Chuck Todd & Savannah Guthrie: Discussing Libya, Afghanistan War, and Psy-ops

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Greetings all. Have been on the run this morning and during the day.
I think that this exchange I had with Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd on their MSNBC show, The Daily Rundown, was good and covered a lot of foreign policy ground.
More soon. Big J Street dinner tonight.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

30 comments on “Chuck Todd & Savannah Guthrie: Discussing Libya, Afghanistan War, and Psy-ops

  1. Coach Factory Outlet says:

    This is my first-time visiting here. I uncovered a lot of useful stuff within your blog especially the on-going talk. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I’m not the only one taking pleasure in reading through your blog. Keep up the excellent work

    Reply

  2. John Waring says:

    WigWag,
    I might not like your politics, but, damn, you are entertaining.

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    Psy-Ops, Haley Barbour style!
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2011/03/haley_barbours_medicaid_fantas.html
    In this tale, a Medicaid client in Mississippi drives up to a pharmacy window in a BMW!!!!! And claims not to be able to afford the co-pay.
    So the Fact Checker checks some FACTS.
    Lots of Pinocchios for this one.
    But we all know what it really means.
    Dark skinned people bilk the light skinned people.
    Undeserving greed heads take from the deserving.
    The lazy live well while the good live stressful lives.
    There are hard workers who drive OLD TRUCKS and there are bad bad people who drive BMWs.
    Haven’t we done this before??????

    Reply

  4. WigWag says:

    “The problem with Ross’ speech was primarily that he said nothing. And of course, does anyone really think Ross actually wanted to be there?” (Stacy)
    Surprise, surprise!
    True to form, the Obama Administration threw J-Street under the bus. Well, at least the organization is in good company down there. As the wheels of Obama

    Reply

  5. questions says:

    From Rortybomb, but by Ryan McNeely:
    “Why is this model of economic growth so appealing to the Tea Party? For one, it tends to jibe very well with the Ayn Randian belief in producerism: the idea that

    Reply

  6. questions says:

    Nice write up of interviews in Wisc. Note all the lazy/undeserving/overpaid references directed towards state workers.
    http://www.themonkeycage.org/2011/03/what_in_the_hell_is_going_on_i.html
    We will cut off our faces to spite our faces…..
    And this on non-violence and security studies:
    http://www.themonkeycage.org/2011/03/why_security_studies_should_ta.html

    Reply

  7. questions says:

    Jonathan Bernstein on symbolic politics and the awakening of the indifferent voter and how the Republicans in Congress and in Wisconsin are perhaps courting disaster electorally speaking.
    http://plainblogaboutpolitics.blogspot.com/2011/03/dangers-of-semi-symbolic-politics.html

    Reply

  8. Paul Norheim says:

    A MODEST REQUEST CONCERNING “THE ARAB SPRING”:
    If someone at the New America Foundation has access to an unedited transcript of the
    heated, and somewhat chaotic polemic between the progressive blogger Steve Clemons
    and his inner Nixon – could they kindly transfer the document to The Washington Note
    before all hell breaks loose on the Arabian Peninsula?

    Reply

  9. Stacy says:

    Nadine- while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict certainly isn’t the sole grievance of Arabs in the Middle East (and in other regions of the world), the notion that it is not a major concern is just naive and politically expedient for those who want to maintain and perpetuate the status quo regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Also, referring to J-Street as the “Israel bashing crowd” seems rather childish. But then again, Jen Rubin hardly raises the debate to an intelligent level. While she certainly has a right to her views, the petty, intolerant way in which she expresses them makes her a cheerleader for the more extreme right wingers. Is Steve Clemmons an “Israel-basher?” Of course not.
    But I am wondering, why is there no room for debate within the Jewish community on Israel. or any community for that matter (or the US govt)? Why the attempts to silence differing viewpoints by labeling them as “anti-Israel” (I know you didn’t use that label in your comments here but it’s a frequent strategy used to silence people)? Btw, I know that J-Street isn’t exclusively Jewish, but much of the controversy surrounding it seems to be about it’s Jewish members.
    Why can’t some people just accept that different people may have different ideas about how to proceed in the Middle East and with respect to the peace process? Why is the discussion dumbed down to a choice between Israel Can Do No Wrong on the one hand and being anti-Israel on the other?
    The problem with Ross’ speech was primarily that he said nothing. And of course, does anyone really think Ross actually wanted to be there? He’s far more of an AIPAC guy. All he did was repeat a bunch of admin. talking points, stringing them together, effectively curtailing any meaningful discussion. The administration’s posture on the Middle East is hardly what it was when Obama made his speech in Cairo. The admin. is so worried about offending the Israel Lobby that it basically has no Mideast policy anymore, which of course is what the Rubin crowd wants- maintain the status quo, attack Iran and allow settlements to continue so that two states are impossible.

    Reply

  10. Kathleen says:

    How absurd that the U.s. is able to rally the international community allegedly about human rights issues in Libya when that same international community has never called the Bush administration out on their crimes against humanity in Iraq. And where has the U.S. been the last 40 years when it comes to war crimes in Libya…oh yeah getting their oil.
    Gaddafi needs to get in the crimes against humanity line at the ICC behind Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld Feith, Judy “I was —-ing right” Miller. Get in that long line Gaddafi.
    I also think that Secretary of Gates comment about any Secretary of Defense willing to send in on the ground troops into the middle east or Asia “should have their heads examined” was a direct shot at former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. The MSm has been parading this war criminal across our air waves unchallenged. Really unchallenged

    Reply

  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Excerpt……
    It also may strike some Americans as a touch disingenuous when these same news outlets lecture governments in the Middle East about not using violence against political enemies.
    While we can all agree that Khadafy and other Arab tyrants should restrain their police forces, it is odd to see such moral pronouncements coming from U.S. editors and political leaders who saw no problem in unleashing hell on the heads of Iraqis and Afghans.
    And those double standards continue to this day. Even as the U.S. government urged non-violent responses to political disorders sweeping the Middle East, the U.S. military continued to slaughter Afghans suspected of being pro-Taliban militants.
    In one case on Feb. 20, Gen. David Petraeus reportedly shocked Afghan officials when he suggested that Afghans caught up in these air strikes were burning their own children to put the blame on the United States. Meanwhile, in Iraq on Friday, some 20 Iraqis were killed when U.S.-backed Iraqi forces fired into political protests.
    Which brings us back to Gates

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  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    U.S. silent as Iraqi regime cracks down
    The U.S.-backed al-Maliki government imprisoned intellectuals and used live ammunition on protesters
    By Justin Elliott
    Thousands marched on government buildings and clashed with security forces in cities across Iraq on Friday, in the largest and most violent anti-government protests here since political unrest began spreading in the Arab world several weeks ago.We saw it with Yemen, and now we’re seeing it again with Iraq: The Obama administration is conspicuously quiet when friendly Middle East regimes use ugly tactics — including violence and imprisoning peaceful demonstrators — to quell growing protest movements in their countries.
    That’s in marked contrast to the administration’s tough stand when similar tactics are employed by unfriendly governments like the one in Iran. In a statement yesterday, the White House “strongly condemn[ed] the Iranian government’s organized intimidation campaign and arrests of political figures, human rights defenders, political activists, student leaders, journalists and bloggers.”
    But in one of the least-noticed stories of the week, the U.S.-backed government of Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq has resorted to imprisoning 300 journalists, intellectuals and lawyers in order to stop ongoing protests, according to a well-reported Washington Post dispatch from Baghdad.
    continues….
    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/02/28/iraq_protests_us
    Do these scumbags in Washington DC, and our state controlled media propagandists, think that the rest of the global community is failing to note the hypocricy and insincerity telegraphed by our actions as opposed to our words?
    If you aren’t ashamed of what we have become, you are simply not paying attention.

    Reply

  13. Paul Norheim says:

    A Libyan with the moniker “Muhammad min Libya” writes in The Guardian:
    “All Libyans, even the pro-Gaddafi minority, believe that it’s only a matter of time before Libya
    regains its freedom. But the frightening question remains: how many martyrs will fall before Gaddafi
    does? How many souls will he take before the curse is broken?
    This happy ending, however, is marred by a fear shared by all Libyans; that of a possible western
    military intervention to end the crisis.
    Don’t get me wrong. I, like most Libyans, believe that imposing a no-fly zone would be a good way to
    deal the regime a hard blow on many levels; it would cut the route of the mercenary convoys
    summoned from Africa, it would prevent Gaddafi from smuggling money and other assets, and most
    importantly it would stop the regime from bombing weapons arsenals that many eyewitnesses have
    maintained contain chemical weapons; something that would unleash an unimaginable catastrophe,
    not to mention that his planes might actually carry such weapons.
    Nevertheless, one thing seems to have united Libyans of all stripes; any military intervention on the
    ground by any foreign force would be met

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  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Bringing Jen Rubin into the discussion just cheapens the debate.
    Nadine further deteriorates the quality of the discussion with bits like “the Israel-bashing crowd at J Street”, the insinuation being J-Street is “anti-Israel”, which is a completely asinine premise. The real cheapening factor is advancing such a premise, KNOWING it is asinine, as Nadine surely does know.
    What is so amazing about this dynamic, this “technique” of debate employed by Rubin or Nadine, is that they tear down the very organizations and entities that are the best avenues through which Israel may save itself from itself. The radical, self-defeating, and ultra-racist policies that Israel is pursuing are a path to national suicide, particularly in light of the tidal wave sweeping the “irrelevent” and “docile” arab street that Wiggie so falsely described in such a timely fashion. (It must be somewhat self-enlightening to have a personal observation and prediction so quickly shown to be utterly and undeniably ridiculous. To many people, it would be humbling, but obviously, judging from Wiggie’s continued sarcasm and the patronizing sour syrup that is dripping off her recent essays, this is not the case with Wiggie.)
    By sidelining, insulting, demeaning, and seeking to discredit entities such as J-Street, Peace Now, Americans For Peace Now, etc, Rubin and Nadine do Israel, and the Jews, a tremendous disservice. Supporting Israel’s current path of state legislated bigotry, disdain for international law, and its arrogant dismissal of universal global sentiments against its increasing expansionism is a fool’s task. When Israel falls under the wieght of its own self-defeating and destructive actions and policies, those pushing the narratives and advocations championed by Nadine and Rubin will have played no small part in bringing her down.
    For those such as Rubin and Nadine, its called “irony”. And, for the Palestinians, “justice”.
    And for the rest of us, we Americans that have footed the bill for waaaaay too long, it will simply be called, “good riddance”.

    Reply

  15. Chumanist says:

    one may rightly support the thesis which argues that the current US’s sponsored tilt towards the people’s remonstrance against the autocratic rule in the Mideastern governments- reflects the quasi-implementation of the doctrine of the ‘transformational diplomacy’ once brainstormed by the policy makers in Washington.

    Reply

  16. questions says:

    Florida’s gift to us all:
    “COCOA, Fla. — Florida’s new Senate president, who wants the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate next year, got $152,000 from a coastal community college to write a book on politics, a product taxpayers will have to share if they want to see.
    The lone copy of “Florida Legislative History and Processes” by Mike Haridopolos can only be read at Brevard Community College’s administration office. ”
    …..
    “Drake concedes that Haridopolos’ arrangement was unusual and compensation was much more than normal. The school has internationally known authors on staff, and they are sometimes given paid leaves or sabbaticals to work on books, but the four-year arrangement with Haridopolos isn’t typical, he said. ”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/28/AR2011022804506.html?hpid=politics
    Ok, so 152 grand from a COMMUNITY COLLEGE to scribble out a vanity manuscript all about ME!!!!
    OMG. Community college students depend on Pell Grants and tax support. They help students make the transition to 4 year schools from high schools, they give people a second chance, they help people change careers, they provide all sorts of really really important services and they keep the tuition pretty low by piling on teaching duties, using faculty with non-terminal degrees, and not supporting research at all.
    Except in the case of Haridopolos who got paid 152 grand to “write” a “book” that’s never going to get published but will be made available on line for students.
    Good lord. Corruption, thy name is vanity, community colleges’ trying to get “in” with the politicos in the state, and Haridopolos himself who thinks he has something to say.
    And the students who work full time, have kids, and squeeze in classes to better their lot in life have each contributed some amount of sleepless misery to this piece of crapola.
    Probably he’ll make it to the Senate. He complements Rick Scott.
    WTF. OMG.

    Reply

  17. Paul Norheim says:

    “Like other falling Arab regimes before them, the ruling Al-Saud will inevitably seek to scare the
    population by raising the spectre of al Qaeda and warning against tribal, regional, and sectarian
    disintegration. They will try to thwart political change before it starts.
    Saudis may not believe the scaremongers. The command centers of the Arab revolutions today are
    not the caves of Tora Bora or Riyadh’s shabby al-Suwaidi neighborhood, where jihadists shot BBC
    journalist Frank Gardner and his cameraman in 2004. They are the laptops of a young, connected,
    knowledgeable, but frustrated generation that is rising against the authoritarian public and private
    families that have been crushing the individual in the pursuit of illusions and control.
    Yes, Egypt was key to the coming change, but when Saudis rise they will change the face of the
    Arab world and its relations with the West forever. Now is the time for the United States and its
    allies to understand that the future does not lie with the old clique that they have tolerated,
    supported, and indulged in return for oil, security, and investment. At a time of shifting Arabian
    sands, it is in the interest of America and the rest of the world to side with the future not the
    past.”
    More here on Saudi Arabia:
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/02/28/yes_it_could_happen_here?page=0,3

    Reply

  18. Paul Norheim says:

    Saudi Arabia:
    “Even in Saudi Arabia people are stirring.
    Their actions are not the sort that attract much attention from the world’s media, and especially not
    the TV cameras, but in a Saudi context they are momentous.
    “Unhappiness with the current situation is something that has brought sworn enemies together,”
    writes Eman al-Nafjan, a postgraduate mother of three who blogs under the name Saudiwoman:
    “It’s becoming more and more difficult to tell apart the demands of conservatives from those of
    liberals and the demands of the majority from those of minorities

    Reply

  19. Paul Norheim says:

    “Saudi Arabia

    Reply

  20. Paul Norheim says:

    “Oman has harbored one of the most sophisticated
    opposition movements in the whole Arab world – largely
    embodied by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman.
    Some of its leaders were co-opted by the sultan, but the
    progressive, modernizing impetus remain.
    As much as the US State Department goes out of its way to
    stress Oman respects human rights, political rights remain
    close to zero. No free press, no free speech, no freedom of
    assembly, no freedom of religion. Oman may not be ultra-
    repressive Saudi Arabia, or Wild West Yemen – but it’s not
    Scandinavia either (Washington think tank types insist on
    comparing the sultan to Scandinavian prime ministers).
    The great 2011 Arab revolt is, to quote Bob Dylan, “driving
    90 miles an hour in a dead-end street” in Bahrain; is about
    to make a pit-stop in Saudi Arabia; and it has already hit
    Oman. The septuagenarian sultan has diabetes, no heirs to
    his throne, and is now officially puzzled by unemployed
    youth and angry workers right at this doorstep. Beware of
    humanitarian imperialism possibly rearing its ugly head in
    Libya. But all eyes should focus on the Strait of Hormuz; on
    the Omani, not the Iranian, shore.”
    More here:
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MC02Ak01.html

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its interesting seeing the pukes in DC posturing over democratic principals, and even considering military options to help sow these “principals” in Libya, right on the heels of their despicable veto at the UN in regards to the Israeli settlement issue. (Sssshhhh, mums the word here.
    Who takes these lying conniving hypocritical asses seriously anymore, except an American public rendered idiotic by media bullshit and a carefully nurtured atmosphere of partisan division? Surely, the rest of the global community must be shaking their heads at the stupidity of the American public.
    J-Street, eh? I wonder, are they gonna miss Harman? AIPAC sure as hell is…..
    THE CORRUPTION OF JANE HARMAN AND HOW THE ISRAEL LOBBY WORKS IN WASHINGTON DC
    Grant F. Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy AIPAC dealings will soon emerge; how Harman and Alberto Gonzalez avoided legal and professional sanction but suffered damaged reputations nonetheless; the down-the-memory-hole scandals of Niger uranium forgeries and the Office of Special Plans; why the juicy tidbits revealed in Steve Rosen

    Reply

  22. questions says:

    And the last sentence:
    “Our results indicate that to the extent Muslim anti-Americanism is an eliteled
    phenomenon, a certain degree of pessimism is warranted towards the potential of
    American actions to lessen negative perceptions of the United States in the Islamic
    world.
    24”
    There’s a lot to think about if the data hold up. It’s not US policies that drive public opinion in this reading; rather, it’s retail politics’ looking for a convenient foil to rail against in competitive political systems.
    In the US, it’s become fashionable to demonize Muslims, and it’s effective. There’s limited pushback against the demonization. This is the mirror dynamic.
    Competitive elections giveth and taketh away.

    Reply

  23. questions says:

    From p. 23 of the article:
    “We have argued that in Muslim communities around the world, a tendency to view
    the United States negatively is associated with the degree of political competition
    between secular and religious groups. The competitiveness of a country’s political
    environment motivates elites to pursue anti-American rhetoric as a tactic to win
    political support. As Muslim societies are increasingly divided along secular-religious
    lines, competition between secular and Islamist elites intensi es. Much of the the
    anti-Americanism that opinion researchers nd among Muslims around the world,
    arises, then, in response to the messages individuals hear from the Islamist or secularnationalist
    political elites with whom they identify.”
    A truly satisfying read for someone who often thinks that retail politics, positioning in competitive political markets, and the kinds of intensity and stupidity that are effective in this kind of political market have a lot to do with why we do what we do.
    Totally recommend reading the paper.
    Here’s the link, again:
    http://www.stanford.edu/~blaydes/AA_ISA.pdf
    Might be interesting to link Pape and this work together to see if there are connections between suicide terror and these domestic internal dynamics, or if the two dynamics are completely separable. Above my paygrade, but worth the effort.

    Reply

  24. questions says:

    Great post on the drivers of anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world:
    http://www.themonkeycage.org/2011/02/what_drives_anti-americanism_i.html
    “Simply put, the reason many Muslims tell public opinion researchers that they hold an unfavorable opinion of the United States is because trusted political leaders tell them so. But what is especially important about this association is that it is predominantly domestic forces that determine the strength with which elites press anti-American claims.”
    Political rhetoric, domestic political rhetoric, as the driver of sentiments.
    The authors: Lisa Blaydes and Drew Linzer
    The original paper is linked in the MonkeyCage summary:
    http://www.stanford.edu/~blaydes/AA_ISA.pdf

    Reply

  25. JohnH says:

    US concern about the death toll in Libya is SO touching!!!
    In Iraq, 29 protesters were killed last weekend. Will Hillary demand that the Iraqi regime respect the rights of protesters? Presumably, the US still has some influence it could use in Iraq…
    Also, contrast the US “concern” compared with that exhibited during Israel pogroms in Gaza (2009) and Lebanon (2006), each of which caused more casualties that Qadhafi has.

    Reply

  26. Don Bacon says:

    Libya — The US default position seems to be what military action to take, and not what the locals do or don’t want.
    recent news report:
    “A spokesman for the new National Libyan Council, which formed in the eastern city of Benghazi after it was taken by anti-Gaddafi forces, said his group did not want any foreign intervention.”
    On using Bosnia as an example of success, there was no genocide — until the US intervened.
    On SecDef Gates: Apparently the Gulf War was improper, as well as Iraq II and Afghanistan of course. That’s all true, and now that he’s coming to the end of his lackluster tenure he’s starting to get thoughtful and moderate as he prepares his legacy as a statesman. But he’s still a lousy manager, supporting and maintaining an obscenely large military budget when the country and its citizens are hurting financially.
    Al Qaeda, that familiar bogeyman run by the guy in the cave, is not how we got into Afghanistan.
    The attacks on Afghanistan were actuall planned prior to 9/11 and had to do with a gas pipeline deal, the US “Silk Road” strategy and the instability of the Taliban who were then a US ally.
    Asked by ABC’s Jake Tapper last June to estimate the number of al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan, CIA Diector Panetta said, “I think the estimate on the number of Al Qaeda is actually relatively small. At most, we’re looking at 50 to 100, maybe less. It’s in that vicinity.” Sure, Leon.
    Regarding psyops, that’s pure baloney. An information officer from the Texas national guard was asked to dig up some background info on a visiting CODEL and he refused, so he received a reprimand and then went to Hastings with a cock-and-bull story. The officer was never trained in psyops and never met the politicians. The idea that US senators can be brainwashed by the military when everyone knows they simply can be bought is outrageous.

    Reply

  27. pahlavan says:

    “Why discourage defection by closing the exile option?”
    Because he was one of our main allies just a few short weeks ago. Why else?
    Don’t forget how we pulled that rebellious Hossein out from under a rock before feeding him to the coyotes. Qaddafi’s faith may not turn out any different at the end.
    On a separate note, it

    Reply

  28. Paul Norheim says:

    I question the wisdom of a travel ban on Qaddafi’s family
    members and helpers. Why discourage defection by closing
    the exile option?

    Reply

  29. DonS says:

    Good that the US is willing to swagger and rattle some wabres towards Lybia, I suppose, on the one hand. Pretty pathetic that in order to agree to let the UN act to condemn Lybia the US foists a clause preventing referral of mercenaries to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Why? Well to protect Bush era criminal from being subjected to possible war crimes prosecutions.
    Here’s a full explanation:
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/02/28/war_crimes/index.html
    And while we are in the cowardly establishment department, here’s a story on the military and the media ganging up on Michael Hastings, and Lt. Col. Holmes for having the audacity 1) to be an actual journalist as opposed to a stenographer in the case of Hasting and 2) being an actual military officer with the integrity to question illegal orders in the case of Holmes. This falls right in line with the DOJ crashing down on Julian Assange, without any facts or proof of course, for”harming” America>
    Greenwald does a thorough job explicating how and why Hastings and Holmes are being scapegoated.
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/02/27/hastings/index.html
    For the tirfecta of dishonor we can contemplate the NYT putting a lid on the ‘contractor’/CIA plant Davis in Pakistan story, while the Guardian was investigating and reporting the facts. The NYT “public editor”, Brisbane, whines that, really they were trying real hard not to be “misleading” while doing everything they could to be obfuscating and misleading.
    Need we go on; the US incredibly tone deaf veto of the condemnation of Israeli settlements in the UN Security Council. Clinton praising Bahrain leaders. Lybia saying “no thanks” to US offers of “help” (guess they figured out that Iraq didn’t work out so well after those first 5 minutes of “liberation”). And of course the Iraqis themselves getting about sick of the non performing government they have bee bequeathed (for the enrichment of the few, especially the M/I actors, contractors, etc. And we really don’t even need to review the everlasting Afghan debacle, where even the DNC is screaming to Obama, in unison with Karzi, ‘get out’. And the billions of ‘lost’ US taxpayer money/debt throughout the region, etc., etc.
    —————-
    Finally, just to respond to WW on the whole Geller/mosque discussion. One can cite polls showing the jingoist phrasing ‘wins’. You can even call it realpolitik. Perhaps that makes you feel vindicated. That’s fine, throw you lot in with the haters (that is the manipulators of the issue). At least I don’t have to be ashamed to advocate for basic constitutional issues, and I don’t have to scapegoat an entire religion or people in the process. I gladly despise the bigoted likes of Geller.

    Reply

  30. WigWag says:

    Off topic, but I am sure that many of your loyal readers would love to get your take on the Dennis Ross speech at J Street this morning. It’s my understanding that the J Street people are profoundly disappointed.

    Reply

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