October 14, 1999
Subject: LFAS feedbacks and more information on the subject - urgent deadline to meet!
Hello again everyone
Here is the LFAS material mentioned in my other email tonight. If you do not have
time right now to delve on this issue, please put this information aside as you might
want to consider what you could be able to do to assist in preventing the US Navy
to go ahead with their dangerous plans.
I received some more comments on this issue following my recent post on it. You'll
find them first. And then you'll find a number of eye-opening and very informative
emails I received from Cheryl A. Magill who is coordinating efforts right now to
secure as large a participation as possible in the fight to stop the Low Frequencies Sonar
tests conducted and the outright deployment of this dangerous technology.
If enough of us take a stand, perhaps they will listen. The deadline for comments
on the "Draft Overseas Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Statement
for Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System Low Frequency Active (SURTASS LFA) SONAR"
is October 28, 1999.
So we don't have much time left to act...
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
P.S. See details below as to how you may send your comments...
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999
Subject: Recent Green Files post on LFAS....
Jean (and related cc:'s),
THANK YOU for your recent message about the whole LFAS thing, it was very
powerful and frankly has me more than a little agitated (the facts, not
I'm particularly concerned that this huge message doesn't contain the
basic information on how to request the EIS itself, comment directly on
it, or get to whatever the Navy has publicly released about all this.
Any clues about how to find that kind of info? As the EPA found out when
they went into public comment on organic gardening, "we" can raise a
serious ruckus in almost no time flat, and basically grind the
EIS-comment process on things like this to a halt, make them turn around
and pay attention. Writing our representatives and prez candidates is
not pointless, but I think the best way, if there's time, is to get
involved directly in the EIS process, and this information should be in
this kind of communication OR FOLLOW IT IN A TIMELY MANNER. My single
most coveted item would be an OFFICIAL NAVY E-ADDRESS where comments can
be sent NOW. If there is such a thing, I hope we can arrange it so
EVERYBODY who got this message from you and the cc:'s can get it pronto!
I'm going to go looking on the WWW at the locations suggested, after
dark. Right now I gotta go weed the creeping charlie out of the garlic
Let's STOP this madness!
love, deep deep love,
919 929 1135 h 919 715 7639 w
3108 Five Forks, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
From: "Lucia Gillot" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: navy sonar
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999
Thank you again for all your work. It just brings me to tears at the blind ignorance
of people inhabiting this planet. My emotions seem to be so near to the surface these
days. I feel like I'm vibrating and floating, it's really weird.
My friend suggested the navy sonar problem to Bill Maher, but apparently the topics
for the show are already chosen weeks ahead; he is however taking all the details
along and is going to see what he can do about slipping it in. (I totally agree with
what you said about the show. It really saddens me too that when people arise to the grandures
of having their own programmes that they skirt around the edges of safetydom. Pathetic
really....Maybe we should contact Oprah....??!). If Bill can't get it on tonight's show, he'll try him for another night. Tonight's the night for me though. The
sooner the better. My friend will also write an article in his high powered men's
magazine, but that's not out for another 3 weeks or a month.
My question is...WHY are the navy doing this???????
I'm slammed busy right now, but let me know if there's anything I can do. I may need
you to send me all the information or tell me where to get all access. I LOVE the
idea about deafening the White House! I'll keep you posted.
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999
From: "Cheryl A. Magill" <email@example.com>
Subject: Report on Reporters = Thank you for your numerous attempts
Dear Jean and Lucia, and All:
I appreciated Lucia's attempt to gain media involvement on the topic of LFA
Sonar. The media... the media... the media. What have they done or failed
to do? Here's a report on the reporters.
Last year, there were some press releases about the Navy's Phase III
Playback Experiments during which protected Humpback Whales were used as
test subjects in a National Marine Sanctuary. The goal of the testing was
to see if they would respond with obvious signs of pain while being
bombarded with this potentially dangerous Low Frequency Active Sonar.
While several media sources were willing to acknowledge that there were
protestors jumping into the water, their coverage of the story amounted to
"These "fringe" people are protestesting by jumping in the water, but
"scientists" assure us that everything is A-OK."
Well, some of the "fringe" people who were driving the boats had PhDs
themselves. And the all the "scientists" were taking home Navy pay. But
headlines generally failed to make such subtle distinctions. Go figure.
For a long while the mainstream media refused to run with the story about
Low Frequency Active Sonar. One reason to avoid the topic altogether is
that it's a difficult one to write about. The information about its
applications has been secretive and only recently has there been sufficient
information to develop an alternative data base of sorts. The only
information most media people knew about was found in government press
releases. Until July 30th, we didn't have anything so detailed as a DEIS,
and had no means of making some of the comparisons we can today. Of
course, we still rely on the alternate sources of the information, as much
of the information contained in the DEIS is frought with convenient
Stephanie Siegel of CNN Interactive did a comprehensive investigation of
LFA Sonar. And if you read her work, I think you will agree that her
research efforts truly show. While a few excellent environmental press
sources such as IGC, Sea Shepherd and CSI and strong independent
journalists like Sue Arnold had given the story some play; Ms. Siegel was
the first representative from a major news source who really looked at the
facts and investigated the story. On looking back, I have to smile;
because she began by telling us that she simply didn't have much time to
give this. After more than a month of continuing to request documentation
from multiple sources, she wrote a series of articles about the technology,
the politics and the environmental questions associated with the secret
sonar. Her work, "Making Waves" can be read on-line at:
As the person who picks through the Internet publications, I can tell you
something else too!
Another printed media source should be mentioned. That would be the
Christian Science Monitor which continued over the last few years to pick
up stories about ATOC (Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate) and LFAS, and
had probably maintained more information about LFAS and ATOC than any other
daily press. The articles were not lengthy or stunning works of journalism
by themselves. But strung together in a row, over a period of time they
begin to reflect the journalistic policy of the publication as superior to
competing papers in its treament of this subject matter. Somehow, I'd
failed to appreciate this news source in the past, but for the past year I
have had a reason to acknowledge that the Christian Science Monitor has
continued to offer information and to pose necessary questions in each of
their stories about LFAS. And they did so when other publications were
merely parrotting the official Navy news or Associated Press releases at
best. Occasionally, they'd cover the topic when no one else did. The
ATOC protests go back well before 1996, and it is the Christian Science
Monitor which even then offered some of the most continuing coverage as a
printed news source and which still maintains many of the original articles
In radio, Art Bell kicked this story over the edge as the defining news
source during the Hawaii protest in March of 1998. He did two marathon
shows about LFAS and has since fallen silent on the subject. (I have
written to him several times asking that he have Dr. Marsha Green with the
Ocean Mammal Institute back on his program again. But there hasn't been so
much as an acknolwedgement of that request.) Laura Lee hosted several
programs on LFAS with both Benedick Howard and myself as guests.
Ultimately, Jeff Rense with his program, SIGHTINGS ON THE RADIO, has been
the most consistent national talk show host we've had in radio and on live
Internet Broadcasts. He has hosted both Benedick Howard and Jay Murray on
his program. He has offered his web site for numerous articles about LFAS.
All three hosts have dared to devote hours and hours of live broadcasting
time to this topic of ocean noise pollution and the proposed deployment of
Now we are fortunate to have caring articulate writers/authors like Bobbie
Sandoz working to discover what she can share about the potential for gain
and the possibility of loss which may occur with this intrusive technology.
I know of a few other writers who are continuing to collect and review
their LFA data. This is an important next step as it will further define
the problem more than just report on the facts. Too, there are a couple of
videographers who have expressed an interest in contributing due to their
work with Cetacean. However, the only video presentation of which I am
aware, was produced in cooperation with the Discovery Channel which seems
to endorse this technology inasmuch as it has allowed the US Navy to use
it's video presentation at every Open House as part of their extensive
public relations campaign.
Apparently, one recording artist does have some music devoted to the whales
and to the acoustic difficulties they have encountered. She is just about
to cut that CD. I'm not sure if this is public information yet, so contact
me if you're interested in knowing more about it. Also, the recording
group "Golden Bough" has given me permission to post their song "The Last
Leviathn" on my web site. This is a most gracious gesture and you will see
it linked there.
As for media design on the Internet, our logo STOP LFAS was designed by
John-Michael Dumais who continues to delight in the fact that we find it
useful. He has completely donated its use to our purpose and encourages
anyone who wishes to do so to employ its use. If you who are reading this
& might know of a media source or possibly know an Internet Web Master who
would be able to incorporate the use of the STOP LFAS logo, please
encourage them to do so. I have printed this image onto buttons, stickers,
water bottle lables and banners. Some of the members on the Stop LFAS
E-mail list use the logo on their postage. If you would like to print a
button size logo for yourself, you may do so with the image at this
For larger images, you can use:
And a better quality file may be had by contacting me at
Somnambulistic policies have been so steady on LFAS that I think it highly
unlikely the story will ever make it to television. Look at what CNN did!
A fantastic journalistic presentation goes on the internet and hardly a
mention of this goes to the televsion audience! As for the bash, trash and
run style of topic coverage; why not? Isn't a significant percentage of
television news management handled that way?
I have five or six web pages which are prankish or humoresque. One site is
"taunting." Very ill behaved! But it works. Perhaps there are times when
such tactics have merit. (So long as the intention is not selfish or
immature and he doesn't run giggling into the boys room afterwards!) I
wouldn't mind seeing the circus come to town. Right about now, in my
opinion, we could use a P.T. Barnham. If anyone can break through the
media barrier and get this global impact DEBATE onto television, they will
have completed a meritorious task regardless of the style of presentation
chosen. Perhaps it will require a few contortionists, a juggler and
bearded lady to wake the lulled public out of this daydream of reassurances
which has so cunningly lulled us into complacent acceptance of our own
diminishing habitats and ever-more deafening world.
So please let me know if there will be any media news events on television
or radio. I would love to watch and possibly laugh if that's fitting. I
will place any media event I learn about in advance on the calendar at this
Meanwhile, I continue to remind people that they can learn more about
actions they can take to Stop LFAS Worldwide by going to this page on the
Perhaps I should suggest that people contact their local newspapers, radio
& TV stations. What do you think of that?
Cheryl A. Magill
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 11:18:54 -0400
From: "Cheryl A. Magill" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Recent Green Files post on LFAS....
Jean Hudon forwarded your letter to me. I will be likewise forwarding this
response back to Jean because I think it will be useful to do so. Thank
you for responding to this appeal and for expressing your response to the
article about Low Frequency Active Sonar as written by Bobbie Sandoz. The
article appears at the following URL, and if you went to that Internet
site, I am sure you'd find contact information, calendars, and additional
information on linking pages (including the Navy's web site for the DEIS.)
Your request for an address, a phone number or an e-mail to which some
response may be sent is very much like other messages I have received
during the last two days. Because no contact information accompanied the
article, people were asking for more information about how they can respond
to the US Navy's efforts to introduce LFAS to our oceans. Many people
wanted to raise a loud response. Certainly, this is wonderful and I hope
each person will share information with others as to how this can be
accomplished. I have copied some of the contact information into this
message in a space below. For a more complete itinerary, those who wish
to take action, may go to this URL:
As for officially responding to the DEIS? Simplification of this enormous
task is, unfortunately, seems to be impossible. It is, make no mistake, a
complex task. That difficulty is our greatest burden. The Navy has had a
secret sonar they've experimented with for decades. The Navy conducted
tests without an EIS... and was then ordered to produce an Environmental
Impact Statement. After a year and a half or secrecy, they have hurled
this document at us and given us a few short weeks to respond to the Draft
EIS. That statement is over 400 pages long. Three other technical reports
are incorporated through reference. (When I requested my copy of the DEIS,
I was not supplied with the 3 accompanying reports "by reference." So we
now know that you must request the 3 accompanying technical reports "by
reference" when you request a copy of the DEIS.) Responses are expected by
October 28th. So you see, encapsulating this process into something
convenient for those who might like to voice their objections has been made
anything but easy. I almost wonder if the difficulty of the task is
Here is the information from the web page:
The DEIS is out. The full name is:
Overseas Environmental Impact Statement
Environmental Impact Statement
Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System
Low Frequency Active
(SURTASS LFA) SONAR
Department of the Navy
Chief of Naval Operations
There is a 90 day comment period. Copies are available through Marine
Acoustics Inc.,... by calling John Mayer 703-465-8404.
It is a function of the draft that it be released for public criticism and
review. The US Navy contends in their DEIS that there will not be any
"unavoidable harm" caused by LFA Sonar.
Who to Contact
Now it is important that the public seize its chance to inquire further
about health & marine life concerns, which may be argued in the final
report or FEIS.
The public is urged to contact and to voice objection to this increased
noise in our oceans. For a brief summary of the problem, there is an
article released on August 25th, 1999 at the NRDC (Natural Resources
Defense Council Web Site) at:
Action Links at the bottom of that page are available.
(This list is a series of links available at
http://manyrooms.com/contacts.html which takes you to the referenced
U. S. House of Representatives - Search for Representatives by State
Senators of the 106th Congress
Suggested Petition Action in the United States - OMI Site/Send Petitions
to Dr. Green
Recommended Actions For Those Outside The United States -(OMI)
OMI Actions page - Important!
Build an Impact with these STOP LFAS Web Page Building Tools!
Join the E-News List to Stop LFAS Worldwide!
Drafted Letter of Objection to LFAS
To Inform the US Navy that you object to this proposed alteration in our
marine acoustic environment please contact:
Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig
Phone number: (703) 695-3131
Fax number: (703) 614-3477
Address: 1000 Navy Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20350-1000
Vice President of the United States
Address:The White House
Ranking democrat on the subcommittee on Defense and a member of the
subcommittee on Oceans and Fisheries:
Senator Inouye, Daniel (D - HI)
Address: 722 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING
WASHINGTON DC 20510 Phone number:(202) 224-3934
Email form on line:http://www.senate.gov/~inouye/about.html
Rear Admiral Fages
Chief of Naval Operations
Director, Submarine Warfare Division (N87)
Address:2000 Navy Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20350-2600
The US Navy's Internet site for the DEIS is http://www.marineacoustics.com/
There you will find further information for responding to the report
itself. While inquiries about the DEIS may be made by E-mail, and that
address is provided; the actual responses to the DEIS need to be received
as hard copy prior to the Navy's deadline. As I understand it, each
response received will then be responded to in the FEIS.
To become better informed as to alternative information resources available
on the Internet, please know that over 300 links all pertaining to LFA
Sonar may be found at my web site, "Listen to LFAS Viewpoints." The site
is an indexed reference of resources all identifying information about
Additionally, the Ocean Mammal Institute (OMI) has a wonderful series of
linking pages. Please visit their site at:
Having got past the nuts and bolts of all of that, please know that I
personally feel that there is a great deal more to this story than can be
discussed or explored adequately through any review of the Navy's technical
report. We are concentrating on the Navy's time frames for report
deadlines simply because it is an appropriate action and an opportunity
we've been given to voice our objections within the system. In keeping
with that goal, many of the articles you will read about LFAS are technical
or will be aimed towards argumentation. Please understand the context
under which these necessary skills are employed as we focus and tighten our
attentions to the task of stopping the Navy from deploying this dangerous
technology. Stop LFAS Worldwide!
Cheryl A. Magill
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999
From: "Cheryl A. Magill" <email@example.com>
Someone from your list wrote: "How about russian leaky nuke subs and their hundreds
of diesel subs. They pollute more in one hour than our Navy does in one year."
Please see this Internet page:
"Quieter Submarines? Operative or Dismantled?
A $2.3 billion dollar request for a definition of "quieter submarines."
That 2.3 billion dollars is how much we've spent on the nuclear clean-up
mess with Russia's sub fleet. And we have an on-going commitment to do
more! Here is a small snippet from the site:
Furthermore, U.S. funding & U.S. Congressional grants are involved in the
dismantlement of the remaining Russian submarine fleet through the
Co-operative Threat Reduction Program. As of June 16th, this agreement
received a seven-year extension.
"CTR's budget request for fiscal year 2000, starting October 1, 1999, is $460 million,
up $20 million from fiscal year 1999."
"Since 1991, Congress has provided $2.3 billion to support CTR efforts."
Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 11:34:34
From: "Cheryl A. Magill" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: U.S. Navy Low Frequency Sound
U.S. Navy Low Frequency Sonar - Action Alert
The following article is offered as an additional aid to understanding the U.S. Navy
proposal to deploy a loud, low frequency sonar system in 80% of the world's oceans.
The article emphasizes the evidence emerging from the tests of this system off Hawai`i and the deliberate omission of that evidence from the draft environmental impact
The U.S. Navy's $100 Million Mistake:
Low Frequency Sonar and the Health of the Oceans
by Lanny Sinkin
When you make a mistake, you really have two options. You can come clean, take your
lumps, learn the lesson, forgive yourself, and move on or you can pretend you did
nothing wrong, cover your tracks, even lie and hope you are not discovered.
While the first path is preferable from many points of view, the larger the mistake,
the more difficult it becomes to admit the mistake.
That's the problem for the United States Navy. Their mistake is an investment of
something like $100 million in a low frequency sonar system designed to detect silent
submarines. The investment was a mistake because it turns out the new system is
a threat to numerous marine species, including endangered species, and to the marine environment
The first mistake the Navy made was to ignore the need both legally and ethically
to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of their new sonar system before
bringing the system to the point of deployment.
The story begins in the early 1980's when the Navy became concerned that a new generation
of submarines would not be detected by the extensive U.S. network of underwater listening
devices. Previously, these passive systems could provide sufficient information to locate and track submarines. More silent submarines and noisier oceans made
such detection less likely.
During the 1980's, the Navy evaluated alternative technologies for responding to this
perceived threat. By 1987, every technology except low frequency active acoustic
(LFAA) sonar had been ruled out.
At that point, the Navy began extensive design, testing and development of an LFAA
Unfortunately, the Navy failed to initiate an environmental impact process at the
same time. Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), federal agencies
are required to initiate the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS)
at the time a threshold decision is made to pursue an activity having potentially significant
environmental effects. NEPA also forbids the irreversible or irretrievable commitment
of resources prior to the completion of an EIS.
Under Executive Order 12114, the Navy was also required to prepare an overseas environmental
impact statement (OEIS), if the proposed activity would effect common global areas,
such as ocean waters; the environment of a foreign nation; or protected global resources.
For more than ten years, the Navy designed, built, and repeatedly tested LFAA systems
without preparing the required EIS or OEIS. There is a real question whether such
documentation would ever have been prepared, if the Navy had not been caught violating
NEPA and numerous other federal laws.
In 1995, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) learned that the Navy was on
the verge of deploying their low frequency system, known as SURTASS LFA, in 80% of
the world's oceans. NRDC sent a letter to the Navy pointing out the numerous environmental laws violated over the past eight years by the Navy and essentially threatening
to take the matter to court, if the Navy persisted in acting illegally.
By that time, the Navy had spent tens of millions of dollars on the development of
SURTASS LFA. Today, the total figure stands somewhere in the neighborhood of $100
million, including a nearly complete ship being built to carry the active sonar system.
In the face of the NRDC threat, the Navy agreed to prepare an environmental impact
statement. The Navy called together scientists familiar with the marine environment.
Not surprisingly, the Navy discovered that sound is a very important part of the
daily life of whales, dolphins, and other marine life. The extremely loud, low frequency
sounds that the Navy intended to broadcast could potentially injure or kill such
Had the Navy stopped to consider the marine environment before leaping into development
and testing of SURTASS LFA, this obvious truth would have emerged at the beginning
of the process.
The Navy also discovered that loud, low frequency sound in the water can have adverse
effects on human beings. Again, that information is not startling or unexpected.
The Navy had three choices at that point - stop the program, prepare an OEIS/EIS,
or have NRDC go to court. Rather than scrap the program or risk facing a judge in
such a flagrantly illegal situation, the Navy opted to conduct some studies and prepare
the necessary documents.
An EIS by law must include a "no action" alternative, i.e. the possibility that the
agency would conclude not to pursue the action after evaluating the environmental
impacts. In the draft OEIS/EIS (DEIS) issued in July 1999, the Navy claims that
those preparing the DEIS were independent and could have chosen the "no action" alternative.
That claim must, however, be taken with 100 million grains of salt. The existing
massive investment in a system considered the only alternative for meeting a threat
to national security would create tremendous momentum for a decision favoring deployment.
With that background, the Navy funded scientists to research the impacts of LFA on
marine life and humans in the water. The marine life research took place in three
locations over a two year period. That research is documented in a technical report
issued by the researchers. The researchers examining effects on humans issued a separate
report based on additional studies. The Navy relied on these studies in preparing
the DEIS issued in July 1999.
Unfortunately, the draft demonstrates without question that the momentum for deployment
compromised the integrity of the process. As just a few highlights of the deficiencies
in the DEIS:
While the scientists conducted the initial marine life tests off California and Alaska
with little public awareness or response, the third phase test in Hawai`i set off
a storm of protests. That phase intended to test the effects of SURTASS LFA on Humpback Whales during their breeding season. The announcement of the tests beginning led
to organized efforts to place swimmers in the water around the broadcast boat to
prevent use of the LFA on the whales.
CLIP - TO REVIEW ENTIRELY THIS EXCELLENT ANALYSIS, PLEASE ASK A COPY DIRECTLY FROM
Lanny Sinkin AT <email@example.com> - HERE IS THE CONCLUSION:
Based on these obvious deficiencies, environmentalists and others are already calling
upon the Navy to withdraw the DEIS and prepare a new draft OEIS/EIS that deals honestly
with the available evidence, provides time for the scientists to complete their work, and presents clearly the choices for public comment. See http://manyrooms.com/martingale.htm.
The deadline for comments is October 28, 1999.
There is little reason to be optimistic that the Navy can go full steam astern at
this point. Lurking in the technical report by the scientists hired by the Navy
are such statements as: "Responses did not scale consistently to received level,
and it will be difficult to extrapolate from these results to predict responses at higher exposure
levels." Translation: The scientists were only able to test the SURTASS LFA at
sound levels mostly below 140 decibels. The reactions of whales at those levels
were not consistent. Those levels are far below the planned deployment levels reaching to
235 decibels, which happens to be more than one billion times louder than the tests.
Such statements by their own scientists make even an honest treatment of the Navy's
funded studies a challenge to deployment. To seriously consider all the other adverse
information gathered those outside of the hired scientists could well doom the system.
One can have pity for the poor naval personnel faced with this dilemma. They thought
they were protecting national security and, therefore, doing the right thing. The
mistake was not considering the environmental consequences ten years ago. Life in
the ocean and the marine environment should not pay the price for that mistake.
The only question remaining is whether the Navy will admit their mistake, cut their
losses, and eliminate yet another threat to an ocean environment already stressed
by human toxins, wastes, noise, and induced climate change or play the national security
card as trump to any concerns about the health of the ocean environment, the creatures
living in that environment, or humans visiting that environment.
Only a concerted effort by citizens to contact their favorite environmental organization
to urge them to get involved in stopping SURTASS LFA and to contact their congressional
representative to demand accountability to the law for the Navy and its system can stop the juggernaut barreling out to sea and convince the Navy to do the right
The author is an attorney in Hilo, Hawai`i who filed two of the four
lawsuits against the Navy during the Hawaiian testing.
P. O. Box 944
Hilo, Hawai`i 96720
To secure a copy of the draft EIS and the technical reports on which the
DEIS relied, contact:
Mr. J.S. Johnson
Attn: SURTASS LFA Sonar OEIS/EIS Program Manager
901 North Stuart Street, Suite 708
Arlington, Virginia 22203
Fax: (703) 465-8420
Critical evaluations of the SURTASS LFA appear at:
President Bill Clinton
White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20500; Ph. (202) 456-1111, Fax (202) 456-2461;
e-mail -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President Albert Gore
White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.,
N.W.,Washington, D.C. 20500;Ph. (202) 456-1414, Fax (202)
456-2461; e-mail -- email@example.com
Secretary William Cohen
Washington D.C. 20301
The Honorable Richard Danzig
Secretary of the Navy
Washington, D.C. 20350-1000
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