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Trump’s Blockade Begins: Venezuela Says Food Shipment Blocked In Panama Canal

Trump’s Blockade Begins: Venezuela Says Food Shipment Blocked In Panama Canal

Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez has denounced what state media is describing as a ship seizure by the US in the Panama Canal Wednesday.

The ship is reportedly packed with 25 thousands tons of Soya and was entering the narrow vital central America waterway, when its progress was halted in an event which Maduro government officials have condemned as a “serious aggression” that impedes the country’s “right to food”. 

Panama Canal. Image source: Shutterstock

Though in the initial hours of Wednesday’s allegation major international media outlets had yet to confirm the claim, Rodriguez tweeted a statement, saying, “Venezuela denounces before the world that a boat that holds 25 thousand tons of Soya, for food production in our country, has been seized in the Panama Canal, due to the criminal blockade imposed by Donald Trump.”

“Venezuela calls on the UN to stop this serious aggression by DonaldTrump’s govt against our country, which constitutes a massive violation of the human rights of the entire Venezuelan people, by attempting to impede their right to food,” the vice president added.

Venezuela exige a la ONU detener esta grave agresión del gobierno de @realDonaldTrump contra nuestra Patria que constituye una violacion masiva de los derechos humanos de toda la población venezolana al pretender impedir su derecho a la alimentación.

State media subsequently explained that the undisclosed owner of the vessel was informed by the insurance company that it must cease moving the cargo through the canal.

The serious allegation comes after on Monday President Trump signed an executive order imposing a full economic embargo against Venezuela after a week ago the White House began signaling the US would seek to “quarantine” and fully “blockade” the Maduro regime if the socialist leader doesn’t immediately hand over power of his own accord. 

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

Trump Imposes Total Economic Embargo On Venezuela

Trump Imposes Total Economic Embargo On Venezuela

Late Monday President Trump signed an executive order imposing a full economic embargo against Venezuela after a week ago the White House began signaling it could seek to “quarantine” and fully “blockade” the Maduro regime if the president doesn’t immediately hand over power of his own accord. 

The executive order freezes all government assets in the United States and prohibits all transactions by any Venezuelan officials, in what constitutes the first major expansion of sanctions targeting a nation in the western hemisphere in over three decades. 

File image via Time

The order focuses on human rights abuses and Maduro’s continued “usurpation” of power as necessary to enact the full embargo, and places the Latin American country on par with Cuba, Syria, Iran and North Korea. Though Trump recently signaled he was “bored” with meddling in Venezuela after a failed military coup earlier this year, the executive order is the latest in a string of measures intent on regime change. 

“All property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela that are in the United States … are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in,” the executive order says. Americans are further prevented from doing business with Venezuela’s government or officials, effective immediately.

Though it falls short of an outright trade embargo, it does dramatically escalate US efforts to force a Maduro exit in favor of US-backed opposition leader and self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaido. 

Via The Wall Street Journal

A recent Bloomberg report also indicated Trump admin discussions have involved the possibility of imposing a complete blockade on the country by sea, enforced by US Navy ships. 

 …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…

What About Venezuela’s Hacked Power Grid?

What About Venezuela’s Hacked Power Grid?

Russia and the US are engaging in tit-for-tat hacking of each others’ power grid, the New York Times is reporting, in what is really a kind of cyber “cold war” where the hackers from each country’s military and intelligence services load electronic “explosives” in the computer systems of critical infrastructure of the other, that in a crisis or war could be “detonated” to create chaos or bring down electric grids.

The Times article, the publication of which President Trump decried in a tweet as “close to treason,” was disturbing for a number or reasons. One was that sources told the Times the hacking by the US Cyber Command of Russia’s power grid had been conducted without the president’s knowledge, for fear that he might act to prevent it or might disclose it.

In other words, an action — the hostile hacking of another rival country’s essential infrastructure, which the US government has warned other nations would be viewed as an “act of war,” is being taken by the US military, without the President’s or Congress’s knowledge!

That should be enough to send shivers down the spine of any sane person. In fact, the that could lead to a US “military response.”

If the Times is correct in both its articles, the current US hacking of Russia’s power grid is evidence of a US military establishment run amok.

Congress should be outraged and calling for immediate hearings to determine the chain of command that allowed this to happen. Either Trump is lying, and knows all about the hacking, or some high-ranking military officers who acted without his knowledge should be fired the way President Truman fired an insubordinate Gen. Douglas McArthur during the Korean War.

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

Canada’s Meddling in Venezuela

Canada’s Meddling in Venezuela

Why does the dominant media pay so much attention to Russian “meddling” in other countries, but little to Canada’s longstanding interference in the political affairs of nations thousands of kilometres from our borders?

The case of Ben Rowswell illustrates the double standard well.

The current Canadian International Council President has been the leading non-governmental advocate of Ottawa’s quest to overthrow Venezuela’s government. In dozens of interviews, op-eds, tweets and ongoing speaking tour the former ambassador has put a liberal gloss on four months of naked imperialism. But, Rowswell has been involved in efforts to oust Nicolas Maduro since 2014 despite repeatedly claiming the president’s violation of the constitution two years ago provoked Ottawa’s recent campaign.

A March 2014 Venezuela Analysis story suggested the early adopter of digital communications was dispatched to Caracas in the hopes of boosting opposition to a government weakened by an economic downturn, the death of its leader and violent protests. Titled “New Ambassador Modernizes Canada’s Hidden Agenda in Venezuela”, the story pointed out that Rowswell immediately set up a new embassy Twitter account, soon followed by another titled SeHablaDDHH (Let’s Talk Human Rights), to rally “the angry middle classes on Twitter.” The article noted that “Rowswell is the best man to encourage such a ‘democratic’ counterrevolution, given his pedigree” in digital and hotspot diplomacy. According to a March 2014 Embassy story titled “Canada dispatches digital diplomacy devotee to Caracas”, just before the Venezuela assignment “Ottawa’s top digital diplomat … helped to establish a communications platform for Iranians and Iranian emigrants to communicate with each other, and occasionally the Canadian government, beyond the reach of that country’s censors.” Previously, Rowswell was chargé d’affaires in Iraq after the 2003 US invasion and headed the NATO Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar during the war there.

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

Shielding the World From US Chaos Is No Easy Task

Shielding the World From US Chaos Is No Easy Task

Donald Trump’s foreign policy relies heavily on putting to use to the tools available to the Empire: economic terrorismthreats of wardiplomatic pressuretrade wars, etc. But in resorting to tried-and-true imperialism, it is isolating itself internationally from traditional allies and raising tensions on the global chessboard to an unprecedented level.

Threats of war against Venezuela, North Korea, Syria and Iran are now repeated on a daily basis. Economic measures involving tariffs or duties, in many ways comparable to declarations of war, are now habitual, whether directed at friends or allies. Iran and Syria are under sanctions, while Pyongyang is even prevented from docking one of its ships in its ports, thereby finding itself de facto placed under US embargo, such as was threatened against Venezuela.

China and Russia are daily fighting to support the multipolar world through diplomatic, economic and sometimes military means, offering to Washington’s enemies some kind of shield with which to withstand the outrageous slings and arrows of the Trump administration. Beijing and Moscow carry out their resistance with an eye to their long-term objectives, given that in the short term their actions will inevitably invite the implacable hostility of Washington and her lackeys.

The fate of the new multipolar world order essentially depends on how well China and Russia will be able weather Washington’s storm. It is naturally in the interests of the rest of the world that the chaos of Washington’s unipolarity will be brought to a close in the least chaotic and destructive manner.

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

Iran, Venezuela and the Throes of Empire

Iran, Venezuela and the Throes of Empire

Illustration by Nathaniel St. Clair

With the Trump administration threatening war against Iran and Venezuela, the question of how the U.S. was brought to this point needs to be considered. To argue that current circumstances are particular to this administration is to overlook U.S. history vis-a-vis both Iran and Venezuela and that between them they possess a material proportion of the world’s proved oil reserves (graph below). In 2019, the pretense that local provocations explain anything beyond domestic political posturing is absurd.

However, domestic political considerations do explain threats of war to a greater degree than should rationally be the case. Removing Americans from the risks of wars the U.S. starts has produced a form of technological nihilism. Just because technology can be used to kill large numbers of people without risk to self doesn’t mean that it should be. Combined with economic motives for launching wars, death, destruction and misery have become just another business opportunity. At this point in history, war is what America does.

More insidiously, and admitted into evidence that the national Democrats just aren’t very politically astute, two- and one-half years into a soft coup staged by key members of the surveillance and warfare states and national Democrats against his administration, Donald Trump now apparently undertsands the domestic political benefits of unhinged militarism. Through a sycophant press predisposed to support any manner of unprovoked slaughter and the myriad business interests that see their stocks rise with the same, war is apparently a good business to be in.

Graph: the American defense industry, in this case aerospace, generally gives more in campaign contributions to Republicans than to Democrats. However, the contributions appear to be tactical. When Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were running for the presidency, the balance of contributions shifted to Democrats. This tactic keeps Democrats ‘competing’ for contributions from people that profit from war. Source: https://www.opensecrets.org.

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

Russia Condemns US “Warships” Off Venezuela’s Coast – Says Coup Attempts Ongoing

Russia Condemns US “Warships” Off Venezuela’s Coast – Says Coup Attempts Ongoing

We might chalk it up to stating the obvious, but by and large the media has moved on from Venezuela, however, the coup plotters in Washington have not. Apparently the Kremlin also wishes to remind the world of this, given its ongoing support to Maduro and his army, and given that the Russian foreign ministry has remained vocal on the issue, announcing this week that “US-backed attempts to stage a coup in Venezuela will continue.” 

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow: “We will continue to resist attempts to stage a coup in Venezuela that have been a failure so far. However, these attempts will continue at the US behest,” according to TASS. This was followed with similar statements Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday condemning the presence of American “warships” off Venezuela. She specifically identified a US Coast Guard ship as having been spotted 20 kilometers off the Venezuelan port of La Guaira. “This activity only aggravates the situation and does not contribute to the strengthening of trust,” she said.Illustrative file photo, via the AP

She also repeated Moscow’s condemnation of ongoing externally backed illegal coup attempts: “At the same time, the radical opposition has initiated negotiations with the Southern Command of the US Armed Forces to overthrow the legitimate government,” she said in reference to the Juan Guido led opposition. 

The foreign ministry further slammed last week’s hostile takeover by D.C. police and US Secret Service of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington after a handful of activists had been living there at the request of the Maduro government to safeguard it from opposition takeover. “This is a gross violation of Article 22 and Article 45 of the Vienna Convention in regards to ensuring the protection of the diplomatic mission,” Zakharova stated.

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

Russia Announces Delivery Of More Supplies To Venezuela’s Military

Russia Announces Delivery Of More Supplies To Venezuela’s Military

Even after repeat threats issued to Moscow from President Trump himself  including recently saying bluntly “Russia has to get out” — the Russian military now appears so unconcerned by such warnings that it’s simply announcing its Maduro support actions ahead of time via state media. 

Russian news agency TASS said Friday, citing a military-diplomatic source, that Russia plans to supply Venezuela’s army with more than 16,000 field rations. This after a large Russian state-run arms exporter published a contract related to the re-supply deal. In late March two Russian military planes landed outside Caracas and offloaded equipment and troops to assist the embattled Maduro regime, via the AFP

No doubt the very open publication of the supply deal is aimed at showing Washington that the Kremlin is not going anywhere in terms of its longtime military alliance with Caracas, which was controversially on full display last December when Russian two nuclear-capable “Blackjack” strategic bombers flew to Caracas, and departed soon after amid White House threats and demands. 

Russia also likely now feels emboldened given the embarrassing Guaido opposition led failed coup attempt launched but just as quickly fizzling out at the end of April.

The White House, especially through statements of John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave the full backing of the United States to the called for military uprising. Thus Moscow realizes the US simply doesn’t have leverage on the ground in Venezuela, and boldly announced the following late this week: 

On Thursday, Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state-run arms exporter, placed information about purchases of 16,500 field rations to be supplied to Venezuela. The initial cost of the contract is 14.38 million rubles (222,091 US dollars).

“The rations will be supplied in the interests of the Venezuelan army,” the source said.

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

The Liberal Embrace of War

The Liberal Embrace of War

American interventionists learned a lesson from Iraq: pre-empt the debate. Now everyone is for regime change

An anti-government protester dressed as Lady Liberty, wearing the colors of Venezuela's flag, hugs a fellow protester during a demonstration near La Carlota airbase in Caracas, Venezuela, . Opposition leader Juan Guaidó is calling for Venezuelans to fill streets around the country Wednesday to demand President Nicolás Maduro's ouster. Maduro is also calling for his supporters to rallyPolitical Crisis, Caracas, Venezuela - 01 May 2019

The United States has just suspended flights to Venezuela. Per the New York Times:

CARACAS — The United States banned all air transport with Venezuela on Wednesday over security concerns, further isolating the troubled South American nation…

A disinterested historian — Herodotus raised from the dead — would see this as just the latest volley in a siege tale. America has been trying for ages to topple the regime of President Nicholas Maduro, after trying for years to do the same to his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

The new play in the Trump era involves recognizing Juan Guaidó as president and starving and sanctioning the country. Maduro, encircled, has been resisting.

The American commercial news landscape, in schism on domestic issues, is in lockstep here. Every article is seen from one angle: Venezuelans under the heel of a dictator who caused the crisis, with the only hope a “humanitarian” intervention by the United States.

There is no other perspective. Media watchdog FAIR just released results of a study of three months of American opinion pieces. Out of 76 editorials in the New York Times, Washington Post, the “big three Sunday morning talk shows” or PBS News Hour, zero came out against the removal of Maduro. They wrote:

“Corporate news coverage of Venezuela can only be described as a full-scale marketing campaign for regime change.”

Allowable opinion on Venezuela ranges from support for military invasion to the extreme pacifist end of the spectrum, as expressed in a February op-ed by Dr. Francisco Rodriguez and Jeffrey Sachs called “An Urgent Call for Compromise in Venezuela”:

“We strongly urge… a peaceful and negotiated transition of power rather than a winner-take-all game of chicken…”

So we should either remove Maduro by force, or he should leave peaceably, via negotiation. These are the options.

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

Guaido Begs US Military To Help With Maduro Regime Change

Guaido Begs US Military To Help With Maduro Regime Change

Venezuela’s self-declared President Juan Guaido said on Saturday that he has instructed his political envoy in Washington to immediately open relations with the US military. 

Guaido asked his ambassador, Carlos Vecchio, to sit down with Pentagon officials for “direct communications” to discuss “coordination” of efforts to remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, whose 2018 reelection Guaido claims is illegitimate. 

“We have instructed our ambassador to meet immediately … with the [US] Southern Command and its admiral to establish a direct relationship,” Guaido told a Caracas crowd during a pro-opposition rally. 

“We have said from the beginning that we will use all the resources at our disposal to build pressure.” 

The Southern Command is part of the US military responsible for operations and security in Central and South America, along with the Caribbean.

The Trump administration has repeatedly said that “all options are on the table” to end the country’s yearslong political crisis. Washington, along with the European Union and most of Venezuela’s neighbors, have backed Guaido to take control of the oil-rich nation.

However, Brussels and most Latin American countries have expressed opposition to potential military intervention. –DW

According to Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, the CIA is behind a plan to overthrow Maduro, according to Russia’s state-owned TassSpeaking at a Moscow press conference on Monday, Arreaza said “There is a whole plan made up by the CIA and the Venezuelan opposition to overthrow the Maduro government and take control of our country’s natural resources, which belong to the people as a result of a socialist revolution,” adding “This is what we are trying to prevent. We don’t want the Venezuelan people to suffer”

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

The MAGApocalypse Comes to Venezuela

The MAGApocalypse Comes to Venezuela

When the U.S. surprised the world by electing Donald Trump president many of us understood what it truly meant. “MAGA Bitchez!” was all I could say for at least a week. It was such a glorious event.

It was a giant ‘two-fingers up’ to the globalist establishment and endemic corruption of not just our government but of our society. We hoped it would signal a fundamental shift in U.S. foreign and domestic policy. 

“No Mas” to more creeping totalitarianism at home. 

“No Mas” to the weird intersectionalism and messianic Just War interventionism of the Baby Boomer generation.

Finally a coherent political statement from the latch-key Generation X; ready to assume the mantle of political power and tear down the rotten edifice of the world’s financial and political behemoth sucking the life out of humanity, one rehypothecated dollar at a time.

Sadly many of us, including myself, were wrong. Two and a half years of the most cynical Russophobia supporting an obvious and ham-handed coup operation against Trump has left the country more divided today than it was in 2016 when he won.

And the profound unfairness of it all has polarized the MAGA crowd into frothing-at-the-mouth righteous warriors against the evils of Socialism as a proxy for the Democrats and the Deep State itself.

Two years of believing in 4-d chess, Qanon, and all the other political horoscoping has a large swath of Americans so gaslit they are not only willing to back Trump’s regime change operation in Venezuela, they are defending it as ‘not a coup.’

They believe that because Trump told them to.

The real victims are the Venezuelans, the latest in a long-series of people who lives have been destroyed because of our incessant meddling in foreign affairs for our profit while selling it to Americans as humanitarian aid. 

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

ANOTHER ‘JOLLY LITTLE WAR’?

ANOTHER ‘JOLLY LITTLE WAR’?

Sure. Let’s invade Venezuela. Another jolly little war. It’s full of commies and has a sea of oil. The only thing those Cuban-loving Venezuelans lack are weapons of mass destruction.

This week, leading US neocons openly threatened that if the CIA’s latest attempts to stage a coup to overthrow Venezuela’s Maduro government failed, Washington might send in the Marines. 

Well, the coup was a big fiasco and the Venezuelan army didn’t overthrow President Maduro. The CIA also failed to overthrow governments in Moscow, Tehran and Damascus. Its only ‘success’ to date has been in overthrowing Ukraine’s pro-Moscow government and putting a bunch of corrupt clowns in its place at a cost near $10 billion.

The US has not waged a major successful war since World War II – unless you count invading Grenada, Panama and Haiti, or bombing the hell out of Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Libya. That’s a sobering thought given the Pentagon’s recent announcement that it is cutting back on little colonial wars (aka ‘the war on terror’) to get ready for real big wars against Russia and China, or even North Korea.

Venezuela is in a huge economic mess thanks to the crackpot economic policies of the Chavez and Maduro governments – and US economic sabotage. But my first law of international affairs is: ‘Every nation has the absolute god-given right to mismanage its own affairs and elect its own crooks or idiots.’ 

Now, however, the administration’s frenzied neocons want to start a war against Venezuela, a large, developed nation of 32.7 million, at the same time we are threatening war against Iran, interfering all around Africa, and confronting Russia, China and perhaps North Korea. Large parts of the Mideast and Afghanistan lie in ruins thanks to our ‘liberation’ campaigns.

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

Behold the Breathtaking Weakness of the Empire!

Behold the Breathtaking Weakness of the Empire!

The Empire has suffered painful defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq, but one has to admit that these are “tough” countries to crack. The Empire also appears to have lost control of Libya, but that is another complex country which is very hard to control. We also saw all the pathetic huffing and puffing with the DPRK. But, let’s be honest, the US never stood a chance to bully the DPRK into submission, nevermind invading or regime-changing it. Syria was much weaker, but here Russia, Iran and Hezbollah did a world class job of repelling all the AngloZionist attacks, political and military. Besides, I for one will never blame Trump for not listening to Bolton and not triggering WWIII over Syria (yet?)

But Venezuela?!

No Hezbollah or Iran backing Maduro there. And Venezuela is way too far away from Russia to allow her to do what she did in Syria. In fact, Venezuela is in the proverbial “backyard” of the US and is surrounded by hostile puppet regimes. And yet, tonight, it appears that the US puppet Guaidó has failed in his coup attempt.

Moon of Alabama did a great job covering the events of the day, so I will refer you to the excellent article “Venezuela – Random Guyaidó’s New Coup Attempt Turns Out to Be A Dangerous Joke“. I fully concur that today’s coup was both a joke and very dangerous.

Russian readers can also check out this article by Vzgliad which also gives a lot of interesting details, including the fact that Guaidó launched his coup from the Colombian Embassy in Caracas (see here for a machine translation).

But the thing which amazes me most tonight is the truly breathtakingly pathetic weakness of the clowns who launched this latest failed operation: Pompeo and Mr MAGA. Check them out:

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

Top U.S. Officials Gather To Discuss “Military Options” In Venezuela As Russia Warns Of “Grave Consequences” If America Invades

Top U.S. Officials Gather To Discuss “Military Options” In Venezuela As Russia Warns Of “Grave Consequences” If America Invades

On Wednesday afternoon, senior U.S. officials gathered at the White House to discuss possible military options for Venezuela.  Meanwhile, the Russians are warning of grave consequences if the U.S. invades, and so the stage is being set for a potential showdown between the world’s two foremost military powers.  Previously, administration officials had hoped that the Venezuelan people would rally around Juan Guaido to such a degree that it would not require military intervention to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, but that hasn’t happened.  In fact, Guaido’s big push to start a revolution in the streets over the past few days has ended up being a total flop.  The following comes from Yahoo News

Guaido had called for the “largest march” in Venezuela’s history and said on Twitter that “millions of Venezuelans” were in the streets in “this final phase” of his move to oust Maduro.

But by late afternoon, many of the protesters in the capital Caracas were drifting home.

Despite Guaido’s calls for the military to support him, the armed forces leadership has so far remained loyal to Maduro, who has been in power since 2013.

In the long-term, the situation in Venezuela isn’t going to change much if the U.S. is able to replace one socialist president (Maduro) with another socialist president (Guaido).  Socialism always ends badly, and the people of Venezuela are going to have to decide for themselves that they don’t want socialism any longer.

But that isn’t what this is about.  U.S. officials have decided that it is time to impose their will on the people of Venezuela, and they have determined that Maduro must go.  If Guaido cannot create a successful internal revolution, then other options will be explored.

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

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