What Happened in Smolensk On April 10, 2010?
Independent Smolensk Crash Investigation Explained by Antoni Macierewicz
Interviewers Jacek Karnowski & Michal Karnowski, wp.pl, 2011
An interview with Representative Antoni Macierewicz
"This [neo-communist] mafia is capable of anything. You don't even have any idea what they are capable of doing."- Lech Kaczyński
Antoni Macierewicz PHOTO by Mariusz Trolinski
Antoni Macierewicz is a former Internal Affairs Minister, former Vice-Minister of National Defence. He is a member of Polish Parliament (Pol. Sejm), and heads the parliamentary committee ( "Zespół Parlamentarny Ds. Zbadania Przyczyn Katastrofy TU-154M z 10 kwietnia 2010 r.") set to investigate and to establish the causes of the 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash.
He was a prominent member of the democratic opposition to communist rule, and one of the founders of the Workers' Defense Committee (KOR). He is credited with exposing secret collaborators of the Polish communist secret police, the Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa (SB) in the so-called "Macierewicz List", consisting of well known sitting politicians.
In July 2006, he was the lead liquidator of the Polish communist Military Information Services (abr. WSI), while from October 2006, he was the chief of the newly restructured Polish military counter-intelligence service.
Q: When did the critical/key events take place? In other words, when did this tragedy begin to unfold for sure - since, as you say, that it was caused neither by the collision with a [birch] tree, nor the ground?
Macierewicz: The remains of Tupolev fell to the ground from the height of 15 meters, although, the main event took place at the height of 26 meters, when the wing separated form the plane. This was the beginning of the crash. Moments later, at the height of 15 meters, all electrical systems failed, and [subsequently] the plane disintegrated.
Q: To this day, the Russians, and the official Polish institutions, as if they spoke in chorus, insist that there was a collision with a birch tree, and it is then, that the tragedy unfolded.
Macierewicz: Nothing like that had happened. The wing separated [from the aircraft] at the height of 26 meters, and [at that point] it [the plane] was many meters above the birch tree.
Q: This birch tree was quickly cut down. Wasn’t it?
Macierewicz: I am not in the business of exposing all Russian actions, or their falsehoods. Along with my Parliamentary Committee, which I lead, and many experts - primarily those gathered around professors Wieslaw Binienda, and Kazimierz Nowaczyk in the US, and the Polish academics; I am seeking to find the truth.
Q: Does this investigation support the hypothesis that the plane disintegrated above the ground?
Macierewicz: Yes. The results of these scientific studies confirm that the aircraft began to disintegrate at the altitude of 26 meters. This catastrophic event is in sync with two shocks reflected in the flight trajectory; the ATM flight recorders registered these.
Q: And the reason for that is?
Macierewicz: We are still looking into this. I believe that during the first months of the next year will have the answers.
Q: When did these two [reported] shocks take place?
Macierewicz: They took place several seconds before flight recorders stopped working. That in turn, took place 15 meters above the ground, when all the electrical systems failed.
Q: Is it at this time, that the pilots become aware that something wrong is happening? The present interpretation of the cockpit voice recorder transcripts does not support this. [Translator’s note: The original Black Boxes were never returned to Poland for analysis. What have been presented thus far, are only the transcripts. These in turn and, not surprisingly, have already changed on number of occasions]
Macierewicz: It does. One of the studies being conducted presently involves the synchronization of voices recorded in the cabin, with the physical events already reconstructed by our experts. It is clear that the sequence of events causes a very visible, loud, and tragic reaction from both the pilots, and the passengers, alike. [These recorders] registered both the individual, and combined intelligible [and unintelligible] reactions [from those onboard]. The first wave of these voices, if you will, is heard at the height of 26 meters, when the wing separates from the plane. At first, we hear the reactions of the pilots, than [we hear] the voices of the horrified passengers; and than, at the height of 15 meters, it all goes silent.
Q: Are you then, Mr. Representative, suggesting that the passengers know what is taking place?
Macierewicz: Yes. They see, they feel, and they are conscious of the unfolding drama - both, the pilots, and the passengers, alike.
Q: How long does this situation last?
Macierewicz: Up to five seconds. This is for how long they knew that their plane would be falling apart.
Q: But, the passengers’ cabin in the Tupolev wasn’t equipped with any voice recorders.
Macierewicz: The cockpit voice recorder captures voices from the entire plane - in particular, when they are full of horror, and are very loud. But, I would like to emphasize, that this isn’t the only source [of evidence at our disposal]. There is also another [piece of evidence] that the [Prime minister Donald Tusk’s] investigators are trying very hard to disavow. See, ten minutes after she learned about this tragedy on TV, the wife of one of the MPs, received a voicemail from her husband on her telephone. She listened to it, and then reported what she has heard to the Internal Security Agency [Pol. abbr. ABW - Agencja Bezpieczenstwa Wewnetrznego]. And, few months later, she released this information to the public.
Q: What did she hear?
Macierewicz: She heard the voice of her husband calling her by name: “Asia, Asia” [translator’s note: “Asia” pronounced, “Asha” is short for Joanna]. In the background, one could hear voices of terrified people, and the sounds of the disintegrating airplane. This is what she relayed: “…My voicemail registered my husband’s voice, shouting ‘Asia, Asia’. In the background you could hear a cracking sound, and actually, it was my husband's voice in the background, and the sound was dominated by noise and crackling. One could hear the voices of people too, like the sound of the crowd. It wasn’t clear. I didn’t recognize any words. It was the cry of these [terrified] people. This recording lasted two, or three seconds. My husband's voice was faint. These were short crackling, and sharp sounds. As if these were the sounds of a breaking wafer, or plastic, and [one could also hear what sounded] like a sound of wind in the telephone.”
Q: But, this recording doesn’t exist?
Macierewicz: No, [not any longer]. Even though, this information was immediately relayed, the ABW stated that this recording was erased, and that the service provider is unable to retrieve it. My understanding of how the [content of cellphone] communications is stored, prompts me not to believe the ABW functionaries. Then, after five months of a deafening silence, the Prosecutor’s office [finally] issued a statement, that Mrs. Joanna D. made a mistake, because it wasn’t the voice of her husband [that she has heard], but rather, it was someone else, calling regarding a different matter. It is difficult to imagine that a wife wouldn’t recognize her husband’s voice. [The Prosecutors' Office] claims that she made it all up, despite the fact that it corresponds with the recordings from the plane. In particular, because she did this at the time, when our findings were not known, and [at that time] the media was misinforming [the public] about the [alleged] collision with a birch.
Q: Going back to the chain of events. At a certain point, the pilots make the decision to abort. But it is unsuccessful?
Macierewicz: Yes - it contradicts the Russian investigators’ [statements]. The plane aborts, and the pilots make no mistakes. They ascertained, that it is impossible to land, and decided to abort. At this junction, at the height of 26 meters, when they are gaining altitude, the wing falls off. The plane begins to fall. At the height of 15 meters, the electrical systems fail, and the plane begins to disintegrate. Parts of the plane fall to the ground.
Q: Could the loss of power been caused by the loss of a wing?
Macierewicz: None of the experts, that I know of, confirm such a possibility. This Tupolev was equipped with three power generators, and two [redundant] electrical systems supplying the electricity simultaneously. From this perspective, this aircraft was very safe. It is only its disintegration that could have caused the failure of electrical systems.
Q: The analysis of the Tupolev’s wreckage could have confirmed, or debunked this, but unfortunately, [such analysis] never took place.
Macierewicz: Yes. It is incomprehensible. But, we began our work, and analysis of thousands of photos of the wreckage and its remains. The analysis conducted by one group of our experts, allowed us to identify the place where the main fuselage structure began to disintegrate. Of course, the investigation of the evidence that is visible in the photographs, is not as convincing as conducting such an investigation at the crash site. This is an important clue however. [Our reconstruction] points out, that the center of the aircraft fuselage [Pol. “śródpłacie” – the strongest part of the aircraft] was subject to the most destruction, and is blown-up [outwardly]. This is [the area] where it is most likely, that the shock wave responsible for the disintegration of the aircraft originated. I emphasize, that while it remains a hypothesis, it is consistent with all available data, and [our subsequent] analysis.
Q: All of this [evidence] collides directly with, and undermines the findings of the Miller’s Commission, which stated that the key factor [leading to the crash] was a mistake in reading the altimeter [by the pilots]. The pilots [, the Miller’s Report asserts,] were alleged to think that they were at a higher altitude then they were in reality.
Macierewicz: In my assessment, the key factor in the Miller’s report is a theory about the collision with a birch tree, and had it not been for that, the aircraft would have safely aborted. The [MAK’s Tatiana] Anodina’s [Report] views it little differently, and is of opinion that the collision with a tree was of key significance. None of these reports cites even a single shred of evidence, proving that the collision with the birch tree indeed took place. No trustworthy analysis, that such collision would have caused the wing to separate, was ever produced. The evidence was replaced with propaganda, and media brainwashing campaign.
Q: Yes, but the aircraft was to hit the tree, because the altimeter was malfunctioning.
Macierewicz: Exactly that. It is worth it to point our attention to the fact that in the conversation between Edmund Klich and Bogdan Klich, that was recorded secretly, he [Bohdan Klich] emphasizes that it is puzzling that until the very end, the pilots remained calm, and made no panicky moves; he makes these statements several days after the crash. The crew believes that all is going according to plan, there is no chaos, and flight engineer calmly reads back the information regarding the change of the altitude.
Q: How does the minister Klich know that?
Macierewicz: Apparently he had listened to the black box [recordings]. Or, he had a complete transcript of this recording. And while he reached the correct conclusions, he didn’t understand what he was saying. When we set aside the media propaganda, this is exactly the type of picture that we see. All procedures are planned ahead. Nine minutes before the scheduled landing, captain Protasiuk says that if they are unable to land, they will abort on autopilot. And, this is what takes place. He calmly listens to the flight navigator who reports the decent rate of the plane, [and that in turn is] superseded with the abort maneuver. At last, the aircraft begins to gain altitude. And suddenly, we have a crash. We are at 26 meters above the ground. What is happening? What [is happening you ask]? Today we already know – the wing falls off, and two strong shocks ensue, the aircraft disintegrates …
Q: Unceasingly, the media falsely reported that there was some sort of horrible chaos onboard, and the resultant mess and carelessness.
Macierewicz: Today, we know that none of this is true. Captain Protasiuk wasn’t, as Anodiana has claimed, in some sort of state of blocked consciousness. No one is running around, no one screams, no one is nervously observing the ground through the window. It is a lie. In reality, up until 26 meters, all is progressing as planned. The pilots make the decision to abort when at the altitude of 100 meters above the landing strip; they are unable to see the ground. The aircraft behaves correctly, and responds to the flight controls. Then, an external force is exerted, as two shocks take place, and the aircraft looses the wing.
Q: The Miller’s Commission ascertained that the pilots didn’t read the altimeter correctly.
Macierewicz: Yes, they ascertained that, but it isn’t true. Nothing, [and I repeat] exactly nothing, indicates that. [Protasiuk] issues the command “Go-Around”; this [command], is repeated by the Second Pilot. There is a calmness in the cockpit; at first Protasiuk says “we’ll abort on autopilot”, then “we are aborting”, and then he issues a statements about the descent glide-path, ended with an ascent. These facts confirm that there were no mistakes. [Such mistake] could have been made only in a chaotic or nervous environment. Nothing like that had happened. Why, so often then, did we witness these falsely planted reports about this alleged chaos onboard? Not a single fact validates that. No one, and at no time, screams, that they are too low, that they made a mistake, and that something is not right. To the contrary - until the very last seconds all is well.
The horrific screams are heard only when the plane looses its wing and begins to fall apart. In the recording originating from her husband, Mrs. Joanna D. heard exactly that. Why was this key piece of evidence destroyed, and why there are attempts made to discredit it?
Q: So, your opinion assumes that all that took place, began, in essence, ten meters higher than what was claimed by the Russians, and the Miller’s commission?
Macierewicz: Exactly like this. Bogdan Klich who is justifiably surprised that they [the pilots] are not nervous at all says the same thing. Klich, who himself is covering the Russian fault, is afraid to even think what the facts, that he himself describes, really mean. And this very chain of events is corroborated by all data and analyses at our disposal. And this is - as you gentlemen know – a very thoroughly [researched] material.
Q: What do you think when you speak of the external forces at play?
Macierewicz: I don’t prejudge what it is. I can’t exclude that this crash was caused by the engine failure.
Q: It is difficult to imagine [though].
Macierewicz: I agree, but we cannot forget that the Tupolev’s engines were prone to failure. Very many people had seen this crash, but it is rarely being said. All these people say that, moments before the crash, the aircraft engines emitted some sort of horrible, strange sounds. These types of testimonies also appear in the statements made by the Polish pilots who were waiting for the arrival [of the TU-154M] in Smolensk. They flew these types of aircraft, and they heard that something wasn’t right. Was this the cause of the crash, or were there some sorts of external forces at play - this is the subject of a completely different conversation. What is certain however is that the pilots didn’t make any mistakes.
Q: Could have this been an assassination?
Macierewicz: While we can’t yet ascertain this today, we should not discard it either. Even while on April 1  our Prosecutors' Office suspended following this line of investigation - in the words of Prosecutor General, Mr. Andrzej Serement - it also added, that should new evidence be brought forth, they will resume this line of investigation. These new facts had just surfaced. These are the result of the work of our team, and so is the appearance of the Mr. Edmund Klich’s [secret] tape [recordings]. Today, I found out form the Prosecutor’s Office, that our suspicions concerning the involvement of a “third party” is presently under investigation …
Q: Based on the Klich’s tapes, we know that the Polish experts ascertained immediately, that [the fault for the crash] rests with the Russians. They were forbidden to pursue this line of investigation, and were told to look elsewhere.
Macierewicz: Yes, but let me add the following; after all, these are some 40 pages describing these events in detail - beginning at 8:00 AM Polish time – and contain the interviews with Russians, and formulating the theorem of their guilt.
Q: In those recordings, Bohdan Klich criticizes Edmund Klich because of Col. Malinowski’s materials, indicating the Russian guilt. And he, with not much as a whisper, takes the control [of the investigation], in order to abandon pursuing the possibility of the Russian guilt.
Macierewicz: Neither one of them looks stellar! Edmund Klich appears to be surprised by these materials.
Q: Do we know what these materials are?
Macierewicz: No. No one knows what it is. It was hidden.
Q: Why then, did Edmund Klich record it? [Did he record it] for the Russians?
Macierewicz: We should look into this [further]. But we know, that Mr. Edmund Klich was chosen by the Russians to be the Polish inter-accredited in this investigation. He admits it himself. It is he, who persuades the Polish representatives to choose the article 13 of the Chicago Convention – [an article] that is convenient for Russia. He doesn’t waver from this course in all of his [subsequent] actions. This, of course, doesn’t absolve the Polish Prime Minister [Donald Tusk] who delegated these powers to him; even though, he had known, that in this investigation, Edmund Klich always favors the Russian, rather than Polish interests. Why did the Prime Minister [Tusk] do that? We don’t know. But, his actions were to the detriment of the Polish interests, and to the detriment of [finding out] the truth.
Q: Let us assume for a moment, that these external factors leading to the crash were a deliberate action. Who has gained the most from this?
Macierewicz: Russia. An overall Polish [foreign] policy, that focused earlier on establishing an area of cooperation between the Oder and the Caucasus, between the Baltic and Black Sea, had changed. In all disagreements, both Lech Kaczynski, and the elites supporting him, as well as the historical conditions, gave Poland the moral fortitude, to coordinate this process - and it generated results. Even, during the time when the government, rejecting this concept, began to function in 2007.
Q: What would have Poland’s foreign policy look like, had it not been for the Smolensk tragedy?
Macierewicz: Was the president Kaczynski still alive, the Minister [Radoslaw] Sikorski would have never given his speech in Berlin. It is clear.
Q: Even if he [Lech Kaczynski] lost the elections?
Macierewicz: While, I am full of praise for the achievements of Jaroslaw Kaczynski during the electoral campaign in 2010, anyone who knows a little about the politics realizes, that the late Lech Kaczynski had a much greater chance of widening the scope of his support.
Q: A counter-argument can be made, that it was possible in the atmosphere resultant form the Smolensk tragedy.
Macierewicz: When Jaroslaw Kaczynski ran in the presidential elections, after April 10, it was said that he could only get a few percent [of votes]. So, you have to carefully digress here. Shortly, before April 10 [,2010], Lech Kaczynski’s support grew considerably. A plan to establish a Central-East-European consortium of nations didn’t come to fruition, and was [subsequently] abandoned.
Q: So, the Polish president was a deadly threat to Russia?
Macierewicz: Yes. One cannot forget that during the meeting between Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Vladimir Putin, three days earlier, in Katyn, an agreement about natural gas [supplies from Russia] was made. [This agreement determined] that Poland will remain dependent on Russian gas supplies, and will relinquish its energy independence policy. It is then, that a key political decision was made; because, Tusk simply acquiesced to the outline of the Putin and Schroeder’s vision of European politics. What it meant to Russia, was that its primary objective was met.
Q: Were the Russians ready to kill him [Lech Kaczynski] in order to achieve that?
Macierewicz: Immediately after the death of president Kaczynski, the [Polish] Prime Minister Tusk, and President Komorowski began to carry out alternative, pro-Russian policies.
Q: Is it true, that you warned the late president about traveling to Russia on the Russian [made] aircraft?
Macierewicz: I pointed out several issues to the President, including those, related to his personal safety. In particular, beginning with June 1, 2008, when on orders of the Chief of MSWiA [Pol. Abbr. Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnetrznych i Administracji - Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration], and supporting him Prime Minister Tusk, the military entered the Bureau of National Security, [and by doing so] broke every existing law, stole the former WSI [Pol. Abbr. Wojskowe Sluzby Informacyjne – Military Intelligence Services, communist military intelligence agency] files, without even leaving a [proverbial] receipt. Simply put, the BOR [Pol. Abbr. Biuro Ochrony Rzadu – Government Security Bureau – responsible for providing security to the Polish president] security was stripped away; the military entered [the picture], and took whatever they wanted. This was a signal that the state of the President’s security is alarming. But, to bring Poland its sovereignty, President Lech Kaczynski was willing to take even the gravest of risks. This is how he responded to me. He pointed out that he is aware of the dangers. But, he has no choice, but to lay it all on the line, in order to further Poland’s independence. He said: “This [neo-communist] mafia is capable of anything, and you don’t even have any idea what they are capable of doing.” [Bare in mind that] that not only was it the President, who said that to me, but also, he was saying this to someone, who because of his position [in the government], also had access to the information about the dangers posed by the neo-communist mafia, and their numbers.
Q: It wasn’t possible to increase the number of the [presidential] security detail?
Macierewicz: The president was thinking about it, but knew that [had he done something about it] it would have been perfidiously twisted around, and he would have lost any chance of being re-elected. The Tusk’s crew was incapable of accepting it, let alone respecting the necessity to provide the necessary security for the president. Perhaps, he [the president Kaczynski] could have saved his own life, but he would have to forego conducting an independent [foreign and domestic] policy.
Q: So the both Kaczynski brothers were to die?
Macierewicz: Certainly, until April 7th, the Jaroslaw Kaczynski was still on the official passengers’ list.
Q: Could anyone have survived the crash?
The information about the death of all passengers was reported immediately after the crash. There were no rescue operations, and no one ever checked if anyone was still alive.
Q: Could the next year bring a breakthrough, and [finally] the truth about the Smolensk tragedy?
Macierewicz: Our investigation is conducted in several phases. I hope, that in early 2012, we will finalize our work related to reconstruction of the physical course of the crash. The second phase, is to reconstruct the political background of the disaster. [As far as this aspect of the investigation is concerned] we are at quite an advanced stage. The third stage is to establish the list of those who were guilty [of this disaster]. We know, for example, who issued the orders from Moscow, and decided, contrary to the position of the flight controllers in Smolensk, to allow this aircraft to land [at any cause].
Q: One of these controllers, Pavel Plusnin, hinted to the Polish journalists, saying: “I tried to save them”. Does it mean that somebody tried to kill them?
Macierewicz: Good question. The decision was made in Moscow, and [it was] certainly [made] at the rank of a general, who was issuing the orders to Krasnokutsky, or Plusnin. Hence, the resolve to land this plane at any cause, was considerable. At the same time, we aught to remember, that on April 7th, during the visit of Prime Minister Tusk in Katyn, the Russian security units were concentrated around the Katyn’s cemetery. Three days later, on April 10th, during Lech Kaczynski’s planned landing, there were a much larger security forces, and those were concentrated around the airfield. [Among them] were OMON , Spetsnaz - many witnesses had confirmed that - there were also functionaries of the Ministry of Extraordinary Situations. All together, five [security] services, and in surprisingly much larger numbers, were present.
Q: [And there was also] the equipment with which the wreckage was cut; the [aircraft] glass windows were being broken with crowbars. It is incomprehensible in a civilized world. After the Lockerbie tragedy, each and every small piece was collected; the pieces of the aircraft were retrieved from the [bottom of the] sea. In the end, a portion of the aircraft bent by the explosion was located.
Macierewicz: None of the Polish experts examined this wreckage, nor have they examined the wing! We also have to ascertain the responsibility of the Polish side. After all, no guilty were pointed out. To the contrary, the head of the National Security Bureau, Marian Janecki, who is responsible for security planning, and the Smolensk airfield security as well, was inconspicuously promoted.
Q: As if they wanted to tell us: “We will do whatever we want, there is no amount of shame that will stop us, and not a single hair will fall off anyone’s head”?
Macierewicz: Yes. And it prompts yet another question: What binds them with such people as Janicki? Is this a secret; is it a sense of guilt?
Q: Perhaps they fear that it would mean a war?
Macierewicz: This is a subservient, and improbable thinking. The truth doesn’t mean a war. The truth brings you freedom.
Interviewers: Jacek Karnowski & Michal Karnowski, wp.pl
The translation of this original Polish-language interview is published here in accordance with the Greater Public Good Doctrine.
Translated by Jola D.
 "Analysis of the Presidential Plane Crash in Smolensk, Russia, on April 10, 2010" by Dr. Wieslaw K. Binienda, Ph.D.
 OMON (Russian: Отряд милиции особого назначения; Otryad Militsii Osobogo Naznacheniya, Special Purpose Police Unit) (ОМОН) is a generic name for the system of special units of militsiya (police) within the Russian and earlier the Soviet MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs).
 Spetsnaz (Russian: Войска специального назначения, (спецназ, pronounced [spʲɪtsˈnas]) tr: Voyska spetsialnogo naznacheniya) is an umbrella term for any special forces in Russian, literally "special purpose forces". The term can specifically refer to any elite or special purpose units under subordination of the Federal Security Service (abbr. FSB - the successor of KGB), or Internal Troops of Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the units controlled by the military intelligence service GRU, the succesor of NKVD & Smersh.
 See destruction of evidence at the crash site
Dr. Nowaczyk Presentation
Part 1: Smolensk Crash Explained
Part 2: Inconsistencies in Reports
Part 3: Emerging Crash Causes
What was the "Katyn Massacre"?
Arthur Bliss Lane (16 June 1894--12 August 1956) was the United States Ambassador to Poland (1944--1947). While in Poland, Lane was so disappointed that he resigned his post (on February 24, 1947) and wrote the book which detailed what he considered to be the failure of the United States and Britain to keep their promise that the Poles would have a free election after the war. In that book he described what he considered betrayal of Poland by the Western Allies, hence the title, "I Saw Poland Betrayed". The book was translated into Polish and published in this version in the United States, and later by an underground publishing house in Poland in the 1980s.
"Crime Without Punishment"
"[...] But why would Russia wish to sabotage the plane? It was merely a ceremonial visit by the Polish elite to commemorate and mourn the 1940 murder of 22,000 Polish officers and other officials in the Katyn Forest, Russia, by the NKVD – the Soviet secret police. These officers were defenseless prisoners of war (POW), slaughtered in violation of the Geneva Convention. Despite blaming Germany for the massacre, Russia hurriedly acknowledged the event in 1989, and then swept the atrocity out of the history books much the way they airbrush disfavored officials out of photos. The April 2010 Smolensk trip would have reminded the world that the Russians had murdered thousands, and lied about it for decades. It became a problem for the Russians on how to make the planned Smolensk ceremony disappear…quickly.
Of course, part of this is that any major accident wiping out a good measure of a nation's leadership is invariably assured of some investigation by disinterested parties - except in this case, where the Russian government had the "boots on the ground" and the Polish government soon to be under the administration of Donald Tusk and Bronisław Komorowski, had to choose between consolidation of power and some favorable trade agreements with Russia, or a "delicate" situation ...
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