Hawaiian Natives Move One Step Closer to Declaring Sovereignty from U.S. Government

November 6, 2015   |   Carey Wedler

Carey Wedler
November 6, 2015  

(ANTIMEDIA)  Honolulu, HI — This week, Native Hawaiians initiated an historical election that may grant them sovereignty from the United States and the state of Hawaii, itself, after well over a century of colonial rule. More than 95,000 indigenous people will elect delegates to a constitutional convention, scheduled for this winter, when they will work to create a government that serves and represents Native Hawaiians — the only group of indigenous people in the United States currently restricted from forming their own government.

In the 19th century, European and American missionaries and traders began settling in Hawaii. They quickly formed a political movement and succeeded in transferring power from the king to his cabinet and the legislature. Though they drafted a new constitution limiting the king’s control, they also limited the voting rights of Asians and Native Hawaiians while granting that right to wealthy non-citizens.

When the king died and his sister, Queen Liliuokalani, assumed the throne, she attempted to restore power to the monarchy and return voting rights to those who had been excluded by the white settlers. White businessmen disapproved of her intentions and formed the Committee of Safety, which sought to overthrow the Queen and have Hawaii annexed by the U.S. On January 16, 1893, backed by a  militia and 162 U.S. marines, the Committee achieved its goal. The Queen surrendered, and in 1898, Hawaii was annexed by the United States.

The federal government apologized for its colonization of the island and its natives in 1993, but that failed to improve conditions for many indigenous people. According to a government report, Native Hawaiians suffer higher rates of poverty and unemployment than the rest of the population and are underrepresented in business ownership and education. Further, Native Hawaiians “are the racial group with the highest proportion of risk factors leading to illness, disability, and premature death” — a problem compounded by a lack of access to healthcare.

These stark conditions, as well as the state’s imperial history, have led many Native Hawaiians to seek sovereignty from the United States government.

In 2011, Hawaii passed a law to recognize Native Hawaiians as the first people of Hawaii. That bill also established the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to “assemble a list of qualified and interested Native Hawaiian voters” — a move that gave infrastructure to the current push for self-determination.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright ruled to allow the vote, which will not be administered by the state. The month-long election will select 40 delegates to attend a constitutional convention in February. Though delegates will not be elected to any public office, they will be instrumental in deciding how Native Hawaiians will rule themselves. At the eight-week convention scheduled for February, the elected delegates will decide whether or not they want to create a new Native Hawaiian government. If a Native government is formed, delegates will also decide whether to establish a “government-to-government” relationship with the U.S. or seek total independence.

One of the members of the commission, Native Hawaiian Robin Danner, expressed optimism for the new vote:

For the first time in over a hundred years, there will be a definitive voice on Native Hawaiian issues,” she said. “A definitive and recognized government to speak for our culture, our people, our issues, instead of county or state government attempting to have a subcommittee within their agencies or structures to mouthpiece the value of native viewpoints, which has not worked well at all.

However, the process has not been without opposition. In August, two non-native Hawaiians (sponsored by Judicial Watch) sued to stop the vote, claiming it was racially discriminatory — and therefore unconstitutional — because only Native Hawaiians would be allowed to participate. Two Native Hawaiians also joined the suit to protest that their names were added to voter rolls without their consent. Then, two additional Native Hawaiians joined to voice general opposition to the proposed process of attaining self-determination.

Kellii Akina, one of the plaintiffs, said it was “wrong for the state government to use public resources in order to promote a racially discriminatory process.” He added, “What’s really at stake here is not only the constitution of the United States but also the aloha spirit.”

Nevertheless, the case resulted in Judge Seabright’s decision last month to allow the vote. Judicial Watch has since filed an injunction in an attempt to halt the election.

Criticism also came from an unlikely corner: Walter Ritte, a delegate candidate who dropped out of the race last Wednesday, expressed the concerns of many Natives that the government is too involved in the process. For example, though the election is administered privately, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs provided $2.6 million to fund it — evoking protests from plaintiffs in the August suit. Further, the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, which has played an instrumental role in the push for the vote, is after all, a government entity.

Witte argued the proposed path to sovereignty would simply facilitate “continuation of the U.S. goal to illegally occupy the Hawaiian Islands.”

If you’re going to plant a seed that is not pono [righteous],”  he said, “then you’re going to harvest something that is not pono.” He called the election “a fake pathway to nationhood and its disillusioned vision of sovereignty,” encouraging voters to remove themselves from the rolls.

Independent nonprofit Na’i Aupuni, which has campaigned in favor of the vote, quickly responded to Ritte’s criticisms that the proposed path to sovereignty was counterproductive:

“Na`i Aupuni encourages Native Hawaiians to voice their opinion on the Na`i Aupuni process because the voters and delegate candidates should hear all voices.

“However, the fact that some Native Hawaiians protest because they are concerned that their desired outcome will not be accepted emphasizes the need for a Native Hawaiian convention. Without a process to vote in leaders who can advocate among each other to find a consensus, the Native Hawaiian community will never proceed forward in unity,” a statement read.

As Danner, who works for the government-created commission, expressed,Being native in the United States is like living a cycle of grief. Because being native in the United States is to have lost something powerful. First, you’re depressed. Then you’re angry. Then there is some acceptance and then you get to a point where you say, ‘What am I going to do about it?’ As a people I think we are at the stage where we are ready to do something about it.

These divisions highlight a common conflict in American political life that echoes the “lesser of two evils” dilemma: should Hawaiians wait for a purer movement devoid of government influence to seek sovereignty, delaying the process and extending the suppression of their right to form a government? Or should they seize the state-sponsored opportunity they have been offered for the sake of expediency and resolution?

Assuming Judicial Watch’s appeal fails and the vote continues, it appears Hawaiians are one step closer to determining their fate — whether they like it or not.


This article (Hawaii Moves One Step Closer to Declaring Sovereignty from U.S. Government) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: Carey Wedler

Carey Wedler joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in September of 2014. Her topics of interest include the police and warfare states, the Drug War, the relevance of history to current problems and solutions, and positive developments that drive humanity forward. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where she was born and raised.

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49 Comments

  1. the native americans of the main land have suffered a similar fate its hard to fight the largest most powerful nation in the world at this time whos government thinks they above the law and hold nations captive in the name of freedom!! i think every state ,territory and country controlled by the us government should be allowed to vote on wether or not to be part of this nation which was all taken by force many years ago

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  2. Pilau, from beginning to where we are now. A role was created by legislative act 195 without the consent of the kanaka o'iwi.The role was created by rolling over names of kanaka who had signed up for services from OHA but never signed up to participate in this scam. Bascially we have three categories of participants, the unknowing, the unwilling and the dead. The unknowing, people who had their name added without their consent and have no idea they are on the role, the unwilling, those who knew it was a scam had been enlisted without their consent and had themselves removed. And the dead, yes lots of deceased Kanaka o'iwi on the list. How can anything legitimate come from this? No international oversight, no objective third party to observe. Its a joke, a scam, a boondoggle. The current con con is being held by a 501c3 created by OHA, with officials selected by OHA. The DOI has already laid out their rules of engagement which does absolutely nothing for us. We have no say. And we've had no say from the begininng not even the appearance of any community outreach or education. Whoever wrote this article is either completely out of touch or a hired slight of hand.

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  3. This is not giving us complete freedom from the U.S. The U.S will control all of the Hawaiians lands. Robin Danner is a snake and a puppet for the U.S.
    U.S is the worst country in the world!

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  4. Worst in the world? Some of those better than the worst country in the world countries would kill you and your entire extended family for saying anything negative about their superior governments.

    Be grateful this terrible country allows know nothings spout off without reprucussions

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  5. And i know more then you know, you know what i mean, so you fall in that category of "know nothings"

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  6. Hawaii cannot succeed simply because states are not allowed to succeed anymore after the civil war. Even texas cannot succeed now and they had that right written into the contract they signed when they joined. Hawaii is a strategic position and it would set a bad example for the rest of the states if this were allowed. Hawaii has never had a choice they did not want to be a state in the first place

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  7. The U.S. pulls out, China lands.Scarier thought, Russia, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia right behind…..

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  8. It's kindofa shame, isn't it? Btw… in case you find yourself using the word again… it's "secede", not "succeed". 😛

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  9. all countries who have better economies then the united states of america….sounds good to me

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  10. Jon Jones, countries with better economy are not interested because Hawaii would be a heavy drain on their resources.

    Post a Reply
  11. You have a very small world view and I suspect you know a lot less than you think you do. You sound like just another spoiled American who doesn't know how good he has it.

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  13. What about the U.K? Theres a reason the union jack is a part of the flag

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  14. What about people born there who are not Native. .? What about them? Do they get removed?

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  15. I seem to remember a story involving the Chinese government saying they would give weapons and munitions to Hawaiians if independence came down to fighting for it. What happened with that? And why does nobody care at all to help Native Americans? They were the first Natives here. No offense to Hawaiians but Native Americans rights need to be first and foremost. And then the homeless need to be helped, THEN the Hawaiians.

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  18. Laura Andrea Chong are you serious? You work for the Dept of education and make such an uneducated statement? Hawai'i is not a drain on the resources of the USA…. the USA is a drain on our resources…..Unbelievable remarks, SMH

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  19. There is no treaty that annexed Hawaii, so do not be fooled. Hawaii is still an independent and sovereign nation under illegal and prolonged U.S. corporation occupation. Don't waste time and energy on U.S. funded "hawaiian governing entities/Federal Wreckognition", that aim to confuse and hide the facts…No Treaty, No Annexation.

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  20. I find that reasoning somewhat backwards. A state seceeding because it believes it can do better on its own rather than a state seceeding because it wants to continue slavery are 2 different situations altogether. I think the US is simply trying to cover itself to maintain power over a geographical area in times of unpopularity. If we follow the idea that no one can ever leave, than I am afraid we are no better than the English empire. Hence, colonialism is alive and well in the U.S.

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  21. Bee, wherever your born, makes you a native of that country. no, nobody gets removed. this is what i meant, hawaaians shoul govern hawaaians , americans need to worry about continental states not somebody elses freedoms.

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  22. Jon Jones I'm not sure what your definition of "better economies" is, but no matter what it is, you would be wrong.

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  23. What are you even saying… You do understand Native Hawaiians are the indigenous people of Hawai'i, right? Do you think Hawaiians are just people who live in Hawai'i? Come on now, don't talk about issues you don't understand.

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  24. This is a vote for a "dependent nation" similar o hat of American Indians all the freedoms th American Indians have.

    This is not about true sovereignty as an independent nation. This is the US establishing full control over the Kanaka Maoli.

    Even if two people vote, this is going through and all we really get from the representtives are people to inact the established process by the US government to control the Hawaiian people. Sad reallt aht anyone would even think of doing this but when you dangle millions of dollars worth of federal funds….all the politicians really giddy.

    I oppose this process but hope from it comes a true voice of the Hawaiians to the US as to what they really want…restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

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  25. It would set a bad example? The Federal Government needs to get its shit together otherwise states have no option but to press the panic button. You can say we are not allowed to succeed but that won't stop anyone. If anything it adds fuel to the fire.

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  26. If the Hawaiians I know bring the best of their culture forward people will just follow that path ….occupying buildings is just another way to accept our flawed system of modern government …meet you at the shrines and places of refuge.

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  27. What makes you think I'm in school? Know nothings like to assume huh? There's more than one of us or maybe 3. You don't like my opinion then good for you but i speak what i feel. Sorry jenny, we had it better before you Americans came and messed it up. Go learn about our history and then come talk to me, maybe then you'll understand why we feel a certain way. Greedy bastards!

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  28. Greg you Crack me up! Google my name and come up with who? Idiot
    You looking at the wrong guy. Lol

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  29. "…restricted from forming their own government." How are they restricted from forming their own government? Ain't nothing stopping them from doing so except for their own in-fighting. (And the fact that the Feds don't "allow" formation of tribal governments; they recognize pre-existing ones. And the Kingdom of Hawaii (not a ethnically monolith government) hasn't existed in over 120 years. Just saying.)
    Probably a better phrase would be "not enabled by Federal monies to form their own quasi-governmental agency."

    "…quickly formed a political movement and succeeded in transferring power from the king to his cabinet and the legislature." Because the King was corrupt AF, and was ruining business and quality of life for Hawaii's people. Have you ever heard of a head of state taking bribes from opium dealers, and blowing the entire year's budget on a fancy-schmancy house without blowback?

    "…they also limited the voting rights of Asians and Native Hawaiians while granting that right to wealthy non-citizens." The voting requirements excluded "coolies," and placed a property/income requirement on non-white subjects. So while the voting rights of natives wre restricted, they weren't removed entirely.

    "…The federal government apologized for its colonization of the island" (sic). The Feds appologized for their role in the overthrow, not the "colonization" of the islands in that 1993 non-binding statement.

    "According to a government report…" from 1974. That's, like, three iterations of Star Wars. Care to find a more recent source?

    "Independent nonprofit Na’i Aupuni,…". Yes, totally (http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/air-quotes.gif.gif) "independent" non-profit…

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  31. Greg Yamasaki The list of people this country has robbed, dispossessed of their homes and outright murdered is too long to even list. Most of whom died under the labels "collateral damage", "enemies of the State" or the ever popular "its for the children."

    I suppose you never heard about the barman in the Dakotas who did two years for making the comment "I'd like to see a burning Bush." in reference to the Shrubs visit there back in the day. Or the 9/11 witnesses who kept insisting something other than planes brought the Towers down, until they died. Nor is this new news; the amount of witnesses to the assassination of JFK who suffered premature life erasure was well outside the stats. Just sayin……….

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  33. I've been researching Sovereignty and the first step is for Hawaiians to refute the birth certificate fraud / scam. Then remove their addresses from CUSIP so mail received is not under the State jurisdiction. Then you can remove all property from any State jurisdiction and actually own that property without being (en) titled to the State. When sufficient brave souls do this the State Sovereignty can be restored.

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  34. I am very interested in this because around the same time frame my grandfather had his ranch in Texas taken from him after his parents died – the foreman drove him off, then took the ranch when he was 8 years old. Also, another of my ancestors was a famous nobleman in France who was stripped of his lands when he refused to obey laws that required him to subject his people to tyranny. I mean, how far are we going to go back in history? I think if you can prove something was taken from your family within a generation or two it is one thing. Once we go back 100 years isn't it a bit much? Isn't there a point at which people have to suck it up and live with what happened to their ancestors? Going back into history when we have billions of people on this earth with ancestors that have suffered will open up a can of worms I can't imagine would help our already clogged up legal system.

    Finally, women have had terrible things happen to them, including being enslaved, raped, beaten, impregnated and not given a vote or choice. They were treated like chattel within the legal system and did not get the vote until the 1920s in the US. Can we go back over 100 years and then sue to recover damages for the way our grandmothers and great grandmothers were treated?

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  35. This article is loaded with disinformation. It would help if she researched Hawaiian history and put things in its proper context. For me to correct her errors of disinformation, I would have to rewrite the entire article. Remember, the King was the boss and makes the decisions; not racist U.S. foreigners that make up their own history. The King was cognizant that there were many countries in the world and European countries were going around the world to covet other nations. He wanted to know how they all inter-related with each other and chose to align Hawaii with the European nations. Hawaii was a nation since 1795 and in 1843 the major nations began to recognized the sovereign independence of the Kingdom of Hawaii which then became the first non-European country to join the family of nations.

    The Kingdom of Hawaii was lawlessly and belligerently occupied by the United states in 1893; and has since violated the laws of occupation and disregards the internationally recognized status of Hawaii's neutrality status. Thus, the Kingdom of Hawaii is a constitutional monarchy as in Great Britain; has its own government and laws (known today and renamed the (U.S.) State of Hawaii; it had its own postal stamps and currency; and it still exists albeit under the U.S. belligerent occupation. There were 15% Hawaiian Kingdom subjects that were not Polynesian-Hawaiian but of various ethnicity. Hawaii was a progressive, modern country of its day and one of the richest per capita in the 1800s.

    The U.S. is attempting to deflect its international crimes against the Kingdom of Hawaii by deception and fraud in creating a Hawaiian U.S. indienous, domestic tribe. The Turpie Resolution of 1894 and the Ku'e petitions od 1897 details the resistence against the U.S. crimes and annexation. It defeated the treaty of annexation which U.S. Congress rejected. There is not treaty of anneation and the Newlands Resolution is not lawful outside its own country. The U.S. is obligatted to comply with the laws of occupation and must de-occupy the Kingdom of Hawaii.

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  36. U.S. international crimes such as committed in Hawaii has no statute of limitations. Stick to the issue!

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  37. The Kingdom of Hawaii was not colonized; it was a sovereign, independent nation recognized throghout the world and had over 90 consulates and legations all over the world. Go to hawaiiankingdom.org to learn about Hawaii.

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  38. There is no treaty of annexation or cessation; thus, there is no seceding issue with Hawaii; to adjucate justice, it would be de-occupation which the U.S> is obligated to do and is continuously violating the laws of occupation.

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  39. There cannot be a vote for a dependent nation as the indian tribes have. The Kingdom of Hawaii is a recognized independent nation under lawless U.S. beligerent occupation. The only resolution is for the U.S. to de-ocupy Hawaii. Our government still exists; but renamed by the U.S. as the State of Hawaii.

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  40. The answer is for the U.S. to de-occupy the Kingdom of Hawaii and to observe the Hawaiian Kingdom's international status as a neutral nation which was established and recognized even by the United States of America.

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  41. We are Kingdom of Hawaii subjects/citizens under U.S. belligerent occupation. Ours is an international issue; your issue deals with U.S. domestic issue; both are not in conflict.

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  42. Bee Allfree go to hawaiiankingdom.org and you'll better understand what Hawaii is all about. Also, understand the laws of occupation and how it would deal with Hawaii. Those that moved to Hawaii from the U.S. is in violation of these laws. We Hawaiian subjects were forced against our will to assimilate to the Americanization of Hawaii. The Nuremburg Pact declares this an international war crime as in the Germanization of Europe during Hitler's campaign. We were never colonized by the U.S. since we were already an internationally recognized independent Christian nation since 1839. As we were forced off our lands; it will be reclaimed through the de-occupation process and the return of our still-existing government which the U.S. renamed the State of Hawaii. U.S. Americans will have a choice to naturalize to the Hawaiian Kingdom if they so choose under the Kingdom's naturalization laws; and no, one cannot have dual citizenship since it was used only for those commissioned in service of the Hawaiian Kingdom government.

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  43. Harry, et al. The argument if not the U.S. than an other country would takeover Hawaii is a vacuous one. It was coined in 1826 when John Quincy Adams stated that if the U.S. didn't influence or control Hawaii, another country would (such as Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany,etc.) Since 1839, European countries began to recognize the Kingdom of Hawaii as an independent sovereign nation-state and up to 1893 when the U.S. belligerently occupied Hawaii there were treaties with about 25 nations, including the U.S.A. The only country to break its treaties and disregard Hawaii's international status of neutrality has been only the lawless U.S.A. This should reveal something to you. It would be wise to refrain from using this fatuous argument.

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  44. Tane Inciong
    I believe you are going to find that the governments around the world will be very unwilling to begin to pay reparations because it attempts to repair something that happened well over a century ago and it is not fair to the people who are living today to go back in time to open up that can of worms. England enacted laws that killed 2-3 million Irish by starving them to death back around the same time and that forced huge numbers of the remaining Irish to move out of Europe and over to America and around the world. Are the Irish going to get reparations from England for the loss of their lands and people? 6 million Jews were cooked in ovens and stripped of everything they had, including the gold fillings in their teeth – are we going to get Germany to pay back the Jews? Are the Native Americans going to be paid for their lands and the deaths that occurred during the 1800s? And if we do that won't the people in America who had not one single thing to do with what happened have to pay? How is that fair? Because the larger issue is the fact that so much time has elapsed you aren't gong to be punishing the people who committed the international crime, rather, you are punishing innocent people who had nothing to do with what occurred.

    I've had crimes committed against me. I'm not talking about something that happened to my ancestor, but something that happened to me back in the 1970s and 80s. It took many years to understand that the anger, the hurt and the bitterness over something that changed me forever would not do me any good. Other people really didn't care about what happened to me and I had to learn to let it go and move on. It sounds like this is an idea that will make you angry, but I get to have an opinion and my opinion is that the bitterness over something that happened so long ago will not help you deal with your issues today. If you look at this on a spiritual level you might realize that a huge part of why things unfolded the way they did in Hawaii was that your ancestors were kind, decent, sweet, welcoming people who were easy to take advantage of back then. Lots of bad things have happened to our ancestors, but I feel in my heart that both my ancestors and your ancestors would say, "What are you doing about your life today? That bitterness and anger you are treasuring so much is actually what is eating away at you."

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