Contempt of Court 211

I am still frankly stunned that I was found in contempt of court. I maintain that I carefully identified nobody and, as empirically proven, the MSM did far more than I in revealing identities. I also believe that the terms of the Opinion would make it simply impossible to report anything except the prosecution case in any sexual assault trial – and that MSM journalists are entirely sanguine about this because they believe that in practice the ruling would only be used against dissidents, and never against them.

It is very difficult for me to try to explain why, in my own case, what has happened has much wider bad consequences, because it simply looks like special pleading. I am therefore very pleased that legal analyst Alexander Mercouris has written this important piece at Consortium News, and I should be grateful to you for reading it.


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211 thoughts on “Contempt of Court

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  • Squeeth

    “journalists are entirely sanguine about this because they believe that in practice the ruling would only be used against dissidents, and never against them.”

    That’s the way that “justice” is going, convictions by quota and no defence. This was how it was during the Stalinist purges and in the Cardassian Empire.

    Rich filth won’t have to worry because they will have the means to buy their way out, even for gross moral turpitude, as the recent rulings on Craig and Sturgeon demonstrate.

    • DiggerUK

      When they came for the dissidents, I said nothing, I wasn’t a dissident
      When they came for the journalists, I said nothing, I wasn’t a journalist…_

      • Chris+Leeds

        Priti Patel is the absolute pits of the universe and, as an ‘Asian’ person, playing a dangerous game – she is making all immigrants unsafe. Does she thinks she is safe, even as a cabinet minister – is she aware of the many Jewish members of the Weimar Republic Reichstag who were thrown out, forced into exile – or simply assassinated? They thought they were safe.

        • Hamish McGlumpha

          Patel is a very curious individual who seems to believe that she is part of a social elite. She is the daughter of a Ugandan Indian family who were shopkeepers in Uganda and emigrated to the UK in the nineteen sixties. They may have jumped before they were pushed.

          Readers may remember that the Ugandan despot Idi Amin threw out Ugandan Indians in the 1970s, partly in retaliation for their role in invading Uganda on behalf of Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, after Amin had first invaded Tanzania. But the underlying dynamic in this was the role of Indians and other south Asians who were used by the British in their African colonies in the usual divide-and-rule policy.

          The Asians were largely business people and some professionals and saw themselves as racially and socially superior to the indigenous Africans. Naturally this engendered resentment among the native peoples, and a clear understanding by indigenous elites as to how these people had been used by the colonial power, and a determination by some to even the score after independence. The continued post-colonial arrogance and contempt shown by some of the Asians sealed their fate on the arrival of the lawless despot, Idi Amin. Both they and he had learned well from the British.

          This superiority complex may well partly explain the arrogance of a woman who can demonstrate little or no ability as a minister, and who is regarded by her civil servants as both nasty and thick.

          But her final problem may well be that she hasn’t seemed to have yet understood that the attitudes of superiority and arrogance displayed by Ugandan Indians towards their host populations in East Africa, are precisely those held by the average Shire Tory, and even more so by the typical East-End barrow-boy type, and EDL denizen towards people like her.

          Whilst that partly explains her uber-zealotry against current immigrants, which is indeed popular with the above types, and has thus far protected her, she seems strangely oblivious to the fates of temporarily useful gauleiters in right-wing populist movements, once their utility to the obergruppenführer is done.

  • john stack

    The ultimate winner is not he who hands out the most punishment but he who endures the most. Craig is already a Star.
    Jail for Craig would be damnation of Scottish justice throughout the world, in the eyes of honest people, in its present uniform.
    WE, between us all, will cover any fines. He is suffering for us. The LEAST we can do is give him our full support.

    Easter is a great symbolic time for Craigs rising to Scottish Government level.

  • John Adams

    Craig Murray, whistle blower, truth teller, a breath of fresh air. He could have kept quiet but he chose to tell the truth and sacrificed a lot. Ex British ambassador

  • Simon

    I’m frankly stunned. It’s a charge that’s often brandished but sparingly used. The conspiracy so far hadn’t seemed to reach into the judiciary. The other reporting of the trial was so outrageously blind to defence evidence that it should properly be considered part of the conspiracy. It’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that you’re being pursued for exposing the tissue of crap and fabrication at the heart of this clusterfuck of conniving.

  • Thomas

    I tried to write this comment only to be told comments are closed – so why invite them?

    “all leaves one from confident that a prison sentence will be avoided.”

    Could this be missing the word “far”?

    Otherwise utterly brilliant – so much clearer than any lawyer or judge could express!

  • N_

    What’s the score with leave to appeal to the Supreme Court? The High Court of Justiciary must be asked to grant leave (against their own decision!), and if and only if they refuse will the Supreme Court hear an application for leave? That is my reading of this document from the Supreme Court.

    Have the HCJ been asked yet? If they refuse, I would like to hear their reasoning.
    If they decide to wait until after sentencing, I can’t see that the SC would step in.
    There’s a kind of assumption by the SC and the ECHR that national jurisdictions are something other than a bunch of crooks.

    The Spectator, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, or RT should publish at least the bigger of the two names.

    • AmyB

      “The Spectator, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, or RT should publish at least the bigger of the two names.”

      Perhaps they’re waiting until ten days or so before the elections… (fingers crossed!)

  • Jeff

    Paragraph two….

    “….I also discussed in that letter the political situation in Scotland: the rise of sentiment favoring independence from Britain, the power struggle within the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP)….”

    Oh dear.

  • John A

    Number of articles on the BBC news site this year tagged with:

    Alexei Navalny – 64
    Julian Assange – 4

    No surprise Craig Murray and only Craig Murray have been targetted, MSM journalists are merely stenographers for the propagandists from M16 and CIA etc. They are doing their job like good little sheepies. At least more and more people are waking up to this.

    • N_

      No surprise Craig Murray and only Craig Murray have been targetted“.

      Let’s not forget Clive Thomson who got a six month prison sentence. He is in prison right now.

      A Scottish independence activist has been jailed for six months after tweeting the names of five accusers who gave evidence at Alex Salmond’s sexual assault trial.

      Clive Thompson, 52, carried out a ‘blatant and deliberate’ breach of a contempt of court order banning identification of the women.

      A judge called his actions ‘politically motivated’ and said that he was fully aware of the court order – but believed he could circumvent it by tweeting from abroad.“

      Clive admitted contempt of court. I haven’t read his tweet, but perhaps if he had had a stronger support network when he was under state pressure he would have handled his case differently. (Note: the Daily Mail spell his surname wrong.)

      There is also Mark Hirst, who was charged with acting in a “threatening or abusive manner” because he had written that the women who made false accusations against Alec Salmond would “reap the whirlwind”. The case against him was dismissed in the a sheriff court in January. He is suing the Crown Office for malicious prosecution.

      • Alex M

        Perhaps we should start a crowdfund to pay for the private prosecution of the most egregious of the MSM, who were clearly in greater contempt than Craig?

      • AmyB

        “A Scottish independence activist has been jailed for six months after tweeting the names of five accusers who gave evidence at Alex Salmond’s sexual assault trial. Clive Thompson, 52, carried out a ‘blatant and deliberate’ breach of a contempt of court order banning identification of the women”

        Given that Craig didn’t “blatantly and deliberately” publish actual names, it’s going to be hard justifying a custodial sentence that comes anywhere close to Thompson’s six months. Three months suspended and a fine?

        • Bayard

          “Given that Craig didn’t “blatantly and deliberately” publish actual names, it’s going to be hard justifying a custodial sentence that comes anywhere close to Thompson’s six months. ”

          Do you honestly think that logic comes into it?

          • AmyB

            In law, precedents apply. An appeal would be bound to succeed, no question, if Craig got 2 years while Thompson only six months. But I take your point about the shocking lack of logic here.

    • Spencer Eagle

      You can bet the BBC’s site won’t mention Alex Bellfield. In an astonishing spat between Youtube broadcaster Bellfield and his ex employer, the BBC, Nottinghamshire police, acting as political enforcers, have thus far arrested him five times and raided his home three times – all without any charges. In the last instalment he had his front door destroyed, he was arrested without warrant, strip searched, his broadcasting equipment seized and he was released after a 5 minute interview.

      • Wikikettle

        Spencer Eagle. It is worth noting, this was done at the behest of the BBC, who contacted the police alleging Bellfield had something to do with a bomb plot against them. The police officers had no warrant and they had all removed their name tags and numbers. It is also interesting that Bellfield is a right wing populist who hates people of Craig’s political views. Its like how the neo Liberal Democrats are going after Trump and his supporters.

  • Meg

    I have to say that I have read every word and the comments on this blog, as well as numerous internet searches, and I have to say that I am none the wiser as to the identities of any of these women. It is not for want of trying let me tell you that. All I have gleaned so far is that employees of the the Scottish Government/SNP members may be involved somehow, and that is as far as I have got. Make of that what you will.

  • Ian

    That is a really good summary of the very disturbing issues around this case, whatever your opinion of the Salmond affair. I hope he is right that the Supreme Court will use it as an opportunity to clarify the essential nature of being able to report on court cases alongside a duty to protect the rights of witnesses.
    He is indubitably correct in his observation that the court claims to have made an ‘objective’ test of the identification issue. No such test is available, especially with the acknowledged total lack of evidence that the rule may have been breached. It is simply a matter of conjecture and opinion, however eminent the judge’s convictions. They should acknowledge that. The second point is more disturbing – that they were clearly enraged and thus contemptuous of the attached affidavits about the background to the entire saga and Craig’s intentions. Having dismissed them as irrelevant, they had no need to say anything about their contents, indeed that was arguably their duty. But by pouring scorn on them, they surely revealed a political and personal bias towards the defendant and his arguments which calls into question their judgement and its motives, and thus undermines the basis of their conviction. The Appeal should recognise that if they value the neutrality of justice.
    Third, the case raised questions far beyond its particularity (and never addresses why others who identified a claimant, like Garavelli, weren’t even reprimanded). Because, as he says, it will have lasting repercussions on the ability to report on court cases, which is a very serious issue if you value the ability of a democratic legal system to be open to scrutiny and fair reportage. It is clear from the judgement that they do not care or are indifferent to that, and on that basis alone, it should be struck down, and the rights of responsible free expression should be enshrined in law, as the first amendment is in the US.
    If so, the Craig Murray case will have done us a valuable service for now and the future.

  • Jennifer Allan

    An excellent article by Alexander Mercouris of Consortium News. I too found it very disturbing, the trial judges relied totally on possiblilities (often remote ones) rather than probabilities in order to convict.
    I was particularly concerned about the judges’ statement (from the published verdicts @71.)

    “The question of the identity of the complainers, and the journalistic obligation under both the convention and the Editor’s Code of Practice to protect these clearly did not feature in his (Craig’s) thinking.”

    Is is really the job of judges to decide what defendants were ‘thinking’? Craig stated clearly in his affidavit he could have named the complainers but chose not to.
    I sincerely hope the delay in delivering the Court Verdicts in Craig’s case, until after the forthcoming election, is due purely to logistic and Covid reasons, and the severity or otherwise of the sentencing will have nothing to do with the eventual result.

    • N_

      I can’t see what either Craig’s “thinking” or the Editors’ Code of Practice has to do with the issue of contempt of court. The judges are acting like thugs. Too stupid to make it as commercial lawyers, probably.

      • Carl

        ‘Too stupid to make it as commercial lawyers’

        Another pearl from the resident rightwing ‘Marxist’.

      • Tom Welsh

        On the contrary, N_. Too clever to pay any attention to fairness, justice, human rights or even the law.

        Why would they be bound by the law if they and their friends gain by ignoring it, and there is apparently no downside or penalty?

        Like the US Constitution or the Munich agreement, the law is just words on paper (or computer storage). It has no force at all unless it is respected and obeyed by those in authority.

        We have now reached a point where the powers that be see no particular reason why they should be bound by the law – or even pretend to be.

        Similarly, we see continuous streams of lies and nonsense being emitted about Mr Murray, Mr Salmond, Mr Assange, the Skripal provocation, the Navalny provocation, the Douma provocation, the Caesar provocation, the MH17 provocation, the Donbas provocation, the Crimea provocation, the 9/11 provocation, the illegal attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Yugoslavia… and of course the “Covid-19” hoax.

        Every time they get away with something, they are inevitably emboldened to try something yet more flagrantly dishonest and inhuman.

        History suggests that they will not be stopped by anything short of extreme violence – and a lot of it.

  • DunGroanin

    That is a succinct and surgical report on the verdict.

    I learnt just one new piece of information, personal and worrying without doubt for the Murray clan, the reference to the illness of the new born. I am sorry to hear that and the extraordinary increased stress that will be causing. I pray all will be well.

    Onwards to the Supreme Court on the way to the ECHR and ignominy to the reputation of ENGLISH justice and its minions. I hope the great hearted response and donations and increased subs, without having to ask for them, offers a little succour.

    I stand with Craig Murray.

      • Tom Welsh

        British justice has established a considerable and respectable tradition. But of course, no justice system can be better than those who implement it.

        I suspect that the British justice system has been critically – perhaps even fatally – undermined by the increasing representation of those from less liberal cultures, who may have been brought up and educated in traditions more susceptible to violence, treachery and dishonesty

      • DunGroanin

        “… and its minions.”

        It seems I’m not the only one to have misread a sentence.

    • arby

      If you’re alluding to “He is also someone in his sixties with a family, including a young child, who has serious health problems.”,
      I took that to refer to Craig himself.

  • Carl

    It was the mass media who revealed identities and it was their tsunami of Salmond is Guilty coverage that would have informed jurors in advance of the trial. So the ScotGov decision to prosecute you alone — for a blog (from which nobody could identify anybody) — was transparently political and is intended to chill any dissent to their rule. That is really the beginning and end of it. Another reason why mainstrean-corporate-state journalists are happy to see you imprisoned is because they hate dissenters as much as the political class does. They are all part of the same neo-liberal establishment hive mind, including the NUJ.

  • Ann Rayner

    Having now read both Mercouris articles and the comments, I feel completely vindicated in saying, as I have for some time and particularly since Alex Salmond’s launch of the Alba party, that the continuing smearing of him is largely because of the incomplete press coverage of the trial.
    As the evidence for the prosecution in all its salacious detail was headlined in newspapers and the BBC, while the defence evidence was not reported in any detail, it is unsurprising that a great many people think he ‘got away with it’ and ‘there’s no smoke without fire etc.
    This has allowed Nicola Sturgeon to repeatedly comment adversely on Alex Salmond’s behaviour, express sympathy for the complainants and call on him to aplogise. I don’t think this is accidental.
    Finding Craig Murray guilty of Contempt of Court fits in with the continuing blaming of Salmond for his conduct. His real crime was in exposing the truth as to why the charges against Salmond were rejected by the jury and by condemning him, his reports are the more likely to be ignored, or even suppressed.
    I hope that the judgement on May 7th will be kind to him. Ironically, it may turn out to be a judgement day for others too. I will continue to hope that the truth will be revealed.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    I had read the article before and am in agreement with its main thrust,

    You might be interested to know that in the bad old colonial days in Jamaica ( where I was born) in the 1940s there was a famous Jamaican journalist, Roger Mais, who wrote an inquiring article about British colonialism, entitled ‘Now we know’. The Governor at the time, used the law of ‘seditious libel’ against Mais and he got 6 months hard prison time – of which he served 4 months.

    For my part, I really can’t see Craig Murray being given prison time – suspended sentence or any other alternative – yes. But – who am I to predict when one seriously analyses the Julian Assange case?

  • Franc

    Ha! Only just spotted the link to Alexander Mercouris’s

    ” last letter from London….”

    the word — background — in the first sentence

  • cooper william

    Hello Craig,
    I read that article in a link on the Wings twitter feed. I would only comment I am fairly certain I have identified 4 of the accusers, including H, but absolutely not from anything you have written. Ms. Garavelli, the BBC and recently Rape Crisis Scotland (!!) have been most helpful in that regard. Also it is a testament to the breadth of your reach as a respected international voice for human rights that such scrutiny is rightly given to your own miscarriage of justice, for that is what it is. If that’s a contempt of court too, they can come and get me.
    Best wishes to you and your family.

  • Dominic Berry

    I never had much interest in identifying the accusers, nor did I know it was possible. Until this prosecution began. So maybe they jigsaw identified by launching it.

    And I never would have known that Salmond’s testimony named any accusers either. Until Sturgeon told me it did. So maybe prosecute her too.

    • Coldish

      Dominic Berry, those are good points. If the Scottish Powers That Be are so concerned with protecting the identities of a group of nonentities, why are they obsessively publicising the whole issue? Having carefully read all of Craig’s comments on this issue I still have no idea who these people are, neither do I care. Why has the court joined this puerile game?

  • Chris+Leeds

    does anyone know if the court demonstrated that the ‘jig-saw’ identification could in fact be done – is it actually possible to piece together an identification from Craig’s writings?

  • John Cleary


    Is it possible to provide a link to the judgement? I am particularly interested in what they had to say about your two excellent affidavits.

    Thank you.

  • Lorna Campbell

    The fact that no MSM journalists faced the same prosecutions is indicative of this being a shot across the bows of on-line journalists and bloggers. Of course, it is no defence even when several of them have done more to identify the women. You are right: it makes it all but impossible to report in any depth on any case of this type. The cloak of anonymity is there for a reason, and a very good reason. Vast experience has shown that women will not come forward with allegations of sexual assault if their names are bandied about. That would have the same effect as revenge porn.

    However, to wait till well after Mr Salmond’s trial, in which he was acquitted, to prosecute you for reporting on the case, and when the court dismissed most of the prosecution’s allegations, is stepping into new territory, particularly in the circumstances where the women are still sniping from behind the cloak of anonymity. They should be reprimanded by the court to the extent that, if they are unwilling to bring forward a civil case against Mr Salmond, they should accept the jury’s decision and remain silent or have their anonymity stripped from them. I believe they, too, have been let down by the SNPG and used, quite frankly, to achieve an end which is far from being obvious and certainly cannot be immediately recognised as being in any way helpful to women, just like the GRA Reform Bill. I think that, unwittingly, you have been caught in a spider’s web, Mr Murray.

    If you are jailed (I know, it’s no comfort) there will be uproar in Scotland; if you are fined, many, many will crowdfund your fine. If the Supreme Court rules that you have not been dealt with fairly, and within existing human rights legislation, all the better. Good luck, sir. We are very close to losing the central tenet of all criminal law: innocent until proved guilty. Personally, I do not believe you have been proved guilty of enabling jigsaw identification. The ‘public’ is a huge amorphous mass, and no way could it have identified any of the women from your writings – or, actually, anyone else’s, but, then, the media is owned by very powerful people, anyway. Only those ‘in the know’, those steeped in politics, or in that charmed circle of Scottish Establishment life, could have done, and they would have known already.

  • ginger ninja

    What if you were to try and prove that the courts deserved the contempt?

    If a justice system can’t deliver something fairly, then surely it’s unjust and worthy of contempt?

    Just saying.

    • Wikikettle

      ginger – Absolutely ! I have nothing but Contempt for a once respected Judicary, which has treated Jullian and Craig the way they have.

  • Alex

    As someone who knows very little about Scottish politics, I could not identify the complainants from your blog. Ironically, having now read the judgement in your case, in conjunction with your (now removed) blog posts, I think I know who two of them are. It seems quite possible that someone who read the judgement, hadn’t read your blog but was knowledgeable about the Scottish political milieu, could identify them. Which is odd.

    Having said that, the judgements pointed out that there were certain artistic choices you made, *not necessary* to making the political points you wanted, which could easily have led people knowledgeable about Scottish politics to identify these two complainants. So unfortunately I think you have been rather foolish in this. My commiserations, everyone is foolish at one time or another and we all hope that the consequences are mild.

    • pretzelattack

      the judgement asserted that, which is not the same as pointing out a plain fact. morever, others who were not prosecuted provided many more clues to identity. it’s foolish to take the judgement at face value, but as you pointed out, everyone is foolish at one time or another.

    • Goose

      Nearly all films carry the following:

      “This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.”

  • John

    I am also stunned ….. but not surprised.

    You are found in contempt but a certain person I know has been going around implying very strongly that just because a guy was found innocent of multiple sexual charges by a jury of his peers, mostly women, that doesn’t actually mean he didn’t do something i.e. the implication being that the jury and the judge in the case got it wrong after hearing all the evidence. That it seems to me is definitely contempt of court and in my opinion the judge in that case should be pulling that person in and sending them down. But I can take a wild guess why they won’t be pulled in.

    • Tom Welsh

      Yes, John. I too have been surprised by seeing such comments – one or two of them on this blog.

      • Goose

        Many think his behaviour wasn’t good. Alex Salmond has admitted that himself as has his lawyer QC Gordon Jackson. However, his conduct wasn’t criminal, that’s the point some are making. And the interviews with Salmond in which they keep raising his behaviour irritate because they’re trying to hold him to a higher standard than they do other politicians (esp. Tories) who’ve had affairs etc.

        • Goose

          Just seen this MSM disinformation headline in the Independent:

          Alba Party: ‘All over’ for Alex Salmond, polling suggests.

          John Curtice as well. Coming from a leading psephologist this is pure BS projection, he’s basically saying they need to be polling 5% nationally, then extrapolating that out to seats on the regional lists, i.e., as if Alba are also standing in constituencies – which they aren’t, as he knows. Of course if people are asked who are you going to vote for they’ll say SNP , but they can also be Alba(list) making a mockery of such projections.

          And notice Sturgeon’s subtle shift of wording in her recent interviews, with the insertion of ‘hopes’ to hold a referendum in the first half of the next term (previously it was ‘early’). Precisely why Alba is needed in order to hold her feet to the fire.

  • `Carlyle+Moulton

    There exists no such thing as justice, only the privilege hierarchy. Alex Salmond and Craig Murray are dissidents to the Scottish privilege hierarchy so it is no surprise that both have been attacked by the law which is no more than an agent of the privilege hierarchy or as it is sometimes called the apex of the food chain.

  • Leif Sachs

    The only way for the “Objective Test” to be truly objective is to prove that a witness had been identified. To conclude that it is enough that a witness might have been identified, without any requirement of proof, makes the “Objective Test” 100% subjective, i.e. this is Orwellian doublespeak.

  • Goose

    One of the UK’s proudest boasts was that we didn’t suffer political prosecutions and that judicial independence was sacrosanct.

    Reading Oliver Eagleton’s recent troubling ,comprehensive piece (link below) about Starmer’s time as DPP esp. in relation to Assange. And in Scotland, Salmond’s treatment and now this seemingly highly tenuous ‘jigsaw identification’ based conviction, can we be sure that still holds?

    • Charly

      I think it is clear that judicial independence has gone.

      I am English and have long been pro-Union. However, I would welcome another referendum after an open debate on the economic and fiscal implications. And on all the other factors. But that will never happen.

      Scotland has large natural resources that could be exploited with coal bed methane and coal bed gasification. There are probably large shale resources too.

      But the political classes wail about “climate emergency”, “human-induced heating”, etc. etc. These people should be dealt with by lions equipped with and trained to use flame-throwers.

  • Republicofscotland

    There’s no mystery about it Craig, you reported back fairly on the Alex Salmond trial, and the Crown office and Sturgeon for that matter didn’t like it, in their twisted eyes you’re on the wrong side of the fence, ie justice and democracy was your modus operandi during the fit up of Salmond, and there’s wasn’t.

    Of course other MSM so-called journalists, and I use the term loosely, openly named at least one of the complainers whilst others jigsaw identified the now found not to believed complainers. But unlike you they were opposed to justice and democracy with regards to the Alex Salmond fit up so they’re protected from on high, you’re not.

    If I were you I’d drag it through all the courts in the land and then the EU, and in the process I’d expose their double standards to anyone in authority in any country that will listen, Wings and yourself have exposed just how corrupt the COPFS is in Scotland.

    If you want exposure on a grand scale and this might sound a bit radical but it has worked for others, chain yourself to the gates outside the Crown office at 25 Chambers street. Kick up an almighty stink.

  • TonyN

    Could any reader advise on how Judge Dorrian and her colleagues could be asked to explain their reasons for the delays in the trial of Craig Murray?

    What is the ‘chain of command’ for these people? Would it have to go right up to the Queen?

  • Patsy Millar

    Glad to see your blog back and very interesting letter from Alexander Mercouris. I sincerely hope justice is served and you can soon put this horrific business behind you.

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