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Posts Tagged ‘Security’

Active Lethal Assailant – Sniper

October 25th, 2017 Comments off

It is likely that active shooter / active lethal assailant strategies are becoming the next possible trend in favored terrorist tactics against soft target locations. The horrific attack in Las Vegas this month that killed 59 people and wounded more than 500 more must provide a catalyst for change in the way we prepare for outdoor mass gatherings.  Recent vehicular attacks have made us aware of the additional planning that must also be considered regarding vehicles as weapons. However, this Las Vegas type of attack adds a new dimension to the problem. It took some planning by the attacker to get that many automatic weapons and ammunition into the final location. Public reports have him entering the property several days before the attack, allowing plenty of time for multiple trips in and out of the hotel with luggage. In a place like Las Vegas, this would not have raised any eyebrows.

This attack method brings into question how to secure large gatherings of people for holiday and sporting events, outdoor public celebrations, or even large lines of people waiting to enter crowded venues. The list is endless and presents a security challenge that is not easily met. Realistically, nobody ever thinks it will happen, until it does. Now that it has, the precedent has been set.

Safeguards to consider for outdoor events:

  • Select venues in cities that have gunfire detection systems (like ShotSpotter) for shot origination pinpointing
  • Pre-event ‘high ground’ sweeps
  • Counter-sniper team deployment
  • Undercover officers in the crowd (in case the shooter is amongst everyone)
  • Stationing security in surrounding buildings overlooking venues (watching hallways and windows)
  • Emergency messaging systems and phone apps that give direction during an emergency to occupants and patrons attending an event
  • Clear emergency evacuation signage to reduce stampeding in panic (people tend to run to where they entered creating a funnel danger)
  • Effective barriers and buffer zones to guard against vehicle ramming attacks

None of the above suggestions are guarantees, but if used creatively and perhaps in layers or combinations, it may afford some protection, if not a deterrent. There will always be the question about cost and the ‘do we really need this’ attitude. This will haunt security professionals for quite some time. Not just for outside events, but also for large sports venues as the crowds gather for entry.  What will become the standard duty of care? Tactics will always change, and we will have to be innovative enough to react accordingly and even try to foresee what we really do not want to.

For more information about our consulting services – check out our website at www.afimacglobal.com.

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Active Shooter Response Options

September 6th, 2017 Comments off

Want to learn more? Watch our Aggressors and Active Shooters in the Workplace webinar below and register for our Active Shooter Online Training course here: www.afimacglobal.com/activeshooter 

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Extremists Rallies –Permission and Preparation

August 21st, 2017 Comments off

protestors

With the increasing frequency of ‘extremist’ group demonstrations or rallies comes the security concerns brought on by the emotionally driven misconduct often occurring at these events. The First Amendment dictates the need for permission and tolerance of these gatherings, even though there is often an undertone of hatred that drives them. I feel that this is an emotion that should not be rewarded with a public voice, but that is just my opinion. Unfortunately, during some of these events, participants feel the end justifies the means. That is when things get out of hand and underscores the importance of event precautions and preparation.

This tendency towards violent outbreaks has become increasingly evident in politically, or racially, motivated gatherings where groups with opposite viewpoints clash. This misconduct often results in arrests of course, but it still represents a danger to peaceful demonstrators or civilians just trying to go about their business in the area. Take the most recent events in Charlottesville, VA at the University of Virginia. A racially motivated and permitted rally that attracted opposing factions (haters). Violence broke out, and someone drove a car into the crowd killing one woman and injuring many others. We have clearly been put on notice that these events will draw the wrong element. Aggressors will show up along with those who want to voice their opinions peacefully; those for whom the First Amendment was intended.

My suggestions for campuses, communities and nearby companies that are concerned about announced events such as these is to meet with the local police and find out what preventive measures are being considered. Also, given the nature of the event, would authorities consider not granting the demonstration permits because of the public safety concern it represents. In the wake of the Charlottesville incident, Texas A&M announced it had canceled the “White Lives Matter” rally that had been scheduled for 9/11/17 on their campus. Good for them. One can never absolutely say that something violent might have happened, but common sense should prevail.

There are some things to consider when preparing for an event that could become emotionally charged. The following are just a few suggestions and are not an exhaustive list:

  • Establish a rapport with the local police and get briefed on security precautions.
  • Seek the assistance of an investigative service that will assist with open-source monitoring of the Internet sites and social media channels typically used in the planning of such events. It is amazing what people will spout off about on the internet, often with threatening overtones.
  • Based on what you find out from the local police, determine whether your company should contract out for extra security, intelligence gathering and social media monitoring, photographic evidence collection, executive or personal protection and other response options.
  • If the event is planned on your property, consider the physical location and whether it might be susceptible to a vehicular attack similar to what happened in Charlottesville. What barriers should be considered as a defense or at least a deterrent? (Refer to my blog in April)

Observation– It is sad we need to have a “white lives matter” movement and a “black lives matter” movement. Why not “lives matter”- period!

For more about AFIMAC services that can help during event planning, check out our website at www.afimacglobal.com.

 

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Active Assailant Strategies Using Vehicles

April 24th, 2017 Comments off

truck

Active shooter and lethal assailant strategies are becoming the next possible trend in favored terrorist tactics against soft target locations. The horrific attack last year along the beachfront in Nice, France at the Bastille Day celebratory fireworks that killed 84 and wounded dozens more has provided a demonstration of an easy means of lethal attack to others. Smaller scale but similar attacks have now happened on a college campus at Ohio State and most recently in London. I think this is just the beginning of a new trend for mass killing with a tool that is readily available to anyone – a vehicle. The initial reports on the incident in Nice stating that is was a ‘lone wolf’ scenario were not accurate. It was well planned and premeditated as cell phone records, computer data, and other intelligence sources indicated. Multiple suspects were arrested, suspected of being accomplices in the planning stages. The scariest dynamic of this incident and the others that have followed, however, is the sheer simplicity of the weapon of choice. Yes, the Nice attacker Mohamed Bouhlel did have a firearm, but that was not the primary killing instrument used. A heavily loaded truck can be quite a destructive force. A very disturbing precedent has been set, and it is being copied on perhaps a smaller scale with normal sized vehicles.

Besides guns and IEDs, we now have to worry about vehicular attacks at places where people gather. Make no mistake; the effectiveness and ease of these attacks will inspire others with evil intentions without the means to acquire guns or explosives. This attack method brings into question how to secure large gatherings of people for holiday and sporting events, outdoor public celebrations, or even large lines of people waiting to enter crowded venues. The list is endless and presents a security challenge that is not easily met. The permanent types of vehicular barriers (bollards, heavy planters, and rising wedge/delta type barriers) typically seen around buildings to stop onrushing vehicles are great, and that may have to become more of the norm in security-conscious construction. However, what can be done about temporary gatherings or conditions that would present the same vulnerability? The temporary tools that come to mind are:

  • The moveable jersey barriers that are used in highway construction projects and Embassy complexes around the world (multiple layers of them would have to be used to stop a large truck)
  • Arranging large parked trucks for protection
  • Devices to destroy tires of any on-rushing vehicles – outside of the barriers
  • Roadblocks surrounding an event and concentric perimeter zones checking credentials and each visitors’ purpose
  • Closing off roads surrounding an event. (if the scale of the event warrants)

None of these are guarantees, but if used creatively and perhaps in layers or combinations they might afford some protection, if not a deterrent. Then there will always be the question about cost and ‘do we really need this’ type of thinking. This will haunt security professionals for quite some time. For example, what will become the standard for large sports venues regarding this type of threat as the crowds gather for entry? I think about it when I am standing in those lines with my family. I wish I had more answers. Tactics will always change, and we will have to be innovative enough to react accordingly and even try to foresee what we really don’t want to.

For more information about our consulting services – check out our website at www.afimacglobal.com.

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The Role Unarmed Security Officers Can Play in Response to Active Shooter Attacks

January 23rd, 2017 Comments off

I write pretty frequently about workplace violence preparedness and response, and specific response guidelines for active shooter situations. Most of the training that addresses this topic centers on immediate notification procedures, occupant reaction guidelines, evacuation recommendations, and assisting armed police who come to deal with the assailant. There is often an assumption that unarmed security officers are incapable of doing anything to help in the response plan because they cannot neutralize the attacker without being armed. While it is true we should not expect them to put themselves in harm’s way to seek out and attempt to stop the assailant; there are in fact many functions that the unarmed security officer can perform just before, or after, they evacuate themselves.

In a proactive/preventive vein, they can remain diligent in their daily post observations and be alert for security breaches and any red flag behavior that might indicate an internal problem with a particular individual. Just reporting an observation of out of character behavior, or overly aggressive exchanges with others could be enough to start the preliminary investigative effort, which might uncover a more serious problem brewing. Often they get to know the employees well enough to notice behavioral indicators, and usually have a keener eye for such behaviors than do co-workers who might not notice, or might not want to report it if they do.

In the active shooter response plan, there is a lot more that they can and should be expected, and depended upon, to do.  They are typically going to be one of the first ones to receive the panicked call from an employee/witness that an armed assault has occurred. They then are going to have to begin the entire notification chain that launches the specific response/evacuation plan. They will have to be trained to handle this responsibility correctly, and quickly because seconds matter once this lethal event begins. They are going to have to know the entire response plan and everyone’s role in it. They are likely going to become a conduit of communication between facility management and the responding police throughout the duration of the incident. This will eventually be from the designated Emergency Communications Center (established in any response plan). Once primary notification responsibilities have been satisfied, and the evacuation has begun, the unarmed officers should evacuate along with everyone else, but they will have other duties related to the evacuation and assisting with the police response. These duties could include any of the following:

  • Report to designated locations to assist the first police officers on the scene with gaining access into the building if it is typically secured with badge access
  • Assisting for a limited time with those evacuating
  • Reporting to the designated Emergency Communications Center to help with:
    • Monitoring of incoming phone calls related to the incident
    • CCTV monitoring to see if they can spot the location or progress of the shooter
    • Being a communication liaison with the responding police
  • Assisting with treatment of the wounded who have been able to make it out of the facility but still need first aid treatment until professional/public EMS arrives
  • Helping with the accountability of employees who have evacuated the building
  • Staffing evacuation assembly points (if they have been designated in the response plan)
  • Keeping others from entering or re-entering the facility

These are just some of the duties that these officers can be assisting with so that the armed police can focus on the difficult task of searching for, and neutralizing the assailant(s).

For more information, see How Unarmed Security Officers Can Respond to Active Killer Situations
What you can do for your organization’s security personnel is train them in understanding, accepting and performing these roles, within your active shooter response plan. Make sure they realize that they play a significant role in it! For further information on Active Shooter Response Planning, check out our website for assistance at www.afimacglobal.com.

 

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Social Media Monitoring after High-Risk Terminations

September 23rd, 2016 Comments off

There are different types of high-risk terminations. Some are obvious, and some are not:

  • Those where the aggressive behavior or act of aggression/minor violence has caused the need to terminate.
  • Cases of deteriorating work performance caused by underlying personal factors affecting the person’s judgement, emotional state, and ability to cope at work. When the work behavior is being affected and cannot be corrected, a termination is sometimes required.
  • Someone caught up in a general RIF or downsizing through no deficiency of his or her own, and they are let go. What might make them high-risk is if their whole life is defined by their job and they have no support structure (family or friends) to fall back on. These can sometimes lead to the person feeling so devastated that they act out during or after the termination. These situations are not always identified as high risk, even though they can be.

After any high-risk termination, you will not know how long the person harbors ill will towards your company, or specific individuals in your company unless you take measures to monitor them some way. One method is to monitor their social media posts. It never ceases to amaze me what people will post on social media sites that they would not discuss in public for fear of someone overhearing. Granted, they might password protect certain information, but those who are prone to act out violently usually have fewer concerns about privacy than their interest in publicly letting everyone know how he or she has been unfairly treated and believe they are due some form of justice. Social media is a vehicle for them to do just that and you should seek this information after termination in high-risk cases. You might find out that the problem you thought you solved through termination has only gotten worse. Not only are they more desperate now but they are solely focused on your company as the reason for their personal downfall. Knowing that a former employee feels this way gives you some options to pursue, such as notifying the police, obtaining a restraining order, offering sponsored counseling, etc.

Human resource personnel and the corporate security team should work together and involve third party professionals to evaluate and monitor what is going on in this person’s life after their departure and especially around pivotal dates. Postings may become more prevalent around dates of hire and termination, birthdays, holidays, and other symbolic time frames. On the positive side, it could also tell you when the person has come to accept what had to be done and is moving on with their life. You might find they post happy thoughts about new employment or a new outlook on life related to some new endeavor. Either way, it is worth the effort and cost to take such precautions.

Violence is typically a process, not an isolated event. The violence process usually has behavioral red flags along the way. This is what thorough workplace violence prevention training often outlines and it applies even after the individual leaves the workplace, depending on the circumstances of the departure.  Not realizing the desperation that a person faces, and the volatility that they represent, could be dangerous and using every tool available to gather data is prudent. The job may have been all they had left to depend on!  They are now focusing on your company as the evil force that took away the one last thing that was important to them.

For more information regarding safely conducting a termination process for all types of high-risk cases, check out the courses at www.imac-training.com. Also, refer to www.afimacsmi.com for more information regarding social media investigations.

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Armed Security Officers – Defense Against Active Shooters?

August 19th, 2016 Comments off

There is always debate after a tragic school or workplace active shooter incident about whether the organization should consider hiring armed security officers as the first line of defense against active shooter incidents. Companies and other organizations should have workplace violence policies, which prohibit their employees from bringing guns on the property, or even locked in their car in the parking lot. So where should a prudent workplace violence policy draw the line regarding arming security officers?

I can present real world arguments both for and against. Practically speaking, an armed security officer would probably be able to get to the shooter’s location faster than the responding public law enforcement. They might find the active shooter and be faster at getting an accurate defensive shot off as opposed to the active shooter seeing the officer first and shooting them with no hesitation.  There are some harsh realities about firing a weapon accurately in a tense ‘combat’ situation. The average armed security officer does not have sufficient, or frequent enough, training to effectively engage a hostile shooter under the typical active shooter ‘combat’ conditions. Given current training standards, they might hurt an innocent bystander or co-worker, or getting themselves killed. Mindset is also critical in this combat situation, and the armed security officer may not be able to muster the will to kill if necessary. There are several dangers created by the armed security officer being asked to take this protective action.

Let’s look at some of these realities and further dangers. You can shape your opinion.

  • Do all states require armed security officers to complete sufficient combat shooting training to prepare them for the adrenalin rush, fear, tunnel vision, panic and confusion which will characterize an active shooter rampage?
    • This type of defensive shooting is even a challenge for law enforcement officers who do such training
    • Law enforcement officers have the benefit of a 16-week law enforcement academy (average time) versus the armed security officer having maybe a week of training (again, average time)
  • What liabilities exist for the company, the security officer, and the contract security company, if they engage a duty weapon defensively but miss and hit an innocent person nearby?
  • If the weapon is to be used in an active shooter incident, it will have to be carried on duty at all times.
    • This, however, represents a more significant risk for accidents involving the weapon on a daily basis during normal duty time
    • Just ask any contract security company if they have had such accidents and how often
    • What if another type of workplace violence incident, or crime, leads to the officer being overpowered and losing the weapon?
  • I will tell you that the responding police officers, who already have limited information about the suspect(s), and are nervous themselves coming into this emergency, will not like the fact that armed security personnel are searching the facility as well
  • Personally, if I were a duty security officer, I would like to have my 9mm with me. However, I also feel confident in my training and level of shooting experience with my prior law enforcement and protective operations background.

Companies and organizations need to develop proactive weapon restrictions as part of their workplace violence prevention policy.  I think that the employer has the duty, for the safety of their workplace, to keep the weapons out of the building and, if possible, off of the property. This includes security officers until state standards of required training are grossly improved and standardized in every state.

For the benefit of your employees and other occupants, an active shooter response plan should be part of your workplace violence prevention program. The active shooter response plan should dictate that the first reaction priority is to get out of the building during such an incident. The second response option, if you are trapped, is to hide quietly in a safe, locked and barricaded place. Only as a last resort should you engage the shooter in a fight for your life.

Granted, having a sufficiently trained, armed security officer who is well disciplined and prepared might save lives; but what would that cost? That is an entirely different discussion. The necessary changes in training would significantly drive up the cost of either maintaining a proprietary armed guard force or contracting one. It is not an easy or cheap proposition.

Check out our workplace violence and active shooter response training courses online at: www.imac-training.com

 

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Nice, France Attack: A new security challenge

July 25th, 2016 Comments off

In last month’s blog, I wrote about active shooter strategies being the next possible trend in favored terrorist tactics against soft target locations. The horrific attack along the beachfront in Nice, France at the Bastille Day celebratory fireworks that killed 84 and wounded dozens more has been more thoroughly investigated. The initial reports of this being a ‘lone wolf’ scenario were not accurate. It was well planned and premeditated as cell phone records, computer data, and other intelligence sources are indicating. Five suspects have been arrested since, suspected of being accomplices in the planning stages. The scariest dynamic of this incident, however, is the sheer simplicity of the weapon of choice. Yes, Mohamed Bouhlel did have a firearm, but that was not the primary killing instrument used. A heavily loaded truck can be quite a destructive force. That now sets a very disturbing precedent.

Besides guns and IEDs, we now have to worry about heavily loaded trucks. Make no mistake; the effectiveness of this attack will inspire others with evil intentions without the means to acquire guns or explosives. This attack now brings into question how to secure large gatherings of people for holiday and sporting events, outdoor public celebrations, or even large lines of people waiting to enter crowded venues. The list is endless and presents a security challenge that is not easily met. The permanent types of vehicular barriers (bollards, heavy planters, and rising wedge type barriers) typically seen around buildings to stop onrushing vehicles are great but what can be done about temporary gatherings or conditions that would present the same vulnerability? The temporary tools that come to mind are:

  • The moveable jersey barriers that are used in highway construction projects
  • Arranging large parked vehicles for protection
  • Roadblocks surrounding an event
  • Devices to destroy tires of any on-rushing vehicles

None of these are guarantees but if used creatively and perhaps in layers or perimeters might afford some protection, if not a deterrent. Then there will always be the question about cost and ‘do we really need this’ type thinking. This will haunt security professionals for quite some time. For example, what will they do at the Olympics in Rio for any last minute changes regarding this type of possible threat? I wish I had all of the answers. Tactics will always change, and we have to be innovative enough to react accordingly and even try to foresee what we really don’t want to.

For more information- check out our website at www.afimacglobal.com.

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Active Shooter as a Terrorist Tactic

June 21st, 2016 Comments off

In March of this year, I wrote a blog on the possibility that our next 9/11-scale attack could be in the form of coordinated soft target attacks at the same time across the country. After the tragedy in Orlando, I am even more convinced that these types of soft target attacks will continue. Furthermore, the media blitz that surrounds these acts feeds the inevitable. Granted we cannot stop the media from covering these events; however, I do think that they should be aware of when reporting becomes sensationalizing and realize where the line is. (another matter for another time)

As I stated in March, symbolic government, business, and public infrastructure targets have taken steps to increase security. They have thought about terrorist/lethal attacker threat preparation and begun threat monitoring via social media and open source investigation. This is great and needs to continue. Unfortunately, in the eyes of attackers who wish only to lash out at the diversity and freedoms of western society, easier targets are now becoming equal in value. Whether attackers are religiously motivated, anti-capitalist motivated, or life style motivated, there does not seem to be a lack of groups, or very sick individuals, that will latch onto a cause and perhaps even align themselves with other radical groups that want to attack our way of living and believing.

What are soft targets? Shopping areas, theaters and clubs, restaurants, hotels, churches, schools and tourism locations – the list goes on! Many of these types of places have been targeted and attacked somewhere in the world already. No one wants to think about this but we must. Schools have. These types of attacks are difficult to stop and very effective if not planned for. Planning needs to be in three major areas:

  • Resources for preemptive intelligence gathering
  • Improving deterrent physical security
  • Anticipated emergency response and reaction guidance for occupants (Active Shooter Response Plan)

Whether a troubled individual or an organized group, social media and ‘dark’ websites are often used for communication, planning, and sometimes warnings by those who set out to conduct such attacks. I don’t care about privacy if violating it is what it takes to stop this! In my opinion, if the government or law enforcement in the community wants to monitor my emails, calls, social media posts and Internet activity, then do it. I have nothing to hide! We need to accept that this is what will be required to avert such attacks in the planning/warning stages. Supporting proactive law enforcement and intelligence gathering, and providing adequate physical security is the only chance these soft locations have not to become a target. I could site several cases where proactive intelligence has led to arrests before a tragedy could occur.

Physical security efforts can be a deterrent. Many ‘hospitality’ type businesses have always stated that they didn’t want to scare people away from their venues and establishments. Now the public might feel better seeing more security. They see what is happening at these potential target locations and may feel better having to go through metal detectors or seeing a few more uniformed security personnel. These proactive or deterrent measures need to become part of the cost of doing business to provide your customers a safe environment.

Finally, anticipated emergency response and reaction guidance for your occupants (employees or visitors) needs to be spelled out in your Active Shooter Response Plan. If you don’t have one, develop one, or call someone who can help you create one. The plan needs to address but not be limited to:

  • Emergency communications for both internal and local emergency responders
  • Reaction guidelines for occupants
  • Evacuation protocols specific to active shooter/lethal attackers
  • Emergency plans for internal security
  • Physical security /CCTV monitoring
  • Coordination with local emergency responders
  • Media messaging
  • Accommodations for mobility challenged
  • Post incident intelligence and counseling

AFIMAC is a resource for such assistance. Hit our website or call me if you would like some suggestions at 1 800.313.9170.

 

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Active Shooter Attacks on Soft Targets – Our Next 9/11

March 22nd, 2016 Comments off

I write pretty frequently about workplace violence preparedness and response, or specific response guidelines for active shooter situations. Today my thoughts are more speculative but need to be considered. Historically, active shooter assaults have been driven by the more typical motivators of revenge, jealousy, fear or anger. They have involved domestic relationships that have gone wrong and then manifesting in the workplace. They have been a result of disgruntled employees reaching an irrational point of frustration or former employees not being able to get past being terminated. But now, on the heels of both the Paris, France attacks in November 2015, and the San Bernardino attack in December, we should ask another question. Will this type of orchestrated active shooter/suicide bomber assault on ‘soft targets’ in our communities be the tactic for the next 9/11 scale assault on the United States? In my opinion – this is very likely.

Symbolic government, business, and public infrastructure targets have taken steps to increase security and think about terrorist threat preparation and monitoring. This is great and needs to be done but what about easier targets of equal value in the eyes of attackers who wish only to lash out at the ‘evil infidels’ of western society. Whether religiously motivated or anti-capitalist motivated there does not seem to be a lack of terrorist groups that want to attack our way of living and believing. By soft targets, I mean shopping areas, theaters, restaurants, hotels, churches and yes schools! No one wants to think about this but we must begin to. Schools have. It is a very scary thought but some specific response plans for these types of facilities need to be developed. This is the type of attack that will be difficult to stop and very effective if not planned for, both in terms of anticipated response AND resources for intelligence gathering through social media monitoring.

Social media is often used for communication and planning by those who set out to conduct such attacks, so we need to be paying attention and use the expertise available to monitor and analyze such data. In my opinion, if the government or law enforcement in the community wants to monitor my emails, calls, and social media posts, then do it. I have nothing to hide! The fact of the matter is we need to accept that this is what will be required to intercept such attacks in the planning stages. As a society, if we continue to make such proactive law enforcement and intelligence gathering more difficult in order to protect our privacy, then such attacks are going to happen. There has already been some level of success in this approach of proactive intelligence for prevention purposes. However, we need to open the door a little wider. It is our only defense. Otherwise, coordinated active shooter assaults paired with crude suicide bombings will begin to occur in our country because it is easier than plotting against those symbolic targets that have been reinforced.

What you can do for your organization is to develop an active shooter response plan for your facility! Check out our website for assistance at www.afimacglobal.com.

 

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