Category: Big Brother


Source: Christian Science Monitor

The cyber attacks against corporations that move against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appear to be escalating.

After bringing down his Swiss bank’s website last week, and MasterCard’s site Wednesday, a loose coalition of hackers calling themselves Operation Payback brought down Visa’s website Wednesday afternoon.

Companies are fighting back. In the latest salvo, Facebook and Twitter both pulled Operation Payback’s websites Wednesday afternoon, cutting key lines of communication with the “troops” in this cyber-battle.

What damage remains is hard to assess, as MasterCard and Visa continue to try to re-establish full functioning of their websites. If nothing else, Operation Payback has drawn attention to the vulnerability of many companies to this sort of cyber-attack. As President Obama said in May 2009, “This cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation…. This status quo is no longer acceptable – not when there’s so much at stake. We can and we must do better.”

For the attackers, the real benefit may be attracting attention to their cause.

Where did these so-called cyberwars begin?

Last week, WikiLeaks announced the planned release of thousands of classified government cables. Their website was quickly knocked out, presumably by those who didn’t want the material released, but WikiLeaks shored up their digital defenses and proceeded.

Governments, media, and others reacted with shock to the leaked cables, and responded by accusing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of assorted crimes, closing his accounts, and calling for his extradition. Private companies got involved as well: Amazon.com stopped hosting WikiLeaks, PayPal stopped allowing money transfers to him at the urging of the State Department, and this week MasterCard and Visa followed suit.

Angry supporters of WikiLeaks saw these moves as attempted censorship, and announced that they would “fight for freedom.” A group of hackers collectively called “Anonymous,” photographed only in Guy Fawkes masks, stepped into the fray.

“Mastercard, Visa, Paypal, Amazon all betray America by betraying Free Speech,” wrote “Guy Fawkes” on the Operation Payback Facebook page, early Wednesday morning. “You will all be dealt with. Anonymous is on your case. WikiLeaks cannot be silenced!”

Anonymous responded to Assange’s real-world challenges with cybersphere assaults against the various organizations.

Anonymous’s offensive division, known as Operation Payback, controlled a digital “cannon” that could blast websites of their choosing through “distributed denial-of-service” (DDoS) attacks. Operation Payback had previously targeted groups that tried to prevent the illegal download of movies, music, and games, as well as the Church of Scientology (no relation to the Church of Christ, Scientist, that publishes The Christian Science Monitor) and KISS performer Gene Simmons.

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Source: BCC

Web attacks on the Mastercard site have disrupted payments, the BBC has learnt.

The site is among several targeted by the Anonymous group of hackers, who have pledged to pursue firms that have withdrawn services from Wikileaks.

Mastercard, which stopped processing payments to the whistle-blowing site, said the attack had had “no impact” on people’s ability to use their cards.

But the BBC has been contacted by a payment firm that said its customers had “a complete loss of service”.

In particular, it said that an authentication service for online payments known as Mastercard’s SecureCode, had been disrupted.

Other readers have also said that have had problems with online payments.

Mastercard has not responded to the claims.

Earlier, Doyel Maitra of the firm, said: “Mastercard is experiencing heavy traffic on its external corporate website – Mastercard.com – but this remains accessible.

“We are working to restore normal speed of service. There is no impact whatsoever on Mastercard or Maestro cardholders’ ability to use their cards for secure transactions.”

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Source: Guardian

Ernest Withers, who was trusted by civil rights leader to sit in on strategy meetings spied on black activists and white radicals.

Martin Luther King must have imagined that the man with the camera so often at his side was doing no more than recording history. But it has been revealed that Ernest Withers – who was on hand to capture King riding newly desegregated buses and the shock of the civil rights leader’s allies immediately after his murder – was also an FBI informer.

The double life of one of the most celebrated photographers of the civil rights era was exposed by the Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis, which reported that Withers passed on photographs to the FBI along with names and background information about activists and details of schedules.

Withers, who was a police officer before becoming a photographer and died three years ago aged 85, documented the civil rights movement from the beginning, covering pivotal moments such as the murder of Emmett Till in 1955, and the Little Rock school integration showdown. He came to be so familiar and so trusted to King and other leaders that he sat in on strategy meetings.

Records released under a freedom of information request show that from at least 1968, and possibly earlier, he spied on not only black civil rights activists but Catholic priests who supported a Memphis-wide strike by sanitation workers, and political candidates, recording car number plates for the FBI.

Withers also helped the bureau to break a militant black group called the Invaders, which had a following in Memphis in the late 60s.

“He was the perfect source for them,” the Pulitzer prize-winning historian of the era, David Garrow, told the Commercial Appeal. “He could go everywhere with a perfect, obvious professional purpose.”

Withers was identified by the newspaper after the FBI failed to black out his name on a number of documents related to the agency’s spying on civil rights activists, released under freedom of information legislation.

The FBI was fixated on King. The then attorney general, Robert Kennedy, authorised it to spy on the civil rights leader, and the FBI director, J Edgar Hoover, went so far as to bug King in bed.

Andrew Young, a former mayor of Atlanta, said activists had been aware that they were closely watched by the FBI, although no one suspected Withers was an informant.

“I always liked him because he was a good photographer. And he was always [around],” he said. “I don’t think Dr King would have minded him making a little money on the side.”

One of Withers’s sons, Rome, who is also a photographer, said he had been unaware that his father worked for the FBI, but said it did not diminish his work documenting the civil rights movement.

“He had been harassed, beaten, shot at. He was a victim,” he told the Commercial Appeal. “At that time, when you are the only black on the scene, you’re in an intimidating state.”

Source: Examiner

State of emergency order makes criminals of concealed handgun permit-holders, sport shooters and hunters.

[Raleigh] Yesterday, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue signed Executive Order No. 62, declaring a State of Emergency in advance of Hurricane Earle. In doing so, Perdue suspended the right of state residents to use or carry firearms outside their premises.

At issue is N.C. General Statute 14-288.7, which prohibits transporting a “dangerous weapon” during a state of emergency:

§ 14 288.7. Transporting dangerous weapon or substance during emergency; possessing off premises; exceptions.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is unlawful for any person to transport or possess off his own premises any dangerous weapon or substance in any area:
(1) In which a declared state of emergency exists; or
(2) Within the immediate vicinity of which a riot is occurring.
(b) This section does not apply to persons exempted from the provisions of G.S. 14 269 with respect to any activities lawfully engaged in while carrying out their duties.
(c) Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1969, c. 869, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 192; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

According to § 14 288.1 (10), a state of emergency exists “whenever, during times of public crisis, disaster, rioting, catastrophe, or similar public emergency, public safety authorities are unable to maintain public order or afford adequate protection for lives or property, or whenever the occurrence of any such condition is imminent.”

Violation of the order is a Class I misdemeanor, punishable by up to 120 days in jail. Those impacted include concealed handgun permit-holders, sport-shooters, and anyone else carrying a firearm outside their home or business. Critics note that dove-hunting season begins on Saturday (September 4), potentially making criminals of thousands of hunters.

NC DEMOCRATS REFUSE TO RECTIFY PROBLEM

In recent years, two North Carolina bills could have prevented infringement on individual rights under state of emergency laws. Under Section 3 of House Bill 257: “No Seizure of Lawful Firearms in Emergency,” sponsored by Rep. George Cleveland (R-Onslow) and three other legislators, lawfully possessed firearms and ammunition would have been exempted from the state of emergency law.

Despite support from the state’s primary gun group, Grass Roots North Carolina*, and others the bill died when it was denied a committee hearing by Democrat leadership, including Speaker Joe Hackney (D-Chatham, Moore, Orange) House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman (D-Davidson) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Representative Ronnie Sutton (D-Robeson).

The issue became more urgent in February, when the town of King declared a state of emergency in response to an impending snowstorm and posted the entire town against the sale and purchase of firearms and ammunition.

In response, GRNC worked with Rep. Mark Hilton (R-Catawba) to revamp the bill and introduce it again, with stronger language on the state of emergency issue, during the second year of the legislature’s two-year session as HB 2031. Referred to the House Judiciary I Committee, chaired by anti-gun Rep. Deborah Ross, that bill too died when Democrats denied it a hearing.

LAWSUIT PENDING ON STATE OF EMERGENCY LAW

Ironically, in June GRNC joined Michael Bateman, Virgil Green, Forrest Minges, Jr., and the Second Amendment Foundation in a lawsuit against the state’s emergency powers gun ban.

Named in the suit are North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue; Reuben Young, secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety; Stokes County and the City of King.

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, the official title is Bateman et al v. Perdue et al, Case No. 5:10-cv-265. It contends that state statutes forbidding carrying of firearms and ammunition during declared states of emergency, as well as laws enabling government officials to prohibit purchase, sale and possession of firearms and ammunition are unconstitutional because they forbid the exercise of Second Amendment rights as affirmed by the Supreme Court ruling in McDonald v. Chicago.

Plaintiffs are represented by attorney Alan Gura, who won the recent McDonald v. Chicago Second Amendment case and the landmark D.C. v. Heller case preceding it. Local counsel includes Andrew Tripp and Kearns Davis of Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLC.

After GRNC issued an alert to its members, word of the implications of Perdue’s order spread on the Internet, including being featured on thetruthaboutguns.com. It is widely anticipated that the order will add impetus to the Bateman lawsuit.

Source: New American

The Obama administration is “taking the first steps to confiscate retirement dollars,” according to Dr. Jerome Corsi who predicts that the end result will be retirees with 401(k) plans holding near-worthless government debt “that will be paid off in a devalued currency worth … pennies on the dollar.”

The move to confiscate those retirement dollars for government purposes was best illustrated by Christina Kirchner, President of Argentina, in 2008 when she announced plans to seize her citizens’ private pension funds. Writers at the Heritage Foundation said that while Kirchner claimed such seizure was necessary to protect her citizens’ investment accounts from the global meltdown, “most observers believe[d] her real motive [was] to use the $30 billion in seized assets to ease the massive debt obligations her leftist spendthrift government [had] run up.” The Wall Street Journal agreed, saying that “taking over the … pension fund assets [would] ease the cash crunch faced by [her] government.”

Corsi said he has a letter from the Treasury Department, Bureau of Public Debt, informing U.S. citizens that the federal government is rolling out a new program called “Treasury Direct” that will allow citizens “to purchase, manage, and redeem…savings bonds” electronically, as well as offering an option to purchase such bonds automatically through payroll savings or a personal checking account. This happened to coincide nicely, according to Corsi, with a bill offered by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) to create “Automatic IRAs” that would require all employers and employees to invest in IRAs using that automatic deduction option, “whether they want to do so or not.”

And this happened to coincide also with a program being pushed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) called “Retirement USA” which would create a government-forced retirement program with assets being directed into special Treasury Retirement Bonds, or R-Bonds. “Retirement USA” is promoting the idea that all workers have a “right” to a government retirement account, in addition to Social Security and any private pension plans those workers already have in place. Others behind “Retirement USA” also support more government dependency for workers, including the AFL-CIO, the Economic Policy Institute, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and the Pension Rights Center.

All of this is being promoted by the idea that individual citizens aren’t saving enough for their retirement, and that consequently government has to “do something.” Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash., above photo), Chairman of the House Ways and Mean’s Committee’ Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, is confused about whose money is in those 401(k) plans: the individual contributor, or the government. He said that “since the savings rate isn’t going up for the investment [Congress is making] of $80 billion [in 401(k) tax savings], we have to start to think about whether or not we want to continue to invest that $80 billion for a policy that’s not generating what we now say it should.”

The world view of Rep. McDermott is revealing, and brings clarity to the point of view of many in the Washington establishment that the $4.5 trillion currently invested in 401(k) plans and other private pension plans that enjoy tax breaks actually belong to the government, and that when Congress loses $80 billion that would otherwise flow to Washington due to those tax breaks, it’s an “investment” that must “generate what we say it should”, or else it must be replaced with something else that works better.

The real “story behind the story” was revealed by Joe Wolverton here when he said,

…since the day of his inauguration, Barack Obama and his congressional co-conspirators have consistently and unapologetically set out to systematically nationalize the economy of the United States: first the banks; then the insurance companies; then the auto industry; then healthcare; and now the piece de resistance, the private savings accounts of millions of middle-class Americans.

But, thanks to the SEIU and their program “Retirement USA,” it’s all dressed up to look like a good deal for unsuspecting owners of retirement plans. In “Making the Case for a New System” they take the view that “A secure retirement is part of the American dream. Yet our retirement system is failing many Americans. Social Security is the cornerstone of our system, but as currently structured, is not meant to be our only retirement program. Pensions and savings plans are supposed to fill the gap, but too many workers don’t have plans, and too many plans don’t do the job.” They complain that:

Private retirement plan coverage is not UNIVERSAL…

For millions of Americans, private retirement benefits are not SECURE…

And Private retirement benefits are not ADEQUATE…

And, continues “Retirement USA”’s website, “Social Security must be preserved and strengthened… [and] we must encourage employers to offer and maintain them.”[emphasis added]

Underlying all of this is, of course, the statist presumption that government knows best what’s good for the citizens, and when the citizens’ behavior fails to meet government expectations, then mandates and force must be used to do for those citizens what the government thinks is best.

And the fact that Washington is looking at annual trillion-dollar deficits “for as far as the eye can see,” that $4.5 trillion of private monies is just too tempting to ignore.

Source: MyFoxPhilly

Philadelphia has become a target online now that people are learning that bloggers have to pay a fee just like businesses do.

Should the city really be going after the little guys for making money online? The mayor says yes.

The city’s recent tax amnesty program brought to light Philadelphia bloggers and others who had reported income to the IRS – meaning they were telling Uncle Sam they had made money – but had never purchased the business privilege license required to do business in the city. That license runs $50 a year or $300 for life.

That prompted the city to say it’s time to pay up!

The complaints come in two broad categories. The first is that this is an assault on what used to be “free speech.”

And the second is that this is cash-strapped big government going after the smallest of the small fries.

Obviously, most bloggers make very little money with their postings.

Aaron proctor is a Libertarian and part-time blogger who began writing for Examiner.com back in April. The site includes paid advertising.

Proctor said he fully expects a letter from the city, demanding that he buy that business license.

The Internet is buzzing with outrage. One site out of San Francisco described the move to charge bloggers who make money online as a “ridiculous action,” and elsewhere as “foolish.”

Mayor Michael Nutter defended the policy when asked about it Tuesday.

“If you’re paying taxes to the federal government, you should be paying taxes to the city of Philadelphia,” Nutter asserted. “Whether you’re blogging or manufacturing or catering or whatever it is you’re doing. This is about business. If you are in business, making money, then you should operate in accordance with every other business in the city of Philadelphia, and get a Business Privilege License.”

The mayor added, “If we had exceptions based on certain types of business, I think if you are a manufacturer, if you are a retailer, if you’re someone who is playing by the rules, making money, paying taxes and all of the sudden we’re not requiring the same of all businesses across the board, you would be standing here, Bruce, asking me, why is the city not enforcing its own regulations with regard to people filing taxes with the feds, paying their federal taxes, and not paying them to the city.”

A spokesman for the administration points out that the bloggers appeared on their radar screen by identifying themselves as businesspeople on those IRS forms. Doing so helped them get some federal tax breaks for business expenses.

Now, says that spokesman, some of these same folks want to claim blogging is a “hobby.”

Source: AP

The government moved Tuesday to take over Argentina’s only newsprint maker, alleging two leading newspapers illegally conspired with dictators to control the company three decades ago and then used it to drive competing media out of business.

President Cristina Fernandez said the courts should decide whether the Grupo Clarin and La Nacion media companies should be charged with crimes against humanity — specifically whether the newsprint company was illegally expropriated by the newspapers and the military junta.

The companies, with which Fernandez has been feuding for two years, deny any illegality in the acquisition of the newsprint maker, or other crimes. They accuse Fernandez of baldly trying to control the essential material needed to guarantee freedom of expression, a position supported by the Inter-American Press Association and other media groups.

Speaking in a national broadcast, Fernandez said she was defending those rights. She accused Grupo Clarin and La Nacion of using the newsprint company, Papel Prensa SA, to impose media monopolies on Argentina, stifling other viewpoints by refusing to sell paper at fair prices to competitors.

She showed a headline from the opposition Clarin newspaper saying “Who controls Papel Prensa controls the written word,” and said she couldn’t agree more.

“Papel Prensa is the only company that produces newsprint in this country,” Fernandez said, “and it’s a vertically integrated monopoly. It determines who it sells to, how much it sells and at what price. And so yes, whoever controls it controls the written word in the Republic of Argentina.”

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Source: AP

The government moved Tuesday to take over Argentina’s only newsprint maker, alleging two leading newspapers illegally conspired with dictators to control the company three decades ago and then used it to drive competing media out of business.

President Cristina Fernandez said the courts should decide whether the Grupo Clarin and La Nacion media companies should be charged with crimes against humanity — specifically whether the newsprint company was illegally expropriated by the newspapers and the military junta.

The companies, with which Fernandez has been feuding for two years, deny any illegality in the acquisition of the newsprint maker, or other crimes. They accuse Fernandez of baldly trying to control the essential material needed to guarantee freedom of expression, a position supported by the Inter-American Press Association and other media groups.

Speaking in a national broadcast, Fernandez said she was defending those rights. She accused Grupo Clarin and La Nacion of using the newsprint company, Papel Prensa SA, to impose media monopolies on Argentina, stifling other viewpoints by refusing to sell paper at fair prices to competitors.

She showed a headline from the opposition Clarin newspaper saying “Who controls Papel Prensa controls the written word,” and said she couldn’t agree more.

“Papel Prensa is the only company that produces newsprint in this country,” Fernandez said, “and it’s a vertically integrated monopoly. It determines who it sells to, how much it sells and at what price. And so yes, whoever controls it controls the written word in the Republic of Argentina.”

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Source: EU Times

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First They Destroy Private Healthcare in America – Yes, the socialist Democrats won their first battle to destroy the private healthcare system in the US but the automatic IRA bill now in Congress is their next attack to also control, confiscate and destroy the private retirement system. Ultimately, nationalizing healthcare is designed to create a major new government revenue stream by replacing private health insurance with a nationalized, mandatory, government program and their goal is identical with your retirement plan.

Washington will decide the annual forced healthcare premiums on all Americans with the middle and upper wage earners paying far higher premiums than the subsidized voting constituencies who will be the primary beneficiaries of the program. Their goal is to allow Washington to steal much of the annual health premiums (taxes) for current revenue needs and to bailout and subsidize with your premiums the health programs for the voting blocks of poor and underemployed, illegals, unions and the millions of city, county, state and federal government employees. Eventually there will be no private competition available except for the very wealthy and Washington will constantly increase premiums just as they raise taxes today.

Next They Steal Your Private Retirement Benefits – Just as with the Obama Administration plans eventual nationalization of healthcare, the tremendous amount of funds in private retirement plans and IRA accounts are also being targeted to meet future revenue needs. Bills have just been introduced in both the House and Senate to create the new Auto IRA accounts which will at first be voluntary but later will become mandatory like Social Security and I expect the early 3% employee after tax contribution levels to eventually rise to 10 to 15% of compensation rising even more than Social Security has increased over the years. Read this August 17th article in Investment News at for more information.

Just Robbery Pure & Simple – The Auto IRA is the first step to grab and control your retirement assets and replace our private system with a forced, government controlled Social Security type program. In addition they will force much of your retirement funds into buying junk treasury bonds along with the Federal Reserve when the dollar/national debt crisis hits as billions of retirement funds become the buyer of last resort when the rest of the world are dumping dollars and treasury securities. Americans with substantial private retirement benefits will also likely be “means tested” out of their promised Social Security benefits and discover their private retirement benefits will be subject to confiscatory levels of taxes and penalties which will even target previously taxed Roth IRA accounts.

Bipartisan Theft – But don’t think a GOP victory in the fall elections or 2012 will safeguard your retirement assets as Washington’s need for new wealth is a bipartisan effort by both political parties. Note that the leading “Washington based” conservative think tank disagrees with my analysis of the threat to your retirement assets. I take exception to the views of David John, The Heritage Foundation’s leading analyst on issues relating to pensions, financial institutions, asset building, and Social Security reform but read his The Automatic IRAs: A Conservative Way to Build Retirement Security and you will see how even some traditional conservatives are supporting the latest Washington retirement wealth and power grab.

Read More About the Retirement Threat & Protection Solutions – I have already covered the proposals in detail in two lengthy online reports: Get Ready For the Obama Retirement Trap at published on 1/28/2010 and The 10 Step Countdown To Retirement Plan Nationalization at published on 3/22/2010.

Please take the time to review both reports in detail which covered the threats when the Obama Administration first proposed this new program back in January 2010 and also read David John’s glowing support for the new Washington retirement scheme. Then decide for yourself if Washington is here to help you for a change or out to steal you blind as usual. Together, the reports above provide a confiscation timeline and actions you can take now to defend your retirement security and benefits.

Source: PasadenaStarNews

A high-tech ray gun built for the military that fires an invisible heat beam capable of causing unbearable pain will be tested on unruly inmates in the sheriff’s detention facility in Castaic, officials said Friday at an unveiling event.

The “Assault Intervention System” (AIS) developed by the Raytheon Co., could give the Sheriff’s Department “another tool” to quell disturbances at a 65-inmate dormitory at the Pitchess Detention Center’s North County Correctional Facility, said Cmdr. Bob Osborne, head of the technology exploration branch of the sheriff’s Department of Homeland Security Division.

The 600-pound, 7-foot-tall device won’t replace traditional methods such as tear gas, rubber bullets and batons, Osborne said.

“We’re looking to see if we can exploit this science for the benefit of the Corrections Department,” he said.

AIS fires a directed beam of invisible “millimeter waves” that cause an unbearable burning sensation by penetrating 1/64 of an inch into the skin, where pain receptors are located, said Mike Booen, Raytheon’s vice president of advanced security and directed energy systems.

The beam, which is about the diameter of a compact disc, causes an instant and intolerable burning sensation when it touches skin, but the sensation stops instantly when the device is turned off or the target moves out of the beam.

At a news conference, several people volunteered to feel the effects of the machine first-hand.

Sheriff’s Deputy David Judge manned the controls and fired the beam, using a joystick and a monitor, not unlike a video game, to aim the ray gun’s camera.

Judge simply aligned cross-hairs in the center of the screen with his target and pulled the trigger. The beam can be targeted very precisely, allowing deputies to single out one person or even a specific body part.

One volunteer was able to stand in the beam’s path for just 1.8 seconds before the heat sensation forced him to step out of the way.

“I don’t care if you’re the meanest, toughest person in the world. This will get your attention,” Booen said.

The machine is designed to emit a burst of no more than three seconds with each trigger pull, but deputies can repeatedly fire the weapon as needed.

Similar devices have already been sold to the U.S. military, however the machine demonstrated Friday is the first to be placed in an American correctional institution, sheriff’s officials said.

It is being installed as a test case at no cost to the Sheriff’s Department, as part of a program through the National Institute of Justice, officials said.

“Millimeter wave” devices have been tested on more than 10,000 subjects so far and has been shown to cause no lasting injuries, Booen said.

“It’s very, very safe,” he said.

The unit at the Pitchess Detention Center has a range of 80 to 100 feet, which is more than enough for the dormitory space it’s to be used in.

Raytheon, as a matter of policy, does not disclose the cost of the machines, Booen said, adding that he could not comment on how the military has used the devices.

When asked if the public can expect to see similar AIS devices mounted on patrol cars in the future or attached to deputies’ utility belts, Osborne said, “not in my lifetime.”

But Booen said his company is working on much smaller versions of the AIS. Progress on that research is a closely held secret, he added.

“That’s our vision,” said Booen. “We want to get to the point where it is a hand-held device.”

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