Scathing Online Schoolmarm Scathes Through a Statement from Shamima Begum’s Lawyer.

She’s stuck in a rancid ISIS prisoner camp, and England won’t take her back. Intelligence services believe that this fanatic (she says that’s all over) continues to represent a threat to the country.

Here’s her attorney on the subject:

What happened to Christian forgiveness? Does it not apply to a woman — and a dark-skinned one at that? It seems that different rules apply… Is it perhaps that some of us are more British than others of us? Shamima is of Bangladeshi descent, does that change her right to British nationality? I am tempted to think it does…

SOS says: Manifold are the ways one can speak up on behalf of one’s client. Admittedly, this attorney has a superjumbo problem on her hands, since her client not only renounced her British citizenship when she embraced Islamic State citizenship, she also committed vile acts (suicide vest sewing; slave-ownership; public support of mass murder in Europe and beheadings in the caliphate, etc.) and has expressed little remorse for her extensive blood-thirstiness. But SOS wonders whether lazily pushing certain buttons is the best one might do for Begum.

The lawyer’s weakest button is the Christian thing. Not sure she’s looked around at England lately, but it’s the land of empty churches. It rivals France for empty churches. If you’re going to go the Christian route, try getting her American citizenship. We’re the land of full churches…

But, you know, 135,000 slaughtered Assyrians later, I’m not sure you’re going to have much success in that direction either. Better drop the whole Christian thing.

That leaves sexism and racism. UD readers already know my take on the there there little woman you can come back cuz you’re a stupid harmless li’l thing approach to this problem. The sexism in the Begum story locates itself firmly in defenders who believe – claim to believe – that women are just too nice to be mean, and too dense to form serious, protracted, ideological commitments.

There are of course many light-skinned people among those that various countries have refused to repatriate. ISIS enjoyed a broad appeal.

Finally, yes: Begum is of Bangladeshi descent. And it is to Bangladesh that her lawyer should direct citizenship claims.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm scathes through…

this response, by Human Rights Watch, to the Shamima Begum decision. (Put “Begum” in my search engine for background.)

The first mistake Yasmine Ahmed makes has nothing to do with her writing. It’s about timing. The British court threw out Begum’s appeal almost a week ago, and the news cycle on this latest rejection is basically over. I’ve got no idea why HRW waited so long to weigh in, but their outrage on Begum’s behalf is getting much less attention than it might have simply because responses to the decision have already happened.

Okay, so first sentence:

The United Kingdom’s highest court delivered a shocking blow to justice when it ruled that Shamima Begum, who was just 15 when she left for Syria to join the Islamic State (ISIS), could not return to Britain to challenge the government’s stripping of her citizenship.

Where to start? No one is shocked by this latest unanimous (shocking!) decision; it followed many other forms of rejection Begum has experienced since her citizenship was… stripped? Stripped is a wonderfully nasty word, so bravo Ahmed; but she might have mentioned that in becoming a citizen of the Islamic state Begum basically stripped herself of British citizenship. And when you consider that Britain has revoked the citizenship of several other ISIS enthusiasts, things become even less shocking.

The shocking thing in Ahmed’s sentence is that a fifteen year old girl, excited by watching Youtubes of ISIS beheadings, secretly left England for a life of Yazidi slave-owning, suicide vest-sewing, and ISIS brood mare sex. That. Is. Far. Out.

Another sentence:

With the Supreme Court’s blessing, the UK government has left Begum de-facto stateless and prevented her from effectively challenging the decision that did so. If Begum did commit crimes during her time with ISIS, she should be brought home and given a fair trial.

Begum’s mother is from Bangladesh, but there’s no indication she has attempted to get citizenship there. I don’t know why she hasn’t. She is not stateless until she finds out whether Bangladesh – which, according to some legal experts, is compelled to take her – will take her.

If Begum did commit crimes there is little chance a court will be able to find that out. Do you think ISIS kept records of her “crimes”? The slaves and beheadees who might have testified against her are dead or scattered. She’ll be released back to the community due to lack of evidence.

To turn [our] back on [people like Begum] is not only a legal and moral aberration, but a long-term security risk.

Maybe. Maybe. But here’s one thing we know: As long as dangerous people like Shamima Begum are in prison camps, they’re not free to kill us. It’s sheer sexism to cluckcluckcluck about what a poor misguided babe she is. Why do feminists like Ahmed deny women like Begum ideological agency? She herself has said repeatedly that the decision to join ISIS was hers alone. She spent years as a serious adherent. Grotesque as it is for normal people to imagine commanded sex with one stranger after another for the sake of the caliphate (her “husbands” kept dying in combat), it seems not to have been the slightest bit extraordinary to Begum. She was – and probably still is – a twisted, risky person.

I’m perfectly willing to listen to her argue that she has undergone radical moral reform; but that argument should be broadcast from Bangladesh.

Les Girls!

Shamima Begum may have committed heinous acts, but she was then a fifteen year old girl failed by the British state. She is now a twenty-one year old woman who has been failed by the British state once more... [Revoking citizenship] deprives someone of their home and their family,  forcing them into a country that they do not know, and that does not want to know them. 


Having read pretty much everything on this ISIS convert [see post below this one for details and update] who now wants to go back to England, I conclude that everyone and everything failed her. Not just the state. Her parents failed her. Her school failed her. Her acquaintances who groomed her failed her. The men who trafficked her (yes, some defenders go so far as to claim this — with no evidence) failed her. The culture of infatuation and romance failed her, making her vulnerable — innocent and lovesick — to the groomers.

A British man who went to Syria to fight against ISIS writes:

She was fifteen [when she joined ISIS]. When I was fifteen I knew rape, murder, and kidnapping were wrong. There’s no indication that she has any remorse or that she’s any less dangerous.

Oh but he’s a guy! Fifteen year old girls are moral idiots, I guess. And they’re certainly too idiotic for us even to begin to imagine that rather than having been failed by everyone, they simply read ISIS literature, watched ISIS videos, thought about it, and made an ideological commitment to its goals. You can read – as UD has – scads of opinion pieces about Begum and you’ll never encounter that claim – that this A-student (apparently Begum was a gifted student) read, understood, and so fervently agreed with one particular form of fundamentalist Islam that she made a considered, life-altering commitment to it. (It reminds ol’ UD of the fate of fascism. Apparently no one was ever a fascist – no one ever absorbed the tenets of fascism, liked them, and became a committed fascist. The fault lay with the state, or history, or coercion, or the church, or charismatic leaders…)

Funny, though. Here’s Begum’s own take on the matter:

Ms Begum said she made the choice to go to Syria and could make her own decisions, despite being only 15 at the time. She said she was partly inspired by videos of fighters beheading hostages…

Although Patrick Cockburn, unsurprisingly, comes to conclusions about the Begum problem very different from mine, he is more scathing than I in his description of her moral responsibility and depravity.


[Revoking citizenship] deprives someone of their home and their family,  forcing them into a country that they do not know, and that does not want to know them. 

Strange thing to say. Begum broke – exultantly – with her home and family; she willingly went to a state – the Islamic State – that very much wanted her.

Maybe it mainly wanted her womb – she was there, as she has subsequently noted, to be knocked up as often as possible. This was fine with her – to act as a caliphate-womb, to be “married,” instantly, on arrival, to some random fighter and start having babies. Fine too were the abuse of Yazidi slaves, the sewing of human bomb vests, and the witnessing of beheadings. All in a day’s work. All in service to an ideal.

Look. Shamima Begum has a state. At the moment, it is reconstituting itself. When it is strong and stable enough, it will send for her. Maybe she will decide – as she decided with England – to break with that state. Then she will have to start looking for a third one.

It’s one thing for a country like America to deal with citizen-terrorists.

Turns out we have quite a few, so we have to up the physical protection of the Capitol, authorize commissions, etc., etc. Latest thing is that a bunch of them want to blow up the Capitol during Biden’s State of the Union address.

So okay, Trump-radicalized home-grown terror cells pose a terrible threat to the nation and we need to act on this.

Non-citizen terrorists are a whole nother thing. Most people I think would agree that a country doesn’t troll for foreign terrorists held in Syrian camps just to add more spice to the stew. Yet this is one way of thinking about what England has been faced with in the long court case of Shamima Begum, who, having left England to join ISIS, lost her citizenship.

ISIS futures don’t look very robust at the moment, and Begum wants back in; and plenty of well-intentioned people argue that she was young and stupid and groomed when she did what she did, and that she should at least be allowed back in to argue her case for renewal of British citizenship.

Yet there’s a pretty solid bottom line here: British intelligence services have determined that Begum remains a really dangerous person who should not under any circumstances be allowed back to England. They’d rather not go into detail, since that would compromise all sorts of people and things, but intelligence assures us that Begum remains a significant threat to national security.

An appeals court did rule that she should indeed be allowed back in Britain to plead her case; but now the Supreme Court has unanimously rejected that appeal, noting that the court of appeal “mistakenly believed that, when an individual’s right to have a fair hearing… came into conflict with the requirements of national security, her right to a fair hearing must prevail.”

UD, who has followed Begum’s case closely [scroll down], has long shared with her readers her confidence that Begum will never be allowed back into the country she betrayed and attacked. The decision of the court does not surprise UD, and neither does its unanimity. The way forward for Begum is to attempt Bangladeshi citizenship (her parents are from Bangladesh); and, if that fails, she should try to gather funds from supporters to buy citizenship in a country that offers that possibility.

“The case will drag on.”

Our girl Shamima is still at it, trying this way and that way to get back into the country she left in order to be a broodmare for ISIS, whup Yazidi slave girls, and tailor suicide vests to human bombs. What an interesting sojourn that was! And now that an appeals court has ruled she can return to England to try to get her British citizenship back, it’s time to look to the future with fresh eyes.

But, as legal analysts note, Begum is still due to spend forever in the Syrian desert, because the British government is just as fanatical about keeping this incredibly dangerous woman out of the country as she was about tugging her burqa aside for long lines of ISIS sperm depositors. No one’s going anywhere for a long time.

And as for how to think about England ultimately having to spend millions in taxpayer money to transport, house, and protect a vicious, committed enemy of everything for which the country stands…. Well, dedicated UD readers know UD‘s take on that one. No price is too high when the fight is truly for the survival of a free and democratic state. Pay whatever it takes to try her, expose her atrocities, and ship her back.

Hey, who said we’re “21st century”?

“Shamima Begum should not be banished – banishing people belongs in the dark ages, not 21st-century Britain,” complains a person who thinks keeping Begum – a veteran ISIS member – out of England is a bad idea. But the British courts have now ruled unanimously that she can’t come back; she has a right to Bangladeshi citizenship, they point out, and should go and claim it. That ain’t banishment.

And anyway – England’s full of sharia law councils, and their decisions are way dark ages — at least for women! The more power England gives sharia courts, the darker the ages right in your own home town, hon. So no lecturing us about 21st-century Britain. To be sure, we ain’t in the ninth century – the century in which Begum opted to live – but, as the Council of Europe notes, we’re definitely backsliding.


UPDATE: And here’s how not to argue that Begum belongs back in England. Let’s take a close look at Aina Khan’s argument.

Headline: Shamima Begum is a product of Britain. She should face justice here.

What’s the logic of this? In an ecstasy of violence Begum repudiated England and joined the Islamic State. Just because the origins she rejected were British, she has to be tried in Britain? No. No reasonable trial can in any case be conducted, since no records exist of her activities in ISIS territory.

She’s a victim of child grooming by a death cult. And her banishment tells all ethnic minorities that they’re not seen as fully British.

Who says? Pure speculation, the bit about grooming. I mean, so she was a teenager. That doesn’t mean she was, in Khan’s word, “naive.” Richard Loeb was 18 when he murdered Bobby Franks. He wasn’t treated like a naive victim of grooming. The bit about her fate sealing the dire fate of all ethnic minorities in famously tolerant Britain is just bullshit. Fear mongering.

Khan says the public was “dismayed” when in an interview Begum boasted of feeling nothing when she saw severed heads. Let’s look at some sentences from the Cambridge Dictionary which use the word dismay.

She discovered, to her dismay, that she had locked her keys inside her car.

They enjoyed the meal but were dismayed by how much it cost.

She discovered, to her dismay, that her exam was a whole month earlier than she’d expected.

We discovered, to our dismay, that the ISIS member was fine with severed heads.

Last one doesn’t quite work, does it? Not quite strong enough.

[W]e need to know why a straight-A teenager from east London would willingly leave Britain to embrace a death cult.

Richard Loeb was a brilliant, straight-A teenager at the University of Chicago. Like straight-A Shamima, he felt great curiosity about/attraction to sadistically killing people. Smart doesn’t necessarily make you a good person, does it? Is it possible Aina Khan doesn’t know this? Is it also possible she’s unaware of the contradiction involved in arguing that Begum was super-smart and au même moment so sub-basement stupid as to find an ISIS come-on irresistibly seductive? Weawy?

The rest of her opinion piece is more insistence that the Begum precedent means that if Khan, as a minority, jaywalks, she could be sent back to the country where her grandparents were born. Gevalt.


It gets worse. At least Khan bothers arguing her case. This dude doesn’t even try. Way to come across like a scolding, arrogant, elitist.

The Runaway “Bride” Meme

Everyone calls the Isettes “brides” – jihadi brides, ISIS brides, I.S. brides… Sheer sexism, mes petites; a way of cutesying them and why? Everyone knows it’s Always a terrorist; never a bride; everyone gets that it’s like the first page of DeLillo’s cult classic (if you will) Mao II, which describes a mass Moonie wedding in Yankee Stadium: “grouped in twos, eternal boy-girl.”

Anonymous commandeered fuck-couplings (‘Ms Begum said her only role in the caliphate was to “make babies”) don’t really strike UD as very bridey…

Maybe you’re different. Maybe when you think of a filthy tenth century setting in which brainless degenerates deposit sperm after getting themselves sexually excited by watching beheadings you picture a dewy girl in a gown, catching her breath before saying I do… Ms Begum spent her nights fucking men she was directed to fuck and her sweltering days swaddled in black – you can call this way of life many things, but the adjective “bridal” doesn’t pop to mind.

You know why everyone cutesies them. Despite everything, people only want to think of men as criminals. If Marsha Edwards had been Mark Edwards, would he have shared a funeral with the children he shot to death, a pretty photo of him up on stage next to pretty photos of the people he killed?

Marsha gets to be not a murderer. She gets to be Mom.

As the debate over repatriating some of the most dangerous people in the world proceeds, UD hopes that the press will gradually phase out the whole bride thing.

La Tricoteuse de la Guillotine

Begum allegedly … stitched IS fighters into suicide bomb vests so that they could not remove them …

Those allegations are believed to come from the interrogation of other Western IS members by the CIA and Dutch Military Intelligence, but have not been verified.


Some Brits are unhappy about having to pay for her legal representation.

Tory MP Philip Davies [said] the decision was “absolutely disgusting“.

He said: “How she has been allowed to sponge off taxpayers’ money to get back into a country that she hates is absolutely ridiculous.”


Here’s the right way to look at it. England should be willing to spend large sums to keep this woman and others like her out. Think of it as part of the defense budget. And don’t forget:

Both [violent Islam and fascism] evidently suffer from a death wish. It is surely not an accident that both of them stress suicidal tactics and sacrificial ends, just as both of them would obviously rather see the destruction of their own societies than any compromise with infidels or any dilution of the joys of absolute doctrinal orthodoxy. Thus, while we have a duty to oppose and destroy these and any similar totalitarian movements, we can also be fairly sure that they will play an unconscious part in arranging for their own destruction, as well.

I know lawyers have to say all sorts of dumb shit on behalf of their clients, but..

… does it have to be this dumb?

Charles Swift, Muthana’s lawyer … [said the withdrawal of her citizenship is] “incredibly terrifying. .. If they can do this to Hoda, they can do it to anyone.

Yes! Beware! For any of us could fall in love with these men and their cause:

Research centres such as the one I lead at King’s College London (the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation) archived millions of pieces of output from foreign fighters who cheered attacks in the West. When one occurred, they agitated for more. They celebrated the beheadings of Western hostages such as the American journalist James Foley. His death followed months of agonising torture, which included beatings and waterboarding. Foreign fighters mocked and belittled the sexual slavery of Yazidi women, the detention of their children, and murder of their menfolk.

Hoda Is Us!

People are saying the damnedest things about the ISettes, those sexy thangs…

who, as the debate on rematriation and repatriation rages, go by so many different names…

One otherwise sophisticated writer makes the kind of weird atavistic argument about both male and female ISIS you’d expect from Mussolini.

[Their] indelible marks of national origin tell us that the foreign fighters are, in the end, products of our own societies, and no more capable of being disowned than any other villains we produce, either for domestic mayhem or for export. They are Japanese and American and British. We inflicted them on the world. They are our responsibility, and we have to punish them …

Two problems here: The writer seems to have missed the last eighty years of thought about nationalism, cosmopolitanism, and postmodernism, and settled back comfortably into the most reactionary notions of … well, add ‘German’ to his curiously selective list of countries of origin and see how that feels…

And second – even if we could agree with the absurd proposition that breathing this or that air uncontrollably infuses one with originary territorial belonging, nothing in this position precludes disownership. Parents disown children; nations disown citizens. All those ISIS self-inductees who as their first revolutionary gesture burnt their passports disowned their countries. It’s hardly common, but it happens and isn’t that shattering a scandal. It merely means that free people realize they retain the right to expel others or to expel themselves from familial or political collectivities.

As Christian Barry and Luara Ferracioli write:

[Those] who have engaged in [certain extreme] forms of political violence … have themselves strongly communicated their disassociation from [any particular political] community through their actions. And if they are prepared to carry out such acts of serious political violence then they have no grounds for complaints if the community chooses to banish them. They have already, in effect, self-excluded.


Come back! All will eventually be forgiven. is neither a rational nor dignified stance for a self-respecting country to take in regard to people who act assiduously to destroy not only it but the entire world. To hold that cultists who regard every manifestation of culture as a Semtex site should be acknowledged as our own is bizarre. If the legal and moral act of disownership means anything, it means we disown these people. And keep in mind that provisions for appeal exist: “U.S. law provides [Hoda] Muthana a mechanism to challenge the secretary of state’s conclusion that she is not a citizen, even from outside the United States.”

I think best practice would be our establishing, with other countries, in-place international tribunals to try these people, whose crimes after all are against humanity, not particular countries. As to where they’d serve their sentences: Some people argue that international prisons radicalize their prisoners yet more; but when we house these people in our own prisons, we make ourselves vulnerable to radicalization. “Even if convicted, they would threaten to radicalise others in prison.” “Convicted IS fighters will occupy a laudatory position within the prison estate, particularly among those convicted for domestic terrorism offences. They will also have an opportunity to use their experiences to radicalise those from the general inmate population and to educate them in any firearms or explosives proficiencies they may have acquired.”

And as to where these people would go once they served their sentence: I’m sure some version of ISIS will still be in place for them to join up with; or, if they want to assume citizenship of a country, they can make a case for their rehabilitation and therefore possibly be able to return to their erstwhile home country; or they can apply for citizenship elsewhere. (Hello, Macedonia!)




Let the cat fights begin!

The New ISIS!

I miss my mum. I know that sounds a bit toddler-ish… Even if I could just see my mum… I would like just a phone call, I don’t know if Britain can do that for me here, but I’d like just a phone call to my mum – it’s been two years. If I could make a request. I’m probably not in a position to make requests. That’s it all, really. I miss my mum.

Bride of Isistein

Start here, mes petites:

In October 2017, the [Islamic State’s] newspaper called on women to prepare for battle; by early last year, the group was openly praising its female fighters in a video that showed a woman wielding an AK-47…

The women once married to Islamic State militants who are now seeking to return to the West may claim to have simply been housewives, but from the beginnings of the group, some women were more radical than their husbands…

[T]he move to allow female combatants is born out of desperation. The group has lost essentially all its territory. Most of its male fighters have been killed, wounded or arrested…

Civilians in Iraq are certainly aware of the new face of the Islamic State. According to a survey a colleague and I conducted in Mosul in December, 85 percent of 400 respondents said that in the past, Islamic State women were as radical as men and 80 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they played an important role in the group; 82 percent said they agreed or strongly agreed that Islamic State women will be dangerous for Mosul in the future.


Now let’s hear from fans of the repatriation of these women.

It’s not just the use of phrases like ISIS bride and ISIS widow rather than ISIS member, ISIS fighter, ISIS propagandist, etc. As two-X chromosome fanatics begin knocking on the doors of Western democracies to be let back in now that their massacre-Americans broadcasts have been suspended, we’re being treated to full bore sexism on their behalf. ‘Researchers [say] the “tendency to ascribe rational motivations to men and emotional motivations to women” [persists], even though there [is] no evidence that the drivers of radicalisation differ by gender.’ 

When she was a 15-year-old the police were aware that she was being brainwashed and groomed by Isis, in the same way that people are sexually groomed. [Not her fault. Impossible that a young woman could examine a murderous ideology and decide she liked it. Our fault! Put the police in refugee camps!] When she went to Syria she married a man twice her age [Um. That would be thirtyish. Problem?… Age of consent? That’d be 16 for England and … for ISIS? 16 months?] within a few days of arriving there. [I certainly hope England has mandatory cultural competence classes. Who are you to say that the function of women is not immediately to begin making fighters for a cause?] It’s sexual exploitation as well as [ideological grooming]. [Yes, babe, lay it on. And wait – there’s more.]

The police, [school and] Tower Hamlets were aware she was being groomed and they did not tell her parents. That’s a shocking level of incompetence. [We’re all at fault. Shockingly. Only her parents and her mosque are not at fault by this reckoning.] The police gave her a letter to say they wanted to interview her; it was found in the schoolbag after she was gone. [Wonder why she ignored it? Oh right – her groomers made it impossible for her to understand its contents. And look how pathetic the police were! Instead of hauling her in and deprograming her, they wrote her a civil letter. Shocking incompetence.]

She has said things that have been surprising. I was a police officer for 30 years and every time I had to move a dead body, it shocked and fazed me. The idea that a 19-year-old is not fazed seems bizarre to me. We need to look at what she has been through. [So very traumatized! And such a convenient way of looking at things: The kind of people who can witness suffering and death coldly are not cold people; they are fragile, wounded, damaged people. If this woman said to you ‘You’re a wimp because suffering and death faze you; I’m a revolutionary, and they don’t faze me,’ you’d shake your head and weep yet more for the poor dear. But it would be better if you took a look at the BBC interview in which she said videos of beheadings that she watched well before she went to Syria inspired her to go.]”. [Details of this woman’s morbid nihilsm here.]


[Former UK national counterterrorism coordinator for protect and prepare] said there “must be consequences” for joining Isis.

“People are trying to say she was a groomed child but … she planned it herself, nobody dragged her onto that plane, no one kidnapped her and put her there,” he added.

“She went with the clear intention to join Isis and if it hadn’t ended up the way it had, she probably would have stayed there.”

… “Now she doesn’t like where she has ended up and she wants to come back – we can’t have that.”

… “[Terri Nicholson, a former Metropolitan Police counterterrorism officer, said that if ISIS members like Shamima Begum do] return it’s a distraction at a time when security and intelligence agencies are at full tilt”…

“Police have prevented 18 terror attacks since March 2017. If we’re able to prevent more people from escalating those figures then that’s what we should be doing.”


And therefore what to do with jihadis like this one?

UD likes Belgium’s idea of “an ad hoc international jurisdiction.”


UPDATE: Macer Gifford, a British man who went to Syria to fight against ISIS:

She was fifteen [when she joined ISIS]. When I was fifteen I knew rape, murder, and kidnapping were wrong. There’s no indication that she has any remorse or that she’s any less dangerous.

‘[W]hat has been concerning is the number of people reducing the participation of these women in ISIS’ state-building enterprise as a result of being groomed or brainwashed. The insistence on their experience being the result of grooming or brainwashing diminishes the role of the individual’s own agency. The passive portrayal of the likes of Begum and Muthana, who were undoubtedly misled, relegates them to being unthinking, senseless vessels waiting to be filled.’

This articulation reeks of the kind of stereotypical depiction of Muslim women that has too often permeated Western societies: one of submission, obedience and lack of personal agency.

…. ISIS offered these young women something that recognized their agency. Not just homemakers and housewives, but combatants and propagandists, ISIS recognized that women had a role to play in their state-building project. The journey to jihadism for these women was not about coercion, but rather about participation.

There remains a great urgency to help debunk the myths surrounding how and why women become involved in terrorist activities. From combat roles to suicide bombers, policymakers must recognize women’s agency in terrorist organizations and how gender roles function within groups.



Bravo, England.

ISIS girl doesn’t find chopping off everyone’s head or burning everyone alive shocking, but she does find shocking England revoking her citizenship. Maybe she’ll have better luck in Holland, hubby’s home.

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