Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

A detail from a PPP party security adviser shows a very determined technique-

However, AP quoted a PPP security adviser as saying she was shot in the neck and chest as she got into her vehicle, before the gunman blew himself up.

Updated from later post: Reading around about Benazir Bhutto’s assassination you find a morass of theories and projection of propaganda and you also come across a lot of articles and reports that reference her killing (forgetting the other victims) before plunging into what they really want to talk about-what it means for America and the west-. Way to show some empathy scumbags, never mind the dead people whose country we have been fucking over with our great game intrigues, let’s talk about what it means for us. They’ll be time for that, but can we respond to this as fellow humans first and acknowledge some responsibility, there just seems a strain of that ‘the Iraqis have to stand on their own feet’ colonial exasperation at the mess that we in fact helped make.

Imperial Scribes- Anita Powell In Ethiopia

Anita Powell writing for the AP manages a long article about a gathering tension towards war between Ethiopia and Eritrea and yet something is missing from her long piece…she writes-

Ethiopia sent military support to Somalia last year to drive a radical Islamic group from power, and is now fighting alongside Somali government troops beset by remnants of the Islamic force waging an Iraq-style insurgency.

Which I think is comparable to the Kremlin-tastic: Afghanistan inviting the USSR to invade. Although it differs in that it completely omits the fact of the main protagonists involvement, America’s active military role in the invasion of Somalia-

On December 4 (2006), General John Abizaid, the commander of US forces from the Middle East through Afghanistan, arrived in Addis Ababa to meet the Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi. Officially, the trip was a courtesy call to an ally. Three weeks later, however, Ethiopian forces crossed into Somalia in a war on its Islamist rulers, and this week the US launched air strikes against suspected al-Qaida operatives believed to be hiding among the fleeing Islamist fighters. “The meeting was just the final handshake,” said a former intelligence officer familiar with the region.

Pentagon officials and intelligence analysts say a small number of US special forces were on the ground before Ethiopia’s intervention in an operation planned since last summer, soon after the Islamic Courts Union took control of Mogadishu. Press reports have said US special forces also accompanied the Ethiopian troops crossing into Somalia.

She also omits the state departments work in the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission which is far from straight forward, US operative Jendayi Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs is a republican pro-military Rice clone, in fact she was at Stanford where Rice previously served as Provost. So something was very odd in what happened, unfortunately this comes from John Bolton, so truth is fairly liquid, but something was amiss-

In his recently published memoir – “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad” (Threshold Editions) – former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton states that in February 2006, Jendayi Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs informed him that she wanted him to “reopen” the 2002 EEBC decision. Bolton describes his surprise at Frazer’s position, because in January 2006, he had gotten the Security Council to agree to a Frazer-led “U.S. initiative” on the border issue. Bolton believed that the “Initiative” would focus solely on the expeditious implementation of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission’s (EEBC) Final and Binding decision delivered on 13 April 2002. He was in for a surprise. Here is what he wrote on the now infamous Page 347:

“…For reasons I never understood Frazer reversed course, and asked in early February to reopen the 2002 decision, which she had concluded was wrong, and award a major piece of disputed territory to Ethiopia. I was at a loss how to explain that to the Security Council, so I didn’t…”

Eritreans who had always suspected the State Department’s underhanded and illegal attempts to amend, change, revise and reverse the Final and Binding EEBC decision in order to appease their ally, Meles Zenawi, the leader of the mercenary minority regime in Ethiopia, were not surprised by Bolton’s revelations. Today, Jendayi Frazer who had openly and vocally defended and supported Meles Zenawi’s obstruction of international law, invasion and occupation of Somalia finds herself defending her actions and denying Bolton’s accusations by presenting even more contradictory statements on the Eritrea Ethiopia demarcation issue and US policy.

Powell writes-

After the war ended, the international Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission gave the town to Eritrea, but Ethiopia has not conceded. Late last month, the panel ended its work after both countries failed to allow it to physically mark out the border, and formally grant Badme to Eritrea. The panel said it considers its work done, and that Badme belongs to Eritrea.

A sort of sophomoric ‘oh won’t both sides just be sensible’ approach often used in regard to Israel and Palestine which largely ignores the greater injustices being experienced by the side not favoured by America and the other territorial issues. But her own empire friendly smushing gives us the Pravda tip- if the EEBC awarded Badme to Eritrea which they are happy with, how come ‘both’ countries are preventing the demarcation. Clearly it is the sulky Ethiopia who rejects the commission but as it is a US ally it gets a pass and we are left thinking another war by intransigent nations with the peace loving US trying to be impartial referee is about to kick off.

Whereas Ethiopia is a US ally and client state led by Meles Zenawi who even now is locking up anyone who notices he fiddled the last election (a true Bush protégé), a former communist who now espouses neo-liberalisation and hung with Tony. Somalia has become a disaster, so the discretion about US involvement is most polite, although y’know, the press is not actually the official PR wing of the empire. So very possibly any minute now we will get flak jacketed reporters looking heroic on Eritrea/Ethiopia battle lines and the narrative of warring Africans will be rolled out with zero mention of how we were right in there handing them the guns and saying- ‘I heard them say your mum was fat, I wouldn’t take that if I were you, oh and when you get back we’ll do those contracts yeah?’

A much better piece on the coming wars in Africa can be found at Black Agenda Report by Glen Ford-

A largely Muslim country that won independence from Ethiopia in 1993 in a socialist- guided war of liberation, Eritrea fought another two-year border war with Ethiopia (1998-2000) before international mediators fixed the lines of demarcation. Tensions remained extremely high, and have been exacerbated by Washington’s opportunistic decision to take Ethiopia’s side in a dispute that the world considered settled. Eritrea now plays the role of Syria and Iran in the U.S. State Department’s cookie-cutter formula for American “war on terror” aggression: the designated demon.

All of East Africa south to the border of Mozambique falls under the purview of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, a wing of the U.S. Central Command (the war-wagers in Iraq): Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Yemen, the Comoros Islands, Mauritius, and Madagascar (Malagasy Republic).

Stretching across the breadth of Africa, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Sudan, is the U.S. “war on terror” apparatus dubbed the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative. Designed, like its predecessor, the Pan-Sahel Initiative, as a means of luring African military commanders into the U.S. orbit through “general-to-general” and “captain-to-captain” collaboration – and, of course, lots of U.S. equipment and training (and officer-to-officer bribery) – the Initiative coordinates U.S. military activity in Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, and Tunisia.

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Oz Dumps ID

Hint, hint-

Opponents of Australia’s controversial Access Card received an early Christmas present earlier this month when the incoming Rudd Labor Government finally axed the controversial ID program.

Update: Via Boing Boing, are they just shifting the goalposts (which would be a sad sign Aussie Labor have gone the way of NuLab).

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Lockdown Addicts

Never mind the hoo-hah of the tories wanting more armed police, because-

Overall, the number of authorised firearms officers went down from 6,738 in 1997 to 6,584 in 2006, with reported firearms offences rising more than 10%.

So less than 200 and 10%, is reporting uniform over the years, population growth blah blah, effect of statistical targets? And they all now have Tasers to satisfy you law ‘n’ order freaks but…so we still haven’t grown past responding to every instance of crime with calls for yet more police with greater firepower, because y’know nothing could go wrong with that and it has certainly worked in the past, ahem.
The more unequal a society becomes the more crime will happen (far beyond that inevitable base level due to the human condition in all its complexities) and the tories would increase that inequality (as Nulab have done) so no wonder they want better guards to keep the peasants from their gold piles. And after all ambitious gun owners are simply following the dog eat dog capitalist environment in which they find themselves, usually the gun violence is overseas against state targets, these people are just bringing it home. An elite that prospers by war sends a message to those at the bottom with comparable levels of ruthlessness. Wanna get ahead? Get a gat.

Repeatedly progressives measures in drugs, gangs and prostitution have been rebuffed by the government as going off prejudice and ignorance, they think, gets them more votes. Again with a conservative administration in power the tory opposition is actually criticising them not for going against their policies but by not implementing them extremely enough. A race to the bottom, a race to the lockdown state.

Italia Magnifico!

monica-bellucci-picture-4.jpg

Once again not just for Ms. Bellucci *sigh* (damn you Cassel, damn you to hell!) but for opening up the can of worms labelled ‘Condor’-

Prosecutors in Italy have issued arrest warrants for 140 people over a decades-old plot by South American dictatorships called Operation Condor.

Now the BBC are ever so polite about Condor, so let’s just lay out the real deal-

 a shadowy Latin American military network created in the 1970s whose key members were Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil, later joined by Peru and Ecuador. Condor was a covert intelligence and operations system that enabled the Latin American military states to hunt down, seize, and execute political opponents across borders. Refugees fleeing military coups and repression in their own countries were “disappeared” in combined transnational operations. The militaries defied international law and traditions of political sanctuary to carry out their ferocious anticommunist crusade…The “anticommunist crusade” became a crusade against the principles and institutions of democracy and against progressive and liberal as well as revolutionary forces, and the national security states institutionalized state terrorism.

To the U.S. national security apparatus–which fostered the new continent-wide security doctrine in its training centers, such as the Army School of the Americas in Panama–and most of the Latin American militaries, the Cold War represented World War III, the war of ideologies. Security forces in Latin America classified and targeted persons on the basis of their political ideas rather than illegal acts. The regimes hunted down dissidents and leftists, union and peasant leaders, priests and nuns, intellectuals, students and teachers–not only guerrillas (who, under international law, are also entitled to due process).

Declassified U.S. documents make clear that U.S. security officers saw Condor as a legitimate “counterterror” organization. One 1976 DIA report stated, for example, that one Condor team was “structured much like a U.S. Special Forces Team,” and described Condor’s “joint counterinsurgency operations” to “eliminate Marxist terrorist activities.” This report noted that Latin American military officers bragged about Condor to their U.S. counterparts. Numerous other CIA, DIA, and State Department documents referred to Condor as a counterterror or countersubversive organization and some described its assassination capability in a matter-of-fact manner. In 1978, for example, the CIA wrote that by July 1976 “the Agency was receiving reports that Condor planned to engage in `executive action’ outside the territory of member countries.” In fact, the documentary evidence shows that the CIA was fully aware of such capabilities and operations years earlier.

And of course our ‘enry,

 A September 20th cable from Kissinger’s top deputy on Latin America, discovered by Archive analyst Carlos Osorio, instructed U.S. ambassadors in the region to “take no further action” on deterring Condor plots because “there have been no reports in some weeks indicating an intention to activate the Condor scheme.”

The next day, a bomb planted by agents of the Chilean secret police exploded under the car of Pinochet’s leading critic in the United States, Orlando Letelier, killing him and his American colleague Ronni Moffitt. Until the attacks on 9/11, the Letelier-Moffitt assassination was considered the most egregious act of international terrorism ever committed in Washington D.C.

Gee, I guess the intelligence was ‘wrong’ just like those gosh darned ‘mistakes’ made over Iraq WMD. Oh the CIA, those bumbling muppets!

Put The Needle On The Record

Christmas Wrapping- The Waitresses.

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Baby Jeebus Needs Drugs

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I am driven with a mission from God’. God would tell me, ‘George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’. And I did. And then God would tell me ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’. And I did.”

What has the ‘Christian’ George Bush and his fundamentalist infiltrated military given Iraqis this Christmas-

  • Acute malnutrition among young children here has nearly doubled since the U.S.-led invasion began in 2003, according to UNICEF and other aid agencies.
  • no one is sure how many children have been killed or maimed since the war began.
  • Dr. Lynne Jones, a child psychiatrist with the International Medical Corps has worked with children scarred by wars in Bosnia, Africa, and Iraq, says though the war is producing a generation of deeply scarred young people, there is a lack of professional help available.
  • Save the Children, another aid organization, closed its operations earlier this year after 15 years in the country. The Iraqi Red Crescent Society has been forced to suspend a program for children suffering from war trauma because of lack of funding.
  • Of the 2,000 adults interviewed in the Association of Iraqi Psychologists study, which surveyed people in all 18 Iraqi provinces, 92 percent said they feared being killed in an explosion. Some 60 percent of those interviewed said the level of violence had caused them to have panic attacks, which prevented them from going out because they feared they would be the next victims.

And all is quiet in Bethlehem, thanks to the armed guards-

The sound of church bells, drums and bagpipes filled Manger Square as religious and political leaders arrived in the town where Christians believe Jesus was born. Ahead of the festivities, Palestinian security forces, many carrying newly issued rifles, took up positions on the streets of Bethlehem in numbers not seen in years. It was the third major deployment of Palestinian forces in a West Bank city under a Western-backed security push launched after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June.

Most residents still cannot work in Jerusalem and travel freely to other Palestinian towns because of Israeli restrictions and the barrier that cuts into West Bank land that Palestinians want for a state. Middle East envoy Tony Blair has been trying to improve tourist access and facilities in Bethlehem. The former British prime minister recently stayed overnight in one of the city’s best hotels to send a message it is safe.

Yeah because the levels of protection Blair gets would be exactly the same for everyone else, they probably even made sure there were no cluster bombs on his pillow, after all the IAF do love to spread ’em around-

Israeli military prosecutors have decided not to take any legal action over Israel’s use of cluster bombs during last year’s war in Lebanon, the army said Monday, closing an investigation into a practice that has drawn heavy criticism from the UN and international human rights groups.

The United Nations and human rights groups have accused Israel of dropping about four million cluster bomblets during its 34-day war against the Hezbollah guerrilla group. They say as many as one million bomblets failed to explode and now endanger civilians. More than 30 people have been killed by cluster bomb and landmine explosions in Lebanon since the 2006 summer war.

Amnesty International has harshly criticized Israel for bombing civilian areas and using cluster bombs during the fighting. It also has criticized Hezbollah for firing nearly 4,000 rockets at Israeli cities and towns. The fighting left 159 Israelis dead, including 119 soldiers, while in Lebanon more than 1,000 people died, most of them civilians, according to counts by human rights groups, the Lebanese government and The Associated Press.

And nothing like holding peace talks while annexing land-

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met late Monday for a second time since relaunching the Middle East peace process, with Jewish settlements once again overshadowing the talks. Teams headed by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian ex-premier Ahmed Qorei met late in the day at a Jerusalem hotel, officials on both sides said.

The meeting came a day after it was revealed that Israel was planning to expand two settlements in occupied Palestinian territory next year. The Palestinians, who have demanded that Israel freeze all settlement activity, slammed the move — the second settlement expansion announced since peace talks were revived at a US conference in November.

And calling a siege a ‘war’-

“There is no other way to describe what is happening in the Gaza Strip except as a true war between the Israeli army and terrorist elements,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet, ruling out truce talks. Reports of truce feelers from the embattled Islamic Hamas regime in Gaza have been surfacing almost daily, and Israeli defense officials have said they are examining the proposals.

The unconfirmed reports have Hamas convincing fellow militants in Gaza to stop their daily rocket fire at southern Israel, while Israel halts its air and ground operations in Gaza.

Meanwhile can you reconcile this on another front-

Afghanistan is estimated this year to have produced 93 percent of the world’s illegal opium — about 8,200 tons, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

With-

Although opium was one of the chief exports of British India and the country still produces more for the legal morphine industry than any other country, few Indians benefit. They end up like millions of the world’s poor: spending their last days writhing in agony, wishing death would hurry.

So a smidgeon of rich greed & big pharma price control-

Citizens of rich nations suffer less. Six countries – the United States, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia – consumed 79 percent of the world’s morphine according to a 2005 estimate. The poor and middle-income countries where 80 percent of the world’s people live consumed only about 6 percent.

And war on drugs hysteria-

the state laws enforcing the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, passed in 1985 to curb drug trafficking, are complex and harsh. The book outlining them is 1,642 pages long, and even minor infractions can mean 10-year prison sentences. Legal morphine use in India plummeted 97 percent after 1985, reaching a low of 40 pounds in 1997. It has crept up since then, but India has stopped reporting data to the International Narcotics Control Board, which oversees drug treaties.

“It’s the intense fear of addiction, which is often misunderstood,” said David Joranson, director of the Pain Policy Study Group at the University of Wisconsin’s medical school, who has worked to change drugs laws around the world. “Pain relief hasn’t been given as much attention as the war on drugs has.”

Third world doctors, he explained, often have beliefs about narcotics that prevailed in Western medical schools decades ago – that they are inevitably addictive, carry high risks of killing patients and must be used sparingly, even if patients suffer.

Suffering, ever so christmassy. But chin up, our lovely Queen will not only do her seasonal broadcast, she’s now got her own youtube account. Which is great, nothing like an ancient royal family being relevant & ‘down with the kids’ by filling in a youtube sign up form, well her servants did. Although it smacked of trying too hard by opening with her own rendition of 2 girls 1 cup, even with the royal ‘we’ she does not count as more than one person, but kudos on involving the corgis.

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Merry Mixtape

Via The Happy Famous Artists

Featuring-

A Special Personalized Christmas Greeting to You from all the Retailers of America is performed by Erik Lindgren while you get off at the Railway Stop. Then there will be a fine Merry Christmas Baby sung by you most appreciated Mae West. Velvet Santa by Divide and Kreate will get you into the mood and perhaps some of the most hot hearted girls in the dancing shoes! To cater for my Asian friends I selected a Korean version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Good King Wenceslas will be performed by my dear friend Korla Pandit who will also cater for some damn hot Muslim snack food. The Merry Christmas Polka by Jim Reeves is for those who already are in the mood for some naughty love wandering in the woods, but beware – it can be cold out there when you plan to bear some of your flesh! With her Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), Darlene Love will call you all back to my railroad shack where I will announce a very special performance…. Little Drummer Boy & Silent Night by Jimi Hendrix, yes folks, even druggie drummer boys get silent once a night. The Sesame Street Cast will then Wish You a Merry Christmas to introduce the more adventurous among you to a Sleigh Ride by The Ronettes. Those who prefer to stay next to the fire and take off some of their clothing will be invited to do so by Miss Frenchie’s White Christmas (Electro Mix). Of course we don’t want to disappoint the lovers of some classic Christmas music, so I was thinking of Jingle Bells by Dean Martin, albeit a Dan the Automator Mix – you don’t mind since Dean’s bones weren’t really fit for shake anymore. To please all you Heavenly Creatures of course I also just had to invite Mario Lanza to perform his so touching version of O Christmas Tree. Which brings us to the Lonely Siberian Winter Dj John will tell you all about. Since he’s also ever so lonely I thought I’d bring in some Snow for Johnny by Burl Ives. But then he found out that The Hat I Got for Christmas is too Beeg so Mel Blanc will also be there to prepare your horses for another Sleigh Ride by the Flying W Wranlers. I guess by then everybody will be completely naked in my overheated love shack by the railroad track which is just perfect to turn loose Jingle Hell by the Space Negroes.

With Friends Like These

Uzbekistan have just re-elected their leader-

Uzbekistan’s authoritarian President Islam Karimov won a new term in office with 88.1 percent of the votes in an election dismissed by critics as a sham, according to figures released by the Central Elections Commission on Monday.

And Ethiopia are trying to lock up anyone who found a few things amiss with their election-

An Ethiopian court has convicted two rights activists of inciting an uprising against the government. Bekele, who worked for ActionAid, and Netsanet, who worked for an aid group supported by ActionAid, were involved in deploying observers at polling stations in and around the capital, Addis Ababa.

But don’t worry they are our allies fighting for freedom and democracy and…er, um puppies?

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There Is No Part Of This Story That Isn’t Sickly, Ironically Funny

Ex- RUC officer who is ‘used to liaising with the British army ‘ signs up to mercenary firm ArmorGroup, deploys to Iraq where his corporate bosses tell him not to pass on intelligence to the British Army about militia infiltration of the Basra police.

“Why? Because our bosses and probably, in turn, the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] didn’t want to expose how corrupt and infiltrated by the militia the police were.” 

He is a comedy god.

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Emma Vandore: Missionary For The Church Of The Free Market

Doing sterling work in the ‘media’ at the Associated Press in France, behold a glorious prayer to the market where talking about Sarkozy’s policies on labour she quotes economists, bankers, government advisers, but of course absolutely no union people or workers. For the market must be kept pure from such heretical human propaganda only the anointed in their finery must be heard raising their voices to the heavens in praise of the holy sacraments. And soon the fire of poverty shall burn the unbelievers and capital shall look down and see it is good.

Amen.

Naomi Klein On New Orleans

The final showdown over New Orleans public housing is playing out in dramatic fashion right now. The conflict is a classic example of the “triple shock” formula at the core of the doctrine.

– First came the shock of the original disaster: the flood and the traumatic evacuation.

– Next came the “economic shock therapy”: using the window of opportunity opened up by the first shock to push through a rapid-fire attack on the city’s public services and spaces, most notably it’s homes, schools and hospitals.

-Now we see that as residents of New Orleans try to resist these attacks, they are being met with a third shock: the shock of the police baton and the Taser gun, used on the bodies of protestors outside New Orleans City Hall yesterday.

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Murder In Plain Sight

Statement from Michael Moore on the Death of Nataline Sarkisyan

“Today I call upon the Los Angeles district attorney to investigate and consider bringing criminal homicide charges against CIGNA Health Care for their role in the death of Nataline Sarkisyan. If their decision was one of incompetence, then manslaughter charges should be filed. If it was a premeditated decision — where CIGNA knew in advance that Nataline would most likely die — then their corporate officers should be arrested and the full extent of the law brought to bear upon them.

“This is one more example why we not only need universal health care for all our citizens, but also to eliminate the concept of private, profit-driven ‘health care.’ Nearly every candidate running for president has a plan that leaves companies like CIGNA in charge. This must not happen and I call upon the democratic frontrunners to show some spine and say so.”

Or y’know, keep getting killed so corporations can make greater profits. Hey wouldn’t it be cool if there was like an election coming up and you could do something about this.

Shocked I tells Ya, Shocked

The art market is corrupt, full of shady accounting practices and manipulates demand to inflate prices in a celebrity obsessed clientèle? Whatever next? Will the sun rise tomorrow? Best send a reporter to the horizon to report back in case it does.

Also tories raise money in dodgy ways!!!

And the nuclear industry concentrates on issues of carbon emissions to back a huge subsidy and increase in Britain’s nuclear infrastructure.

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Scrooge Motherfuckers

Thousands of workers are being short-changed by firms who refuse to pay the national minimum wage, a survey for union organisation the TUC found. Around 150,000 staff are being denied rate of £5.52 an hour for adults and £4.60 for 18 to 21-year-olds, it says. Those in restaurants, hotels, cleaning, hairdressing and childcare were said to be the most likely to be underpaid.

But y’know let’s not then also make the mistake of taking the minimum wage as a living wage. It is the least legally possible to pay a human being, not an amount to aim at thinking ‘wow what a great business I run, I pay my people the least legal minimum, aren’t I a genius’.

Helpline to report Scrooge McBastards – Employers can be reported to the minimum wage helpline on 0845 6000 678.  

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