Fred Thompson, Redstate, Red Meat

Fred Thompson, who has flirted with the notion of entering the Republican presidential primary race as a conservative savior, has his first blog post on Redstate today. He digs right into the war on terror and national security, the focus of GOP voters in this primary season, by going after the Iranian mullahcracy:

Tony Blair doesn’t appear to be in much of a mood for celebrating. I don’t know how he could be, given the troubling spectacle of British soldiers shake the hand of their kidnapper as a condition of release. In the old days, they would have kissed his ring — but wearing Iranian suits and carrying swag more appropriate to a Hollywood awards ceremony may have been as embarrassing. Ironically, Blair’s options are fewer by the day as his own party moves to mothball the British fleet, once the fear of pirates and tyrants the world over.
Some in the West seem part of Iran’s propaganda war; claiming that the release of the hostages was a victory that proves the Iranian dictatorship can be reasoned with. To misrepresent unpunished piracy as a victory is as Orwellian as the congressional mandate banning use of the term “the global war on terror.” What are we — Reuters?
Ahmadinejad must be particularly pleased to see “deep thinking” journalists making the case that American actions in Iraq were the true cause of the kidnappings. To believe this, all you have to do is ignore the history of the Iranian Revolution, which has been in the extortion business ever since it took power. Between the 1979 American embassy crisis in Tehran and the seizure of Israeli soldiers last year by Iran’s Hezbollah proxies, there have been more than a hundred other examples.

The Pirates of Teheran comes as close as anything I’ve heard to accurately describing the ruling clique in Iran. They started off their revolution by kidnapping dozens of Americans in 1979, and either they or their Hezbollah and Hamas proxies have continued doing the same ever since, as well as deliver continual terrorism and destruction. And why not? The West paid the ransom in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan sent arms to the mullahs, and in the 1990s when Europe made a point of trading with the Iranians, and in this decade with this impotent dance around their nuclear program.
Read all of Thompson’s post, and ask yourself this: could he have picked a better way to enter the race, as far as the conservative blogosphere is concerned? If Thompson really still had not made the decision to throw his hat in the ring, he would not bother posting at Redstate. It’s not a one-off by a Hollywood star, because Redstate is not the Huffington Post. This is a clear indication that he has heard the calls from conservatives and will shortly start working on an exploratory committee.
Watch for more Thompson missives in the next few weeks, and I predict that they will start hitting the broad spectrum of conservative issues: Iraq, taxes, reducing government, and abortion. If we start seeing a variety of essays like that, Fred’s running.
And kudos to Redstate for the scoop!

35 thoughts on “Fred Thompson, Redstate, Red Meat”

  1. This is not a war in the traditional sense. And as this post reminds us, really never has been. This is David vs Goliath. Goliath can’t win and never will. In fact, the harder Goliath tries the worse it gets. Why? Because it’s not a fair fight. Goliath is held to a different standard by various interest groups, not least of which is our own media. Not least of which is the growing consequence of a generation of mindless immigration policies in the West. Not least of which is the economic clout that Iran possesses (and the self-confidence that goes with it) thanks to our insatiable appetite for their oil.
    The one and only way Goliath can win this (and could win it quickly) is by proxy. The first proxy that comes to mind is a group like Mossad, or like Mossad used to be in its heyday. It would have to be a very small suicide group which would not fail to successfully cut off the head of the Iranian monster by accurately identifying and completely eliminating the real power broker(s) in Iran. Responsibilty would have to be untraceable. Logistics would certainly be complex but given the nature of the target, not insurmountable.
    The biggest obstacle to a tactical takeout of this sort is perhaps the huge influence of the military establishment which knows brute force would be seen as essentially anachronistic were it to succeed.

  2. I have to admit, I usually pass along links to articles, not the whole thing… but in this case, I’ve already emailed this article by Thompson around to my ring of buddies… not only is it absolutely spot on, but it is just so Fred Thompson. This is exactly the kind of explanation that is exemplified in the story about “The Emperor’s New Clothes”… everybody knows what he says has been true, but nobody of his political stature has been honest or bold enough to actually say it on the record.
    Kudos for Fred Thompson… even if he doesn’t run for office again, his point of view coming from somebody of his stature is BADLY needed these days!

  3. Ed,
    Listening to Thompson’s radio commentary while he was filling in for Paul Harvey (and now continues on ABC Radio), I thought that he was following Reagan’s radio commentary model before he ran for office, albeit in a more compressed time frame.

  4. I read the post Thompson wrote and I agree that this has to be viewed as part of the long term behavior of the ruling elite in Tehran, they have not changed all that much since they took power and our embassy back in 1979. These are the same people who supported the bombing of the Marines barracks in Lebanon in 1983 too.
    I don’t think this incident shows that the Iranians can be dealt with so much as it shows there might be more going in the regime than we see from the outside. Such as…there might be people who having achieved a certain status are not so sure they want to bring about Armageddon, whereas there are others who do want just that. Exploiting these tensions and keeping pressure on Iran is necessary in the future.
    However, I am not so sure this incident was a victory for Iran for the simple reason that I do not know what they wanted in the first place. It seems to me that they caved awful fast for all the chest pounding they were doing when they grabbed these sailors. It could be there were some back channel chats going on we know nothing about and all the while the US Navy was getting closer.
    I realize that for some people nothing short of a military assault on Iran will be sufficient, but I honestly do not believe the American people want another war right now. I do think they might support military strikes of a limited nature for a specific purpose, but if there is any hope to avoid war…I think they expect the government to take it. And I am think the British people feel the same way.
    I just wish Americans would stop trashing the Brits, friends are hard to come by…we should not be disrepectful with the few we have.

  5. One thing I asked about on another thread and no one anwered…what about WW2? During the war the Brits and the Aussies and the Americans all surrendered at one time or another. I know a man who spent 3 years in a Japanese POW camp after the American surrender in the Phillipines.
    Now people have been critical of the British for saying that faced with overwhelming force, they felt that fighting was not an option.
    I may not like that answer, but given the fact that we do see men surrender in almost any war if they are taken by force by a superior force, is it really fair to see this as some sort of historical low point of cowardice for the British people? And if we were not there, how can we know what we ourselves would have done in such a position?
    I think Tony Blair felt that he had a responsibility to get those people out of Iran. And if we think that seeing them shaking hands with Iranians was a spectacle, what would a public hanging have been?

  6. Fred Thompson continues to impress

    Making a splash in the deep end of the blogosphere, Fred Thompson has begun blogging at Redstate, and his first post is spectacular. Here he is on “The Pirates of Tehran“:
    Some in the West seem part of Iran’s propaganda war; claiming …

  7. He’s right about the nature of the Iranian regime of course, though it’s easy to say things like that when you’re running for the GOP nomination. The real test will come when he has to start saying what he thinks about Iraq, and he’ll have to finesse the difference between how the base feels about it and how the general public feels about it.

  8. It is easy to point out that the British neither came back with their shield nor on it. That merely means they earned no honor. The question remains, what policy to follow with Iran?
    We do not have public support for action now. Would we have it if the Iranians make another provocative move? Would we have it if they had a successful nuclear test? Will we elect a president that would make use of the opportunity? Would that more likely be McCain Giuliani or Thompson? Since the opportunity is not yet there, they cannot really talk about it to let us know. We will have to try to take their measure as best we can.

  9. Fred’s got my vote if he jumps in. Hope he commits soon. I’m prepared to vote for Romney or even hold my nose and vote for Rudy (still can’t my head around a McCain vote). Go for it Fred.

  10. Vote for Fred if you want to go to war with Iran… that’s the message. I’m surprised he didn’t support our shooting down their civilian airliner and replacing their democracy with a dictatorship. Oh but then he goes on about the Christian and Muslim monorities which are ‘imprisoned’ in modern Iran (lol). Oh those Brits are mothballing their fleet… hat happened decades ago Fred and now you are upset? This nutcase then starts to talk about how we might betray the Kurds… this is hilarious after the US targeted and imprisoned Iranians who were the accredited guests of the Kurds in Iraq and denied them any consular access (but we are not like them). Talk about Orwellian…. this jerk has it all.
    The American public isn’t going to get fooled twice by this BS. It’s the same recycled rhetoric and selective memory with that ironic WWII spin throughout. Is he going to have Cheney as VP?

  11. The Copperheads won’t stop with Bush, they also to go after Fred.
    Many Americans are under the delusion that after Bush ends his second duly elected term into office, the moonbats would not be able to translate their hate on the next administration.
    After reading lexhamfox the translation of hate is just beginning and we aren’t even in the primaries yet. I was figuring the nutters would have toted out first their ‘Giuliani is Hilter’ meme they created when he was mayor of NYC.
    How are the Copperhed ‘peace’ people able to continue with so much hatred?

  12. Terrye
    I am under no illusion that the British people have any will to fight the enemies of freedom therefore I do not blame the soldiers for abandoning the ship.
    I will say this when Old Europe comes knocking at our door looking for someone to save them from the invaders I will remember their words, deeds and actions over the pasts several years.

  13. “Vote for Fred if you want to go to war with Iran… ”
    Yeah, that’s really the message. If you’re illiterate.
    I thought libtards were supposed to be nuanced?

  14. Railing Against the Pirates of Tehran

    Fred Thompson (or, more likely, a staffer) made his blogging debut at Redstate yesterday afternoon, warning of the dangers of the propaganda victory Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got from taking 15 British marines hostage. He is disgusted with the weakness show…

  15. To misrepresent unpunished piracy as a victory is as Orwellian as the congressional mandate banning use of the term “the global war on terror.”
    BINGO! ’nuff said.

  16. great blog entry until he reaches the end and offers:
    “We need to understand this and use every means at our disposal, starting with serious and painful international sanctions, to prevent Iran’s rulers from becoming the nuclear-armed blackmailers they want to be.”
    why he chose to trot out this canard is beyond me. there are no “serious and painful international sanctions”. they don’t exist in regards to iran and several other countries–sudan comes to mind. the french, chinese, russian and others countries to a lesser degree like germany prevent any sanctions that matter. we are alone in this fight. we have been and will continue to be. in fact more than half the world is counting on us losing.
    as to the brits pathetic display in the hostage fiasco mark steyn said it best today:,CST-EDT-STEYN08.article
    “Tony Blair was at pains to point out that the hostages were released ”without any deal, without any negotiation, without any side agreement of any nature.” But he’s missing (or artfully sidestepping) the point: Tehran didn’t want a deal. It wanted the humbling of the Great Satan’s principal ally. And it got it. Very easily. And it paid no price for it. And it has tested in useful ways the empty pretensions of the U.N., the EU and also NATO, whose second largest fleet is now a laughingstock in a part of the world where it helps to be taken seriously.
    I’m always bemused by the correspondence I get from readers arguing that there’s more going on than meets the eye — that the British and Americans wanted to keep things cool this last week because it’s a massive head fake to distract attention from all kinds of covert activities already under way to overthrow Ahmadinejad, and Assad, and a bunch of other fellows. Even if it were true (which it’s not) that Valerie Plame’s crack commando units are rappelling down the walls of every presidential palace from Sudan to North Korea, in a media age what matters is not only what’s going on behind the scenes but the scenes themselves. And scenes of British servicemen fawning on Ahmadinejad along with scenes of a headscarved Nancy Pelosi doing the same to Bashir Assad project a consistent message.”
    if that wasn’t enough now these british “heroes” are being allowed to sell their stories and those special gift baskets from ahmadickjad will be available on ebay.
    perfect, just f’king perfect.

  17. I think that Thompson is a good man and would be a great candidate. If he or Mitt Romney are elected, I feel confident that conservatism (and strong leadership) will begin to infiltrate our government yet again.
    I think that the Left’s rise to power and their subsequent attempts to weaken America in all ways is indeed setting them up to fall in time. The American mindset is not yet ready for European weakness or passivity to passify their “friends”.
    Just as Ronald Reagan was elected after Jimmy Carter exposed his great plan for a world without American leadership, I feel this cycle may again occur.
    I hope that when the Captain has a chance to talk to Thompson, he makes it clear that the Left can never be passified, they must be confronted. This was and is GW Bush’s greatest mistake. Thompson, if elected must clean out the Left from every place they hold in his administration, especially the CIA.
    Godspeed to you, Fred Thompson.

  18. Syn asked:
    How are the Copperhed ‘peace’ people able to continue with so much hatred?
    “lexhamfox” is indeed full of hate and hostility; but its real object is himself. His self-loathing stems from the knowledge that he long ago surrendered his mind and gave up developing the ability to think independently; i.e. he sacrificed his reason, his own mind, and adopted the leftist world-view – and the truly humiliating thing is that he did it to win the approval of his teachers or of his peers, who had been ramming that leftist world-view down his throat during his entire education.
    Since reason is our only means of dealing with reality, those who surrender it become helpless little conformists, unable to think for themselves, unable to deal with the world around them, fit only for regurgitating the talking points dispensed by their intellectual masters. It is the knowledge that he has been reduced to this state – and that he did it to himself – that creates the sense of self-hatred. When you surrender your judgment and agree to accept, uncritically, someone else’s assertions, you surrender self-esteem and self-respect at the same time.
    But this is a fact that he must evade at all costs; no one can acknowledge their self-hatred and retain their sanity for long. And so the leftists are there to help him. Yes, they tell him, you are right to be angry, because capitalism and its greatest exponent – America – are the cause all of the world’s problems, including your own.
    Thus, they give him an external target for his hatred, a laundry list of all the world’s problems from slavery to war to poverty to starvation to exploitation of people to exploitation of resources to global pollution to global warming to genocide – all of it they lay at America’s feet. The entire narrative is blatantly false, but that does not matter to this little leftist because that narrative provides a crucial rationalization, it provides an excuse for emotions so ugly he dare not acknowledge their true source.
    This is why today’s leftists are so hostile and why they cling to their talking points no matter what facts, reasons or evidence you produce to contradict them. Their view MUST be true, otherwise they have sacrificed their self-esteem and self-respect for nothing — and that is a fact they can never allow into their mind.

  19. Great tongue in cheek on Thompson:
    Awesome Facts About Fred Thompson
    * Fred Thompson has on multiple occasions pronounced “nuclear” correctly.
    * Fred Thompson has blasted more people in the face with a shotgun than even Dick Cheney.
    * The masked executioner of Saddam Hussein: Fred Thompson.
    * Not only does Fred Thompson cut taxes, he cuts tax collectors.
    * The reason Fred Thompson didn’t want to stay in the Senate for long is because all the extra scrutiny kept him from doing his favorite hobby: Prowling the streets at night killing drug dealers.
    * Every night before going to sleep, Osama bin Laden checks under his bed for Fred Thompson.

  20. syn:
    Over at Roger Simon’s there is a poster saying these Brits should be lined up on board their ship and shot.
    His malice is overt, but I think what disturbs me is the underlying malice of some people who seem to think that these sailors with no where to run or hide or even take a stand, armed only with small arms should not have surrendered to a superior force they could not defeat.
    In truth the USS Peueblo did much the same thing when boarded by hostile North Koreans. If I remember correctly the Captain said the ship could be replaced, but the lives could not. People can say what they want from a distance but talk is cheap.
    I suppose my point is that sometimes discretion really is the better part of valor.
    And while I really like Fred Thompson and everything I have seen from him makes me believe I would vote for him…he does not say in this post what he would do in specific terms if faced with such a situation. It is one thing to say the mad mullahs are smiling and that is bad, it is quite another to lay out in specific terms how you would wipe that smile off their faces.

  21. One of the things that makes Fred Thompson’s blog entry stand out in bold relief, other than its artful prose, is its dense content.
    Presidential candidates are masters of writing content-free, boring mush. That piece by Thompson shatters the mold.
    Another hallmark of the mush makers is the feeling you get reading their high sounding mush, which is rife in their own fear that they want to please as many people as possible while offending no one. Thompson breaks through the crass ceiling and in doing so generates a paradoxical effect of creating a true following.
    As the word spreads about this incisive speaker/thinker, his army of volunteers and donors could grow unlike any seen so far.
    Picture the contrasting images. Hillary and Bill are twisting arms to wring out money. Thompson, on the other hand, speaks the truth as he sees it, and we are so attracted to his message as a result that we can’t wait to donate.
    If he keeps this up, and who could doubt that he will, this presidential campaign could be the most exciting race in a very long time.

  22. In a way the reaction to Thompson on the right mirrors the reaction of many in the Democratic party to Obama. He is saying what they want to hear in a straight forward way.

  23. And btw, some of the ugliest things said about Bush and Reagan came from the right, not the left. The left we expect it from, but the willingness of the Right to turn on their own is not new. Sometimes I wonder what Fred Thompson will do or say to lose them. Bush did pretty well and so did Reagan until their second terms, and then the conservatives turned on them.
    That is why I look at the adoration being heaped on Fred Thompson and I wonder if it will last until the election. Like Matthew Dowd said when he stabbed Bush in the back, finding a new political star is a little like falling in love and then comes disillusion.

  24. brightwinger:
    I am talking about perceptions. Obama has gone from being unknown to being a presidential hopeful based on the reaction of the party faithful to a speech he gave at the Democratic Convention. His charm eludes me, I would not vote for him, but when I hear the people who like him talk about him…I notice that they are reacting to him with the same elation, affection and respect that I see and hear from the right for Thompson.
    If I myself have to choose between the two, I am going with Thompson..that was not my point.

  25. “If we start seeing a variety of essays like that, Fred’s running.”
    Much more than running, he sounds like someone I would vote for without holding my nose and might well like. I have voted in thirteen presidential elections. I voted for someone I actually thought was a good choice a grand total of three times. A couple of other times I voted for people who I thought would be okay. The others were nose holders.
    Upon reading his words, I was impressed that both his thinking and his way with word seemed similar to those of Reagan. I now notice that other commenters have the same opinion.

  26. Yeah but we have to keep in mind that if Thompson is running he is saying what people want to hear, that is what politicians do.
    How he would act in a crisis is something else entirely. I too would vote for him, but I would not be surprised or even unduly disappointed if once in office with world opinion, the UN and Congress to deal with, Thompson did not make some compromises of his own. It happens. It does not make people liars or cowards.
    But I like him too, I just don’t want people to build up such an aura around the man that he will be destined to disappoint them. I have seen it before.
    Gulliani was loved because of his strength of character during and after the attacks on 9/11, that together with his job as Mayor of New York and the good he did for that city made him a real hero to a lot of people.
    Then he says the wrong thing about abortion and he is a sinner or a coward or a sell out or a heathen or not a real conservative or whatever. The fact that this is the same Rudy who went down the Trade Center when the buildings were falling is forgotten.
    Just like people forgot or overlooked the fact that Bush is still the same Bush who stood on that pile of rubble with the fireman and the bull horn. His atttitudes toward issues like immigration have not changed, the right just decided one day to turn on him. Just like they turned on Reagan and called him a doddering fool back in the last years of his term. Now he is a saint of course. But I am in my 50’s and I remember the kind of criticism he faced in the end. Some people said conservatism would never recover from Reagan, that he had ruined the party, etc.
    That is my only point, if people make this man super human, I am afraid they will turn on him when the days come that they discover he is merely mortal making decisions in a world where we can not always get what we want.
    As I said, what did he say specifically that the US or the Brits should have done differently. Not just that it was not enough or that the nut job was smiling, but what exactly should have been done.

  27. Thanks for the link Mia…
    Fred Thompson is an interesting possibility, that’s for sure. I just read Hugh’s book on Mitt while traveling. I must admit, Hugh’s book has me thinking about Mitt. I also read Tom Delay’s book “No Retreat, No Surrender” while traveling; fantastic read and very interesting “behind closed doors” information regarding the methods used to get work done in DC.
    I look forward to hearing much more from Thompson, and about Thompson, as the weeks unfold.

  28. James Ph is on to something: Fred Thompson is indeed borrowing elements from Reagan’s development as a politician. The radio show hosting, the articles, etc are all a piece of that.
    Never forget, though, that Reagan did this for years beforing running for political office. He did hundreds of rubber chicken dinners in the boonies on behalf of GE, hundreds of articles and lots of commentary. When it came time to run for office, either governor of California or President, he’d done the intellectual heavy-lifting. He’d sorted out his thoughts and his ideology, and he was able to present that to the public in a way the public could respond.
    This is one (good) article by Mr. Thompson. He did a nice job filling in for Mr. Harvey. Truth be told, I would have been happier had he started doing this in 2005; he would have had more opportunities to get the heavy-lifting done.

  29. Michael Smith,
    Have you ever read Orwell’s essay “Notes on Nationalism”? It speaks to the very point you make.
    But for an intellectual, transference has an important function which I have already mentioned shortly in connection with Chesterton. It makes it possible for him to be much more nationalistic — more vulgar, more silly, more malignant, more dishonest — that he could ever be on behalf of his native country, or any unit of which he had real knowledge. When one sees the slavish or boastful rubbish that is written about Stalin, the Red Army, etc. by fairly intelligent and sensitive people, one realizes that this is only possible because some kind of dislocation has taken place. In societies such as ours, it is unusual for anyone describable as an intellectual to feel a very deep attachment to his own country. Public opinion — that is , the section of public opinion of which he as an intellectual is aware — will not allow him to do so. Most of the people surrounding him are sceptical and disaffected, and he may adopt the same attitude from imitativeness or sheer cowardice: in that case he will have abandoned the form of nationalism that lies nearest to hand without getting any closer to a genuinely internationalist outlook. He still feels the need for a Fatherland, and it is natural to look for one somewhere abroad. Having found it, he can wallow unrestrainedly in exactly those emotions from which he believes that he has emancipated himself. God, the King, the Empire, the Union Jack — all the overthrown idols can reappear under different names, and because they are not recognized for what they are they can be worshipped with a good conscience. Transferred nationalism, like the use of scapegoats, is a way of attaining salvation without altering one’s conduct.
    Orwell also writes about anglophobes:
    Within the intelligentsia, a derisive and mildly hostile attitude towards Britain is more or less compulsory, but it is an unfaked emotion in many cases. During the war it was manifested in the defeatism of the intelligentsia, which persisted long after it had become clear that the Axis powers could not win. Many people were undisguisedly pleased when Singapore fell or when the British were driven out of Greece, and there was a remarkable unwillingness to believe in good news, e.g. el Alamein, or the number of German planes shot down in the Battle of Britain. English left-wing intellectuals did not, of course, actually want the Germans or Japanese to win the war, but many of them could not help getting a certain kick out of seeing their own country humiliated, and wanted to feel that the final victory would be due to Russia, or perhaps America, and not to Britain. In foreign politics many intellectuals follow the principle that any faction backed by Britain must be in the wrong. As a result, “enlightened” opinion is quite largely a mirror-image of Conservative policy. Anglophobia is always liable to reversal, hence that fairly common spectacle, the pacifist of one war who is a bellicist in the next.
    Obviously, one could make a few minor changes and this passage would describe the left’s view of the United States.*
    I wonder what Orwell would make of the GWoT.
    (*) It would be a mistake to think that only liberals are prone to this sort of nationalism, however. As Orwell notes, all people feel “nationalism” to some extent, and indeed may be more or less unaware of it until somebody says something that sets them off. “How DARE you say that about X???” I am aware that I am an American nationalist, outraged at Iranian / Syrian / North Korean / terrorist violations of international law and standards of human decency while at the same time willing to overlook American violations (assuming I’m not outright enthusiastic about them).

  30. Terrye
    I hear ya on the Obama comparison. As far as the reaction is concerned by their base, yes, there is enthiusiasm.
    At the same time, there is no comparison between the content of the two candidate’s spoken or written word.
    Yes, Obama got into an “I can name that tune in 3 notes” bidding war to bring the troops home with Hillary. But that pales in comparison to the depth of thought in Thompson’s “Pirates of Teheran” piece.
    Hearing Thompson speak is reminiscent of the Founding Fathers. When he speaks or writes, it’s practically seamless…unlike what I’ve written here. 😉
    Maybe it’s because I’m 56, but I’d rather have an adult rather than a kid as president. Thompson is pure adult.

  31. I would give a lot to find out how much of his Watergate book (At that point in time) did Fred actually write. If he indeed wrote it, as opposed to talking to the ghost writer, it gives great insight into the way his mind worked, as well as what he had really thought of DC politics during his first encounter.
    As a matter of fact, I had just finished reading it, and it had not been an easy read, which makes me hopeful that there were no ghost writers. While obviously dated, it seems to give some clues as to his current behaviour, such as his being so proactive in Libby defence organization.
    I had been a sort-of constituent of Senator and had the opportunity to meet him once a few years ago, and he definitely did appear more aware of the real world and its politics than the book appears to indicate (or than Senator Frist, who I met at the same time). His recent writing appear to confirm that.
    I wish I could vote for him (something I cannot do without violating the law).

  32. So not voting for Fred Thompson, close friend of McCain’s and voter for McCain Feingold.
    Won’t bat an eyelash over it, either.

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