Paul Wolfowitz’s “Hours” May be Numbered at World Bank

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paul_wolfowitz.jpg
Paul Wolfowitz‘s tenure at the World Bank may end in the next day or two. Rumors are spreading like wild fire at the Bank that he plans to resign tomorrow.
I have no official information confirming this — other than that several senior staff in two specific Executive Directorships at the World Bank and some other senior staff at the IMF and other staff are reporting to me that Wolfowitz’s resignation is imminent. I’m not sure, however, that there views are not collective speculation.
Paul Wolfowitz has now admitted to helping his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, get positions outside the Bank, including “seconding” her to the US State Department that have helped up her salary to levels that clearly violate World Bank rules (i.e. nearly double her salary).
This is the kind of personnel nepotism and corruption that Wolfowitz has stated he is trying to wipe out at the Bank and in the client governments of the Bank. An anti-corruption campaign has been one of the only distinctive and memorable aspects of Wolfowitz’s tenure so far as president of the international financial institution — and now his own personal behavior belies what was his self-declared moral campaign against others’ corruption both inside the bank and in client country governments.
Wolfowitz also ran afoul of senior bank staff in the past by elevating inappropriately Bush administration political appointee Kevin Kellems, who used to be Vice President Cheney’s spokesman, in ways that violated the merit-based rules that had been adopted at the World Bank.
Wolfowitz also hired Mitch McConnell national security aide Robin Cleveland to help spearhead an internal anti-corruption campaign at the Bank when there was speculation about her own role in trying to trade favorable treatment in the Boeing Air Tanker matter in exchange for potential employment opportunities for her brother. Cleveland resigned the Senate and escaped further scrutiny for her involvement in the Boeing scandal, but her Wolfowitz-assigned task bore some irony then — and is even more ironic now.
One other tidbit about Wolfowitz that I have confirmed is less dramatic than securing his girlfriend a nearly $200,000 salary — but still quite fascinating.
I now know from a second source — as my first would only discuss this matter firmly off the record — that Wolfowitz and Kevin Kellems had dinner at the Aquarelle Restaurant at the Watergate Hotel last year with a very prominent member of Washington’s journalistic community.
The journalist in question had not met Wolfowitz previously and Kellems played a “relationship-brokering” role. What is interesting about this particular meeting — as far as I understand the details of it — is that the journalist in question, who I cannot name but can attest for his solid reputation as a serious writer, assumed that the topic of discussion at dinner would be Wolfowitz’s global economic development agenda, his view of how to make the World Bank relevant to 21st century security and economic challenges, and so on.
Instead, Wolfowitz — as recently as one year ago — was still manically obsessed with the connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Wolfowitz reportedly brought with him to dinner an enormous binder of materials, articles, essays, reports, intelligence, etc. — arguing that the connection between Hussein and bin Laden’s operation was real and robust.
I can’t report on the journalist’s reaction to the dinner — other than to say he was “surprised.”
If Wolfowitz has been spending time hiring people like Robin Cleveland and Kevin Kellems — as well as pushing the career of his girl friend “illegally” — and obsessing about validating his bad decisions in the build-up to the Iraq War, then he has not been attentive to his real and fundamental responsibilites at the World Bank.
If all the rumors about his resignation tomorrow are untrue, Paul Wolfowitz should make them true as soon as possible.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

30 comments on “Paul Wolfowitz’s “Hours” May be Numbered at World Bank

  1. Larmee says:

    ===============================
    THE PORTRAIT OF PAUL WOLFOWITZ
    http://melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2007/04/143509.php
    ==============================

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  2. Robert M. says:

    While I know that this part of the conversation has come to an end as Steve has posted two additional “Let’s Get Wolfie” posts–and aren’t you all glad to see a diplomat decide on which fork to take–I need to make it clear to several posters that the POST COMES FIRST and THEN COMES THE POSTERS NAME.
    I’m Robert M. and my post was in regards to Wolfowitz’s personal behavior, moral and intellectual, and what he should do about his own actions & how it all fits with general Bush mores and how his intellectual father, Paul Nitze, might think about all this. And Steve’s comments were in support of those general observations.
    It was ROBERT MORROW, posting just after mine, who called for the World Bank’s elimination & for a return to nationally-based foreign aid programs.
    Whether the World Bank as presently constituted has so calcified into the usual institutional arrogance of staff-led myopiosity, is really for another discussion. But something is WRONG both at the operational level and at the governance level. An Ethics Committee should never just say “take care of the problem”. That’s what the Gottis would say to Sal the Barber. Just an invitation to the mess they have on their hands.
    Still for those who led off posts addressing “Robert M and Steve”, it weren’t me and that’s NOT the position Steve was taking.
    Please re-read posts correctly. Thank you.

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  3. Ethel Jean Kowan Saltz says:

    It really bugs me. Here is a perfect opportunity for Neo-Cons with all the private banks in the entire Planet under their control to do true shock’n’awe. I suppose Wolfkowitz considers himself Jewish, Torah Totin’. His mistress is supposed to be a truly dedicated Arab to free the intellectual environment of Iraq.
    The shock’n’awe comes to this for me:
    Why in the world wouldn’t their love nest also be full of ideas like “Let’s go to the D.C. mosque near where we live and get a Chabad teacher to instruct the Muslims in the Hebrew language and read the Torah Scrolls. Their people created them in the first place.” Now that would be worth her increased taxfree? salary. That would make the globe’s privat banks truly democratic. If you can’t do this in the New Israel in the New World then how in the world does this brilliant woman expect to do it in Persia and Barylonia? They might also remind the Babylonians and the Persians in the Middle East that the Iranian King, Cyrus of the Talmud too, is responsible for even there being the New Testament and the Koran.
    We never had to go to Babylonia for shock’n’awe, our military could have done it right at Bolling and Andrew Airforce Bases and the Navy Yard and the Marine Barracks.
    Taurat is mentioned very rationally 16 times in the Koran. See for yourself.
    rk’n’rl w/torah scroll

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  4. Marcia says:

    Carroll:
    The horrors commited in the name of the “raison d’état are endless, that is part of the insanity that surrounds us.
    I did not seriously consider sending you a Paypal for a joint venture. Chao.

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  5. Carroll says:

    Carrol:
    Like you for a long time now I no longer donate to political parties. However, I cannot favor “hit teams,” I think they do nothing to further a better world, even though it is often so difficult to resist thinking about it.
    Posted by Marcia at April 13, 2007 10:59 AM
    >>>>>>>
    Obviously I “exaggerate for effect”….and I am definitely not into torturing anyone no matter what they have done. But at the same time let’s not be hypocritical…it’s not like the US and Israel, Russia and many other “countries” don’t assassinate terriers and enemies of the States every day….and if they miss they call the unfortunate bystanders collateral damage. It certainly wouldn’t offend my sensibilities if a few of our war criminals got terminal food poisoning.

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  6. Aprof says:

    On Wolfowitz and his obsessions with Hussein:
    I can confirm from someone who worked with Wolfowitz on a daily basis, very closely, when he was in the Pentagon that Wolfowitz really does believe the Laurie Myrolie claim that Saddam Hussein was behind the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Seriously.
    I’d figured that Wolfowitz and others did believe in Hussein’s WMD, maybe even ties to al-Queda, but only gave a wink and nod at the conspiracists who put Iraq behind every bad thing that happened in the whole decade because it was tactically useful. Nope, Paul really does think Iraqi agents at least provided direct support to McVeigh and Nichols, if not masterminded and directed the whole thing.

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  7. Not-hungry-anymore says:

    To Robert M. (and Steve Clemons who agrees with him “on all counts”)
    Re: your statement “I believe that the United States of America is the greatest and the most noble country in the world”, following your pontification about moral rot and corruption.
    I wonder how such a judgment is wiser, more consistent or dignified than Wolfowitz saying “I made a mistake but should be judged by my present intentions, not my past or present actions” as he wrote to the staff of the World Bank yesterday.
    Also, I’d be curious to understand just how much you know about the other (roughly 192) countries of the world, when you establish this comparison.

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  8. Marcia says:

    “so too international institutions which provide a means whereby the world community can discuss issues of poverty – debt of poor nations – the environment – health – etc. are necessary and indeed beneficial”
    I think it is questionable that the World Bank has always been beneficial. It is often used as a tool to force poor countries to adopt and follow policies that have little to do with their own well being.
    Corruption is rampant throughout the world, so the orientation of these institutions should be constantly revised.
    Carrol:
    Like you for a long time now I no longer donate to political parties. However, I cannot favor “hit teams,” I think they do nothing to further a better world, even though it is often so difficult to resist thinking about it.
    Just as with torture, the humilation inflicted on the victim dehumanises the torturer. I had old friends tortured by the Gestapo, who saw total horror and it leads only to the death of that which allows us to become better human beings.
    The repercussions of revolution and civil war take generations to dissipate. Just imagine what the life of the population of Iraq is going to be when this nightmare ends. The same is true of all the broken lives of American soldiers.
    Men have always killed and controlled but never have we had the means to do so so totally. It is horrifying.

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  9. reveal says:

    Don’t know whether to laugh or cry… check out the Department of Institutional Integrity at the World Ban’s web site. Reads like some satire from Vonnegut.
    Also, another e-mail from that site that I wrote to:
    investigations_hotline@worldbank.org
    It is used to report Fraud and Corruption…
    Let’s get this embarrassment to our republic out of this position ASAP.

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  10. Gadfly says:

    Robert M.’s proposal of elimination the World Bank and the United Nations is ludicrious in the extreme.
    For the United Nations is a place whereby nations can come together to resolve issues that affect our planet and the world community. It is important to have a forum whereby conflicts and critical issues can be addressed via peaceful means, rather than the barbaric brutishness of the ilk of the neo-con Bushies who have demonstrated that brute-force by an uncivilized “superpower” is not only both illegal and immoral– but also disastrous and miserable.
    Freedom is not a viable moral proposition when the big, dumb bully-boy (like Bush & his despicable neo-con cabal & corporate-owned thugs) tramples upon the weak in order to steal their resources (i.e. OIL).
    The World Bank is needed to fund aide programmes and help the needy of the planet.
    Where problems exist, there should be a sound, rationale manner for installing reforms– but to elminate these institutions would just be another step toward taking us back to the Dark Ages (which the brutish neo-cons & greed-ridden Republicans lust to do).
    Just as no one with brains would suggest that we “axe” our U.S. Constitution & Bill of Rights simply because we have problems with the current Bush-Cheney-Rice-Rove-Gonzales goons & thugs who have hijacked our system and corrupted it — so too international institutions which provide a means whereby the world community can discuss issues of poverty – debt of poor nations – the environment – health – etc. are necessary and indeed beneficial.

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  11. Marcia says:

    Severa of the emails I sent to the World Bank officers came back. Others were absent but a few got through.

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  12. Richard says:

    Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Gingrich, and many others who run in the same circles seem to operate with a similar set of principles. They don’t all apply to every situation, but they are good guidelines that they appear to follow:
    1. Hire supporters and friends, regardless of merit and protocol.
    2. Don’t actually do much to help the people you were hired to help unless it gives you great P.R.
    3. Operate in your own self-interest and in the interest of those who support you.
    4. You deserve to win.
    5.. An authoritarian style is most effective in getting what you deserve.
    6. “Winning isn’t everything: It’s the only thing” (borrowed from Vince Lombardi).
    7. Problems that occur can easily be handled through lies, deception, and manipulation.
    8. Accept responsibility but not the blame (borrowed from Richard Nixon).
    9. Don’t admit you were wrong unless you are admitting to something much smaller than you actually did.
    10. Doing the right thing is for wimps; you win when you do the wrong thing and get away with it.

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  13. TokyoTom says:

    Robert M and Steve:
    I am with you that the World Bank needs reform and a fair amount of its work is wasted. The sad irony may be that as much as Wolfowitz is getting his just desserts for his own ethic transgressions, the wellsprings of opposition to him may lie in disgruntlement among staffers to his attempting to do what needs to be done.

    Reply

  14. TokyoTom says:

    Robert M and Steve:
    If we were to eliminate the World Bank, then how would you propose we coordinate with other donors our approaches to aiding developing nations (with a focus on helping them to eliminate corruption, kleptocracy and lack of rule of law, which are the real stumbling blocks to development)?

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  15. Steve Clemons says:

    Zathras — Thanks for the error catch. Will fix now. I was rushing — too much — when I wrote that part.
    Carroll — great list to email to. I just did. Thanks.
    Robert M. — appreciate your note very much and agree with you on all counts,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  16. Carroll says:

    Posted by Marcia at April 13, 2007 03:04 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well, I am willing to donate to a hit team if you are. I got a call last week to donate to the dems and told the guy I didn’t belong to a party any longer that I had become a terrorist and was only interested in funding a revolution….he said…”cool”.
    Maybe there is hope for the younger generation…

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  17. Carroll says:

    BTW….remove this address from the list or your mail will not go thru->….Mgbetibouo @worldbank.org

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  18. Marcia says:

    This neocon “elite” as been playing musical chairs for so long, with a lounging chair offered to the loser, it seems vain to hope for any kind of retribution. They resign, “move on” to lucrative positions in private companies and are replaced by the next in line.
    It is time for some form of knuckle-tapping to return to fashion. Look at Elliot Abrahms who has been stirring the brew since Irangate and there are all the others like some outlaw gang led by a Billy-the-Kid shooting, blowing away the smoke and moving on to the next bank…always with total impunity and promotions.
    These people are playing with human lives, destroying human lives, in our name and as always purporting to do so in the name of “American Interests.” Wolfowitz is not to only one who should go!

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  19. daCascadian says:

    Is that karma I hear coming down the tracks headed for the World Bank ?
    Ahhhhh, sweet justice.
    “…the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion…but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.” – Samuel P. Huntington

    Reply

  20. Carroll says:

    Since Steve helped bring down Bolton the least we can do is send some emails to suggest the WB fire Wolfowitz. After all most Americans consider him a war criminal. Now that he has exposed himself at the WB also there is no legitimate excuse for him to continue as President of that organization.
    To help, I have complied the email address of some of the Board of Governors of the WB most likely not to like Wolfowitz plus a few headquarter address.
    Mr. David Theis
    Senior Communications Officer, Department of Institutional Integrity…(also for internal fraud as in Wolf’s case.)
    Email: dtheis@worldbank.org
    Headquarters
    1818 H Street NW
    Washington, DC 20433, USA
    E-mail: Feedback@worldbank.org
    (Old Europe below):..heheheh
    Mr. Cyril Muller
    E-mail: cmuller@worldbank.org
    Ms. Haleh Bridi
    Special Representative to the European
    Union Institutions
    E-mail: Hbridi@worldbank.org
    I won’t list every Board of Governors country but just their emails to save space:..you can copy into cc..
    osiemens@ifc.org;Jingram@worldbank.org;
    Yyoshimura1@worldbank.org;nmohammed@worldbank.org;Yduvivier@worldbank.org;Dvarela@worldbank.org;
    Acraig@worldbank.org;Schitale@worldbank.org;
    Rreinikka@worldbank.org;Jowen@worldbank.org;
    Achuecamora@worldbank.org;
    Avantrotsenburg@worldbank.org;
    Rrobinson@worldbank.org;Xzhu1@worldbank.org;
    Fbelhaj@worldbank.org;
    Cwallich@worldbank.org;
    Kgeorgieva@worldbank.org;
    Fkaps@worldbank.org;Dgaye@worldbank.org;
    Cluff@worldbank.org;Lgiovine@worldbank.org;
    Dreinermann@worldbank.org;Cbruce@worldbank.org;
    Jbriscoe@worldbank.org;Vturbat@worldbank.org;
    Nagrawal@worldbank.org;
    Orazzaz@worldbank.org;mrepnik@worldbank.org;
    DDollar@worldbank.org;mlopez@worldbank.org;
    Jhappi@worldbank.org;Mibrahima@worlbank.org;
    Mdia@worldbank.org;Aseth1@worldbank.org;
    Mkarlsson@worldbank.org;Embi@worldbank.org;
    Aalmansi@worldbank.org;Mgbetibouo @worldbank.org;Zbadr@worldbank.org;
    Idiwan@worldbank.org;Afaiz@worldbank.org;
    I would use the mails of the Directors but for some “strange reason” the pages of the Directors who report to the Governors is down…maybe it is getting a workout tonight.

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  21. ... says:

    the irony in those who want to raise the bar, while lowering the bar for themselves or their friends… this reminds me of finding out newt gingrichs having had an affair while he was chastisizing clinton… folks need to keep a close eye on those who lecture most loudly about how others should do differently. they are usually talking about a part of themselves they are loath to acknowledge.. bush and cheney and all the b.s. about supporting the troops comes to mind as well.. if they supported the troops, the troops wouldn’t be where they are today.

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  22. Zathras says:

    Steve, it was Cleveland who resigned a position in the Senate, not McConnell.
    It is late here in Wisconsin, too late to list all the ways this affair resembles the other scandals involving senior members of the Bush administration. The sense of personal entitlement stands out, of course, also the personal tackiness. And the stonewalling until documents surfaced that confirmed suspicions, followed by an admission of “mistakes” as momentum behind the scandal continues to build.
    I thought it was at least even money that Wolfowitz could make a contribution at the World Bank. Looks like I missed that one. The berries don’t fall far from the Bush.

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  23. Carroll says:

    I understand he has run rough-shod over the backs of the professionals at the WB, including adopting a policy–abrogating years of work by many of them– of making it harder for poor countries to obtain debt relief by saying ‘they’re corrupt’ so they don’t ‘deserve’ debt relief. Believe I heard an NPR report on this.
    Posted by muddy paws at April 12, 2007 08:07 PM
    >>>>>
    You did hear it on NPR cause I heard it too. I had read a longish article on it before..I think in the FT’s or the Economist.
    This is too good to be true…but not good enough..this trash should lose more than his job.

    Reply

  24. Robert Morrow says:

    One more thing, before I forget, I bet Obama out fund raises Hillary for the rest of this campaign and I think that my man of the year Obama for both 2006 and 2007 is very well positioned for the Democratic nomination. And Edwards has a shot, too.

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  25. Robert Morrow says:

    I’ve got a solution to this problem. Let’s shut down the World Bank and the IMF. Those institutions are corrupt by definition. And let’s axe the United Nations while we are at it; organizations that are 40% dictatorships are by definition corrupt.
    Global governance is a terrible idea because it is anti-republican and anti-democratic. People’s control over their own lives should be pushed down to the local level and the individual as much as possible. That is whatand where liberty is. People shoveling tax dollars here and there – acquired from far away is not my idea of democracy. I am a nationalist; more specifically an American nationalist. But I’ll put the concept of being a republican and a democrat over being an American if we ever lose our republic. Because America without elective government is nothing.
    I believe the USA is both the greatest and most noble country in the world. Although I have huge problems with the USA, specifically its acquired socialism, I have bigger problems with the lack of freedoms and elective government elsewhere.
    The World Bank and IMF are just elitist insiders, mooching off American tax dollars (other other folks, too) on both sides of the transactions. Anything that weakens the world bank is good news to me.

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  26. Robert M. says:

    Steve,
    Becoming familiar with your style, I must say that the last line is the strongest negative judgement I’ve read by you! For myself, I’d have gone with “If the Board doesn’t shoot him, he should use his own pistol on himself–if he has any claim to being a gentleman.” The High Irony of it all is amazing and would be true farce if it didn’t involve trillions of dollars and the future lives of millions of people.
    And to act to corrupt established personnel policies by personal directive! Just what Ashcroft and Gonzalez and their underlings have done at DOJ so as to install their Regent University Law robo-minions. Well, I guess power corrupts but the ideological imperative to power corrupts fundamentally. I am now thinking of Angelo in Measure for Measure.
    Note that in his reported public statement on this issue, Wolfowitz stresses he discussed this matter with the Board member heading the ethics committee. And apparently thought his actions were prior-approved. Has the moral rot set in at the Board level too? Shouldn’t they resign as well?
    But above all its the intellectual corruption of such an intelligence as Wolfowitz possesses that continues to astonish me. This is shown by your dinner meeting story. What persuasiveness does Cheney hold over people like PW? I can’t imagine Paul Nitze thinking this is how PW would have turned out. Or thinking like this at all.
    Or rather for not thinking but for behaving like any hack such as Bernie Kerik over sex and money.
    But then I can’t imagine Paul Nitze conceiving a president like George W. Bush being run/played by the real powers Rove/Cheney.

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  27. Matthew says:

    One imagines a cold, windy day in January 2009, when the last Bushevik tries to pocket some White House spoons before slithering over to his new jobs as a “journalist” at Fox.

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  28. muddy paws says:

    Great post, Steve.
    Really helpful on pulling together a picture of W. I understand he has run rough-shod over the backs of the professionals at the WB, including adopting a policy–abrogating years of work by many of them– of making it harder for poor countries to obtain debt relief by saying ‘they’re corrupt’ so they don’t ‘deserve’ debt relief. Believe I heard an NPR report on this.

    Reply

  29. Gadfly says:

    “Wolfy” is the buffonish George W. Bush’s nickname for Paul Wolfowitz. Slime-ball is the term that best describes Wolfy.
    Bush & Cheney promised to AIPAC & the AEI that not all of the traitorous neo-cons who fabricated traitorous lies to mislead the American people into their miserable failure in Iraq would end-up isolated. So Bush & Cheney pushed and pushed hard to make Wolfy the President of the World Bank.
    Instead of such a prestigious assignment, Wolfy should have been put on trial for treason– but, we live in neo-orwellian times, when the neo-con Bushies get away with lies- perjury- treason- war crimes- felonies- crimes against humanity- and, other high crimes and misdemeanours – etc. …
    “There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” – Paul Wolfowitz [Source: House Committee on Appropriations Hearing on a Supplemental War Regulation, 3/27/03]
    Why doesn’t Congress charge Wolfy with treason– and confiscate all of his ill-gotten gains and that of his “girl-friend” to start paying down the outrageous debt for his criminal role in the neo-con Bushies’ illegal & immoral war upon Iraq!?!

    Reply

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