No. 28November 23, 2019

2019 Halifax International Security Forum

Information About the Agenda,
Partners and Sponsors

Protest against the 2016 Halifax International Security Forum.

• Topical Agenda

• Partners and Sponsors

• Media Partners: "Thought Leaders"

2019 Topical Agenda

This year's topical agenda gives an idea of the preoccupations of those coming to participate in the 2019 Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) war conference, targeting issues and countries that need to be "rescued" by U.S.-led imperialist intervention.  

Plenary Sessions (On-the-Record)

These will be on video on the website and broadcast on CPAC.

1. Revolutions of Our Time: Freedom Without U.S.

2. Values Trade: Our Way or the Huawei

3. The World's Democracies: The Importance of Being Allies

4. Institution Evolution: International Law and Global Order

5. End of the Earth: The Arctic

6. 2020s Vision: Responsibility to Pro-Tech

7. Security Solutions, Women's Contributions

8. Revolutions and their Remains

Informal Sessions (Off-the-Record)

1. Afghanistan and Iraq: America's Long Goodbye

2. Arab Spring Review: Renew

3. Brexit Forever

4. Brutal Borders

5. Child Soldiers: Stop the Tragedy

6. The Chinese Century is Coming: That's What Xi Said

7. Climate: Change

8. Climate of Conciliation: Reaching the Skeptics

9. Democracy in a Digital World

10. Global Energy, Renewable Threats

11. Hong Kong's Summer, China's Fall

12. India à la Modi

13. Iran Provokes, the World Chokes

14. Israel's Friends, and Neighbors

15. Make Elections Safe Again

16. NATO@70: The Trials and Tribulations of Being America's Ally

17. Our Allies: Our China Challenge

18. Out of Control: Nukes Without Treaties

19. Russia and China in Africa: The New Scramble

20. Space: The Final Command

21. Sudan's Success: Transition in Progress

22. Tokyo -- Seoul: Past Problems, Future Friends

23. Trading With Trump: Art of the Deal

24. Turkey: It's Istanbul, Not Constantinople

25. Ukraine: All Hands On

26. Venezuela: Revolution Betrayed

27. White Supremacists and the Changing Face of Terror

28. Who's Your Data?

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Partners and Sponsors


The 2019 Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) has designated the following as its "Partners":

- Halifax Canada Club, which presently has four members:

- ATCO (Canada)
- Çalık Holding (Turkey)
- OYAK (Turkey)
- Boeing (U.S.)

- Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
- Department of National Defence (DND) (Canada)

This initiative to involve monopolies and corporate executives in the HISF as "partners" is in conformity with strategies elaborated in the U.S. (such as in the Princeton Project on National Security). The purpose is to "form elite regional opinion" by bringing together "leading thinkers" in academia, business and non-profit sectors in countries targeted for annexation by the United States, as well as the supranational arms and energy monopolies, to work out how to usurp control over the natural and human resources and over the state itself.

Some of these are profiled below to give a sense of the interests which set the agenda of the HISF and its aims.

Halifax Canada Club

The Halifax Canada Club was formed on August 14, 2012, beginning as a "public-private partnership" between the Harper government and the Calgary-based and U.S.-owned MEG Energy Corp. This can be seen as part of the arrangements by U.S. imperialism to secure the oil supplies it needs and to usurp control over Canadian energy resources.

Membership in the "club" is by invitation and organized directly from Washington, DC, like most everything else about the HISF. Joseph Hall, then HISF Vice-President and an experienced former operative of the National Democratic Institute in the Middle East, was put in charge of recruitment.


ATCO is an Alberta-based holding company with nearly 7,000 employees and assets of $21 billion. It is involved in pipelines, natural gas and electricity in Canada and Australia through ATCO Australia Pty Ltd. Canadian Utilities Ltd., member of the ATCO Group of companies, is a worldwide organization of companies with assets of approximately $7.3 billion and more than 6,500 employees, in three main business divisions: Power Generation, Utilities (natural gas and electricity transmission and distribution) and Global Enterprises (technology, logistics, and energy services).

On the "About Us" section of its website, ATCO says in part:

"With diverse products and services across many industries, we are one-stop provider of integrated energy, housing, transportation and infrastructure solutions. We provide customers with innovative, sustainable solutions in the sectors that are fundamental to global growth and prosperity: housing, real estate, energy, water, transportation and agriculture. [...]"

No mention is made of any military involvement. On the HISF website, however, its links to the military industry are specifically highlighted:

"For more than 70 years, ATCO has provided military support services, shelter solutions, logistics and energy services worldwide. As a company built upon the belief that strong partnerships form the basis of safe and prosperous communities, ATCO supports the collaborative vision of the Halifax Canada Club."

CEO Nancy Southern has attended the HISF since 2013 when MEG Energy, also of the Calgary "oil patch," launched the Halifax Canada Club. Southern is the daughter of the late Ron Southern who owned an estimated 81 per cent control of ATCO. Its aging board of directors includes former CEOs of Royal Dutch Shell and BMO Capital Markets. Ron Southern was offered a position by the Mulroney Government in the 1980s on the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) which "oversees" CSIS. He was one of only 13 Canadian members of the globalist Trilateral Commission,[1] of which his daughter is now a member. He was known as a royalist and, according to his obituary in the National Post, was a frequent guest at Buckingham Palace.

ATCO's involvement in war preparations is from the side of logistics. Preparing war is not as straightforward as producing more fighters and weapon systems. Nothing is possible without logistics and infrastructure, along with the political, economic and ideological preparations. That is what is given the highest priority as NATO intensifies war preparations.

ATCO is a major DND and NATO contractor. It operates the Kandahar International Airport in occupied Afghanistan and bases in Kosovo, Bosnia and Canada, including in the Canadian Arctic. Its subsidiary ATCO Frontec specializes in rapid mobilization and the provision of services to NATO, U.S. and Canadian Forces as well as resource and telecommunications sectors.

In the past 25 years, the feverish expansion of military forces and spending in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq wars of occupation presented ATCO with new opportunities. How imperial occupation and aggression is privatized and monopolies enriched is illustrated by contracts awarded to ATCO Frontec by NATO's Maintenance and Supply Agency in Luxemburg (now the NATO Support Agency) to manage the whole Kandahar International Airport. This included providing all the information and communications systems and services related to it (air traffic control, systems administration), the facilities operation and administration (electrical, water and sewage systems), the maintenance of vehicles and technical equipment (servicing, repairs), and engineering services (runway and infrastructure repairs). The airport, employing 30,000, was used by some 40 countries and tens of thousands of uniformed personnel.[2] In 2005, ATCO Frontec secured contracts to support NATO's headquarters in Sarajevo; the headquarters for the European Union Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina; the Swedish Armed Forces in Kosovo; and the Canadian Forces in Bosnia. In Canada it provides airfield services to the NATO Flying Training Centre near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

ATCO is looking to make the big score from the increased militarization of the High Arctic by NATO governments in the new Cold War. In 2014 it was awarded a 10-year contract valued at more than U.S.$340 million by the U.S. Air Force to provide operations and maintenance services to 15 strategic radar sites that form the Alaska Radar System -- the Ballistic Missile system.[3] In December 2017, it received a DND contract to "provide facility inspection, maintenance and repair, new construction and upgrades, trade services and environmental services to CAF sites in Yellowknife, Whitehorse, Inuvik, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit." The initial five-year contract is valued at $79 million, with an option for a five-year extension. ATCO had already built modular facilities for the DND in Nanisivik, Nunavut.

Maintaining the subjugation of the Indigenous peoples of the north is a requirement to continue the military expansion in the north. ATCO has generated and delivered power in the Yukon since 1901 and in the Northwest Territories since 1951; this monopoly currently includes 30,000 people in dozens of communities across the region in its web. For more than 30 years, ATCO has also "partnered" with Denendeh Investments Incorporated (DII) in Northland Utilities. DII was created to hold for-profit investments made collectively by the Dene First Nations of the Northwest Territories.

Partners from Turkey and Related Information

Two of the four high-profile Halifax Canada Club partners of the Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) in 2019 are from Turkey: Çalık Holding and OYAK. 

Çalık Holding is a large conglomerate with dealings in energy, construction and real estate, mining, textile, telecom and finance sectors. A Çalık executive was recently appointed the HISF's treasurer.

OYAK is the pension fund of Turkey's armed forces, with investments in various sectors.

Çalık Holding

The HISF website describes this sponsor as follows:

"With the vision to add sustainable values to the lives it touches, Çalık Holding supports collaborative efforts of Halifax Canada Club towards global prosperity."

Çalık is a huge conglomerate, active in textiles, energy, construction, finance, logistics and media in a region extending from Central Asia to North Africa and from the Middle East to the Balkans. It employs around 20,000 people. Since 2009 Çalık is a minority partner with Canadian-based Anatolia Minerals to develop an open pit gold mine at Çöpler, Erzincan, Turkey.

Gap İnşaat, one of its leading arms, is a contractor of over 150 construction projects of industrial plants and infrastructure, as well as energy, oil and natural gas projects, in Turkey, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It has a subsidiary based in Canada, GAP İnşaat Construction and Investment Co. Ltd, Calgary. Ahmet Taçyildiz, chairman, was announced as the Treasurer of the Board at the HISF in October 2019.

Ahmet Çalık, Chairman and principal owner, is from an old wealthy family enriched in the textile industry and described by The Economist as a "close associate" of President Erdogan. In 2008, a Qatari monopoly put significant funds in Çalık as part of the privatization of the state-owned Sabah media monopoly.

The CEO of Çalık from 2007-2013, Berat Albayrak, is the son-in-law of Erdogan. On July 9, 2018, Erdogan appointed him as economic chief of his new administration, in charge of a new ministry of treasury and finance.

Çalık became a "partner" of the HISF held November 22-24, 2015, where it was represented by:

- Ahmet Çalık, President, Founder, and Chairman of Çalık Holding
- Mehmet Ertuğrul Gürler, Deputy Chairman of Çalık
- Ahmet Taçyildiz, Chairman of Gap İnşaat, a Çalık subsidiary and now Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the HISF

They were received with honours. Taçyildiz was publicly introduced and thanked by HISF President Peter Van Praagh during that year's opening session.

In the immediate aftermath of the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, the major focus of the HISF was fearmongering to promote the "War against ISIS." CTV News highlighted that it was "calling for an international coalition that will put more boots on the ground in Syria." Van Praagh declared that the HISF had been targeted by ISIS. Peter MacKay argued that the Paris attack came under NATO's Charter Article 5 on collective defence.

Nonetheless, the 2015 HISF welcomed a monopoly whose former CEO was reportedly involved with Turkey's trading with ISIS for oil stolen from the Syrian people.

Çalık Holding is one of the top foreign funders of NATO's political arm, the Atlantic Council ($500,000-$999,999 category). Other Turkish funders of the Atlantic Council include Turkish Airlines, (a member of its Global Leadership Circle, $100,000 and above). The Republic of Turkey is a funder, in the $25,000-$49,999 range. Donors also include Turkey's Ministry of Energy and National Resources (amount not listed).


The HISF website says of OYAK:

"Established in 1961, OYAK (the Armed Forces Pension Fund) serves as an occupational and supplementary pension fund for the members of the Turkish armed forces. With investments, including multinational joint ventures, in sectors such as steel, cement, automotive, logistics, finance, energy and chemicals, OYAK supports the mission of Halifax Canada Club of securing our modern way of life through strategic alliances among democracies."

According to the Chicago Tribune, "Born of a 1960 coup, Turkey's OYAK army pension fund has become a potent symbol of military economic power with interests from cement to car production [...] The group has power commensurate with the past might of the army that supports it."[4] Its OYAK Holding investment subsidiary is one of the largest industrial groups in Turkey.

Why is OYAK part of the HISF? The example of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), which shows state-linked pension funds are used to provide capital to the war economy, may shed some light on this partnership. The Coalition Against the Arms Trade informs that the CPP "has invested billions of dollars not only in war profiteers, but in many monopolies that lead the world in oil extraction, gas pipelines, mining operations, sweat shops, pharmaceutical fraud, and production of the world's deadliest drug -- tobacco. The most egregious examples of this can be found among CPP investments in the world's largest weapons manufacturers. Our government-sponsored retirement portfolio includes about $1.4 billion worth of stocks in some of the world's largest 100 war industries."

Other Connections to Turkey

Of note is the size and representation of the Turkish participation in the HISF conference in the past and present. In November 2014 the conference featured as its guest of honour Turkey's 11th president, Abdullah Gül, who was on the outs at the time with Erdogan. Van Praagh stated, "even if Gül had not uttered a single word, his mere presence would be sending signals to Turkey."[5]

Other HISF participants from Turkey in 2018 included:

- İbrahim Kalın, Special Adviser to the President of Turkey, Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
- Ahmet Çalık, Chairman, Çalık Holding
- Mehmet Ertuğrul Gürler, Deputy Chairman, Çalık Holding
- Ahmet Taçyildiz, Chairman, Gap İnşaat
- Hulusi Akar, Minister of National Defense
- Selçuk Ünal, Ambassador of Turkey to Canada
- Ömer Çelik, Spokesperson, Justice and Development Party
- Falah Bakir, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, KRG
- Safeen Dizayee, Spokesperson, KRG
- Diba Nigâr Göksel, Turkey Project Director, International Crisis Group
- Yusuf Müftüoğlu, Partner and Director of Strategy, Senior Advisor, CRA Strategic Advisory, Macro Advisory Partners, London and U.S.A, (formerly advisor to 11th president of Turkey, Abdullah Gül)
- Burak Gürkan, First Secretary, Grundfos (pump manufacturer), Turkey
- Süreya Köprülü, Editor in Chief, Turkish Policy Quarterly
- Raed Saleh, White Helmets co-founder, Turkey

As well, Van Praagh is a former U.S. National Democratic Institute country director for Turkey, as was former HISF Vice-President Joseph Hall.

Canada-Turkey Arms Trade

Canada's arms exports to Turkey rapidly increased during the first term of the Trudeau Liberals:

2015: $7,556,736
2016: $3,994,423.41
2017: $48,269,530.60
2018: $115,743,236.98

Excluding the U.S., in 2018, Turkey was the third highest recipient of Canadian arms, after Saudi Arabia ($1.282 billion) and Belgium at $154 million. During this period, Turkey began participating in CANSEC in Ottawa, one of the largest weapons fairs in North America.

The high level of Turkey's involvement in the HISF suggests that it has become an important back-door conduit for links between Turkey's ruling elite and the U.S., Canada and NATO. The Canadian government likely wants to strengthen its ties to Turkey for both economic and geostrategic reasons. Expansion of Canadian-Turkish cooperation could involve potential contracts in the tens of millions of dollars for Canadian companies such as Bombardier Transportation (high-speed trains) and participation in the development of Turkey's own arms industry.


Boeing joined the Halifax Canada Club in 2018. The HISF website says of Boeing:

"Boeing is the world's largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. As America's biggest manufacturing exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in more than 150 countries. Boeing products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training."

It operates three business divisions: Commercial Airplanes; Defense, Space & Security; and Boeing Global Services. Boeing Capital Corporation supports all three divisions by providing financing for Boeing customers.

Boeing's Defense, Space & Security division had revenue of U.S.$21.06 billion in 2017 with 50,699 employees as of 2015. It makes Boeing the second-largest arms company in the world, responsible for 45 per cent of the company's income in 2011.

Boeing was one of the big winners from President Trump's $109.7 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia that was formally signed May 20, 2017. Boeing has been a major supplier of the F-15 Eagle and the AH64 Apache attack helicopter to Israel. These aircraft have been used to attack Palestinians in the occupied territories, resulting in many civilian casualties.

People linked to Boeing occupy key positions in the U.S. administration. It is one of the major arms monopolies that now occupy the highest ranks of the U.S. administration, including cabinet members and political appointees charged with implementing the Trump agenda.[6] The biggest U.S. monopolies are "non-partisan" which, in U.S. terms, refers to Republican/Democratic party affiliation; both are factions of the ruling elite and no longer exist as political parties in any traditional sense. Boeing has passed seamlessly from the Obama to the Trump presidency. For example, in 2016, the Washington Post and other media reported that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "functioned as a powerful ally for Boeing's business interests at home and abroad, while Boeing has invested resources in causes beneficial to Clinton's public and political image." In parallel, Saudi Arabia put over $10 million into the Clinton Foundation; Boeing put in another $900,000, upon which Hillary Clinton reportedly made it her mission to get the planes sold to Saudi Arabia, despite legal restrictions. These now drop U.S.-made bombs on Yemen with U.S. guidance, U.S. refueling mid-air, and U.S. protection at the United Nations. The Congressional Research Service notes that between October 2010 and October 2014, the U.S. signed off on more than $90 billion in weapons deals to the Saudi government.

Former Boeing executive Mira Ricardel was a leader of Trump's Pentagon transition team. Benjamin Cassidy, installed by Trump as Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, previously worked as a senior executive at Boeing's international business sector, marketing its military products abroad. Former Boeing CEO and Chairman Jim McNerney netted a spot on Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum in December 2016, an advisory body to the president comprised of corporate executives. Boeing Vice-President Patrick Shanahan, who formerly led the company's missile defense subsidiary, was made U.S. Defense Secretary -- the second highest position in the Pentagon replacing General James Mattis. The White House announced on May 9 that Trump intended to nominate Shanahan as Secretary of Defense. In late March, news sources reported that Shanahan was under investigation by the Pentagon's Office of the  Inspector General because of allegations he improperly advocated on behalf of his former employer, Boeing. That decision was reversed on June 18 when Shanahan withdrew.

Boeing consistently receives U.S. state funds. The website Subsidy Tracker says it is the number one recipient from all levels of government -- $14.4 billion in various pay-the-rich schemes since the 1990s. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), for the decade 2007-2017 Boeing paid only $4.5 billion on $51 billion in profits, for a ten-year tax rate of 8.8 per cent. The federal U.S. Export-Import Bank, a federal agency that provides insurance and financing to aid international transactions, is often referred to as "the Bank of Boeing;" in 2014, $7.4 billion in long-term guarantees -- 68 per cent of the total made by the Export-Import Bank -- went to Boeing.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is the federal agency responsible for investment in the Atlantic provinces for "economic growth."

In 2009, then Foreign Minister Peter MacKay was designated Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, which committed to fund the HISF. The ACOA Minister has traditionally been an MP from the region in the governing party. The agency is traditionally known as a "patronage cow" for the party in power, providing grants that in reality are pay-the-rich schemes.[7]

In 2017 ACOA contributed $250,000 to the HISF. Its justification was that it was proof that Halifax is a major "world class city" "between North America and Europe" worthy of foreign investment, fit to compete for military contracts. In 2009 and 2010 the German Marshall Fund had been the organizer; in 2011 it withdrew with the reinvention of the Halifax International Security Forum "as a not-for-profit entity organized exclusively for charitable and education purposes." In 2014 some internal records of ACOA were released under Access to Information requests, which shed some light on the arrangements. An internal July 27, 2011 memorandum to then ACOA Minister Bernard Valcourt requested authorization for the expenditure of $7.47 million over three years, later granted. It gave the following rationale for this expenditure:

"The Halifax Forum provides national and international media exposure for Halifax and Atlantic Canada. The Forum supports the Government of Canada's priorities, including the Global Commerce strategy and enhances Canada's place in the world. It also positions Canada as a key player in international defence and security issues and positions Halifax and Nova Scotia as the crossroads between Europe and North America. In addition, the forum provides economic benefits in the form of travel, hotel and dining expenditures made by participants, as well as spin-off benefits for local merchants and tourism operators.

"Moving forward, the Agency and its partners are working to identify key initiatives to enhance economic activity in the Atlantic region. The Halifax Forum is an integral part of the Agency's efforts to enhance the region's profile and will advocate for specific sectors such as aerospace, defence and security, information and communications technology, and energy. A partnership network will result in sustainability for the Halifax Forum at the conclusion of the 2013 event."

ACOA has a development officer dedicated to the aerospace and defence sector. It is a member of the steering group of DEFSEC Atlantic. Staged annually in Halifax in September, DEFSEC Atlantic is now the second largest arms show in Canada. ACOA participates with DND in seminars "to assist Canadian businesses to be able to compete in the Aerospace, Defence and Security industries, both domestically and globally." To invest, they demand concessions from workers, communities and governments, skillfully concealed under the demagogic slogan of "making Halifax competitive," "We build ships here" and "creating jobs."


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an aggressive alliance of 29 countries, established to advance Anglo-American imperialist aims, with massive amounts of funds, weaponry and personnel at its disposal, all of it operating outside the rule of international law and counter to the interests of international peace. In 2018, it was represented by nine officials at the HISF, from its military, public diplomacy (propaganda) and diplomatic branches.

NATO has been an HISF partner since the inaugural 2009 conference which focused on the alliance's "security doctrine." Thus, the word "security" in HISF's name is informed by NATO's warmongering definition, namely protecting and advancing Anglo-American political and economic interests to the detriment of the peoples of the world.

What this indicates is that the HISF is a venue where NATO can work out its program to impose itself on governments in the name of "partnership" and "collaboration," and provide itself civilian and humanitarian window dressing for its war preparations.

For example, a November 2017 meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence in Brussels approved the plan for an adapted NATO Command Structure and officially launched the expansion of NATO's cyber warfare program and the inclusion of cyber-attacks in the collective defence provisions of Article 5 of the Alliance's Charter.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg explained that the alliance was going to be dictating changes to the laws of member states to serve rapid deployment for war: "It's about legislation, and of course it's about making sure that NATO allies implement those standards and those requirements. We formulate the requirements and the standards, but of course it's nations that have to implement them when they invest in infrastructure, when they make arrangements with, for instance, private providers of transportation."

NATO dictate to governments of member countries also takes the form of its Parliamentary Assembly. It claims that it serves "as an essential link between NATO and the parliaments of its member nations" and "works to build parliamentary and public consensus in support of Alliance policies. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly deals with social, cultural, political and economic issues, as well as military matters of paramount importance to NATO member nations. Parliamentarians meet and share information during regular Assembly sessions in North America and Europe."

NATO has long paid attention to political manipulation of parliaments and the wrecking of public opinion. In 1954, it initiated the formation of NATO groups in member countries, of which the Atlantic Council in New York has become the most powerful. Its Canadian counterpart is the NATO Association of Canada, based in Toronto. The changes to the Canada Elections Act contained in Bill C-76 that relate to combating "foreign influence" and monitoring the use of social media are informed by U.S. National Security Doctrine, NATO and its Atlantic Council think tank as well as the Five Eyes intelligence agencies. This involves control and regulation over electoral and political communication and, in the name of protecting electors, the introduction of a form of censorship to determine what is legitimate. In social media, this affects, for example, those it decrees to be "true believers," i.e., who willingly or unwillingly become the dupes of Russia, etc., and are to be criminalized. The NATO Association of Canada has also unsuccessfully tried to impose the view that opposition to NATO by Canadians amounts to foreign interference in Canada's internal affairs.


These companies are the sponsors of the 2019 Halifax International Security Forum:

- Air Canada (Canada)
- CAE Inc. (Canada)
- Canadian Association of Defence and Securities Industries
- Ipsos Group S.A. (France)
- Pansophico (U.S.)

Air Canada

Founded in 1937 as a nation-building project, Air Canada provides scheduled and charter air transport for passengers and cargo to 207 destinations worldwide, the airline operates nearly 100 Boeing airplanes in its current fleet, and the airline's low-cost subsidiary Air Canada Rouge operates 25.

CAE Inc.

Formerly known as the Canadian Aviation Electronics company, CAE is an aircraft simulator manufacturer and one of the world's biggest providers of pilot training services. It has around 70 per cent of the world's aviation simulator market and employs some 8,500 people in 35 countries.

This global aerospace monopoly is deeply involved in designing and producing military equipment and in the training of U.S. and other military personnel especially combat pilots. Since October, 2015 CAE has been the prime contractor responsible for the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program, in a joint venture with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The private monopoly is one of the principal recipients in the aerospace sector of pay-the-rich handouts from the public treasury. According to a 2012 report, CAE Inc., had collected $646 million in handouts from Industry Canada alone since 1993. On August 8, 2018 the Trudeau and Quebec Liberal governments handed it another $200 million over the next five years "to develop a new generation of flight simulators and new training services in the areas of aviation, defence and health." Of this amount, $10 million from Ottawa and $5 million from Quebec are grants.

CAE had no lack of funds. It reported profits of $355.7 million during its most recent fiscal year, which ended on March 31. It was involved in the cratering of Bombardier. On November 8, 2018 CAE announced it was taking over the aircraft flight and technical training unit of Bombardier, which served more than 4,800 Bombardier business jets, for U.S.$645 million. It gave no indication of the fate of those now working in the unit. The situation reveals that the millions of dollars in recent Quebec and federal pay-the-rich handouts to CAE and Bombardier were not meant to maintain production let alone "create jobs," but to ensure the servicing of debt held by the financial oligarchy.

Canadian Association of Defence and Securities Industries

For more than two decades, the Canadian Association of Defence and Securities Industries (CADSI) has organized the annual CANSEC weapons fair in Ottawa. Sponsored by the Trudeau war government and the biggest U.S. arms monopolies, CANSEC features thousands of participants from more than 60 countries, including more than 4,000 from the Canadian government and Department of National Defence. Its main sponsor is the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a Crown corporation that arranges weapons deals between companies with facilities in Canada and foreign governments, and in 2017 Lockheed Martin, the largest U.S. military contractor. In 2018 more than 11,000 people attended the two-day conference, including 16 MPs and senators and many generals and admirals. Many of CADSI's 800 members are also part of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Council of Chief Executives, Canadian Chamber of Commerce or Aerospace Industries Association of Canada.[8] In 2016 CADSI president Christyn Cianfarani summed up the relationship between Canada's foreign policy and the arms business. "Canada has nurtured a long-standing relationship with Saudi Arabia, because the Middle East is particularly important to us -- not only from an oil perspective but also from a regional politics perspective going way back [...]," Cianfarani told iPolitics. Saudi Arabia, the CADSI president said, is "perceived by Canadian companies as a market that has opportunity for us."[9]


Ipsos Group S.A. is a global market research and consulting firm with worldwide headquarters in Paris, France. It ranks as the third largest research agency in the world. As of 2014, Ipsos has offices in 88 countries, employing 16,530 people. Its Canadian subsidiary is Ipsos Reid, which employs some 600 people. It says it is Canada's largest market research and public opinion polling firm.

At a time when concern is being expressed about foreign threats to the democratic process by political marketing companies, Ipsos contracts with NATO to assess the level of public opposition inside the bloc to its wars. This is illustrated by the following polls carried out in succession in 2011 as part of the aggression against Libya:

- "Libya Military Action Poll -- Online GB," April 5-8, 2011;

- "Military action in Libya: Polling in Great Britain, USA, France, Italy. Topline results," April 12, 2011, and;

- "Global advisor: Assessment of NATO's Military Intervention in Libya," May 2011.

Polling is a tool for the manipulation and wrecking of public opinion, from elections to military campaigns. Ipsos goes from country to country conducting marketing campaigns through polling. It uses state-of-the-art micro-targeting and interviewing techniques. Szonda-Ipsos carried out repeated polling in Hungary, where there was a  high level of opposition to participating in the Afghan and Iraq wars. Questions it posed tended to spread doubt and confusion to undermine people's conviction against NATO, such as asking whether membership in NATO was "a legitimate demand."

In 2017, the International Republican Institute headed by U.S. Senator John McCain commissioned Ipsos to gather detailed information in Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland on social, economic, national and international questions, subsequently used by the U.S. state and its intelligence agencies and think tanks on which issues to manipulate opinion. The manipulation of election polls by U.S. agencies were one of the important mechanisms used in the "colour revolutions" staged in Eastern Europe.


A U.S. cyber security company based in Delaware, Maryland and a new sponsor in 2019. Its website provides minimal information, stating that it "supports democratic processes through commercial partnerships and national and international security. We support military readiness and provide creative technological and security solutions for democracy-based businesses and governments across the globe."


1. The Trilateral Commission is an elite planning group created by billionaire David Rockefeller in 1973 with the help of Zbigniew Brzezinski, then future U.S. National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, and then Ford Foundation president, McGeorge Bundy. It is influential both within the United States and globally. Trilateral refers to Europe, North America and Japan.

2. War as Business: Technological Change and Military Service Contracting, Armin Krishnan, (Routledge, 2016), p. 115.

3. "Atco partnership wins U.S.$340M maintenance contract for radar sites in Alaska," Canadian Press, September 25, 2014.

4. "Turkish investigations cast shadow over powerful army-run conglomerate," Daren Butler, Chicago Tribune, May 8, 2012.

5. "Turkey's Gul returns for encore: Turkey's former President Abdullah Gul emerged from ‘retirement' to attend the Halifax Security Forum in Canada," Cengiz Çandar, Al Monitor, November 25, 2014.

6. Along with the Boeing appointments listed above, General James L. Jones was Obama's National Security Advisor from 2009 to 2010; at the time of his appointment, he was on the boards of directors of both Chevron and Boeing. He is presently interim chairman of the Atlantic Council. Rudy de Leona, former vice president at Boeing and former Defense Department official in the Clinton administration, was a member of the Defense Policy Board. (The Intercept, March 21, 2017)

7. It certainly worked for John Risley's Clearwater Seafoods and Ocean Nutrition Canada Limited. See "John Risley, billionaire hypocrite," Tim Bousquet, Halifax Examiner, April 16, 2015.

8. "Draining Ottawa's foreign policy swamp," Yves Engler, December 21, 2017.

9. "Canada's weapons export grew more than 89 per cent under Harper," Elizabeth Thompson, iPolitics, January 20, 2016.

(With files from Tony Seed.)

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Media Partners: "Thought Leaders"

The Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) has three "Media Partners," Foreign Affairs magazine, Foreign Policy magazine, and Politico, which publishes content using various media. Like the other HISF partners and sponsors, the basis for the partnership is not immediately clear.

Foreign Affairs Magazine

Foreign Affairs is a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), considered to be the most powerful foreign policy think tank in the U.S. This section focuses on that publication and its parent organization, to show what is the basis for being an HISF Media Partner, in turn shedding light on what are the HISF's aims and what interests it serves.

The HISF website states: "Since its founding in 1922, Foreign Affairs has been the leading forum for serious discussion of American foreign policy and global affairs. It is published by the [CFR], a non-profit and nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to improving the understanding of U.S. foreign policy and international affairs through the free exchange of ideas."

Foreign Affairs is the main publication of the CFR. The journal is aimed specifically at government "policy makers," and the economic and intellectual elite. During James F. Hoge's 18 years as editor (1992-2010), Foreign Affairs more than doubled its circulation to a high of 161,000, in addition to its on-line edition. Hoge launched editions in Spanish, Japanese and Russian.[1]

The CFR has some 5,000 members (all from the U.S.), representing the oil, energy, financial, political, university, business, media and banking sectors, as well as multinational institutions and the arms industry, NGOs, large media corporations and the intelligence community and military sector.

The CFR has been described as a veritable shadow government that plans the general strategies of the global imperialist system, acting above any government. In their 1977 landmark book, The Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and U.S. Foreign Policy, the U.S. historians Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter observed:

"That the Council is little known is thus not a sign of insignificance, but rather points to its mode of operation. The men at the top meet and work out together the general direction of policy -- the limits of respectable debate. Through a complex network of channels, the content and tone of their discussion reach the policymakers and the leaders of opinion. Eventually they may reach those of us who take an interest in what our country is doing in the world, but we may have little idea that what comes to be a natural 'climate of opinion' was carefully fostered and guided. For the process is not public. Council members are selected by the Council's leadership and the meetings are confidential. As the New York Times expressed it, 'Except for its annual public Elihu Root Lectures, the Council's talks and seminars are strictly off the record. An indiscretion can be grounds for termination or suspension of membership.'"

CFR members and individuals with high academic standing produce documents of a political and ideological nature that serve as weapons of the U.S. imperialists in their striving to dominate the world. It brings together people from various political and ideological tendencies with a common imperialist vision. In this sense, it attempts to form a bridge over the serious inter-capitalist and inter-imperialist rivalries and clashes within the U.S. ruling class which it calls "to develop a bipartisan consensus on the key foreign policy issues of the day." CFR members who come from the political world are responsible for the implementation of the conclusions adopted at its meetings or advanced in its detailed reports.

For over 30 years, the CFR has been in the forefront of advocating the integration of Canada and Mexico into Fortress North America, including the integration of ministries dealing with foreign and military policy. For example, the CFR was the driving force behind the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) and the Security Perimeter which was being negotiated at the time between Obama and Harper. On September 20, 2007 -- immediately following the Montebello Conference with U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Vincente Fox -- Harper was invited to address the Council on Foreign Relations, an address that was webcast to all CFR members. This is further evidence that the HISF forms a fifth column platform for the CFR to push for the destruction of any state arrangements which impede the integration of Canada into U.S. imperialist aims.

Foreign Affairs joined the HISF as a partner in 2011. At a September 6, 2011 press conference, then Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced additional government funding for another three years and that he was "pleased to announce this year the Forum is benefiting from a new partner in Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs' partnership is a tremendous asset and I know that this decision moves the Forum forward in ways that simply weren't possible the first two years."

Neither MacKay nor newspaper reports carrying the announcement identify the magazine either as a U.S. publication or the journal of the CFR. Nor were terms of the partnership revealed at that time.

In 2016, a response to a Canadian Taxpayers Federation Freedom of Information request to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) brought some information about the Foreign Affairs/CFR-HISF partnership to light. In a July 25, 2011 e-mail to an ACOA account officer, Peter Van Praagh, newly appointed as HISF President, stated:

"Foreign Affairs magazine is owned by the Council on Foreign Relations. Foreign Affairs is the leading source for ideas and analysis on foreign policy and international relations. Foreign Affairs will work with Halifax International Security Forum to develop the agenda for the November [2011] event. This includes regular consultation between Foreign Affairs' expert staff, its parent, CFR and the Halifax International Security Forum to ensure that the agenda attracts top political and intellectual leaders. The articles in the November-December edition of Foreign Affairs will highlight the November Halifax Forum agenda. Additionally, Halifax International Security Forum will have access to Foreign Affairs' network of international experts to invite to the Forum as participants and speakers. Live video of the November conference will be available on the Foreign Affairs' website. There will be Halifax branding on all Foreign Affairs products including the magazine, a HISF banner on its website and highlighting on its Twitter//Facebook/YouTube pages. Information about Halifax will be distributed on its e-news letter to 87,000 people. Finally, copies of Foreign Affairs will be distributed to all HISF participants."

Van Praagh's message to ACOA was that the role of the CFR is decisive in terms of setting the agenda, recruiting speakers, developing a ramified U.S.-based international elite network, and popularizing that agenda amongst that elitist strata.[2] These arrangements also show the subservience of the Canadian government (at that time the Harper Conservatives) to U.S. imperialist aims. Leading officials would have been able to clearly see that the Canadian government had no independent role in the war conference.

Thus, at virtually no cost to itself, the CFR acquired a new platform to champion its agenda. Furthermore, Van Praagh disingenuously covered up the reasons why the CFR decided to become involved. He refers euphemistically "to develop the agenda" without mentioning either what that agenda is or what are the CFR's interests. It suggests that the HISF could not achieve what the Anglo-American imperialists and NATO want it to achieve on its own.

Interestingly, a search of the Foreign Affairs website shows not a single article on or emanating from the Halifax International Security Forum.

Also in 2011, Jonathan Tepperman, originally from Windsor, Ontario, was installed as the Vice Chairman of the board of the HISF (the board had been created that summer, replacing the German Marshall Fund as the conference organizer). He had been Managing Editor of Foreign Affairs since January 2011.

The editor of Foreign Affairs is Gideon Rose. He surfaced at the 2011 HISF as a moderator, as did former editor James F. Hoge Jr. Many presenters and participants at the HISF are also CFR members, such as former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who delivered the keynote address on November 18, 2011.

Role of CFR in Libya

What has been the recent role of the CFR in U.S. imperialist aggression? Take for example NATO's intervention in Libya in 2011.

CFR President Richard Haas at the time was demanding the Obama presidency and NATO send "boots on the ground" to occupy Libya. In an editorial in the Financial Times titled "Libya Now Needs Boots on the Ground," he stated that Libya's "rebels" were in no way capable of rebuilding Libya properly and would require an "international force" to maintain order. The title alone is enough to get an idea of the message being communicated to readers, the U.S. ruling elite.

Haas admitted that the murderous NATO intervention in Libya, that totaled more than 7,000 air strikes, including by Canada's war planes, to "protect civilians," was a political intervention designed to bring about regime change. Haas implored Obama to reconsider his decision to rule out U.S. boots on the ground and to do so quickly.[3] The U.S. imperialist policy, based on brinkmanship, was in deep crisis. Dr Leslie Gelb, honorary president of the Council on Foreign Relations (he was president from 1993 to 2003), demanded the resignation of the chief advisers of President Obama and the appointment of a new team. In retrospect, it suggested that the CFR was setting the next stage for military intervention in Syria to create the necessary climate for radical action against the "bothersome" government of this country, organized from the highest levels of power in the United States.

The seven months of relentless bombing and shelling by the NATO forces caused innumerable civilian deaths, the destruction of whole cities, the devastation of hospitals, schools, universities, roads, sewage treatment plants, aquifers and countless other social infrastructure paid for by the labour of Libyan and migrant workers in the Libyan oilfields. Showing the kind of "liberation" and "democracy" that the "international community" of plunderers has in mind for other countries around the world, the UK presented a license to drill for oil request to Libya's CIA-backed National Transitional Council less than twenty-four hours after Gadhafi's death.

After months of denying the existence of insurrectionary elements within the Syrian opposition, the U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations issued reports confirming that, not only were the "protesters" armed, but that rebel forces on the ground collectively formed a resistance army of 15,000 fighters. The CFR claimed this "Free Syrian Army" was requesting weapons and air support, despite documented reports of weapons being smuggled past Syria's borders from foreign supporters, most notably, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, and Libya. CFR's report then goes on to explore the options available to NATO for facilitating "regime change," including the use of "overhead surveillance assets, logistical enablers, peacekeepers, armed drones, combat aircraft, ground troops," and "smuggled weapons." The claims of a large, armed militant force operating inside of Syria directly contradicted the West's concurrent narrative that Syria's military is running rampant and killing defenseless civilians. With an army of "15,000 defectors" attempting to seize the nation by force, with the help of foreign money, weapons, and diplomatic support, one finds it difficult to believe the Syrian government would instead be spending its time conducting massacres of civilians.

Role of CFR in Syria

The CFR and the HISF have also been directly involved in the destabilization and subversion of Syria. There is Bassma Kodmani, member of the executive bureau and head of foreign affairs, Syrian National Council alongside Radwan Ziadeh who was surreptitiously brought to the 2011 HISF. She was a two-time Bilderberg meeting attendee; director of governance and international co-operation program for (CIA-front) Ford Foundation in pre-"Arab Spring" Egypt; and executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) -- a research program initiated by the CFR in 2004.

The main focus of the 2011 HISF was the organization of the dastardly war against Syria and Iran -- with Canada announcing the deployment of the warship HMCS Charlottetown to the eastern Mediterranean; U.S. Senator John McCain calling for the recognition of jihadi terrorists from the Syrian National Council as the "legitimate representative" of the Syrian people; MacKay's future wife, Nazanin Afshin-Jam, an Iranian monarchist, moderating the only session on Iran as a "human rights activist." A report by the editor of a blog of the Canadian International Council included the following observation: "The moderator consistently brought the conversation back to conflict, air strikes and Iranian counter attacks."[4]

One day before Christmas, the CFR released a grotesque article on its website titled "Time to Attack Iran: Why a Strike is the Least Bad Option." The article endorsed a U.S. military strike against Iran as a neat and cost-free way to address its nuclear program.

"The truth is that a military strike intended to destroy Iran's nuclear program, if managed carefully, could spare the region and the world a very real threat and dramatically improve the long-term national security of the United States."[5]

The CFR added its seal of authenticity to this made-to-order "provocative argument," i.e., aggression, in which they were trying to exploit, once again, the panic that gripped U.S. society after the events of September 11. Author Matthew Kroenig, co-chair of the CFR's Term Member Advisory Committee, was a CFR International Affairs fellow in the U.S. Department of Defense.

This is the editorial stance of a journal being described as the "media partner" of the Halifax International Security Forum, funded by the Canadian Department of National Defence and ACOA.

From all of this it could be concluded that the modus operandi of a "media partnership" and what MacKay was referring to when he highlighted the role of Foreign Affairs as one which "moves the Forum forward in ways that simply weren't possible the first two years," made it a useful vehicle for advocating for a superior organization of imperialist intervention and war and a more aggressive and bellicose policy than that being followed by the Obama government, and the wrecking of public opinion.

Foreign Policy Magazine

When Jonathan Tepperman, Vice Chairman of the Board of the Halifax International Security Forum, moved from Managing Editor, Foreign Affairs to Editor-in-Chief, Foreign Policy, it also became a "media partner."

Foreign Policy is a U.S. news publication. It was founded in 1970 during the turmoil of the Vietnam War by the imperialist ideologue Samuel P. Huntington of the "clash of civilizations" theory and Warren Demian Manshel. It focuses on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy. It was closely linked with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace which, after six years of close partnership acquired full ownership, in 1978. It began to produce content daily on its website, and six print issues annually. In 2000, it launched international editions in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.

Since 2008 when it was acquired from Carnegie, which was reportedly losing $1.5 million a year, Foreign Policy magazine and has been published by The FP Group, a division of Graham Holdings Company (formerly the Washington Post Company bought by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos). The FP Group also produces FP Events, Foreign Policy's events division, launched in 2012. According to Wikipedia, its holdings include the online magazine Slate, Graham Media Group (formerly Post-Newsweek Stations), a group of five large-market TV stations, higher education company Kaplan, and the now closed Trove (formerly WaPo Labs) -- the developers of a newsreader app. Graham Holdings Company also owned cable television and internet service provider Cable One until it was spun off in 2015. In 2009 it expanded the web site, adding a new cast of ten bloggers, mainly from national security think tanks. In 2018, the magazine -- "historically one of the more reliable destinations for freelancers who want to write deeply reported international pieces," according to the Columbia Review of Journalism -- closed its foreign bureaus.

Parallel to the 2018 HISF, the theme of Foreign Policy's Fall 2018 print edition was "The Future of War"  -- "The reason is that this is one of those moments when technology is moving so fast that the old, settled ways of fighting wars are rapidly being overturned. And nobody knows what, exactly, will follow."


The HISF writes on its website that "Politico strives to be the dominant source for politics and policy in power centers across every continent where access to reliable information, non-partisan journalism and real-time tools creates, informs and engages a global citizenry. Political professionals read Politico. Public policy professionals need Politico. And those who hunger to better understand Washington and government power centers around the globe go to Politico first."

Politico is a specialized U.S. political news journal, which recently moved into Canada. It recently launched Politico Pro to provide a subscription-only news service to corporations and government agencies. Its website notes, "Politico Pro Canada is a new subscription service covering policy trends and political developments that shape the deeply-integrated Canada-U.S. relationship. Created for business leaders and policy makers, Politico Pro Canada's exclusive coverage focuses on federal and state policies that affect bilateral economic interests and government relations."

Politico is known for its fondness of anonymous sources -- and even anonymous authors. In 2018 the outlet ran a story suggesting that a dubious Guardian exclusive about an alleged meeting between former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange might be a product of Kremlin disinformation. The illuminating piece of conspiracy theory was penned by a nameless ex-CIA officer.

This "partnership" was only announced on the eve of the 2018 HISF.

John Harris, Politico Editor-in-Chief, is a member of the German Marshall Fund board of trustees. The board includes a host of corporate executives and news commentators. Its funding also comes from a coterie of governments especially the U.S. and Germany, major foundations, and multinational corporations including: Bank of America Foundation, BP, Daimler, Eli Lilly & Company, General Dynamics, IBM, NATO, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and USAID, among many others.


1. Hoge is now chairman of the board of Human Rights Watch, an imperialist NGO renowned for working in tandem with the U.S. State Department.

2. An April, 2011 article amongst others refers to the role of the CFR's "unparalleled network" that the HISF wishes to access in the context of fomenting the "Arab Spring":

"Contrary to the conventional cover stories presenting the uprisings in Cairo, Tunis, and elsewhere as spontaneous bottom-up affairs, there is a great deal of evidence indicating that they were instead coordinated top-down events planned long before the first street demonstrations began. And like the slime trail in the garden that leads to the slug, the trail here leads back to the Council on Foreign Relations. Utilizing its unparalleled network of high-level members in the U.S. government, the United Nations, the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Brookings Institution, and many NGOs, corporations, and philanthropic organizations, the CFR has employed a pincer attack pressuring the target governments with economic and diplomatic efforts from above, while funding Astroturf protests from below designed to look like real grass-roots affairs. The saviour whom the media has anointed as the next President of Egypt, Mohamed ElBaradei, was publicly picked over a year ago in the CFR's journal Foreign Affairs as the "hero" who would save Egypt, " William F. Jasper, "Organized Chaos Behind the Scenes in the Middle East: The Middle East Uprisings May Have Surprised Most People in the World, but Globalist Elites at the Council on Foreign Relations Laid the Groundwork for the 'Spontaneous Events,'" The New American, Volume 27, Issue 7, April 4, 2011.

3. "Libya now needs boots on the ground," Richard Haass, Financial Times, August 22, 2011.

4. "Ten years of resisting the U.S.-led Halifax war conference," Tony Seed, November 13, 2018.

5. Kroenig later stated "my analysis in this article came out of work I did last year where I was a special adviser in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and where I worked on defense strategy and policy on Iran." (Foreign Affairs, January/February 2012)

Condemning the warmongering article, Prof Stephen Walt affirmed:

"There is a simple and time-honored formula for making the case for war, especially preventive war. First, you portray the supposed threat as dire and growing, and then try to convince people that if we don't act now, horrible things will happen down the road. (Remember Condi Rice's infamous warnings about Saddam's "mushroom cloud"?) All this step requires is a bit of imagination and a willingness to assume the worst. Second, you have to persuade readers that the costs and risks of going to war aren't that great. If you want to sound sophisticated and balanced, you acknowledge that there are counterarguments and risks involved. But then you do your best to shoot down the objections and emphasize all the ways that those risks can be minimized. In short: In Step 1 you adopt a relentlessly gloomy view of the consequences of inaction; in Step 2 you switch to bulletproof optimism about how the war will play out.

"And let's be crystal clear about what Kroenig is advocating here. He is openly calling for preventive war against Iran, even though the United States has no authorization from the UN Security Council, it is not clear that Iran is actively developing nuclear weapons, and Iran has not attacked us or any of our allies -- ever. He is therefore openly calling for his country to violate international law. He is calmly advocating a course of action that will inevitably kill a significant number of people, including civilians, some of whom probably despise the clerical regime (and with good reason). And Kroenig is willing to have their deaths on his conscience on the basis of a series of unsupported assertions, almost all of them subject to serious doubt." (Foreign Policy, December 21, 2011)

(With files from Tony Seed.)

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