How The US Gov't Destroyed The Lives Of A Muslim American Man's Entire Family After He Refused To Become An Informant

from the disgusting dept

We recently wrote about a new lawsuit from some Muslim men, suing the US government after they were all placed on the no-fly list for refusing to become informants. Some of the stories were ridiculous, displaying just how aggressive and coercive the FBI has been in trying to force totally innocent people into becoming informants, even when they lack any actual connection to any terrorists or terrorist organizations. But those disgusting stories pale in comparison to a story reported by Nick Baumann at Mother Jones, in which it becomes quite clear that the US government wrecked the lives of multiple family members (mostly US citizens) after one American muslim man refused to become an informant.

You should read the full story of how it all came about, but through a series of events, the FBI came into contact with Naji Mansour, after his (perhaps naive) abundant display of hospitality resulted in two men associated with terror staying in his mother’s house in Nairobi. His mother, an American woman from Rhode Island, worked for the US government (as a part of USAID). Eventually, the FBI appears to have realized that Naji had no real connection to the two men, but then they focused on doing everything possible to force him to become an informant. And when he refused, they basically set about to wreck his life, and then his family’s lives. After refusing to become an informant, the family suddenly found it difficult to travel:

…the Mansour family headed to the Nairobi airport to fly to Uganda for a visit with Naji’s ex-wife and their children. When Naji handed his passport to a security officer, she glanced at her computer screen, stared at him, and asked, “What did you do?” Kenyan security officers detained the family for several hours, releasing them just before their flight took off.

When the family returned five days later, Kenyan airport police questioned Naji again. “The deputy immigration officer said, ‘We have nothing wrong with you, but we have a directive not to let you in,'” Naji recalled. Soon, Fogarty and Jones showed up at the airport. The FBI agent reiterated the US government’s desire that Naji become an informant. Naji once again declined.

Another time, his mother stopped by the US Embassy in Kenya to add more pages to her passport — only to have her passport seized. She was told it would only be returned if she met with the FBI agent who had been pushing to turn Naji into an informant. He asked her where Naji had moved to, because they had apparently lost track of him. The very next day, Naji, who had moved to Sudan, and his wife found themselves detained by Sudanese law enforcement:

So on Monday, June 29, Sandra sat down with FBI agent Mike Jones. “He asked, ‘Where’s Naji now?'” she recalled. “I said, ‘He’s with me in Juba.'”

The next morning, June 30, Naji and Nasreen—who had come to visit her husband in Juba while Sandra was in Nairobi looking after their children—were about to go out for breakfast when they noticed a man peering through the window. Naji opened the door to find two men in suits, sweating in the heat, with guns on their hips. “One of them looked like African James Bond,” Naji told me. “And I say, ‘Yes, hello?’ And they’re like, ‘Naji Mansour?’ and I’m like, ‘Yes.’ And they just came in.” The agents of the South Sudan Security Bureau asked Naji to bring Nasreen out, and then they took the couple’s phones and laptops and hustled them into separate unmarked cars.

His wife was detained for over a week — never charged with anything and then finally released. Naji was held for over a month. In the middle of his detention, a US State Department official suddenly showed up and told him he should meet with the same FBI agent, Mike Jones, who had been trying to recruit him as an informant. When Naji agreed, Jones immediately walked in with another FBI agent. They demanded some “useful info” to help him get released. He tried to come up with any information he could think of, but the agents told him it was not enough, and then said “All right, Naji, good luck… I hope everything works out for you, buddy” and left.

After a month he was released. No explanation, no charges. A few months later, Jones asked to meet again, and Naji said he wanted to talk by phone first, leading to some calls that Naji recorded, in which Jones appears to directly threaten Naji’s family while denying having anything to do with his detention.

There’s a lot in there (you can read the transcript at the link above), but it becomes clear that they’re dragging his mother into this towards the end of the conversations:

Mike Jones [FBI]: As I said, Naji, you know, there’s scrutiny on you, and that’s not going to go away. There’s scrutiny on your mom, she’s a contractor with the embassy, that’s not going to go away unless we sit down and get down to business. You don’t want to come into the embassy, for good– you say for good reason, but meanwhile your mom is employed at the US consulate. So for you to say as an American, “I don’t want to go into the embassy to meet with you, and there’s a good reason for that.” It’s just, to us, it should have been done there. We did you a favor by agreeing to do it outside of the embassy, here, in this city. So, you know, Naji, there’s really just not more I can say right now.

Naji Mansour: I’m even trying to decipher what you’re trying to say right now.

MJ: What I’m trying to say is, you don’t want to come into the embassy to do it. Fine. You know, I- we said we’d do it outside of the embassy. This isn’t a, meeting hasn’t been a priority to you. In fact, you haven’t wanted to sit with us, since we’ve talked, since I’ve been back in country. Okay. You say you want to get things resolved. I say there’s scrutiny on you. There’s scrutiny on your mom. She’s employed by the consulate, and yet you don’t want, or she’s employed at the consulate, through a contractor, and you’re saying you don’t want to come to the embassy, and there’s a good reason for that. So I said meet us.

NM: Exactly. My position hasn’t changed. My position hasn’t changed. The scrutiny on my mother has nothing to do with anything, unless you you’re making a threat. And currently I told you the situation here, [Mike], that in this country I’m kind of like, have you heard of the expression that beggars are not choosers? I’m on contract. I’m on contract, so I’m not giving you any illegitimate excuse. While you’re here, I’ve bent over backwards. And I really don’t like your tone. I don’t like your tone, [Mike]. I don’t like your tone.

MJ: Naji–

NM: You have scrutiny on me for what? What do you have on me? You have nothing on me. I’ve done nothing. You cannot tell me…

MJ: Then let’s sit down and talk about it.

Later in the call, Jones hands the phone over to another FBI agent (who also showed up in the Sudanese prison earlier), Peter Stone (a pseudonym), and Stone is much more direct about the threat:

PS: A series of events is going to be put into motion. And once you put it into motion, and honestly I, I’m out of it. I honestly do not care. I’m going home, you know I got a vacation to plan, I got this [inaudible] other kinda stuff, my life goes on. Yours might change. And it’s not going, it might not be necessarily to your liking. But, this is what’s going on, but the whole dodging, you’re telling, oh, no, this time, that time, all that kind of stuff, frankly I don’t believe it. And again, I really don’t care. I’m getting ready to pack my bags and go. But when I go, when [Mike] goes, you know, that door closed on ya. A new chapter will open up for ya, and it’s going to be a new chapter of your life, but you’re going to remember that this was the day where I could walked through that door, and ya didn’t. But that’s all I’m going to say, and I’m going to give you back to [Mike], and…

NM: No wait, hold up [Peter], you can’t just…

PS: …and you guys can say nah nah nah nah…


NM: That’s a blatant threat, and you’re going to put in your report that I, how are you? [crosstalk] That I don’t have an excuse to come, when I’m trying to frickin accommodate.

PS: Dude, dude, dude, no let me tell ya, I was not born yesterday. I haven’t been doing this job since yesterday, okay? I know when somebody is yanking my chain. Okay? And I’m seeing…

NM: This ain’t the states! This ain’t the states!

PS: … a major chain yank. Okay, this is not the first time, believe me. I’ve dealt with guys who’ve done that, and all that kind of stuff, and I’ve just learned, you know I’ve got a callus built up. I walk away. And then, whatever happens then, honestly, all I know is I can sleep at night knowing that every opportunity was given, you know, the guy decided not. I’ve helped people out, on the opposite side, people have been helped out tremendously, and that’s something that I’m very proud of. People that were in deep shit, who are no longer in shit, and are living a good live, because I was there for them, and they took that door, they took the opportunity and walked through that door, man. And seriously, honestly, it’s the same thing that’s available to you. But again, you will remember this day, and you’re gonna say, “Shit, I shoulda talked to these guys. And I shouldn’t have been doing all excuses.” If you didn’t have any business going on today, or any kind of a things like that, you’re gonna find how minuscule and worthless it was compared to this fork in the road, that you’re about to take.

NM: What are you talking about? No, why don’t you come out and say it? Why’n’t you come out and say what fork in the road are you talking about?

PS: Dude, I honestly don’t care. I’m getting out of here. I don’t care. Okay? And, you know, when I tell somebody, hey, you know what, if you cross the street without looking you’re gonna get run over, that’s not a threat. You know, that’s advice. [crosstalk] You’re about to cross the street without looking both ways…

NM: No.

PS: And I’m telling you, you know what You might get hit by a car—that is not a threat. That is a solid piece of advice. But you don’t want to take it. But seriously I’m done, here’s [Mike].

It’s not too surprising (though no less disgusting) to see what happened next:

Four days later, on November 17, a State Department security officer visited the offices of Management Systems International in Juba. Sandra was fired the same day—less than a week after the company had renewed her contract for another year. She was told her position had been eliminated, but MSI posted the same job a month later. Stefanie Frease, one of Sandra’s supervisors, told me the dismissal came at the behest of the US government.

“We all thought she was blackballed,” said Inez Andrews, a former foreign-service officer working in the US compound in Juba at the time. “It’s awful she hasn’t been able to clear this up, that she’s being held hostage to a system that was trying to extract information.”

Later, his mother was blocked from returning to her own home in Nairobi, and told by an immigration official that it was because of the US government: “If the Americans don’t want you here, you ain’t coming in.” And, then, of course, the US went after other members of Naji’s family, including his siblings who are in the US military.

Other members of Naji’s family have been targeted, too. In 2011, Naji’s sister, Tahani, was detained at the Nairobi airport for three days. “I’ve heard, ‘It’s your people'”—that the US is behind her family’s troubles with customs officials—”more times than I can count,” she told me. “I go to airports now and there’s this constant sense of trepidation. Am I gonna make it? Am I gonna get locked up again?”

“As a family we have always been mobile and traveling our whole lives, and as a result completely took it for granted,” she told me. “The removal of the liberty to travel was crippling.”

One of Naji’s brothers says he is frequently questioned about Naji when he crosses an international border. The other, a Marine veteran based in Virginia, was visited by members of the Navy’s criminal investigative service, who grilled him about Naji. The FBI even interviewed Naji’s uncle and aging grandmother in Rhode Island in 2009.

“They didn’t get to me, so they had to target my family,” says Naji.

The story is horrific, but chillingly consistent with similar stories that we’ve heard about the way the FBI operates. Yes, it’s important for the FBI to try to find out information about possible terrorists, but they seem to have no concern at all for wrecking the lives of totally innocent people in their pursuit of anyone. These are the kinds of activities that you hear about from authoritarian police states. It’s the kind of thing that we were always taught the US doesn’t do. Whether or not it was always a lie, it’s clearly not the case today.

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Comments on “How The US Gov't Destroyed The Lives Of A Muslim American Man's Entire Family After He Refused To Become An Informant”

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PaulT (profile) says:

Plus, of course, its these things that can be pointed to in order to create more resentment against the US in the first place. If the US authorities are willing to go after their own citizens in such a way (at minimum the mother, even if Naji doesn’t have any claim to dual citizenship himself), then they can’t be trusted anywhere else and their claims of justice and freedom ring rather hollow.

But, hey, I’m sure the usual suspects will ignore these implications and attack him because he’s a Muslim, and obviously every 1+ billion Muslim in the world is a terrorist so ignoring your own morals is somehow required…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

These now public actions of the FBI as being reported are more likely to result in additional extremism by various groups (including Moslems) because they (the new extremists, not the FBI extremists) will now feel justified in taking extreme action against the USA and its population and interests.

So extremism will continue to grow because of LEO extremism, a positive feedback loop with the LEO groups being the positive feedback.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Here is a reminder.

On 9/11 REAL Muslim Terrorists plane bombed the twin Towers aka WTC.

After 9/11 America became a REAL terrorist and used the excuse of ‘Protection’ to do so.

Of course the constant meddling the US has done over in the Mid East makes it so damn hard to know where the US interference begins and ends with every Muslim Terrorist group.


Re: Re: Re: Forget about 911. Remember 912.

Except the US doesn’t have to be guilty. The people interested in Global Jihad sees anyone that is not Muslim ENOUGH as an enemy. That includes their own people.

9/11 is an interesting date. It’s one day before 9/12, the day when the last Muslim Empire to menace Europe was beaten back and started to crumble.

There is an entire room in the Vatican museum in Rome dedicated to the hero of that day.

There’s a broader context here that most people simple refuse to acknowledge.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Forget about 911. Remember 912.

“The people interested in Global Jihad sees anyone that is not Muslim ENOUGH as an enemy.”

Then they had a significant chunk of the globe from which to pick a target, and they picked the one they felt had done them the most wrong. And while their actions weren’t justified by this, it was still very much a case of reaping what you sow.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Court

The first one is always a Martyr, but like any good cause… retribution can be a very infective virus.

Once it happens, that snowball just might build up its own steam. And if that occurs, who lost? The People that gave their life for a good cause? Or those that Gave their lives to be bureaucratic thugs and bullies?

Someantimalwareguy says:

Re: Re: Re: Court

The disinfectant IS NOT an eye for an eye or more violence. Sunlight is the most dangerous thing to these people who risk being outed for their abuses.

Perhaps a nice, loud, public lawsuit would be a way to roast the feet of the FBI in this case and force them to get their heads out of their rear ends.

Once the agen…erm…thuggish muscle discovered that Naji was simply a naive dupe in all of this to begin with, they should have just kept an eye on him for a while to verify that he is no threat and then moved on to find…well you know…some actual terrorists.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Court

Maybe, but as long as gubermint is cowed for a time, something was a achieved.

Just because the rebel win does not mean things will get better. In the end, there is 1 constant that remains to be true.

Authority must constantly be challenged or it walks flat the fuck over everything.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Court

“but as long as gubermint is cowed for a time, something was a achieved.”

Perhaps, but what about the cost/benefit ratio? How long of a “cowing”, and how deep should it be, before it’s worth killing people for? Also, the government is only part of the problem. Cowing the government without cowing powerful people and corporations will only further cement tyranny, not reduce it.

Look at the history of violent uprisings — they almost always end with a situation even worse than before they happened. It’s possible that revolution ends up being the only alternative left, but it’s a huge gamble with the odds against success (even if the revolutionaries technically win). We should be very sure that there really are no other alternatives before seriously suggesting such a path.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Court

“Look at the history of violent uprisings — they almost always end with a situation even worse than before they happened.”

It depends on the nature of the revolution. I think what you say is true of military coups, but not necessarily of civil wars and wars of independence.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Court

“not necessarily of civil wars and wars of independence.”

Yes, even including those. Seriously, check out the history of these things, it’s quite clear. In a sense, this is the true miracle of the American revolutionary war — it actually worked. But can you really count on lightning striking twice?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Court

I’m no historian, but I remain unconvinced. While it’s true that revolutions fail more often than they succeed, when they do succeed there’s a real chance for meaningful reform. Military coups are a major exception, for they almost invariably “evolve” into military dictatorships.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘These are the kinds of activities that you hear about from authoritarian police states.’

these are what WWII was fought over, stopping the state from knowing everything about you and stopping you from doing anything unless it agreed. the kind of thing that scared the crap out of people in case they did something unwittingly that wasn’t liked. all that seems to have happened is the country has moved, the government has changed name but the actions are as they were 70years ago, across the water! and after the spying revelation, that government is still totally pissed at the nation that is supposedly the ‘most free and open there has ever been’! yeah, right!

Ninja (profile) says:

These are the kinds of activities that you hear about from authoritarian police states.

This pretty much summarizes what’s happening in the US. Sadly.

Naji was smart to record the calls. Along with everything that happened it makes things quite clear. Can he sue the US Government in some international court for violations against Human Rights? That should be very interesting.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

This is stupid!!!

The US should never join the ICC. The ICC is nothing more than a political bludgeon that is not interested in real Justice.

The Supreme Court should be and remain to be the highest court of authority for any American Citizen. In the Constitution, as it is worded.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

We will never give it to any other.
No other is qualified or constitutionally authorized.

The ICC would be able to prosecute Americans en masse for Owning Guns would be a very nice start to why you and anyone that would agree to submitting to the ICC should be considered and nothing other than a TRAITOR to their nation and should be tried as such.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The US government has shit all over the Constitution and actually done things that would qualify as treason. Yet you call Ninja a traitor for talking about the US government being held accountable for it’s actions internationally. And you do it by saying no one should be able to talk about it.

Irony, thy name is AC.

JarHead says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Reading from the post, I think you’re inaccurate. He’s not saying that the US, as in US government, is beyond criticism. There’s indeed implied criticism to the US government in that post. What he’s saying instead is that the US people is beyond criticism. I think this is much worse than saying just the US government is beyond criticism, cos the implied message is then that the US people is a distinct higher species than the rest of the human race. Remember the last time some group of people think that way and do something about it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

You are BOTH INCORRECT!!!!!!

No where did I imply anyone was beyond criticism, neither did I imply US Citizens were any better than anyone else.

I am saying the very obvious neither of you can even remotely comprehend.

If the everyone else in the World can collude through the ICC to punish Americans then I am sure you can see where that goes.

Do you think President Obama or any other anti-Gun president would defend your sorry ass if the ICC indicted YOUR for carrying a fire arm? Or how about being indicted because you were too liberal with your free speech and UK wants to extradite you and imprison you for Hate Speech!

As an American Citizen I should never be subject to a World Court or to have to be overly concerned when the UK, Russia, China or whatever decided to make a law the is problematic for me as a Citizen. Any other nation that thinks this is a good idea deserves its destruction!

If you are an American Citizen in favor of placing the US under the ICC then you are a flat out worthless sack of human waste that should be tried for straight up treason.

JarHead (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Reading the post, I think you’re inaccurate. He’s not saying that the US, as in the US government, is beyond criticism. There’s indeed an implied criticism to the US government in that post.

What I think he’s saying is that the US people is beyond criticism. I think this is way worse than saying just the US government is beyond criticism. The implied message seems to be that the US people is a distinct higher species that the rest of the human race, which fits nicely to American Exceptionalism sentiment.

Remember the last time a group of people think that way and do something about it? (-cough- ww2 -cough-)

scotts13 (profile) says:

Seems familiar

I was raised in the 50’s, and constantly exposed to anti-Soviet indoctrination. We were all told how terrible the communist countries were, everyone spying and informing on everyone else, no freedom of travel, people locked up for no reason.

Minus a little hyperbole, this is now the country we live in. What the entire Soviet Union couldn’t do to us, a few guys hiding in caves achieved.

zip says:

Re: Seems familiar

It’s looking like things have gone full circle again. As the “Islamic terrorist” threat was finally starting to wear thin on the public, we’re back to the cold war and those evil Russians again — our “new” old enemy. (and there will ALWAYS be an enemy, as fear-mongering is the very fabric that holds this country together, so the theory goes)

Geno0wl (profile) says:

Yeah call me a traitor to my nation.
The nation where when we have terrible mass shooting after mass shooting “their” solution is MORE GUNS.
Where major influential court decisions are almost all 5-4.
Where the previous admin outright deceived the whole country to get us to invade Iraq to finish his daddies job.
Where the current Admin KNEW that tons of Wall Street Execs cheated and caused terrible damage to our economy, then refused to even start an investigation against them or even push legislation to stop it from happening again!

So if saying “I wish there was a court above the US court” makes me a traitor, well….

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, you can’t. Your whole system is fueled by money in the control of few people, and money equates to power, power leading to more money. The system has capsized already.

The only way to fix that would be to separate power from money and that requires a citizenship valuing things above money so that money holds no ultimate power over them.

We are still talking about the U.S.A. here. Where people are fine with torture if they can hope to profit from it.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Again, US history demonstrates otherwise. We have been here, exactly where we are, before and managed to fix things. Remember the robber baron days? What’s happening now is not substantially different, either in kind or in degree.

Yes, it’s hard. Yes, fixing is not going to be a fast thing. But it is 100% doable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“What’s happening now is not substantially different…”

Nor has it ever been substantially different. The problem is the system itself: The structure of our government lends itself to abuse, and often enables it. The details may change, but capitalist democracy today is as much a racket as it’s ever been. Our government does not serve the people. It never really has.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yep, and it all stems from the basic me vs something ideology.

Until we break from the Party System and put in a voting system that allows for people to select preferred candidates in order, and finally educate people on what actual Liberty means, then we are going no where until the patriots sling lead.

Anonymous Coward says:


The FBI is acting like a gang. Most people join gangs for protection, either from the gang itself or from other gangs. What the FBI et al is doing, is forcing everyone to chose a side. So we can expect the ranks of terrorist and other anti-us organizations to swell.

The net effect is that all US citizens worldwide will be less safe.


I forsee “accidents” involving langley personel, after all, it could happen to anyone…
I have neither the ways or means of creating those “accidents” but I am betting other, less scrupulous, individuals do… and the motivation as well. sow terror and malcontent and that is what you shall reap

Anonymous Coward says:

Dear Naji Mansour

My government is doing a poor job representing me and my values. I assure you that the majority of Americans do not support the methods and tactics that were used against you and your family.

It is only common sense that the behavior employed against you is worse than anything that terrorists have ever done.

I’m sorry that my government has caused you such grief.

Concerned American

David says:

Re: Dear Naji Mansour

I assure you that the majority of Americans do not support the methods and tactics that were used against you and your family.

Nonsense. The majority of Americans vote for either the Democratic or Republican party both of which are firmly and well-known in support of those antics. And the majority of Americans pay their taxes.

Clearly the majority of Americans do support the methods and tactics employed here. They just prefer to pretend otherwise.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Dear Naji Mansour

Nonsense. How many American citizens even bother to vote? So can you determine what their political standpoint is? So many of you appear to have no clue of the state of the world, your own history, or anyone else’s history.

You are supposed to be the leading nation of the world and your own education system fails so dramatically.

After having met and interacted with many different Americans from many different areas, all I can say is that there are those who want to learn and do not consider themselves superior to anyone else and there are those who do don’t want to learn and do consider themselves superior to anyone else. The latter group seems to have the numerical advantage.

Anonymous Coward says:

“If the Americans don’t want you here, you ain’t coming in.”

Why do other countries allow themselves to be manipulated like that? It’s not just about fighting terrorism, either. Intellectual property, economic policies, lopsided international treaties: the US says “dance” and the monkeys all dance for their pleasure.

Is there no such thing as sovereignty outsie the United States?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Because other governments are:
(1) dependent on US aid to function
(2) afraid of being toppled by a US-backed coup or an outright invasion
(3) using the US’s actions as an excuse to promote their own agenda, or
(4) bought by the same interests as own the USG.

There’s not much hope for (3), but if those of us living in category (4) countries could get non-corrupt, non-treasonous politicians into power then they could collectively tell the US to stick their policies where the sun doesn’t shine, especially if they promise (believably) to protect the governments in categories (1) and (2).

John85851 (profile) says:

Think about the FBI

Think about it from the FBI’s point-of-view: they have a suspect, but the suspect turns out to be a dead lead. Which is easier- looking for a new suspect (and tell your supervisors that all the time and energy has been wasted) or brow-beat the suspect and ruin his life so you can tell your supervisor that you finally got a confession?

FauxReal (profile) says:

An Egyptian (who became an American citizen) friend of mine was asked to be an informant after 9/11. He refused because he didn’t want to involve himself in that kind of mess and did not know any anti-American extremists. He just wanted to spend time with his American wife and their two children.

His commercial pilot’s license was taken away under the guise of some kind of investigation. So of course he lost his job since he couldn’t fly. He finally got it back 7 years later.

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