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Dakar Rally canceled after terror threat

 
Old 01-04-2008, 09:22 AM
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Default Dakar Rally canceled after terror threat

Ok now this is gone to far. Once you mess with motor sports its over. What the hell is wrong with muslim fanatices.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200...rally

PARIS - The Dakar Rally, the epic motorcycle, car and truck race across the Sahara desert, was canceled Friday by organizers citing "direct" threats of terrorism from al-Qaida-linked militants.

The race was deemed too inviting — and too easy — a target for the terror group's new north African affiliate. The roughly 550 competitors were to have embarked Saturday on the 16-day, 5,760-mile trek through remote and hostile dunes and scrub from Europe to Senegal in west Africa.

Organizers of the rally, once known as the Paris-Dakar, cited warnings from the French government about safety after the al-Qaida-linked Dec. 24 slaying of a family of French tourists in Mauritania — where eight of the competition's 15 stages were to be held — and "threats launched directly against the race by terrorist organizations."

It was the first time that the 30-year-old rally, one of the biggest competitions in automobile racing, has been called off. The Dakar is one of the most prominent public events to be canceled since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, when many sports events in the United States were canceled or postponed — some as a result of airport closings or in mourning for the victims.

The cancellation of such a world-renowned sports event is rare, particularly as a pre-emptive measure against terrorism. Even the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich continued, following a 34-hour pause, after 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed by Palestinian gunmen.

Victor Anderes, vice president of special projects at Global Security Associates, a New York-based firm that provides security for high-profile events including the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, called the cancellation unprecedented.

"Smaller cultural events have been canceled before because of terror threats, but this hasn't happened with such a major international event," he said.

"The threat is significant," Anderes said. "It would be almost impossible to secure the entire course." He said the race is particularly vulnerable because it crosses different countries and large, unpopulated areas.

"When you are told of direct threats against the event and when the sinister name of al-Qaida is mentioned, you don't ask for details," Patrice Clerc, who heads the company that organizes the rally, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "It was enough for me to hear my government say 'beware, the danger is at a maximum.'"

Experts cautioned — as Western governments have often warned — that bowing to terror threats could encourage more violence. They said al-Qaida's North African wing had scored propaganda points as it seeks to increase its reach in the region.

"They scored a media victory without firing a shot," said Louis Caprioli, a former assistant director at France's counterintelligence agency DST. "Everybody gets the impression that they are very powerful, when they in fact represent a small number of people in this region."

Adam Raisman, senior analyst at the SITE Institute in Washington, said "the jihadist Internet community is quite happy with the closing, seeing it as a victory."

Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa is the rebranded name of an Algeria-based insurgent group known as the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, or GSPC. Al-Qaida's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, first recognized a "blessed union" between the two groups on Sept. 11, 2006.

Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa counts no more than several hundred members in Algeria and only a few dozen in Mauritania, said Caprioli, who now works for the risk-management company Geos.

But the group has adopted al-Qaida techniques to increase its impact. It claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings last month in Algeria's capital that hit U.N. offices and a government building, killing 37 people — including 17 U.N. staff members. That attack was the most dramatic in a string of recent suicide bombings in Algeria.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and terrorism expert who now works at the Brookings Institution, called al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa "a threat to be reckoned with."

Rally organizer Clerc, in the AP interview, acknowledged that "Yes, we perhaps bowed to terrorism," but that security needed to come first: "We don't have the right to play games with safety."

Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa, in a Dec. 29 statement posted on an Internet site that it often uses, had criticized Mauritania's government for "providing suitable environments to the infidels for the rally." It did not directly call for attacks on the race or its participants.

The vast desert region stretching from southern Algeria through Mali and Mauritania has long been a prime haunt for traffickers in arms, cigarettes, drugs and other contraband, and a GSPC redoubt. It claimed responsibility for a June 2005 raid on a remote army post that killed 15 Mauritanian troops.

Another terror and smuggling chieftain in the region is Mokhtar Bel Mokhtar, a veteran militant said to have been behind threats against the rally several years ago.

The United States has had the lawless border zones in its sights for years. In 2004, it began a counterterrorism training program in Mauritania and three other Sahara countries as part of efforts to fight infiltration by militant groups.

The race had been due to start in Lisbon, Portugal, on Saturday, and finish in Dakar, Senegal, on Jan. 20.

Thousands of Africans each year line ochre-colored, sandy roads as Dakar Rally racers speed through — at times crashing out or into spectators, and sometimes with deadly results.

The government in France, where race organizer Amaury Sports Organization is based, had urged the rally to avoid Mauritania after four French tourists were killed last month in a town 150 miles east of the capital as they picnicked on a roadside.

That attack was followed by another days later, when three Mauritanian soldiers manning a checkpoint were killed. Mauritania, a largely peaceful Islamic republic, was rocked by the back-to-back attacks.

Authorities blamed a terror "sleeper cell" linked to al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa for the tourists' murders. The group claimed responsibility for the killing of the soldiers in an audio tape released to Al-Arabiya TV station.

The race's central appeal — its course through African deserts, scrubland and savannas — is also a weak point for security, making it difficult to protect competitors and race workers as they cross remote regions.

Terrorism fears have previously forced organizers to cancel individual stages or reroute the race. In 2000, several legs were scrapped after a threat forced organizers to airlift the entire race from Niger to Libya to avoid danger zones. Several stages were also called off in 2004, reportedly because of terror threats in Mali.

Rally director Etienne Lavigne only recently approved the Mauritanian legs after two stages planned for Mali were scrapped over concerns about al-Qaida's north Africa affiliate there.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he did not want to "stigmatize" Mauritania, but warned on French radio RTL that there were risks "in a very uncertain region and one crossed by the networks of al-Qaida in North Africa."

Mauritania's government had said last week that it would mobilize a 3,000-man security force to ensure race safety. Its foreign minister complained the cancellation was not justified.

"We have taken every measure to ensure that the rally goes forward without incident," Babah Sidi Abdallah said on RTL TV.

Clerc suggested the threat this year was different from in years past.

"This year — and only in very recent days — the nature of the threat changed, and neither the Mauritanians, the French nor anyone had the means to respond," he told AP.

For would-be racers, sponsors, teams and vehicle manufacturers, the disappointment was palpable.

"While canceling is obviously the right thing to do for safety and security reasons, there's no reason why we couldn't have raced a few stages in Morocco or Portugal where there wasn't the same risk," NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, who was planning to compete, said in a statement.

Organizers said the cancellation would not mean the death of the Dakar, but it cast doubt on the rally's long-term future. The race's tough geography is a both an organizational headache and a main ingredient of its charm. Going from Europe to west Africa inevitably means traversing inhospitable territory.

"Unless you want to turn this into a yacht race, I don't see an alternative," Clerc said.



Modified by ITAcelica at 8:40 PM 1/5/2008
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:26 AM
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Default Re: Dakar Rally canceled after terror threat (ITAcelica)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by ITAcelica &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">Ok now this is gone to far. Once you mess with motor sports its over. What the hell is wrong with muslim fanatices.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200...rally</TD></TR></TABLE>

They cancelled the rally? Man, the cars have a larger chance of blowing up themselves rather than being the target of a terrorist attack.

/sigh

Just more proof that the terrorists are winning and are in control.

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Old 01-04-2008, 09:28 AM
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Default Re: Dakar Rally canceled after terror threat (ITAcelica)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by ITAcelica &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">Ok now this is gone to far. Once you mess with motor sports its over. What the hell is wrong with muslim fanatices.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200...rally</TD></TR></TABLE>

Everything.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:29 AM
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Damn this really sucks. Between this and all the problem baja had this year its going to be hard to ever do a long distance point to point race in the future.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:34 AM
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I can just imagine the frustration that the teams are going through. Man racing in the Dakar race was one of my dreams, and this was the one that I was going to make it come true.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:50 AM
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<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by ITAcelica &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">I can just imagine the frustration that the teams are going through. Man racing in the Dakar race was one of my dreams, and this was the one that I was going to make it come true. </TD></TR></TABLE>

I was just coming in to GDD to post this...would you mind cutting/pasting the entire article?
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:51 AM
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sucks.

vdub is gonna be pissed.
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Ross

I was just coming in to GDD to post this...would you mind cutting/pasting the entire article?
<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">

PARIS - Al-Qaida threats against the Dakar Rally and an attack in Mauritania forced organizers to cancel the annual race on Friday, the eve of the 5,760-mile trek across North African desert scrubland and savannah.



It was the first time the automobile, motorbike and truck rally has been called off in its 30-year history. In a statement, organizers blamed "threats launched directly against the race by terrorist organizations." the Dec. 24 killings of a French family and international tensions.

The race's central appeal — its course through African deserts, scrubland and savannas — is also its weak point, making it difficult to protect thousands of people as they cross remote regions.

"No other decision but the cancellation of the sporting event could be taken," organizers said.

France, where the race organizers are based, had urged the rally to avoid Mauritania after the four family members were killed in an attack blamed on a terror cell that uses the Mauritanian desert as a hideout.

Officials say the cell is linked to the Algeria-based al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa, which has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly attacks, including the Dec. 11 twin suicide bombings at U.N. offices and a government building in Algiers, which killed at least 37 people.

Patrice Clerc, who heads the company that organizes the rally, told The Associated Press the threats against the rally came from al-Qaida's North Africa wing. He said the French government warned explicitly that the race was threatened but did not share its intelligence.

"Yes, we perhaps bowed to terrorism but our company today does not have the right to run this risk for all those people who trust it," Clerc added. "We don't have the right to play games with safety."

Mauritania's foreign minister criticized the decision to scrap the race.

"This decision has no relationship with the actual security situation in Mauritania, a country that has always been stable and peaceful," said Foreign Minister Babah Sidi Abdallah.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he did not want to "stigmatize" Mauritania, but warned of the risks "in a very uncertain region and one crossed by the networks of al-Qaida in North Africa."

"We simply want those who risk a lot to benefit from our information," Kouchner told RTL radio. "We are warning them: It's dangerous."

Al-Qaida in North Africa, in a Dec. 29 statement posted on an Internet site that it often uses, criticized Mauritania's government for "providing suitable environments to the infidels for the rally." It did not directly call for attacks on the race or its participants.

In the past, terrorism fears have forced organizers to cancel individual stages or reroute the race. In 2000, several stages were scrapped after a threat forced organizers to airlift the entire race from Niger to Libya. Several stages were also called off in 2004, reportedly because of terror threats in Mali.

The race, organized by the France-based Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), had been due to start in Lisbon, Portugal, on Saturday and finish in Dakar, Senegal, on Jan. 20. Eight of the stages were to take place in Mauritania. Some 550 car, truck and motorcycle drivers were expected.

Cyril Neveu, a five-time Dakar winner in the motorcycle category, acknowledged that the race could have been targeted by terrorists.

"It is a big caravan of more than 3,000 people," he told French broadcaster I-Tele. He said he respected the organizers' decision but added: "Many are going to be disappointed."

"Providing security from the first to the last competitor is an onerous job," Neveu added. "One cannot say that there was zero risk."

Only the father of the slain family survived the Dec. 24 attack, in a town 150 miles east of the Mauritanian capital as the family picnicked on the side of a road.

That attack was followed up be another four days later, when three Mauritanian soldiers manning a checkpoint were killed. Mauritania is a largely peaceful Islamic republic that has been rocked by the back-to-back attacks.

Authorities have blamed a terror "sleeper cell" linked to the Algeria-based al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa for the murders of the family. Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa claimed responsibility for the killing of the soldiers.

The Mauritanian government had announced last week that it would mobilize a 3,000-man security force to ensure the race's safety.

Those in the country's tourism sector decried the loss, calling France's reaction "exaggerated and disproportionate."

"The worries expressed by the French are unfounded," said Mohamed El Moustapha Ould Cheibani, who heads a tour agency in Atar, a city 270 miles north of the capital, Nouakchott. "It's like getting punched in the back of our tourism industry."

___

Associated Press writers Ahmed Mohamed in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and John Leicester in Paris contributed to this report.

</TD></TR></TABLE>

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Old 01-04-2008, 10:43 AM
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expletivein a, first baja now this ****.


You can listen to the calls here http://rallyraidio.net/

On VW

Here is a post from Klaus at RDC
<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by klaus &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">
30th Dakar Rally

Safety has priority: Volkswagen respects “Dakar” cancellation


Wolfsburg (4 January 2008). It is with great regret that Volkswagen acknowledges the cancellation of the 30th Dakar Rally. "The safety of every single participant has absolute priority and for this reason Volkswagen completely and utterly endorses the decision made by the organisers ASO to cancel the start of the Dakar Rally originally scheduled for 5 January,” explains Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member with responsibility for Technical Development at Volkswagen. "We are obviously very unhappy about the cancellation, since we prepared for this rally for an entire year and were extremely well equipped for this sporting challenge.”

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen underlines: "We fully respect the decision for safety purposes, which also have absolute priority for us. The cancellation is a great disappointment for every member of the Volkswagen Motorsport team, particularly as everybody was looking forward to starting this peaceful and fair sporting competition.”

At midday on Friday, 4 January 2008 the "Dakar” organisers ASO officially announced that the rally will be not be held due to the significant safety concerns voiced by the French Government regarding the stages in Mauritania. The start of the 30th Dakar Rally was scheduled for 5 January 2008 in Lisbon. The "Dakar” should have finished, as is tradition, after 15 stages and approximately 9,300 kilometres in the Senegalese capital city on 20 January.

</TD></TR></TABLE>
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:46 AM
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this is giving in to terrorists. I say we fly in a few Apatches and A10s escorting the the rally cars.
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:48 AM
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In defense of the Rally, if they didn't cancel and an attack happened, and word leaked out that they had advance knowledge of a threat. There would be hell to pay.
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:51 AM
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<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by Import_Fan &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">In defense of the Rally, if they didn't cancel and an attack happened, and word leaked out that they had advance knowledge of a threat. There would be hell to pay.</TD></TR></TABLE>

Very true.
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:51 AM
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THERE IS NO TERRORIST THREAT!

hold on, is there or not?

(edit...in case someone misses the sarcasm...i do believe terrorists should be hunted down and killed)


Modified by chet at 3:23 PM 1/4/2008
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:04 AM
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<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by chet &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">THERE IS NO TERRORIST THREAT!

hold on, is there or not?

</TD></TR></TABLE>

There is
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:33 AM
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<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by beeseries &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">expletivein a, first baja now this ****.
</TD></TR></TABLE>
Forgive my ignorance, but what happened to Baja?
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:59 AM
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For baja http://pxi.signonsandiego.com/....html

Baja is just a scary place now especially TJ and ensenada.

Hell look at these articles http://www.signonsandiego.com/....html

After loosing two of our crew( head on with semi), I will only be staying stateside until there is protection like that they use in dakar.

BITD here we come.
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:10 PM
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i blame global warming
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:34 PM
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<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by Import_Fan &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">In defense of the Rally, if they didn't cancel and an attack happened, and word leaked out that they had advance knowledge of a threat. There would be hell to pay.</TD></TR></TABLE>
No driver that really cared about the sport would back down because of the terror threat. I remember people would bow out of races when I raced GNCC because it was raining
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:44 PM
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Default Re: (Tokyosmash!)

The people racing can barely finish the race. How the hell is a truck full of terrorists with AK's going to actually be able to do anything.

I think this is what Al-Qaeda actually wants....everyone in the world to be so scared of the possibility of them doing something, that we lock ourselves up and never go outside.

M-16's for every participant. expletive terrorism, regardless of where it comes from.
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:52 PM
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<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by texasnick &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote"> expletive terrorism, regardless of where it comes from.</TD></TR></TABLE>
You sir are ok by me.
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:57 PM
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Arm the rally drivers.
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Old 01-04-2008, 02:02 PM
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Unbelievable.
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Old 01-05-2008, 12:16 PM
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I think they should put up a big announcement, if you get near the race you will be shot by bullets dipped in pigs blood. I guarantee no terrorist will come 1000 feet of the race.
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Old 01-05-2008, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: Dakar Rally canceled after terror threat (ITAcelica)

<TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by ITAcelica &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">
Terrorism fears have previously forced organizers to cancel individual stages or reroute the race.


In 2000, several legs were scrapped after a threat forced organizers to airlift the entire race from Niger to Libya to avoid danger zones.


Several stages were also called off in 2004, reportedly because of terror threats in Mali.
</TD></TR></TABLE>


Not news at all.

All kind of crazy stories of cars that have broken down.

Yes folks, the desert(s) of Africa are a very dangerous place to be.


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Old 01-05-2008, 02:19 PM
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Default Re: Dakar Rally canceled after terror threat (lildrgn2.0)

Wonder what other things people will cancel for the sake of Al-Qaeda.
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