in charge of the paper’s Belfast press office. It was from within your little office, through your time honoured practice of slandering and whispering, that the person chosen to carry the blame for the killing was, thanks to your efforts, deliberately hung out to dry in sections of the media. He was portrayed as a maverick of sorts so that the organisation he was a member of could avoid culpability. I noticed that almost 40 years after the event you could not bring yourself to state that the IRA carried out the ‘sectarian killing’, instead restricting yourself to comments that ‘republicans lost a lot of support after this innocent man’s killing.’

The killing took place on a Friday and by Saturday the identity of the person flung to the media wolves, thanks to your efforts and those of your press office minions, had travelled as far as Magilligan Prison in Co Derry, where I was then housed as a young IRA prisoner. In line with British military strategy outlined by Frank Kitson, who argued for the use of the law for the purpose of disposing of unwanted members of the public, this particular unwanted member of the public, inconvenient to you and those who gave you your orders, was conveniently demonised and forced to go on the run. He was later captured and stitched up. The evidence against him was a farce. Nevertheless, disposed of he was. We have since learned how you made the job of briefing journalists, researchers and academics against other unwanted republican members of the public a high art; your targets included – but were by no means confined to – myself and Brendan Hughes.

The offending lines in Bangers Babble are as follows:
‘more chance that he will raise Sammy Llewellyn from the dead. Pennies for your thoughts on what Sammy might tell.’

We know that people are not raised from the dead so the situation is purely hypothetical. But if he could be it is likely that Sammy Llewellyn might tell how one of the people later convicted of killing him was felon set by you and elements of your party press cabal. And now you have the chutzpah to fire accusations of felon setting at others.

Perhaps you were not consciously trying to get rid of, through imprisonment, the unwanted member of the public at the heart of this affair. Maybe you just wanted him exiled because of the embarrassment which you admit the operation caused you. But the effect was to isolate him and make him easy prey for the forces of the state. Either way you used your influence quite effectively.

Speaking of influence, it was from you in prison that I first learned of the term ‘agent of influence.’ You of course were pretending to be helpful, offering me fraternal advice not to be predicting ceasefires or a serious republican compromise. You said people would jump to the wrong conclusion and use it to smear me. I later realised that behind your smile was a snarl seeking to suppress debate. Years later I read in Peter Taylor’s book, Provos, of an approach that had been made to a Derry republican by the British intelligence services. What they wanted him to do was serve as an agent of influence and spread ideas that would ultimately move republicanism to where it is now. Clearly it was an intelligence driven strategy about which you knew more than me. At that point I recalled my conversation with you.

It seems clear that the role you ascribed to ‘agents of influence’ is one you have some familiarity with for whatever reason. Is it just coincidence that you helped steer republicans to the very position the British state long sought to take them? In the course of doing so you have abandoned every republican belief you claimed you held and worked feverishly to discredit any republican who publicly vented the view, correctly as it turned out, that the Republican Movement would end up in a place where it did not belong. That does not of course make you an agent of influence, just that you have ticked all the important boxes.

To put things very starkly, I do not trust you. Not just because I vehemently resent what you did to the hunger strikers. The notion has long been floated past me by others, some of whom you would know well, that you have been an agent of the British state. Although many republicans loathe Martin McGuinness for the political twists and turns he has executed very few will brook the allegation that he ever worked for the British. They insist it is simply not possible. When asked about you no defence is made whatsoever. Some have said they are convinced you are. They make a strong but not conclusive case. And there are questions for which you have never provided answers.

I like other republicans have been suspicious about your role for some time. My wariness, until recently, was admittedly not as robust or as well thought out as others. You are not oblivious to this. When in December 2005 you went on a rant in Kelly’s Cellars, shortly after the exposure of the British agent Denis Donaldson, you were told in no uncertain terms by a member of our company on the evening that the big money was on you as next in line to be outed as an agent. On the same evening when you took a call on your mobile as you walked up the bar and the cry went out from our company, ‘Thiepval to Danny, Thiepval to Danny’, you pretended not to have heard it, even though the body of the bar guffawed as one. You knew it wasn’t said in jest.

My apprehensions about you were stirred, slowly at first, when you covered for the British agent Freddie Scappaticci, better known in the media as Stakeknife. You knew he was an agent long before most others. In fact, if memory serves me right, it was you who moved in January 2003 to have the police ombudsman investigate your case on the basis of entrapment, some four months before Scappaticci became a household name. Yet when the man you wanted the ombudsman to believe had entrapped you was then exposed you poured cold water on the affair. Who or what exactly were you covering for?

When I met you after a debate at Oxford University not long after this and asked you to explain the cover up, your excuse was that you knew there were three agents involved in the case and there was no point in narrowing it down to Scappaticci. Would you mind now revealing the identities of the other two and in the course of doing so assure us that you are not one of them? And would you also assure us that in the sealed ‘confidential annexe’ which the appeal court agreed to suppress, your name did not figure as the real reason the appeal was upheld?

My unease has been further compounded by your current stance in relation to the Boston College oral history archives. Your role in this has been the sinister one of trying to prise an opening for the British police to gain access to the materials. You have yet to condemn the police action, reserving your bile exclusively for those associated with the oral history project. Without knowing what is in the tapes currently held, you have publicly stated that they ‘contain potentially incriminating taped evidence by Irish Republican Army volunteers about unresolved killings during the Irish conflict.’ Your intention seems clear enough: to give moral support to the British police as they set about their political policing. Even now you are seeking to have the inference drawn that there is something in the archives about the Llewellyn case that I have drawn upon: ‘could it be that his allegation is related to something that has been said in one of his Boston College research interviews which he is now inadvertently/subconsciously referring to?’ You do this for one reason: in the hope that it will reinforce and focus the attention of the PSNI.

I have never drawn on any embargoed material in the archive for any purpose. That confidentiality remains sealed. I will take it to the crematorium with me. Moreover, your depiction of those who participated in the oral history project as being of like mind to the ‘dissident republican’ who interviewed them is a further spur to the PSNI in that you are seeking to foster a public mood that those critical of Gerry Adams are the only people who agreed to be interviewed and that as such it will be no bad thing if their contribution to historical understanding is seized and turned into evidence against them. The term ‘agent of influence’ is a spectre that haunts your entire commentary. You might of course simply be daft rather than dangerous, but there are sufficient grounds on which to call your stance into question.

After reading your article a friend rang and told me that it struck him that you were seeking to be arrested by the HET. He was preaching to the converted. Neither you nor anyone else is likely to face arrest for aiding the British in demonising a republican activist that ultimately enabled the British judiciary to convict him on the basis of fresh air and then throw away the key.

An arrest however, would assist you, having yourself brought the matter to public attention, in amplifying your claims to be victim of evil ‘dissident republicans’ who you would further seek to accuse of touting, while at the same time deflecting attention away from the nature of the PSNI action.

Moreover, when you sought to label those including the late Brendan Hughes as informers responsible for ‘confessions/boasts/toutings’ for having taken part in the oral history project you were obviously being disingenuous not to mention malevolent. But we are used to that with you. That is why you are a novelist, the only thing you are capable of writing is fiction. When I carefully and after much consideration ended my Bangers Babble article with the reference to Samuel Llewellyn I confidently told people that you would bite and label me a tout. I knew you would do this for the same disingenuous reasons that you do almost everything else. It was a measured gamble but the prospect was worth facing as a means to draw you out. You can hardly claim it didn’t work. Your bandying about of the deeply pejorative term ‘tout’ against named individuals rather than anonymous figures in an institution in a bid to smear republicans as credible witnesses to historical events has freed me from a hesitancy to publicly air my misgivings about you. You can hardly cry foul play having liberally thrown the ‘tout’ label around at myself and others.

Maybe I am wide off the mark in relation to this. But, unlike you, being wide off the mark has not been a trait of my analysis over the past 15 years. When you were getting just about everything wrong I was heartened not to have been part of your company. Contrary to what you persistently imply we now have a good idea of how extensively the Provisional IRA was penetrated and compromised. Not in terms of individuals but in terms of ratio between agents and uncompromised activists.

We might never know exactly who, but would any of us aware of these matters confidently bet our house against the IRA being infiltrated not up to their black berets but right up to their big black hats? Fish and chips on Danny?

31 comments:

  1. Mmmmm Anthony poor bangers,I almost felt sorry for the f##ker. maybe he wears that hat to hide a big red face every time he sees a real republican,

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  2. The transformation of all transformations.

    SF/IRA to SF/PSNI people mostly the same, only the name changed, standard British strategy, if somethin is filthy rotten [ like windscale ] give it a name change to... sellafield...

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  3. Despise the man but I have a question. If he was a tout why did he spend 4 years in prison from 90-94? Wouldn't his handlers have protected him? Wouldn't the SB thwarted the raid on that safe house?

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  4. Thankfully as I have said previously, primary sources like yourself and Richard and Brendan Hughes are out there now on the record as to what really transpired in the provo evolution into constitutionalism. Like the sticks leadership before them they lied through their teeth to all and sundry in doing it.

    Prods on the mixed wings in 1988 were aware of what was going on in peace talks. IRA prisoners blindly followed blissfully unaware and arrogantly feeling superior to the 'crims' over there...how funny now. Just a pity the Adams gang hadn't the decency to re-invent themselves like FF. But then how could they hope to deliver all those weapons to their masters if there was a split?

    History will judge the SF Adams gang much differently than they intended I suspect. SF can't wait for the 70s + 80s to be on the horizon in the rear view mirror so their re-enactments with toy guns become historical drama rather than contemporary embarrassment. Are these re-enactments commemorating murderers? Need to ask John O'Dowd. No point asking Adams, he was never in the IRA either.

    Hard to believe in the early 80s when bangers sat in a BBC studio asking in his wee high pitched 'squeel' "Do you want to talk about bloody sunday" that he'd be where he is now, nowhere. Not even in Stormont.

    The episode you highlighted in kelly's cellars was amazing. Wouldn't worry about the 'tout' label, PSNI fabricate charges and release people and SF guttersnipes have a field day. So what. Adams gang throwing that old chestnut at anyone just proves what I've asserted for some time; they live in houses without mirrors.

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  5. The best choice for the 6 counties is to become an independent state.If politicans had the nerve to tax land and abolish income tax, it would be financially feasible.It could be as prosperous as Denmark, Isle of Man or Channel Islands.RSF hate the 26 counties ineptness as much as loyalists do.The men who took part in 1916 largely metamorpasised into Fianna Failed, De Valera, Todd Andrews, Dan Breen? etc.

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  6. Very interesting post its a bit like a woman,s low cut dress very revealing always thought of him as a holier than tho character

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  7. Mackers,
    I seriously doubt that the despicable murder of Samuel Llewelyn was an IRA operation. If it was and again I doubt it, then it only serves to make the murder even more horrendous.
    Everyone heard the name of the alleged killer very quickly and I think everyone held the same degree of contempt for that person.
    A innocent man died that day and he died for no other reason that the fact that he was a Protestant.
    I don't remember anyone being too troubled that the alleged killer's name was public knowledge, I just remember repbulicans being absolutely revolted that this murder had taken place.

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  8. Nuala,

    That is the first time I have heard it said it was not an IRA operation. It was consistent with other IRA operations at the time where attacks were launched against Protestants. The IRA never disowned anyone over it. There were three people charged at one time or another over it and all were on republican wings. Two of those convicted were on the blanket protest. In January 1977 we were down in the Crum for our trial. There was a lock up on. We were out for the mass on a Sunday and the guy charged with it walked into the canteen. He had been in a few months so it was not the first time they had seen him. But the cheer that went up was massive. I didn’t know him then but it struck me that for whatever reason he was very popular.

    The IRA did not stand over its own people or claim them in the jail in that era unless they were in for IRA operations or related activity. There was a case in 1975 where republicans did kill a Protestant but not as part of an IRA operation and they were not claimed. They had to serve their time in the conforming wings.
    I remember it well in as far as it is possible to remember anything well from so long ago. I was in Magilligan and there were a number of Lower Falls men there. Their attitude was one of serious resentment towards ‘the centre’ as they called it for having crapped on the guy whose name was going about like a wildfire. There was no contempt for him. One of the most vociferous critics of ‘the centre’ is still on board. I wasn’t long turned 18 and was wondering what ‘the centre’ had done to merit all this bitterness and anger. Then over the years I picked up on the politics of the thing and the tensions that it gave rise to.

    ‘If it was and again I doubt it, then it only serves to make the murder even more horrendous.’

    But the IRA was more than capable of activities that would easily fit the label horrendous. The Mountainview Tavern, Bayardo, and probably the most horrendous of all, Whitecross. I was outside for the latter but apparently it caused a lot of resentment in the jail.

    Looking back on the era from today, it was a terrible time in republican history but it was a republican history nonetheless.

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  9. Mackers,
    I am not right about a lot of things but I know I am right about this.
    If my memory serves me right and I know it does, there was absolute revulsion amongst the rank and file over this an I never once ever remember anyone speaking of it in terms of an IRA operation.
    This was not in keeping with any IRA policy, this was opportunistic and overtly sectarian.

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  10. Why can't Martin be considered as a tout?

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  11. Nuala,

    None of us are right about a lot of things. It is the people who insist that only they are right and the rest of us must shut up who are the problem. Being wrong is fine. We learn from it.

    On this one I have to disagree with you. I don’t recall anyone saying it was not an IRA operation or ‘homer.’ Whereas I do recall some things being referred to as being done on their ‘own bat’. I never heard that said in relation to this one. Those believed to have done it were never treated as non-IRA. I wasn’t out and don’t know about revulsion on the ground. I presume the people feeding it into the Lower Falls men in Magilligan were not revolted.

    ‘This was not in keeping with any IRA policy, this was opportunistic and overtly sectarian.’

    Nuala, a lot of IRA operations of the period were. Fair play to you for stating your views on that sectarian culture but it was pervasive. I recall asking a senior republican from the era a few years after I got out how the Movement could have justified the sectarian killings. He was very emphatic about it – they did it to us, we had to respond in kind. His argument was that the community were demanding it after attacks by loyalists. If we look at Ardoyne, the attacks by the IRA from that area on Protestants was pretty severe. Sectarian killings are a part of our republican history. From the end of 74 to the end of 76 we went through a very intense period of sectarianism. And it was very much in keeping with the IRA policy of the day.

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  12. Mackers,
    All I am giving here is an honest account. People inside and outside the movement found the events of that day abhorent.
    I think the only people let down by the centre, were ordinary decent republicans, who if this account is true were clearly lied to.
    This was not a reprisal or retaliation for anything and it was not a case of, 'well they are doing it to us'.
    It was more the case of people thinking, it was alright to kill an innocent Protestant man just because he was unfortunate enough to there helping people repair their homes.

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  13. Nuala,

    ‘All I am giving here is an honest account.’

    Absolutely. I don’t doubt for a minute that you present it as you honestly recall it. I had a very different experience in the jail. And over the years I have heard nothing that would lead me to think otherwise. I remember many IRA attacks on Protestants and there was certainly no outcry from within the movement. When Enniskillen happened a senior republican (according to his own account as again I was in jail) later told me he leaped up and down thinking the IRA had hit back over the RUC attacks on funerals. Enniskillen was one bad operation but I don’t think it led to any great deal revulsion within the movement towards those that did it. There was a lot of soul searching no doubt.

    The centre lying. Perish the thought! It ended up the only thing you could believe in the AP/RN was the date.

    ‘This was not a reprisal or retaliation for anything and it was not a case of, 'well they are doing it to us'. It was more the case of people thinking, it was alright to kill an innocent Protestant man just because he was unfortunate enough to there helping people repair their homes.’

    I have problems with that interpretation. It came immediately after a bomb attack by loyalists. That is why the guy was there, repairing houses as you said. That attack probably fuelled the response. This is not an argument in defence of any sectarianism that was engaged in. It is an attempt to put it in context. But I accept that context is always alibi. It might be a true alibi, it might be a false alibi. It can always be challenged.

    That I happen to be a long time friend of the men convicted of it has not I believe coloured my judgment of it. I was very close to one of them in jail and very close to another post release. But I had formed my views on the matter early on although things are always picked up over the years. It is hard to walk the yard day in day out and not hear things.

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  14. Mackers,
    you have to give Danny some credit, he may engage in spin and conjecture but at least he showed a very flattering photo of you.
    I see Brian Clarke nuj has came to Banger's defence. According to Brian this blog is much too incestuous to be credible.
    Not so long ago, he was accusing Adams of heading a paedophile ring!
    Could Danny be the long lost professor? stranger things.

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  15. Nuala,

    that photo is 11 years old.

    At least the professor is on his side. That is an obvious advantage!

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  16. Fionnuala, should that not be Brian Clarke NUT?

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  17. I mean, who takes the likes of Danny Morrison or any shinner seriously when they hurl tout in anyone's direction?

    We all know who was caught out and I'm damn sure that the whole lot weren't outted though. It seemed to get to the stage where I'm sure that Gerry said, it's getting too embarrassing leave the rest alone, sure we'll all be at it soon...

    Well you's will anyway!

    Nah! Danny doesn't want another roasting like the one Big Ricky gave him, so he starts calling names.

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  18. The allegation of me being a brussel sprout is the biggest lie since the holocaust.....bangers.

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  19. The Rat in a Hat...

    Hmmm, there's a sort of ring to it.

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  20. I noticed that Danny's comments section was closed.. Wonder why?

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  21. Ruairi,
    his comments section is always closed. He puts all this stuff up, but does not award anyone the right to give their opinion.
    Not that Danny would have an interest in anything anyone has to say other than himself.

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  22. My father was a senior member of the republican movement in the 70's, and always described Dany Morrison as a coniver (sorry about the spelling?).
    My brother was nearly killed by the SAS, at a H-Block commitee meeting in the 80's and has always recalled Morrisons views. Danny thought a publicity coup was missed by the SAS not killing my brother or his friend...Joke or not? My brother did'nt see the funny side..Truth is stranger than fiction...

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  23. some one arrested over shooting of Denis Donaldson. I'm confused.

    why was he expelled from SF and shot?

    why is marty mcguinness still in SF and alive?

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  24. Pretty ironic really to hear anyone from Sinn Fein calling anybody a tout, while they're off having tea and buns on policing boards, delighted with themselves.

    Had a conversation once (back when I was still in the fan club) with aul Danny dog and actually thought then, that he could be slightly mad, found him strangely unnerving.

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  25. Morrison must be one of the shadiest characters to have graced northern politics, and that's saying something when you look around. Anybody know how many informers were in the Martin household? ( answers on a postcard to Connelly house!)
    My guess is Morrison was compromised over some type of 'honeytrap' ( I only hope the fella involved was over the legal age!)
    The tragedy of it all is so many lost their lives, combatants, civilians, whoever for this shower of shit like lynch, Scapiticci, Morrison and at least one other of Lynch's escorts on that day, sacked from a Belfast newspaper a number of years ago I believe . It's pathetic and tragic.
    Peace to those who lost their lives from all shades.

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  26. Didn't Danny's two sisters marry british soldiers in the early 70's?

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  27. Steve,

    I think those two sisters had a brother who was a Brit

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  28. Msspikemilligan, So you think Danny is a kiddy fiddler and was compromised by the Spooks and flipped?

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  29. AM

    LOL! That made my day, cheers!

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  30. Frankie, like everyone else , who knows! What I do know is while his sexuality is his own business, in his making claims against AM and the Dark he has opened the door to him being questioned, and all issues are fair game.
    Republican community in the 70's weren't the open minded lot that some pretend ( conservative reactionarys springs to mind).
    What is more concerning is Morrisons claim now that the Brits sacrificed one of their best assets (Scap) just to get him!!
    Now that's someone whose ego is bigger than the Albert clock and that midset alone is particularly dangerous!
    As I said tragic , the lot of it. The poor souls that lost their lives
    Skeets, " armalite in everybody elses hand' says it all!

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  31. Must say I like the one in regard to the armalite in someone else's hand , the question remains though , exactly what did the British want when Lynch was rescued from carrigart , was it Morrison , did they simply want to rescue Lynch , was the house bugged and did they feel a desperate need to recover some vital Intel on someone or some people indeed had that house ever been raided prior to the evening of Morrison's arrest , BTW are Harry Maguire and Morrison on speaking terms these days????

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