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“Suspiciously Well Placed”: First Images Of Crippling Damage To Giant Khurais Oil Field Revealed

“Suspiciously Well Placed”: First Images Of Crippling Damage To Giant Khurais Oil Field Revealed

Much of the attention concerning the crippling damage to Saudi Aramco facilities struck in last week’s aerial attack ultimately blamed on “Iranian sponsorship” by US and Saudi officials has focused on Abqaiq processing plant, but on Friday the first on the ground images from the kingdom’s giant Khurais oil field — the country’s second largest — have been revealed, showing scorched infrastructure, ruptured pipelines, and “a mess of oil melted to asphalt, twisted and charred metal grates” according to an on site Bloomberg report.

Sept. 20 photo showing destroyed key crude oil processing units at the giant Khurais oil field. Image source: Bloomberg

And yet Aramco has remained insistent that the field will return to pre-attack output levels this month, after the company reported losing half its daily output in the aftermath of the early Saturday attacks, impacting a whopping 5% of total global supply. 

Per Bloomberg, Khurais has a capacity of 1.45 million barrels a day, processing all oil on site; however the attack took out four 300-foot towers essential to the production process. 

Sept. 20 photo showing destroyed crude oil processing units at the giant Khurais oil field. Image source: Bloomberg

Like at the Abqaiq processing plant nearer the coast, the strikes — whether by drones or ballistic missiles (debris showed by the Saudi Defense Ministry this week featured both) — appeared remarkably precise

The Saudis have counted a total of twenty-five drones and missiles used in the twin attacks, after statements by Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed ten drones were used. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Who Really Benefits From The “Iran Attacked Saudi Arabia” Narrative?

Who Really Benefits From The “Iran Attacked Saudi Arabia” Narrative?

After 9/11 the concept of the “false flag attack” gained prominence in American culture, and ever since, more and more people are starting to question the official narrative whenever new crisis events occur. It is possible that this is why there has not been another attack in the US on the scale of 9/11 since 2001; not because the government is doing a better job with security (there was ample security in operation on 9/11 that for some reason was not utilized), but because it’s harder for government agencies to get away fabricated disasters or scapegoating the wrong people as the culprits.

That said, sometimes governments don’t need to create a false flag from scratch. Sometimes disasters not of the government’s making can be turned into false flags, as long as they can pin the blame on the target they most want to attack.

The elites only need to get away with one major false flag every couple of decades to push the populace into a war or a cultural crisis which can be exploited. This was essentially the strategy outlined by the “Project For A New American Century”, a foreign policy think tank in the 1990’s made up of Neo-Cons and ghouls from the Council On Foreign Relations which called for a “new Pearl Harbor” that would give the US a rationale to enter the Middle East militarily and change the entire political landscape. As Rahm Emanuel once said, “You never want a serious crisis go to waste…”

Of course, they got their Pearl Harbor, but contrary to popular opinion I think it’s wrong to assume that the PNAC was designed to open the door to American hegemony. Rather, I think the intention was to cause the opposite – the eventual fall of American geopolitical influence.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Blain’s Morning Porridge – September 18th 2019

Blain’s Morning Porridge  – September 18th 2019 

“There is no equilibrium, we invest into unstable constantly changing markets. ”

Why so Calm? 

Even as the Fed meeting pondered raising rates by a smidge, it had to intervene to pump money into the short-term US financial system for the first time since the 2008 crisis.  That’s a clear sign of financial dislocation – but markets seem utterly unconcerned.  (The wires all quote issues such as tax payments and an imbalance between new funding and low redemptions to explain the sudden lack of cash, but none of my money market chums are convinced. They fear something else, a big No-See-Em is underway.)  

The last crisis started in money markets.  Add that to the ongoing WTF-happened questions about the Saudi bombings, and there seems to be a curious sense of false calm in markets.  No vol, no concern, and gold hardly moving.  I can’t help but think of ducks; serenely floating upstream while their legs are furiously paddling below the surface.  Something is happening, and we don’t know what it is.. 

Since I don’t know either, today is the day to take a pop at the Green Puritan movement:  

There is a great comment from Bill Gates in the FT – Fossil fuel divestment has “zero” climate impact, says Bill Gates.  Worth a read, and maybe get yourself thinking about what damage ESG/Green group-think nonsense is doing? Its distorting the global economy and voiding perfectly sane investment strategies. As regular readers will know, I absolutely believe Climate Change is The Big Threat – but I’m more and more convinced that much of the ESG / Green Investment bandwagon is utter bollchocks!  

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Would Iran Attack the Saudis NOW?

Why Would Iran Attack the Saudis NOW?

U.S. officials claim that the attacks against Saudi oil facilities were launched from Iranian soil.

Are they right?

We have no idea at this point, as the U.S. government hasn’t released any evidence.

But given that the U.S. and 23 other countries have ADMITTED to carrying out false flag attacks before – including – it’s worth asking whether Iran or another country had more to gain from this attack …

Indeed, U.S. officials have admitted to twice carrying out false flag attacks intended to frame Iran and justify regime change:

(1) The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister.

(2) CIA agents and documents admit that the agency gave Iran plans for building nuclear weapons … so it could frame Iran for trying to build the bomb.

And neocons have been planning on further regime change in Iran for more than 25 years.

So it’s worth questioning this, at least in the absence of real evidence.  This is especially true because – until a couple of days ago – it seemed like the U.S. and Iran were moving towards diplomatic talks.

And Trump just fired the head “bomb Iran” cheerleader, John Bolton. So the odds of a peaceful solution to tensions with Iran seemed higher than they had been in years

So why would the Iranians “torpedo” the momentum towards diplomacy, and hand the U.S. a casus belli on a silver platter?

Why now?

Of course, the Houthis have claimed responsibility for the attack, while the Iranians have denied it.    But the U.S. isn’t paying any attention to their statements.

It’s possible it really was the Iranians … but given the history of fake “justifications” for war (like Iraq), it’s worth asking questions.

Houthis Say It’s Not Over – Saudi Oil “Still Within Range”; Iraq Denies Its Territory Used

Houthis Say It’s Not Over – Saudi Oil “Still Within Range”; Iraq Denies Its Territory Used

While US officials were quick out of the gate to allege an Iranian attack on Saudi Aramco facilities launched from Iraq early Saturday, a theory which the WSJ said was focus of an ongoing US-Saudi investigation, Iraq’s government issued a firm denial on Sunday, which followed Iran’s own denial that condemned Washington’s “maximum lies”. 

Saying there was no link to Iraqi soil and the attack which caused oil prices to spike to record levels the moment markets opened, initially surging to as much as 18% before retreating after President Trump authorized use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to “keep the markets well-supplied,” the Iraqi government further vowed to “punish anyone who intended to use Iraq as a launchpad for attacks in the region.”

Fires rage after the attack on Abqaiq facility, screenshot via Reuters.

Despite Yemen’s Houthis themselves claiming responsibility for the precision strike using ten drones, unleashing explosions that rocked Abqaiq facility and the Khurais field, US officials have long eyed Iraq’s Shia paramilitary forces also as bad actors which Iran deploys as proxies from Iraqi soil.

Prior reports suggest Iran has indeed stationed ballistic missiles on Iraqi soil within the past year or so, within easy targeting range of key Saudi oil installations, as well as even Tel Aviv. 

But crucially the Houthis have defiantly announced it’s not over: “The rebel group said its weapons could reach anywhere in Saudi Arabia. Saturday’s strikes were carried out by aircraft equipped with a new type of engine, the Houthi rebel group said,” Bloomberg reports. 


Seems to undermine a primary argument from US gov/media that Houthis dont have the capacity to pull this off, therefore it must have been Iran. https://twitter.com/osamabinjavaid/status/1173243511132393472 …Replying to @osamabinjavaid


 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iran War Imminent? Trump Says US “Locked And Loaded” To Respond To Saudi Attack

Iran War Imminent? Trump Says US “Locked And Loaded” To Respond To Saudi Attack

Just as the price of oil was settling down from its record surge, it spiked once again, following a tweet by president Trump which has made war with Iran virtually inevitable.

Just before 7pm, Trump tweeted that “Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”


Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!


Setting aside the implicit admission that US foreign policy in the middle-east is now inexplicably run by Saudi Arabia, what is far more troubling is Trump’s statement that the US military is “locked and loaded”, and set to attack the country which instigated the attack on Saudi facilities, which according to Mike Pompeo was not Yemen, and its Houthi rebels, but rather Iran.

Now, as Bloomberg’s Javier Blas correctly notes, Trump’s tweet has left Saudi crown prince MbS boxed: “if he doesn’t point to #Iran, he’s likely to dissapointing Trump, but he does, he could start an all-war with Tehran of unknown end.” Needless to say, it is clear which option Saudi Arabia – which has been needling for war with Iran for years – will pick.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Much Will Oil Surge When Trading Reopens

How Much Will Oil Surge When Trading Reopens

Now that Goldman has successfully sparked a near-frenzy of chaos, confusion (and market buy orders) ahead of tonight’s trading open, the only question is how high will oil surge. And according to some preliminary estimates, oil analysts expect crude prices to jump at least $5 to $10 a barrel at 6pm on Sunday after some 5% of world oil supply was pulled off the market after a drone strike hit a critical Saudi oil facility.

Saudi Aramco lost about 5.7 million barrels per day of output after several unmanned aerial vehicles on Saturday struck the world’s biggest crude-processing facility in Abqaiq and the kingdom’s second-biggest oil field in Khurais. And with Saudi Arabia admitting that it could take weeks to restore full production, Bloomberg reports that the Trump administration is ready to deploy the nation’s emergency oil reserves and help stabilize markets if needed.

While oil slumped 3% last week, dropping amid expectations of an Iran detente following John Bolton’s departure, expect a violent reversal when trading reopens tonight.

“This is a historically large disruption on critical oil infrastructure and these events represent a sharp escalation in threats to global supply with risks of further attacks”, wrote Goldman chief commodity strategist Damien Courvalin. “These events are therefore set to support oil prices at their open on Sunday, especially given recent growth concerns and low levels of positioning. The magnitude of such a price rally is difficult to estimate in the absence of official comments on the timeline and scale of production losses.”

Still, one can try to make some educated estimates of what happens next, with consensus gravitating to a $5-10 spike in kneejerk response.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Goldman Goes “Lehman Weekend” On Oil: Expects Chaos When Trading Reopens

Goldman Goes “Lehman Weekend” On Oil: Expects Chaos When Trading Reopens

Exactly 11 years to the day since traders organized an emergency impromptu CDS unwind session ahead of Lehman’s shocking September 15, 2008 bankruptcy filing, major banks are preparing for similar chaos, only this time in the crude oil market in the aftermath of Saturday’s shocking drone attack on the most important oil processing plant in Saudi Arabia (and the world) which may result in a production shortfall of millions of bpd that stretches for days if not weeks, and lead to an explosion in oil prices (for those who are reading this early on Sunday afternoon, gas up your car now before gasoline prices surge on Monday).

First, we present the email that was just sent out by Saxo’s Christopher Dembik, indicating that when Brent reopens, it will surge as much as $5-10 in the Asian session:

Very short comment on what is happening in the oil market.

Following the events in Saudi Arabia, well-informed market participants expect that oil prices may increase by $5-10 per barrel in the Asian session.

Higher pressure on CNY, but also negative for TRY and INR due to elevated current account deficits.

Too early to assess the exact macro impact by it is bright clear we don’t need an oil shock…

The bottom line: oil may spike much more if the return to normal production takes longer than expected. Sure enough, that is the main point conveyed in an email that was just blasted out by Goldman sales (not research) to the bank’s top clients around the globe, with a message is simple: expect chaos when oil reopens… and sharply higher prices.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We’re Ready For “Full-Fledged” War: Iran Responds To US Accusation It Launched Saudi Oil Attack

We’re Ready For “Full-Fledged” War: Iran Responds To US Accusation It Launched Saudi Oil Attack

After the United States was quick to point the finger at Iran for the early Saturday explosions that rocked Abqaiq facility and the Khurais field — forcing production to be shut and with it 5.7 million barrels a day of oil production lost — Iran has warned it stands ready for a “full-fledged” war.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi slammed Washington for a “maximum pressure” strategy that has turned to “maximum lies,” saying that because of the former’s “failure [the US] is leaning toward maximum lies”. FM Javad Zarif also said these were a continuation of efforts to pressure and shame into compliance under US hegemony.

Screengrab from video showing fires raging at Abqaiq facility on Saturday.

Iran denied the accusations, which followed photos circulating online which appeared to show cruise missile debris scattered in the Saudi desert outside the incapacitated oil facilities. Yemen’s Houthi forces had claimed responsibility, saying it deployed ten drones in the successful targeting of the facilities. 

And separately an IRGC commander is reported to have reaffirmed that American military bases and aircraft carriers are crucially up to 2,000km around Iran and thus “within range” of Iranian missiles.

The senior commander, Amirali Hajizadeh, said his country stands ready for a “full-fledged” war but he stopped short of directly mentioning the attacks. As quoted in regional and state media:

On Sunday, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Force, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, was quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency as saying: “Everybody should know that all American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers around Iran are within the range of our missiles,” according to Reuters.

“Iran has always been ready for a ‘full-fledged’ war,” Hajizadeh added, without directly mentioning the attacks in Saudi Arabia.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Surpasses Saudi Arabia, Russia To Become World’s Top Oil Exporter

US Surpasses Saudi Arabia, Russia To Become World’s Top Oil Exporter

The US has once again surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to reclaim the No. 1 spot as the world’s largest oil exporter, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

Record shale production helped the US ship nearly 9 million barrels of crude and other oil products a day in June, surpassing Saudi Arabia, Bloomberg reports. And as more companies build the infrastructure necessary to transport oil from fields in Texas and New Mexico to the coast, the amount of oil exported by the US is expected to climb. 

The increase in US crude exports in June was helped by a surge in crude-oil shipments to more than 3 million barrels a day, according to the IEA report. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia was cutting exports in line with the OPEC+ agreement on production cuts, while Russia’s output was hampered by the Druzhba pipeline crisis.

Saudi Energy Minister Sees No Radical Change in Oil Policy

As OPEC members adhere to an agreement to cut production for the third year, swelling US output is hampering the cartel’s effort to drain stockpiles and ‘rebalance’ the global energy market in a way that drives up prices.

Rising American output, combined with concerns about global demand fueled by the ongoing US-China trade war have prompted a nearly 20% drop in Brent crude prices – the global benchmark – from the April high.

However, the US’s spot at the top of the global oil-exporting heap already appears to be short-lived. Saudi Arabia appears to have reclaimed the top spot for July and August as hurricanes disrupted US production, while the trade dispute “made it more difficult for shale shipments to find markets,” according to the IEA.

But in the coming months, the US could easily wind up back in the No. 1 spot as American crude exports are expected to climb by one-third from June levels to as much as 4 million barrels a day as new infrastructure is being built to handle more oil flows.

How the U.S. Shattered the Middle East

How the U.S. Shattered the Middle East

How the U.S. Shattered the Middle East
The guided missile destroyer USS Porter conducts strike operations against a target in Syria while in the Mediterranean Sea in April 2017. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Ford Williams / U.S. Navy)

Yemen is a nightmare, a catastrophe, a mess—and the United States is highly complicit in the whole disaster. Refueling Saudi aircraft in-flight, providing targeting intelligence to the kingdom and selling the requisite bombs that have been dropped for years now on Yemeni civilians places the 100,000-plus deaths, millions of refugees, and (still) starving children squarely on the American conscience. If, that is, Washington can still claim to have a conscience.

The back story in Yemen, already the Arab world’s poorest country, is relevant. Briefly, the cataclysm went something like this: Protests against the U.S.-backed dictator during the Arab Spring broke out in 2011. After a bit, an indecisive and hesitant President Obama called for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. A Saudi-backed transitional government took over but governed (surprise, surprise) poorly. Then, from 2014 to 2015, a vaguely Shiite militia from Yemen’s north swarmed southward and seized the capital, along with half the country. At that point, rather than broker a peace, the U.S. quietly went along with, and militarily supported, a Saudi terror-bombing campaign, starvation blockade and mercenary invasion that mainly affected Yemeni civilians. At that point, Yemen had broken in two.

Now, as the Saudi campaign has clearly faltered—despite killing tens of thousands of civilians and starving at least 85,000 children to death along the way—stalemate reigns. Until this past week, that is, when southern separatists (there was once, before 1990, a South and North Yemen) seized the major port city of Yemen, backed by the Saudis’ ostensible partners in crime, the United Arab Emirates. So it was that there were then threeYemens, and ever more fracture. In the last few days, the Saudi-backed transitional government retook Aden, but southern separatism seems stronger than ever in the region.

Saudi Arabia can destroy Iran in 8 hours: Saudi prince

Saudi Arabia can destroy Iran in 8 hours: Saudi prince

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:20 P.M.) – A Saudi prince posted on Twitter Thursday that Saudi Arabia’s military could destroy Iran in eight hours if they wanted to.

Prince Abdullah bin Sultan bin Nasser Al-Saud tweeted a video on Thursday that showed some of the Gulf kingdom’s F-15 warplanes in comparison to Iran’s F-4 Phantom jets.


“السعودية تستطيع تدمير #ايران في٨ ساعات”
طبعا هذا مقطع من عامان
أي قبل طائرات ال ف١٥ اس اي وقبل شراء وتطوير منظومات الدفاع الجوي والقوات البحرية والبرية والجوية بصواريخ متطورة ومتقدمة.
وما خفي اعظم..
لا توجد اي قوة في العالم تستطيع ان تقف في وجه وحدتنا وعزمنا ونهضتنا والحمدلله.


In quotations, the prince tweeted, “Saudi Arabia can destroy #Iran in 8 hours”, he would later add, “What is hidden is greater. There is no force in the world that can stand up to our unity, our resolve, our renaissance and thank God.”

The Saudi prince cited an earlier report on Saudi Arabia’s military capabilities.

“Iran has no fighter jets that can reach Saudi Arabia,” according to an analyst interviewed on Channel 24 featured in the tweeted video. 

Via The National Interest

Saudi Arabia has for the past years been America’s #1 arms purchaser, with up to 70 percent of the kingdom’s arsenal now coming from the United States, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The analyst added Iran’s air force is outdated and weak, highlighting things like Iran’s old aircraft and limited number of Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Global Warming and U.S. National Security Diplomacy

Global Warming and U.S. National Security Diplomacy

Old power station, West Linn, Oregon. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Control of oil has long been a key aim of U.S. foreign policy. The Paris climate agreements and any other Green programs to reduce the pace of global warming are viewed as threatening the aim of dominating world energy markets by keeping economies dependent on oil under U.S. control. Also blocking U.S. willingness to help stem global warming is the oil industry’s economic and hence political power. Its product is not only energy but also global warming, along with plastic pollution.

This fatal combination of the national security state’s mentality and oil industry lobbying threatens to destroy the planet’s climate. The prospect of raising temperatures and sea levels along the coasts while inland regions suffer drought is viewed simply as collateral damage to the geopolitics of oil. The State Department is reported to have driven out individuals warning about global warming’s negative impact.[1]

The only attempts to restrict oil imports are the new Cold War trade sanctions to isolate Russia, Iran and Venezuela. The aim is to increase foreign dependence on U.S., British and French oil, giving American strategists the power to make other countries “freeze in the dark” if they follow a path diverging from U.S. diplomatic aims.

It was the drive to control the world’s oil trade – and to keep it dollarized – that led the United States to overthrow the Iranian government in 1953, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to invade Iraq in 2013, and most recently for Donald Trump to isolate Iran while backing Saudi Arabia and its Wahabi foreign legion in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Sixty years earlier, in 1953, the CIA and Britain joined to overthrow Iran’s elected President Mohammad Mosaddegh to prevent him from nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. A similar strategy explains U.S. attempts at regime change in Venezuela and Russia.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Hundreds Of US Troops Begin Deployment To Saudi Arabia To Counter Iran

Hundreds Of US Troops Begin Deployment To Saudi Arabia To Counter Iran

The deployment of hundreds of US troops to Saudi Arabia as part of a build-up to counter Iran in the region amid soaring tensions and a dangerously ratcheting “tanker war” has begun, TheWall Street Journal reported Friday night. 

The Pentagon first revealed on Wednesday that 500 of the 1000 total troops announced by the White House last month to bolster US presence in the Middle East would be heading to the Prince Sultan Air Base, situated in the desert east of Riyadh.

Crucially, Prince Sultan Air Base has been closed to American troops since the rapid fall of Baghdad and overthrow of Saddam at the start of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

Illustrative file image

The WSJ report confirms the new deployment is en route within 24 hours after Iran’s elite IRGC seized two British tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. One tanker has already released, but the other – British-flagged Stena Impero and its crew – is still being detained.

According to the report:  

The military already has begun to deploy more than 500 U.S. service members to Prince Sultan Air Base, about 150 kilometers southwest of Riyadh, officials said. Saudi officials didn’t respond to requests for comment. Officials from U.S. Central Command, which overseas the Middle East, declined to comment.

It’s the latest sign that the Trump Administration is continuing its military buildup in the region, which has so far included fighter jets, B-52 bombers, an aircraft carrier strike force, Navy destroyers and – of course – more troops.

Citing two senior defense officials, CNN had previously reported that a small number of troops were already in the area, and initial preparations were being made for a Patriot missile defense battery as well as improvements to a runway and airfield. US security assessments have determined that the area would be ideal for US troop deployment because it would be difficult for Iran to target with missiles.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UAE Withdraws From Yemen

UAE Withdraws From Yemen

Christopher Pike for the Crown Prince Court-Abu Dhabi 

A United Arab Emirates decision to withdraw the bulk of its forces from Yemen shines a spotlight on hard realities underlying Middle Eastern geopolitics.

The pullback suggests that the UAE is preparing for the possibility of a US military confrontation with Iran in which the UAE and Saudi Arabia could emerge as prime battlegrounds.

It also reflects long-standing subtle differences in the approaches of Saudi Arabia and the UAE towards Yemen.

It further highlights the UAE’s long-standing concern for its international standing amid mounting criticism of the civilian toll of the war as well as a recognition that the Trump administration’s unquestioning support may not be enough to shield its allies from significant reputational damage.

The withdrawal constitutes a finetuning rather than a reversal of the UAE’s determination to contain Iran and thwart political Islam witness the Emirates’ involvement in the Libyan civil war and support for renegade field marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar as well as its support for the embattled Sudanese military and autocrats like Egyptian general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

While the UAE may have withdrawn the bulk of its troops from key regions of Yemen, it leaves behind Emirati-trained local forces that will continue to do its bidding. The withdrawal, moreover, is not 100 percent with the UAE maintaining its Al-Mukalla base for counterterrorism operations.

The UAE’s commitment to assertive policies designed to ensure that the small state can continue to punch above its weight are also evident in its maintenance of a string of military and commercial port facilities in Yemen, on the African shore of the Red Sea, and in the Horn of Africa as well its hard-line towards Qatar and rivalry with Turkey.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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