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Ustachi and the ABN at the World Cup

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Ustachi Recruit­ing Poster

Ustachi with vic­tim

COMMENT: In FTR #766, we high­light­ed Croa­t­ian soc­cer play­ers and fans giv­ing the “Za Dom-Sprem­ni” Ustachi fas­cist salute. That has man­i­fest­ed at the World Cup, along with a nod to Ukrain­ian OUN/B–partners with the Ustachi in the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations. For­mer­ly called the Com­mit­tee of Sub­ju­gat­ed Nations when formed by Hitler in 1943, the ABN became a key ele­ment of the for­mer World Anti-Com­mu­nist League and is pro­found­ly con­nect­ed to the GOP’s Eth­nic Her­itage Out­reach Com­mit­tee and the Gehlen spy out­fit.  (For more about this top­ic, see–among oth­er programs–FTR #‘s 48, 154, 532, 865.)

In FTR #901, we high­light­ed the cement­ing of Ustachi pow­er in con­tem­po­rary Croa­t­ia:

  • The out­go­ing Croa­t­ian Prime Min­is­ter’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the new gov­ern­ment there as being “crim­i­nal, pro-Ustacha.” ” . . . [Ex-PM] Zoran Milanovic said on Mon­day he was con­cerned that ‘peo­ple from a crim­i­nal, spy­ing, and pro-Ustasha coali­tion’ are com­ing to pow­er in Croa­t­ia. . . .”
  • The new Croa­t­ian Cul­ture Min­is­ter’s open Ustacha sen­ti­ments: ” . . . . In the text pub­lished for a pro-Fas­cist bul­letin in his stu­dent days in 1996, Croatia’s new Cul­ture Min­is­ter wrote about the wartime Fas­cist Ustasa fight­ers as ‘vic­tims’ and ‘mar­tyrs’. In the text pub­lished for a pro-Fas­cist bul­letin in his stu­dent days in 1996, Croatia’s new Cul­ture Min­is­ter wrote about the wartime Fas­cist Ustasa fight­ers as ‘vic­tims’ and ‘mar­tyrs.’ Zlatko Hasan­be­govic unam­bigu­ously glo­ri­fied the Ustasa and advo­cated the estab­lish­ment of the Greater Croa­tia in the month­ly mag­a­zine, ‘The Inde­pen­dent State of Croa­tia,’ pub­lished in the 1990s. He was pho­tographed in it with Mladen Schwartz, Velimir Bujanec, and the son-in-law of for­mer Fas­cist dic­ta­tor and Ustasa leader Ante Pavel­ic. In one pho­to­graph he wears an Ustasa cap. The then edi­tor-in-chief of the month­ly, Srecko Psenic­nik, was the son-in-law of Ante Pavel­ic, and Pres­i­dent of the Croa­t­ian Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment, HOP, a pro-Ustasa par­ty found­ed by Pavel­ic. . . .”
  • The con­tin­u­ing man­i­fes­ta­tion of pro-Ustacha revi­sion­ist sen­ti­ment at Croa­t­ian foot­ball [soc­cer] match­es. “ . . . . After Wednesday’s foot­ball game between Croa­tia and Israel in east­ern city of Osi­jek, the Fas­cist chant. Za dom sprem­ni” (‘Ready for the Home­land’) once more echoed in the stands. Sup­port­ers of the World War II Nazi pup­pet state, the Inde­pen­dent State of Croa­tia, NDH — whose Ustasa death squads took part in the Nazi Holo­caust and mur­dered tens of thou­sands of Jews, Serbs and Roma — made the chant infa­mous. How­ever, although Prime Min­is­ter Tihomir Oreskovic was present at the game, he did not respond. . . . Croatia’s new gov­ern­ment, of the con­tro­ver­sial Cul­ture Min­is­ter, Zlatko Hasan­be­govic, mean­while took a deci­sion to spon­sor an event com­mem­o­rat­ing retreat­ing Ustasa killed in 1945 at Bleiburg in Aus­tria. . . .”

Pro-Ustacha sen­ti­ment in Croa­t­ian foot­ball runs deep: ” . . . .  the Pres­i­dent of the Croa­t­ian Foot­ball Asso­ci­a­tion, Davor Šuk­er, is not only a ‘Thomp­son’ fan, he had even been pho­tographed in 1996 at the grave site of Ustaša Fuehrer Ante Pavelić.[5] . . . .”

Croa­t­ian foot­ball fans at a recent match

With Rus­sia being the host nation of the just con­clud­ed World Cup, Croa­t­ian play­ers and coach­es voiced sen­ti­ment for the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions now in pow­er in Ukraine, thanks to the Maid­an coup: ” . . . . Fol­low­ing Croa­t­i­a’s vic­to­ry over the Russ­ian team, a video clip emerged show­ing the Croa­t­ian play­er ded­i­cat­ing his team’s vic­to­ry to the Ukraine, while chant­i­ng ‘Glo­ry to the Ukraine!’[2] This is a slo­gan of anoth­er of the Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors — the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ist (OUN). . . . the OUN par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Holo­caust and mur­dered over 90,000 Poles, and thou­sands of Jews. ‘Glo­ry to Ukraine! Glo­ry to the Heroes’ (‘Slawa Ukrai­ni! Hero­jam slawa!’) was their pop­u­lar greet­ing. On the same video clip, the Croa­t­ian assis­tant coach Ogn­jen Vuko­je­vić added: ‘This vic­to­ry is for Dynamo [Kiev] and Ukraine.’ . . .”

1. “Palat­able Slo­gans;” german-foreign-policy.com; 7/11/2018.

The Croa­t­ian nation­al­ism, cur­rent­ly caus­ing an uproar at the FIFA World Cup has been sup­port­ed by the Ger­man gov­ern­ment for decades. Dur­ing the World Cup, mem­bers of the Croa­t­ian nation­al team also sang a song with well-known fas­cist lyrics — orig­i­nal­ly a song from a singer glo­ri­fy­ing Ustaša fas­cism and prais­ing the mass mur­der of Serbs in World War II. Vir­u­lent nation­al­ism has been pre­vail­ing for years through­out the Croa­t­ian soci­ety. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion against Racism and Intol­er­ance (ECRI) recent­ly con­firmed that fas­cist ten­den­cies are gain­ing strength in that coun­try. Fol­low­ing World War II, old Ustaša struc­tures had been able to hiber­nate in the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many. Bonn also had sup­port­ed the grow­ing Croa­t­ian sep­a­ratism in the 1970s and estab­lished links to the exile Croa­t­ian nation­al­ist groups. In the ear­ly 1990s, Ger­many pro­mot­ed Croa­t­i­a’s seces­sion — and thus its nation­al­ism — for geostrate­gic rea­sons.

“Dri­ve the Serbs into the Blue Adri­at­ic Sea”

Even before the Croa­t­ian play­er Domagoj Vida’s remarks became known, one of his team­mates staged a provo­ca­tion, by refer­ring pos­i­tive­ly to his coun­try’s fas­cist past dur­ing the World Cup in Rus­sia. Fol­low­ing the Croa­t­ian team’s vic­to­ry over the Argen­tine team, Dejan Lovren enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly chimed in a song of the Croa­t­ian singer “Thomp­son” that starts with the words “Za dom — sprem­ni!” (“For the Home­land — Ready!”).[1] This had been the slo­gan of Nazi Ger­many’s col­lab­o­ra­tor Ustaša fas­cist move­ment, which had ruled the Croa­t­ian state between 1941 and 1945 and par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Holo­caust. The exact num­ber of its vic­tims is unknown, how­ev­er, esti­mates run from 330,000 to over 700,000 mur­dered Serbs and up to 40,000 mur­dered Jews and Romani, respec­tive­ly. “Thomp­son” is known for his glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of the Ustaša-regime. In his songs, he has vers­es such as “Oh, Neret­va, flow down, dri­ve the Serbs into the blue Adri­at­ic Sea,” or “Shin­ing star above Metković, send our greet­ings to Ante Pavelić.” Pavelić had been the Ustaša’s his­toric Fuehrer.

“Bel­grade is burn­ing!”

Fol­low­ing Croa­t­i­a’s vic­to­ry over the Russ­ian team, a video clip emerged show­ing the Croa­t­ian play­er ded­i­cat­ing his team’s vic­to­ry to the Ukraine, while chant­i­ng “Glo­ry to the Ukraine!”[2] This is a slo­gan of anoth­er of the Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors — the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ist (OUN). Unlike the Croa­t­ian case, the Nazis, how­ev­er, pre­vent­ed the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists from form­ing their state in 1941. Nev­er­the­less, the OUN par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Holo­caust and mur­dered over 90,000 Poles, and thou­sands of Jews. “Glo­ry to Ukraine! Glo­ry to the Heroes” (“Slawa Ukrai­ni! Hero­jam slawa!”) was their pop­u­lar greet­ing. On the same video clip, the Croa­t­ian assis­tant coach Ogn­jen Vuko­je­vić added: “This vic­to­ry is for Dynamo [Kiev] and Ukraine.” Under pub­lic pres­sure, the Croa­t­ian Soc­cer Asso­ci­a­tion relieved Vuko­je­vić of his duties at the FIFA World Cup, where­as Vida, whom the Croa­t­ian team wants to keep for the two upcom­ing match­es, was only giv­en a warn­ing. Yes­ter­day anoth­er video clip emerged with Vido not only shout­ing “Glo­ry to Ukraine!” but adding into the cam­era: “Bel­grade is burning!”[3]

At the Fuehrer’s Grave­side

Pos­i­tive ref­er­ence to Ustaša fas­cism has a long tra­di­tion in Croa­t­ian soc­cer. There was the inci­dent on Novem­ber 19, 2013, for exam­ple, when, fol­low­ing the vic­to­ry over Ice­land’s nation­al team, the mem­ber of the Croa­t­ian nation­al team Josip Šimu­nić yelled “Za dom — sprem­ni!” five times into the sta­di­um’s microphone.[4] Fifa banned Šimu­nić from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Croa­t­i­a’s Foot­ball Asso­ci­a­tion then hired him as a train­ing assis­tant in 2015, as a reha­bil­i­ta­tion mea­sure. The fans of Croa­t­i­a’s soc­cer team are also noto­ri­ous for their fas­cist and racist slo­gans and have already been banned sev­er­al times from attend­ing their nation­al team’s games. On the oth­er hand, the Pres­i­dent of the Croa­t­ian Foot­ball Asso­ci­a­tion, Davor Šuk­er, is not only a “Thomp­son” fan, he had even been pho­tographed in 1996 at the grave site of Ustaša Fuehrer Ante Pavelić.[5]

Fas­cist Ten­den­cies

The pos­i­tive ref­er­ences to fas­cism in Croa­t­ian soc­cer cor­re­spond to the gen­er­al polit­i­cal ori­en­ta­tion of a major­i­ty in Croa­t­i­a’s pop­u­la­tion. Last May, the Anti-Racism Com­mis­sion of the Euro­pean Coun­cil pub­lished a report on the Croa­t­ian sit­u­a­tion, which not­ed a marked increase in racist ten­den­cies in that coun­try. This is not least of all expressed in “prais­ing” the fas­cist Ustaša regime, writes the Anti-Racism Commission.[6] It was also not­ed that politi­cians of var­i­ous per­sua­sions are increas­ing­ly resort­ing to bait­ing dur­ing their speech­es. Their chau­vin­ist agi­ta­tion often tar­gets refugees — par­tic­u­lar­ly, Mus­lims — but also Romani. The Croa­t­ian Serb minor­i­ty is not least among the vic­tims of these attacks. Ustaša sym­bols are repeat­ed­ly paint­ed on Serb build­ings or those belong­ing to Serb orga­ni­za­tions.

Hiber­na­tion in the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many

The steadi­ly increas­ing new Croa­t­ian nation­al­ism dates back to the old Ustaša era nation­al­ism, which Bel­grade had sought to sup­press as much as pos­si­ble in social­ist Yugoslavia. It sur­vived, how­ev­er, also due to the prac­ti­cal sup­port of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many. Func­tionar­ies and sup­port­ers of Croa­t­i­a’s Ustaša, who fled to West Ger­many, were able to regroup and reor­ga­nize, help­ing Bra­n­imir Jelić, an ear­ly Ustaša mem­ber, to orga­nize a Croa­t­ian Nation­al Com­mit­tee (Hrvats­ki Nar­o­d­ni Odbor, HNO) already back in the 1950s. Its head­quar­ters in Munich attract­ed numer­ous for­mer Croa­t­ian Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors. For­mer Ustaša Min­is­ter of the Inte­ri­or, Mate Frković and oth­ers were pub­lished in their mag­a­zine Hrvats­ka Drža­va (The Croa­t­ian State), print­ed in Munich.[7] It was the fact that the Croa­t­ian exiles’ ori­en­ta­tion was clear­ly set on destroy­ing Yugoslavia — along­side their anti-com­mu­nism — that fur­nished the polit­i­cal rea­son for West Ger­many to remain benev­o­lent toward them. After all, in the after­math of World War I, Yugoslavia was found­ed, with a rel­a­tive­ly strong nation-state, to block Ger­many’s route in its dri­ve to the south­east. On the oth­er hand, this was also Ger­many’s impe­tus, in the 1970s, for sup­port­ing the strength­ened Croa­t­ian sep­a­ratism and, for this pur­pose — also with intel­li­gence ser­vice col­lab­o­ra­tion — to bridge the gap between the nation­al­ist Croats in exile with the right-wing seces­sion­ist cir­cles in Zagreb. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[8])

Front-Line Sol­diers and Com­bat Vol­un­teers

Croa­t­ian nation­al­ism achieved a break­through in the ear­ly 1990s, when the Croa­t­ian nation­al­ists — again with deci­sive Ger­man sup­port — were able to secede from the Yugoslav Fed­er­a­tion. Fran­jo Tudj­man was the politi­cian at the helm of the new nation, who, in 1989, had euphem­ized the Jasen­o­vac death camp as an “assem­bly and labor camp.” In Jasen­o­vac Serbs, Jews and Romani had been mur­dered. At the same time Tudj­man extolled the Ustaša state as hav­ing been “the expres­sion’ of the Croa­t­ian peo­ple’s aspi­ra­tion for self-deter­mi­na­tion and sovereignty.”[9] In Croa­t­i­a’s seces­sion­ist war — which Ger­many sup­port­ed polit­i­cal­ly, prac­ti­cal­ly and mil­i­tar­i­ly — the nation­al­ist, ultra-rightwing posi­tions pre­vailed on a broad front. “Front-line sol­diers and com­bat vol­un­teers” greet­ed each oth­er with the Ustaša salute ‘Za dom Sprem­ni” and sang Ustaša songs, wrote the jour­nal­ist Gre­gor May­er. The Catholic church — very influ­en­tial in Croa­t­ia — also glo­ri­fied the Ustaša. Under Tudj­man’s lead­er­ship, “streets and squares were renamed at a fre­net­ic pace,” often named after Ustaša per­son­al­i­ties, such as “Nazi ide­o­logue, Mile Budak,” “Ustaša func­tionar­ies seeped back from exile into the state appa­ra­tus and the edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem.” May­er con­sid­ers that Tudj­man has ren­dered “a his­tor­i­cal and social con­cep­tion ‘palat­able’,” where­in “rad­i­cal right-wingers and neo-Nazis can still refer to.”[10]

 

[1] Tobias Fin­ger: Kroa­t­ien und der Umgang mit der faschis­tis­chen Ver­gan­gen­heit. tagesspiegel.de 26.06.2018.

[2] “Ruhm der Ukraine”: Fifa ver­warnt Kroa­t­iens Vida. derstandard.at 08.07.2018.

[3] Erneut Unter­suchung gegen Kroat­en Vida. derstandard.at 10.07.2018.

[4] Berthold See­wald: Wieviel Ustascha treibt Kroa­t­iens Fußball­spiel­er? welt.de 17.12.2013.

[5] Dario Brentin: Sie wollen ihrem Team weh tun. zeit.de 19.06.2016.

[6] Europarat ist alarmiert über das Erstarken von Neo­faschis­ten in Kroa­t­ien. nzz.ch 15.05.2018.

[7] See also Rezen­sion: Ulrich Schiller: Deutsch­land und “seine” Kroat­en.

[8] See also Nüt­zliche Faschis­ten.

[9], [10] Gre­gor May­er: Kroa­t­ien. In: Gre­gor May­er, Bern­hard Odehnal: Auf­marsch. Die rechte Gefahr aus Osteu­ropa.

 

Discussion

One comment for “Ustachi and the ABN at the World Cup”

  1. Check out the sur­prise guest who joined the Croa­t­ian foot­ballers dur­ing their home­com­ing bus trip home and per­formed a song when they final­ly reached Zagre­b’s main square: ‘Thomp­son’ the fas­cist pop-star:

    Balkan Insight

    Nation­al­ist Singer Joins Croa­t­ia Play­ers at Home­com­ing Par­ty

    Marko Perkovic ‘Thomp­son’, a nation­al­ist who has sung for war crimes defen­dants, par­tied with Croatia’s foot­ballers on their home­com­ing bus and was invit­ed to sing dur­ing cel­e­bra­tions of their World Cup sec­ond-place suc­cess.

    Anja Vladis­avl­je­vic
    17 Jul 2018
    Zagreb

    Right-wing pop star Marko Perkovic, alias ‘Thomp­son’, joined the Croa­t­ian play­ers on Mon­day evening as they trav­elled on an open-top bus from the air­port to Zagreb’s main square along a route lined with cheer­ing fans at their offi­cial home­com­ing cel­e­bra­tion.

    The bus spent more than five hours mov­ing through the jubi­lant crowds, and when it final­ly reached a stage at the main square, Thomp­son sang a song unac­com­pa­nied, despite the fact that the direc­tor of the event had pre­vi­ous­ly said that there would be no singers or politi­cians present.

    Region­al TV sta­tion N1 report­ed that the foot­ballers invit­ed Thomp­son onto their bus, and that Croatia’s star play­er Luka Mod­ric invit­ed him to sing once they reached the stage.

    “We have anoth­er spe­cial wish — that is, that Marko gives us anoth­er song,” Mod­ric said, hug­ging Thomp­son.

    Local news site eVarazdin.hr also report­ed on Tues­day that a wel­come-home gath­er­ing for nation­al team coach Zlatko Dal­ic will be held in Varazdin, a town in which Dal­ic spent part of his career, and the local may­or con­firmed that Thomp­son will per­form there too.

    ...

    But the appear­ance of the right-wing singer, whose con­certs have seen expres­sions of anti-Serb hatred voiced by his audi­ence, sparked con­tro­ver­sy on social net­works.

    Kre­so Bel­jak, the leader of the cen­trist oppo­si­tion Croa­t­ian Peas­ant Par­ty, wrote on Twit­ter that the right-winger should not be allowed to “spoil” the cel­e­bra­tion.

    Peter Mur­phy, a jour­nal­ist for French news agency AFP in Hun­gary, sug­gest­ed that Thompson’s appear­ance was bad for the country’s image, which has been enhanced by the nation­al team’s suc­cess at the World Cup in Rus­sia.

    “When you’re doing a piece on mas­sive PR boost for Croa­t­ia from World Cup exploits and ultra-nation­al­ist singer Thomp­son shows up on the open-top bus,” Mur­phy wrote on Twit­ter in a cap­tion to pho­tographs of Thomp­son hug­ging the Croa­t­ian play­ers.

    Con­certs by Marko Perkovic – nick­named ‘Thomp­son’ after the machine gun – have often caused con­tro­ver­sy in the Balkan region.

    In 2017, Thomp­son held a con­cert in the Bosn­ian town of Mostar in sup­port of Bosn­ian Croat ex-offi­cials on tri­al for war crimes, where around 8,000 peo­ple chant­ed the slo­gan “Za dom sprem­ni” — (“Ready for the home[land]”), the slo­gan of Croa­t­ian WWII fas­cist Ustasa move­ment.

    Author­i­ties in the Sloven­ian town of Mari­bor banned Perkovic’s planned con­cert ear­li­er that year, cit­ing secu­ri­ty risks.

    At Perkovic’s con­cert dur­ing the 20th anniver­sary of Croatia’s vic­to­ri­ous Oper­a­tion Storm in 2015, many in the 80,000-strong audi­ence chant­ed “Za dom sprem­ni” and “Kill a Serb”.

    In 2009, his per­for­mance of a song called ‘Jasen­o­vac and Gradiska Stara’ – the names of Ustasa-run con­cen­tra­tion camps – also caused out­rage.

    ———-

    “Right-wing pop star Marko Perkovic, alias ‘Thomp­son’, joined the Croa­t­ian play­ers on Mon­day evening as they trav­elled on an open-top bus from the air­port to Zagreb’s main square along a route lined with cheer­ing fans at their offi­cial home­com­ing cel­e­bra­tion.

    It was a cel­e­bra­tion of Croa­t­i­a’s his­toric World Cup finish...and appar­ent­ly a cel­e­bra­tion of ‘Thomp­son’ too. The team’s star play­er, Luka Mod­ric, appears to be a par­tic­u­lar­ly big Thomp­son fan:

    ...
    The bus spent more than five hours mov­ing through the jubi­lant crowds, and when it final­ly reached a stage at the main square, Thomp­son sang a song unac­com­pa­nied, despite the fact that the direc­tor of the event had pre­vi­ous­ly said that there would be no singers or politi­cians present.

    Region­al TV sta­tion N1 report­ed that the foot­ballers invit­ed Thomp­son onto their bus, and that Croatia’s star play­er Luka Mod­ric invit­ed him to sing once they reached the stage.

    “We have anoth­er spe­cial wish — that is, that Marko gives us anoth­er song,” Mod­ric said, hug­ging Thomp­son.
    ...

    But at least there were no reports of crowds chant­i­ng fas­cist slo­gans as this impromp­tu con­cert, which is appar­ent­ly a step up from kind pro-fas­cist crowds Thomp­son nor­mal­ly attracts:

    ...
    But the appear­ance of the right-wing singer, whose con­certs have seen expres­sions of anti-Serb hatred voiced by his audi­ence, sparked con­tro­ver­sy on social net­works.

    ...

    Con­certs by Marko Perkovic – nick­named ‘Thomp­son’ after the machine gun – have often caused con­tro­ver­sy in the Balkan region.

    In 2017, Thomp­son held a con­cert in the Bosn­ian town of Mostar in sup­port of Bosn­ian Croat ex-offi­cials on tri­al for war crimes, where around 8,000 peo­ple chant­ed the slo­gan “Za dom sprem­ni” — (“Ready for the home[land]”), the slo­gan of Croa­t­ian WWII fas­cist Ustasa move­ment.

    Author­i­ties in the Sloven­ian town of Mari­bor banned Perkovic’s planned con­cert ear­li­er that year, cit­ing secu­ri­ty risks.

    At Perkovic’s con­cert dur­ing the 20th anniver­sary of Croatia’s vic­to­ri­ous Oper­a­tion Storm in 2015, many in the 80,000-strong audi­ence chant­ed “Za dom sprem­ni” and “Kill a Serb”.

    In 2009, his per­for­mance of a song called ‘Jasen­o­vac and Gradiska Stara’ – the names of Ustasa-run con­cen­tra­tion camps – also caused out­rage.

    And the Croa­t­ian foot­ball team’s embrace of Thomp­son isn’t done yet. There’s also a wel­come-home gath­er­ing for the nation­al team coach in the town of Varazdin. The may­or has already con­firmed that Thomp­son will be per­form­ing there too:

    ...
    Local news site eVarazdin.hr also report­ed on Tues­day that a wel­come-home gath­er­ing for nation­al team coach Zlatko Dal­ic will be held in Varazdin, a town in which Dal­ic spent part of his career, and the local may­or con­firmed that Thomp­son will per­form there too.
    ...

    So that gives a sense of how far along the main­stream­ing of the far right is in Croa­t­ia these days: in one of the biggest nation­al cel­e­bra­tions in years a pop-cul­ture fas­cist is giv­en a nation­al stage.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 18, 2018, 2:37 pm

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