Anti-Empire Report No.78 By William Blum – Zinn, Haiti, Aristide, and ideology

6 February, 2010 — The Anti-Empire Report

“In America you can say anything you want — as long as it doesn’t have any effect.” – Paul Goodman

Progressive activists and writers continually bemoan the fact that the news they generate and the opinions they express are consistently ignored by the mainstream media, and thus kept from the masses of the American people. This disregard of progressive thought is tantamount to a definition of the mainstream media. It doesn’t have to be a conspiracy; it’s a matter of who owns the mainstream media and the type of journalists they hire — men and women who would like to keep their jobs; so it’s more insidious than a conspiracy, it’s what’s built into the system, it’s how the system works. The disregard of the progressive world is of course not total; at times some of that world makes too good copy to ignore, and, on rare occasions, progressive ideas, when they threaten to become very popular, have to be countered.

So it was with Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Here’s Barry Gewen an editor at the New York Times Book Review, June 5, 2005 writing of Zinn’s book and others like it:

There was a unifying vision, but it was simplistic. Since the victims and losers were good, it followed that the winners were bad. From the point of view of downtrodden blacks, America was racist; from the point of view of oppressed workers, it was exploitative; from the point of view of conquered Hispanics and Indians, it was imperialistic. There was much to condemn in American history, little or nothing to praise. … Whereas the Europeans who arrived in the New World were genocidal predators, the Indians who were already there believed in sharing and hospitality (never mind the profound cultural differences that existed among them), and raped Africa was a continent overflowing with kindness and communalism (never mind the profound cultural differences that existed there).

One has to wonder whether Mr. Gewen thought that all the victims of the Holocaust were saintly and without profound cultural differences.

Prominent American historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. once said of Zinn: “I know he regards me as a dangerous reactionary. And I don’t take him very seriously. He’s a polemicist, not a historian.”

In the obituaries that followed Zinn’s death, this particular defamation was picked up around the world, from the New York Times, Washington Post, and the leading American wire services to the New Zealand Herald and Korea Times.

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Protecting Haiti's Interest By John Maxwell

2 February, 2010 — Black Agenda ReportJamaica Observer

john-maxwell.jpgThe ‘Big Three’ tormenters of Haiti – the U.S., France and Canada – now posing as the quake-struck nation’s benefactors, ponder how to rebuild Haiti without Haitian input or permission. ‘France, the United States and Canada owe the Haitians billions in damages. It is not for them to tell the Haitians what to spend it on.’

’Haitians know how to develop their nation.’

It would be ironic, if you like your irony flavored with blood and disinfectant, to discover that moored off Port au Prince at this moment is the US hospital ship, the USS Comfort, one of two employed in 1994 as floating slave barracoons in Kingston Harbor. Today the Comfort is providing medical care for people injured in the great earthquake of January 12.

In 1994, the Comfort and its consort functioned as temporary ‘processing facilities’ for Haitian refugees fleeing from a US supported coup and attendant tyranny. The refugees had been picked up either on the high seas or in Jamaican waters, running for their lives from a US-backed hoodlum-state, whose favorite law and order procedures were murder by dismemberment and disemboweling with bodies left in the streets; and women and children, beaten, publicly raped and disfigured and otherwise terrorized to encourage the others. Of those kidnapped either in Jamaican waters or on the high seas, 78.5% were sent back to their murderers while the rest were sent to Guantanamo Bay.

This barbarous triage was a joint venture operated by President William Jefferson Clinton of the United States and Jamaican Prime Minister Percival James Patterson. It was ended by Clinton’s deciding he couldn’t afford the death of a prominent black American leader on his record, if not on his conscience. Randall Robinson, President of TransAfrica, in one last desperate initiative, began a fast to the death in protest against his President’s callous behavior.

‘It didn’t matter that the Cubans, like Jamaicans and Mexicans, were economic refugees while the Haitians were literally in fear of their lives.’

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3 February, 2010 – MEDIA LENSCorrecting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

It matters that the media have lavished so much attention on the aftermath of Haiti’s January 12 earthquake. The coverage has helped inspire people around the world to give of their time, energy and money in responding to the disaster. On the Democracy Now! website last week, filmmaker Michael Moore described how almost 12,000 members of the US National Nurses Union had signed up to leave for Haiti immediately. Moore explained:

“… the executive director of the National Nurses Union. She contacted the [Obama] administration. She got put off. She had no response. Then they sent her to some low-level person that had no authority to do anything.

“And then, finally, she’s contacting me. And she says, ‘Do you know any way to get a hold of President Obama?’ And I’m going, ‘Well, this is pretty pathetic if you’re having to call me. I mean, you are the largest nurses union… I don’t know what I can do for you. I mean, I’ll put my call in, too.’ But as we sit here today, not a whole heck of a lot has happened. And it’s distressing.”

The courage and compassion of thousands of people willing to enter a chaotic disaster zone threatened with aftershocks are very real. Compassion arises out of a recognition that ‘their’ suffering is no different to ‘my’ suffering. The heart trembles and softens in response to this awareness. Such a subtle resonance and yet it has the power to relieve much of the world’s despair. It is the only counter force to the brutality and greed of human egotism willing to sacrifice everyone and everything for ‘me’.

But if compassion is to make a real difference, it must be allied to rational analysis. In the absence of this analysis, compassion is like a bird with a broken wing flapping in futile circles, never leaving the ground.

Joining compassion with reason means asking why over 80 per cent of Haiti’s population of 10 million people live in abject poverty. Why less than 45 per cent of all Haitians have access to potable water. Why the life expectancy rate in Haiti is only 53 years. Why seventy-six per cent of Haiti’s children under the age of five are underweight, or suffer from stunted growth, with 63 per cent of Haitians undernourished. Why 1 in every 10,000 Haitians has access to a doctor. (

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The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti By F. William Engdahl

30 January, 2010 — Global Research

President becomes UN Special Envoy to earthquake-stricken Haiti.

A born-again neo-conservative US business wheeler-dealer preacher claims Haitians are condemned for making a literal pact with the Devil.

Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Bolivian, French and Swiss rescue organizations accuse the US military of refusing landing rights to planes bearing necessary medicines and urgently needed potable water to the millions of Haitians stricken, injured and homeless.

Behind the smoke, rubble and unending drama of human tragedy in the hapless Caribbean country, a drama is in full play for control of what geophysicists believe may be one of the worlds richest zones for hydrocarbons-oil and gas outside the Middle East, possibly orders of magnitude greater than that of nearby Venezuela.

Haiti, and the larger island of Hispaniola of which it is a part, has the geological fate that it straddles one of the worlds most active geological zones, where the deepwater plates of three huge structures relentlessly rub against one anotherthe intersection of the North American, South American and Caribbean tectonic plates. Below the ocean and the waters of the Caribbean, these plates consist of an oceanic crust some 3 to 6 miles thick, floating atop an adjacent mantle. Haiti also lies at the edge of the region known as the Bermuda Triangle, a vast area in the Caribbean subject to bizarre and unexplained disturbances.

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31 January, 2010 — Media Channel

As Media Coverage Fades, Urgent Issues On The Disaster Go Uncovered

UN Takes Over Aid Distribution; Admits Effort Has Been a Failure

Haiti is already fading from the headlines. The desperation of the population in what was called the “rescue” phase of the relief effort is giving way to ‘silver-lining” talk of recovery and rebuilding.

Even as the death count mounts, this apocalyptic disaster no longer has the ability to shock, perhaps because of media overexposure. The media well of compassion—fueled by images of lovable orphans and live extractions of half-dead individuals from the rubble,, is running dry as a ‘been there, done that’ feeling sets in among TV execs who sense that the audience will soon become jaded and turn away.

Perhaps that’s why the story turned quickly from the dead and dying to celebrities telling Larry King how much money they are donating. Perhaps that’s why the plight of sympathetic children took center-stage.

The reporters who have been there are all tired, and in some cases traumatized because of the vast needs they saw. However, most were gentle in chronicling the pathetic delivery of food and water despite the amazing outpouring of sympathy and generosity. Recently a homeless shelter in Baltimore donated $14.64.

Because of the suffering they have shown us, much of it as character-based human interest vignettes, correspondents seemed to have had little airtime for investigating what history might someday indict as an incompetent, if not criminally negligent, aid response.

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The US game in Latin America By Mark Weisbrot

29 January, 2010 — Comment is free –

US interference in the politics of Haiti and Honduras is only the latest example of its long-term manipulations in Latin America

When I write about US foreign policy in places such as Haiti or Honduras, I often get responses from people who find it difficult to believe that the US government would care enough about these countries to try and control or topple their governments. These are small, poor countries with little in the way of resources or markets. Why should Washington policymakers care who runs them?

Unfortunately they do care. A lot. They care enough about Haiti to have overthrown the elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide not once, but twice. The first time, in 1991, it was done covertly. We only found out after the fact that the people who led the coup were paid by the US Central Intelligence Agency. And then Emmanuel Constant, the leader of the most notorious death squad there – which killed thousands of Aristide’s supporters after the coup – told CBS News that he, too, was funded by the CIA.

In 2004, the US involvement in the coup was much more open. Washington led a cut-off of almost all international aid for four years, making the government’s collapse inevitable. As the New York Times reported, while the US state department was telling Aristide that he had to reach an agreement with the political opposition (funded with millions of US taxpayers’ dollars), the International Republican Institute was telling the opposition not to settle.

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Haiti's suffering is a result of calculated impoverishment By Seumas Milne

20 January, 2010 — The Guardian – Comment is free

Last week’s earthquake was a natural disaster, but the carnage is a result of a punitive relationship with the outside world

There is no relief for the people of Haiti, it seems, even in their hour of promised salvation. More than a week after the earthquake that may have killed 200,000 people, most Haitians have seen nothing of the armada of aid they have been promised by the outside world. Instead, while the US military has commandeered Port-au-Prince’s ­airport to pour thousands of soldiers into the stricken Caribbean state, wounded and hungry survivors of the catastrophe have carried on dying.

Most scandalously, US commanders have repeatedly turned away flights bringing medical equipment and ­emergency supplies from organisations such as the World Food Programme and Médecins Sans Frontières, in order to give priority to landing troops. Despite the remarkable patience and solidarity on the streets and the relatively small scale of looting, the aim is said to be to ensure security and avoid ‘another Somalia’ – a reference to the US ­military’s ‘Black Hawk Down’ ­humiliation in 1993. It’s an approach that ­certainly chimes with well-­established traditions of keeping Haiti under control.

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Haiti: A history of exploitation and struggle By Amanda Zivcic

23 January 2010 – Green Left

Since the earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, there has been a global outpouring of support. Many people, horrified by the scenes of sheer devastation, the astronomical death toll and the struggle of survivors to gain access to medicines, food and shelter, are left wondering: why so many?

The oft-repeated tag of Haiti being ‘the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere’ is true but this did not just happen. It is the result of a history of colonialism, slavery, imperialism, foreign military intervention, foreign-imposed dictatorships and unjust debt.

The Caribbean nation’s indigenous people were all but wiped out by 1520 due to the disease and exploitation that came with the arrival of the Spaniards in 1492. After France and Spain divided the island of Hispaniola into Haiti and the Dominican Republic, French and Spanish settlers arrived.

The colonisers brought enslaved Africans with them to establish tobacco, sugar and coffee plantations.

The slave plantations began Haiti’s environmental destruction, the destabilisation of its soils, helping make natural disasters, such as landslides, much more destructive.

After a successful slave revolt, Haiti became the world’s first post-colonial black state.

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Fight back against the colonial takeover of Haiti! By James Circello

20 January, 2010 — Party for Liberation & Socialism

U.S. ruling class has Haitian blood all over its hands


A helicopter lands on the USS Carl Vinson, from where the U.S. military is directing its operations in Haiti. The first U.S. airstrikes against Afghanistan following 9/11 were launched from the USS Carl Vinson’s deck.

The author is a co-founder of March Forward!, an organization of veterans and active-duty service members who stand against war and racism.

In the wake of a devastating earthquake in Haiti, Washington has seized the opportunity to strengthen its grip on Haiti—not only politically and economically, but militarily as well.

The U.S. military has deployed naval vessels, military jets, and more than 2,000 marines and 3,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Infantry Division. An additional 10,000 U.S. soldiers arrived in Haiti on Jan. 18.

U.S. military intervention in Haiti is nothing new. U.S. forces occupied the country from 1915 to 1934. Military intervention has been an effective weapon for wealthy U.S. corporate interests to maintain and expand their dominance in the Caribbean.

U.S. imperialism has been the number one enemy of the people of Haiti in the last century, picking up where Spanish and French colonialism left off. Through decades of occupation, countless interventions and financed coups resulting in the removal of the democratically elected Jean Bertrand Aristide—not once, but twice—the United States is the last place that our sisters and brothers in Haiti expect to receive help from.

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18 January, 2010 — Media Channel

Every disaster plan is built to some degree around the idea of triage—deciding who can and cannot be saved. The worst cases are often separated and allowed to perish so that others who are considered more survivable can be treated.

There is a tragic triage underway in Haiti thanks to screw-ups on the part of the US and western response, and in part because of the objectively tough conditions in Haiti that blocked access and made the delivery of food, water and services difficult. But the planners should have known that!

Look at the TV coverage. “Saving Haiti” is the title CNN has given to its coverage. It shows us all the planes landing, and donations coming in and celebrity response on one hand, and then the problems/failures to actually deliver aid on the other.

Much of the coverage focuses on the upbeat–people being saved, although despite the frame which is about a compassionate America’s response, the  Haitian reality is only barelygetting through. It’s not pretty.

Everyone wants to believe in the best intentions of all involved but five days after the quake, with so few being helped, we have to ask, how did this get so badly done?

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The West’s role in Haiti's plight By Peter Hallward

14 January, 2009 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

[An earlier version of this article first appeared in the British Guardian. This slightly updated version appears in Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Peter Hallward’s permission.]

If we are serious about assisting this devastated land we must stop trying to control and exploit it.

Any large city in the world would have suffered extensive damage from an earthquake on the scale of the one that ravaged Haiti’s capital city on the afternoon of January 13, but it’s no accident that so much of Port-au-Prince now looks like a war zone. Much of the devastation wreaked by this latest and most calamitous disaster to befall Haiti is best understood as another thoroughly manmade outcome of a long and ugly historical sequence.

The country has faced more than its fair share of catastrophes. Hundreds died in Port-au-Prince in an earthquake back in June 1770, and the huge earthquake of May 7, 1842, may have killed 10,000 in the northern city of Cap ­Haitien alone. Hurricanes batter the island on a regular basis, most recently in 2004 and again in 2008; the storms of September 2008 flooded the town of Gonaïves and swept away much of its flimsy infrastructure, killing more than a thousand people and destroying many thousands of homes. The full scale of the destruction resulting from this earthquake may not become clear for several weeks. Even minimal repairs will take years to complete, and the long-term impact is incalculable.

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Haiti Newslinks 5-10 January, 2010

10 January, 2010

UN pledges support for Haiti elections
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 9 (UPI) — The head of the United Nations
mission in Haiti promised logistical support for the country’s national
elections this …

Commentary: The Haitian solution – Part 2
Caribbean Net News
By Jean H Charles “For sheer unspoiled physical beauty, no place on earth
can beat Haiti, the problem is the hard life of Haitians interfere with my…—6-6—.html

U.N. pledges support for Haiti elections | A GFBC bLOG
By GFBC Productions Staff
In a news conference Friday, Hedi Annabi, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s
special representative, said the United Nations will handle the
distribution of ballots and other electoral material to Haiti’s 11500
polling places and collect …

Vancouver Haiti Delegation: Jacmel – Port-Au-Prince – Vancouver
By Vancouver Haiti
I would also like to say that one of the most difficult parts of Haiti for
people who are concerned with the country is the issues of NGOs. Overall, I
believe there needs to be systematic review and reform of aid. …

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Haiti Report for December 30, 2009

30 December, 2009 — Konbit Pou Ayiti/KONPAY

The Haiti Report is a compilation and summary of events as described in Haiti and international media prepared by Konbit Pou Ayiti/KONPAY. It does not reflect the opinions of any individual or organization. This service is intended to create a better understanding of the situation in Haiti by presenting the reader with reports that provide a variety of perspectives on the situation.

To make a donation to support this service: Konbit Pou Ayiti, 7 Wall Street, Gloucester, MA, 01930.


  • – Prime Minister Pierre-Louis Removed and Replaced with Jean-Max Bellerive
  • – Charles Arthur, Haiti Support Group: New Government Won’t Bring Change
  • – Upcoming Elections in February
  • – Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas Party Barred from February Legislative Elections, Along with Other Parties
  • – UN Peacekeeping Mission Urges Officials to Justify Barring Lavalas and Other Parties
  • – Opposition Groups Threaten to Disrupt Elections
  • – Aristide Speaks Out Against Possible “Selections” instead of “Elections”
  • – OAS will Monitor Election but Won’t Help Organize
  • – HAITI Don’t honor tainted election, BY BRIAN CONCANNON JR. and IRA KURZBAN
  • – Statement of the Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN): “Haiti: Flawed election in the making”
  • – Lawyers Worldwide Warn Against Danger of “Electoral Charade” in Haiti
  • – U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters Criticizes Electoral Council
  • – New Hotels Rising in Port-au-Prince
  • – Italian Journalist Mortally Wounded During Robbery
  • – Environment News
  • – Solar Energy Brings Light to Boucan Carre Hospital in Haiti
  • – Environment Minister Germain at Copenhagen Climate Summit
  • – Haiti and the Dominican Republic Sign Agreement to Protect Lakes on the Border
  • – President Rene Preval Remarries
  • – Brazil Spending More in Haiti Than the UN is Refunding

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Who is Representing Who? The Haitian People Need a Lobbyist By RICHARD MORSE

24-26 April, 2009 – Counterpunch


If the Haitian government tells you these last Senate elections were fine; don’t believe them.

If the United Nations tells you these last Senate elections in Haiti were fine; don’t believe them.

If the OAS (Organization of American States) tells you these last Senate elections in Haiti were fine; don’t believe them.

If the Main Stream Media ignores the recent Haitian elections, maybe it’s because no one is supposed to say that it was a voting nightmare. When you hold an election and no one shows up, it’s a nightmare.

I drove around town (Port-au-Prince) late Sunday morning, April 19, as voters were supposed to be voting. One of the things reaffirmed to me that morning was that Haitians like playing soccer in the streets when there’s no traffic. People did not vote in Port-au-Prince and Port-au-Prince, in this case, probably reflects what was happening in most of the country.

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Haiti: Fanmi Lavalas Banned, Voter Apprehension Widespread By Jeb Sprague

20 April, 2009

NEW YORK, Apr 17 (IPS) – Weekend senatorial elections in Haiti are mired in controversy as Fanmi Lavalas (FL), the political party widely backed by the poor majority, has been disqualified.

As the global financial crisis unfolds, U.N. officials in New York City and Port-au-Prince are struggling to defend a troubled electoral process while gathering donor aid.

Meanwhile, a recent study by the Florida-based advocacy organisation Haiti Priorities Project (HPP) has found widespread popular apprehension and disaffection among Haitians ahead of the upcoming senatorial elections.

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Haiti: Canada's Bloody Hands By JOHN MAXWELL

19 April, 2009

In my teenage years, my stepfather used to buy Colliers and the Saturday Evening Post; I bought Newsweek and occasionally TIME, and those magazines formed, for a little while, my window into the modern world.

I was never as credulous as my contemporaries, and my faith in TIME and Newsweek began to fray with their reporting of the clash between Peron and La Prensa in Argentina. It disappeared almost entirely the first time I read a report in those magazines allegedly about Jamaica. These doubts came flooding back half a century later when I tried to find an address in Managua, Nicaragua. It went something like this: Third house on the left on the second road on the right next to the Esso gas station on the road by the zoo.

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COHA: “The Rock in the Sun”: Haiti’s Préval Pleads For the U.S. and Rest of the World to End Global Negligence Towards Latin America’s Poorest Country

  • President Préval’s dilemma may continue as he makes his case before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and international lending agencies
  • The failed state continues to suffer in spite of it being led by a worthy president
  • Visit lacking high visibility

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It has more foot-washers than shoeshiners: little boys who, for a penny, will wash the feet of customers lacking shoes to shine. Haitians, on the average, live a bit more than thirty years. Nine out of every ten can’t read or write. – Eduardo Galeano

A Plead for Help
On February 5, Haitian president René Préval arrived in Washington carrying a desperate message in his pocket. In it, he requested emergency aid from the United States for as much as $100 million. Préval met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, officials at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and congressional leaders. Secretary Clinton vowed to consider his request but said that she could not make any promises. Already, the U.S. gives $250 million annually in mostly humanitarian aid to NGOs working in Haiti; Préval insists that the humanitarian support would be more beneficial for the country if it went directly to the Haitian government where it could fill a budget gap. Clinton said, ‘We want to be working with them [Haitians] as they continue to build a vibrant democracy and a growing economy.’ But with a mounting economic crisis plaguing much of the world, including the United States, Préval’s plea comes at a most inopportune time. The question now is will the new Obama administration further assist Haiti, or will it proceed with a 200-year-old pattern of inadequate response to the island’s crushing needs?

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Stephen Lendman: Targeting Aristide In Exile

6 November, 2008

Elected Haiti’s president in 1990. Its first ever democratically chosen one. By a sweeping two-thirds majority. Took office in February 1991. Deposed by an army-led coup in September with all the earmarks of being made-in-Washington. Returned to office in October 1994. Served until February 1996. According to Haitian law, he couldn’t succeed himself. Reelect in November 2000 with 90% of the vote. Took office in February 2001. Served until February 29, 2004 when, in the middle of the night, US marines deposed him and forced him into exile.

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John Maxwell: Racism and Poverty

The people of Haiti are as poor as human beings can be.

According to the statisticians of the World Bank and others who speculate about how many Anglos can dance on the head of a peon, Haiti may either be the second, third or fourth poorest country in the world.

In Haiti’s case, statistics are irrelevant.

When large numbers of people are reduced to eating dirt – earth, clay – it is impossible to imagine poverty any more absolute, any more desperate, any more inhuman and degrading.

The chairman of the World Bank visited Haiti this past week. This man, Robert Zoellick, is an expert finance-capitalist, a former partner in the investment bankers Goldman Sachs, whose 22,000 ‘traders” last year averaged bonuses of more than $600,000 each.

Goldman Sachs paid out over $18 billion in bonuses to its traders last year, about 50% more than the GDP of Haiti’s 8 million people.

The chairman of Goldman took home more than $70 million and his lieutenants – as Zoellick once was – $40 million or more, each.

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