Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Activists Offer Evidence of Massive Animal Cruelty to Circus Goers

Brandon Turbeville
February 27, 2012
Activist Post

For many people, the news that the circus is coming to town conjures up a host of good memories from their childhood.

Mystery and amazement still remains for many adults, and no doubt for the children who will experience the circus for the first time. The exotic animals, acrobats, and clowns have been a feature of family entertainment for many years and, indeed, an event that parents often relish introducing to their children.

So it might have come as a surprise to some residents of Florence, South Carolina when they arrived at the Ringling Bros. circus February 17th to see the object of their fond memories being greeted with a small group of protesters gathered outside the venue.

The protesters, who were members of FMU Animal Rights Advocates, a student organization from the local university, as well as other independent animal rights activists appeared outside of the Florence Civic Center where the circus was being held in order to demonstrate against the repeated and documented acts of animal cruelty committed by Ringling Brothers. The protesters handed out a number of fliers and pamphlets in the hope to educate the circus goers to the tainted history of Ringling and other operations like it.

For those who may be unaware, it might be helpful to point out that animals who engage in unnatural acts such as jumping through rings of fire, dancing, and rolling over on command, do not do so of their own free will, or because they dreamed of becoming entertainers; they do so because the consequences of not performing are terrifying and unbelievably painful.

Because circuses never publicize the “training” process, it is not surprising that the majority of Americans have no idea what the animals they watch in the circus rings suffer through on a daily basis when the show is over. Undercover video footage procured by groups like PETA has shown an appalling amount of cruel and inhumane treatment involving beatings, dragging, shocking, kicking, and other horrific methods of “training.”
Take a look at the videos below to get a sampling of what kind of “training” these animal entertainers must go through to become performers in operations like Ringling Brothers circus.

As a former employee of Ringling Brothers stated during his congressional testimony on June 13, 1999, “After my three years of working with elephants in the circus, I can tell you that they live in confinement and they are beaten all the time when they don’t perform properly.”
As PETA has documented: 

Undercover video footage of animal training sessions has shown that elephants are beaten with bullhooks and shocked with electric prods, big cats are dragged by heavy chains around their necks and hit with sticks, bears are whacked and prodded with long poles, and chimpanzees are kicked and hit with riding crops. Carson & Barnes trainers have even been documented using blowtorches on elephants.
Although some of the elephants in circuses like Ringling’s are captured and smuggled from overseas, many of the elephants acquired for use in the circus are born into captivity. These elephants are ripped from their mothers from the moment they exit the womb and dragged away as the chained mother screams and pulls at her chains at the sight of her baby being taken. The baby elephants are then subject to torturous “training” after just a few years of life, as they are groomed for their careers entertaining families who stuff themselves full of cotton candy and fool themselves into believing that the animals are having as fun a time as they are.

Interestingly enough, elephants in captivity are known to attempt to kill their babies soon after their birth – something that does not occur in the wild. Indeed, elephants are among the most cognitively developed animals in the world and are well-known for being animals of “social complexity.” 
Elephants have long exhibited traits that can be related to empathy and self-recognition. With this in mind, one might speculate as to whether or not many of these captive elephants are engaging in infanticide in a desperate attempt to prevent their offspring from living a life of suffering that they experienced themselves.

In addition to the brutal physical abuse, but because of the constant travel required by the circus, the animals are confined to tiny boxcars, trailers, and cages for days at a time constantly being exposed to the elements as well as being forced to sit in their own feces and urine. Because these animals are meant to roam free in the wild, they are often driven insane by their confinement. Swaying back and forth, pacing, head-bobbing, biting cage bars, and even self-mutilation are quite common among circus animals.

According to PETA, Ringling’s own documents have revealed that elephants are chained for an average of 26 straight hours or more and are sometimes chained for as long as 60 to 100 hours. The tigers fare just as bad, being crammed two to a cage that is barely big enough for one animal to turn around in. There have been many incidents of animal injuries and deaths as a result of the poor transportation and “storage” conditions.

Ringling has actually been cited numerous times by the USDA for violations of the AWA. The violations include:

Improper handling of dangerous animals; failure to provide adequate veterinary care to animals including an elephant with a stiff leg, an elephant with a large swelling on her leg, elephants with abrasions, a camel with bloody wounds, and a camel injured on train tracks; causing trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm, and unnecessary discomfort to two elephants who sustained injuries when they ran amok during a performance; endangering tigers who were nearly baked alive in a boxcar because of poor maintenance of their enclosures; failure to test elephants for tuberculosis; and unsanitary feeding practices
Indeed, the USDA has been involved in at least 6 investigations involving Ringling and its animal abuse between the years 1999-2004.
For a relatively detailed fact sheet regarding the cruel and inhumane behavior of Ringling Brothers, see here.

It is a sad fact that the majority of circus goers have no idea what kind of conditions circus animals have to endure. Most of them truly believe that the animals perform out of love and respect for their trainers in return for exceptional treatment. 

Sadly, however, there is a significant number of the population who would not care even if they were aware of the level of suffering these animals must endure. Such an attitude is a sad commentary on the state of our society. It is, after all, this mentality which has allowed such horrific slaughters as the war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and many other nations to continue unabated.

Indeed, it is true that individuals who abuse and torture animals rarely stop there. It is a known fact that individuals who brutalize animals tend to behave in the same way toward humans. Likewise, those that wish to justify or ignore others who engage in such acts against animals are likely to do the same when acts of brutality are committed against other humans.

Yet the truth is that, especially in the case of circuses, many are unaware of the level of cruelty and abuse that takes place. In 2012, the thought that someone or something else may actually be suffering for the benefit of your entertainment or convenience rarely enters into the mind of the average person.

This is why the work of organizations like FMU Animal Rights Advocates is so important. Educating the general public as to the consequences of how and where they spend their dollars is paramount.  Forcing the public to confront the results of their actions will not likely convince everyone, or even a majority, to change the way they spend their money or the entertainment they choose to support.

However, it will reach a few. And this might be all that is needed to replicate activism elsewhere in a manner that will reach even more people until both the movement and awareness reach critical mass.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here

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City Mayor Gives Endorsement to Soviet-style Checkpoints in South Carolina

Brandon Turbeville
February 27, 2012
Activist Post
In another development regarding the Kershaw County police state situation, it appears that the mayor of Elgin, a small city located inside Kershaw County, is now endorsing the round-the-clock DUI checkpoints initiated by the Sheriff’s Department.

For those unfamiliar with the situation, Kershaw County in South Carolina first made the news after the Sheriff put all his officers on high alert when a local activist, Jeff Mattox, “Liked” an article on Facebook.

The Sheriff insinuated that the group of activists Mattox belonged to were essentially domestic extremists who wanted to kill police.

Although the Sheriff’s Department received large amounts of bad publicity regarding the ridiculous response by the Sheriff, it did not stop him from implementing a policy of round-the-clock checkpoints located all over the county.

Opposition to the program, and a plan to protest the checkpoints, was announced by Jeff Mattox and Elgin City Councilman Larry Risvold  at a breakfast meeting with a group of conservatives in Cayce, South Carolina. In response to the activists’ plans, an obviously one-sided media attack campaign was initiated by local media outlet, WIS-TV.

When speaking to the Cayce breakfast club (known as the ‘Cayce Mafia’), Risvold stated, “It’s called a safety checkpoint and what happens is your car stops, an individual officer come up there and says, ‘Can I see your papers,’ Sound familiar? Sounds like another foreign country doesn’t it?”

WIS-TV seized on Risvold’s remarks regarding the checkpoints and attempted to create a vastly simplified and biased report. This, in itself, is interesting considering the fact that checkpoints have been a hallmark of modern tyrannies since the invention of the automobile. Conducting them inside the borders of the United States or Kershaw County does not negate this fact.

Nevertheless, the Mayor of Elgin, Brad Hanley, after viewing the video of Risvold’s comments, apparently became alarmed that there were those in Kershaw County who might not appreciate having their Fourth Amendment violated, or being subjected to harassment by uniformed (and sometimes plain-clothes) police. According to Hanley, he is totally surprised that some members of the community might not be as pleased with living under Soviet-style policing as much as he does.

In an interview with WIS, he stated, “We were surprised. We were concerned. It’s a viewpoint we hadn’t heard expressed before . . . it was concerning.”

As a result, Hanley called a special meeting of the Elgin City Council in order to vote on a resolution that he helped draft showing full and complete support to the Elgin City Police Department, the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the heavy-handed oppressive Kershaw County Sheriff’s Department.

The resolution begins by the traditional worship of law enforcement that has now become commonplace in American public discourse. It reads that the departments “provide security and protection for town and county residents and visitors,” and that they “provide for us what is known as ‘the thin blue line’ between a lawful civilized society and lawlessness.”

The resolution leaves no doubt that the Elgin City Council fully supports and endorses the crackdown on freedom of travel and the Fourth Amendment of its citizens. It goes on to state:

 . . . we unequivocally support the way Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office and the Elgin Police Department conduct themselves and their law enforcement activities, with honor and courage, and in particular support their involvement in highway safety checks with the S.C. Highway Patrol . . . in order to reduce DUI and other crimes that might otherwise go undetected.
Hanley, who was evidently more than just concerned about Risvold’s desire to live in a free country, even went so far as to lament the fact that the Elgin City Council could not just remove an elected councilman from his position due to his expressing views that the Mayor does not approve of.  Mayor Hanley did suggest that Risvold step down from his position.

Feel free to contact Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews and express your feelings regarding his new Soviet-style checkpoint program using the contact information listed below. Also, feel free to contact the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce and explain to them that you might rethink any travel plans to Kershaw County as a result of the actions of the Sheriff and local government.

Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce
Fax: 1-803-432-4181
P.O. Box 605
Camden, S.C. 29020
Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Jim Matthews

Friday, February 24, 2012

Brandon Turbeville - End The Lie Podcast

Listen to Brandon Turbeville speak with Madison Ruppert on End The Lie radio by clicking the links below:

Part 1

Part 2.

Or by going to End The Lie Radio's Homepage on Orion Talk Radio.

Brandon Turbeville on The Power Hour

Brandon Turbeville will be appearing on The Power Hour with Joyce Riley on Wednesday February 29, 2012 at 10:00 am EST. Click here to access the radio show via internet.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Brandon Turbeville Speaks To Occupy America Social Network

Brandon Turbeville recently spoke to Occupy America Social Network about the economy, Occupy Movement, and what can be done to unite the Tea Party and Occupy! Click here to access the broadcast!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Activist Post contributor, Brandon Turbeville, on Orion Talk Radio 11 pm - 1 am EST

 February 19, 2012
Activist Post
Author Brandon Turbeville will be on live with Madison Ruppert at Orion Talk Radio over the next 2 hours, 11 pm - 1 am EST.  Subjects covered will be Big Brother, the cashless society, transhumanism and more. 

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause.  He is a prolific writer and investigative journalist who exposes the global corruption daily with his work appearing frequently not only on his own site, but also on Intel Hub, Activist Post, as well as on many other alternative media outlets. 

You can find the radio link
HERE at Orion Talk Radio.  Just click the Flash Player in the upper right-hand corner to listen live now.

For Brandon Turbeville's most recent articles, visit his archive page

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Mullins, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions. Turbeville has published over one hundred articles dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville is available for podcast, radio, and TV interviews. Please contact us at activistpost (at)

Google Wallet Shutdown Highlights Vulnerability of a Cashless Society

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post
February 18, 2012

In a telling incident, Google has recently been attempting to reassure its customers that its Google Wallet app is actually a safe and secure method of transaction.

This damage control attempt comes on the heels of a shutdown of the program initiated by Google due to a possible security vulnerability.

According to a story published in RAW Story entitled “Google tightens grip on smartphone wallets
,” a researcher at Zvelo Labs “demonstrated software that quickly figures out a Wallet personal identification number (PIN), provided the crook has the smartphone.”

The article explains that the researcher dismisses the idea of remotely hacking the smartphone, and claims that one would need physical contact with the phone in order to gain access to the private data. However, this attitude seems a bit naïve considering the fact that technology is readily available on the market which allows for remote hacking of devices
such as RFID chips, a type of technology routinely employed by both governments and businesses the world over.

Google Wallet apps are no doubt just another step in the direction of a cashless society. As I wrote in my article, “NJ Transit Ushers In Cashless Society With Google Wallet App For Smartphone Payment,”

In 2011, however, after generations of Americans have been raised to view privacy as outdated and prudish, the idea of a cashless society apparently doesn’t seem so scary. In fact, to many, it actually sounds like a good idea.

It is an unfortunate fact that, to the vast majority, the downside of going cashless will likely never occur to them until it is too late. A product of constant exposure to television and a systematic dumbing-down of each generation’s education has produced a population who will no doubt be drawn to the new smartphones cashless system as the proverbial moth is drawn to the flame – and with similar results.

Obviously, in a society whose citizens are able to carry and make transactions with cash, there is still some semblance of anonymity available to them. There is still the opportunity to purchase staples such as food and water (via third parties if necessary) even if a system of exclusivity were to be introduced and certain people were prohibited from making purchases directly.

In a cashless system, however, an enormous amount of trust is placed in the hands of the government agencies, banks, and corporations that would then control the money for the “convenience” of the unwitting soul who has sacrificed his own personal responsibility and control for the luxury of his convenience. If even one of these institutions decide, for whatever reason, that the account of the user should be frozen, disconnected, or discontinued, the ability to purchase the basic necessities will disappear. That is, it will disappear if there is no longer the option of cash.

Regardless of the vulnerabilities of the Google Wallet app to average run-of-the-mill hackers, the real story is who has control of the system now.

Indeed, the real story is that Google has unwittingly demonstrated a small but significant aspect of what many, including myself, have been talking about for some time – that a cashless system can easily be shut down remotely, leaving the user on his own, which, if he has entrusted all his money to his interactive device, card, or bank account, might very well be a lonely place.

Obviously, the ability to remotely close accounts and shut down services at the push of a button are certainly not secret.

After all, as USA Today stated, “Phones (and apps) can be password protected. Security elements are built into the NFC chips. It’s easy to remotely shut down a digital wallet if necessary.”  

When all financial transactions eventually become digital, it is only a matter of time before banks, corporations, and governments begin to force citizens to bend to their will with the threat of cutting off accounts as punishment for resistance or refusal.

This is precisely why we need both resistance and refusal now, before it is too late.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here

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South Carolina Sheriff Adds Round-the-Clock Checkpoints to Growing Police State

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post
February 18, 2012
Even after such negative publicity several months ago, it appears the Kershaw County Sheriff's Office is not backing down in its attempt to establish what could only be described as a police state.
The last time I had the opportunity to write about Kershaw County, it was in regards to Sheriff Jim Matthews and his ridiculous characterization of local activist Jeff Mattox and his group, Kershaw County Patriots, as a potential threat to police. Mattox’s only crime was “Liking” an article on Facebook which subsequently ‘irritated’ the Sheriff (who was obviously watching Mattox’s Facebook page, one might add).
Sheriff Matthews’ alarmism went well beyond name calling, however, when he put his deputies -- as well as the County’s city police officers -- on high alert for “people who might want to hurt them.” Matthews explained to the local media that he was concerned that “some of these ideas exist here in Kershaw County,” – meaning, that some individuals might think it legitimate to defend themselves against police who are committing violence against them or violating their rights – the subject of the article that Mattox “Liked” on Facebook that so frightened Sheriff Matthews.
If you are not familiar with the history of the Kershaw County situation, please see my article, “S.C. Police on Alert After Political Activist 'Liked' Article on Facebook,” for a breakdown of the incident and the background to what is currently happening in Kershaw County.

Ironically, it is Jeff Mattox who is once again the center of a controversy in Kershaw County surrounding the Sheriff’s over-the-top and aggressive brand of law enforcement.

At issue is Sheriff Matthews’ new massive round-the-clock checkpoint program, which Mattox has consistently opposed as both a citizen and activist. Many suspect that it was this initial opposition to the Sheriff’s program that made Mattox a target to begin with.
Nevertheless, in the midst of a world economic depression, and one which is being felt heavily in South Carolina, Matthews was able to procure $350,000 from the Kershaw County council as well as a $190,000 grant from the S.C. Department of Public Safety for the purchase of two new “police chase cars and [the ability to] hire and equip two more deputies to staff a full-time DUI unit.”
Since then, Matthews has instituted one of the most aggressive DUI crackdown teams in the state. The program involves a cooperative effort between the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Department, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, and other local police departments in what amounts to a continual non-stop series of roadblocks all across the County. Mattox claims that even the Department of Natural Resources has been involved in the checkpoints.
According to Mattox, in Kershaw County, there is an unconstitutional checkpoint in progress at all hours of the day, somewhere in the county. Mattox estimates that the program conducts three to four checkpoints every single day in Kershaw County, which occur at all times of the day and night and may appear at any location.
Obviously, checkpoints in general are a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, Matthews’ new tactics amount to constant harassment of citizens modeled on some of the most effective tyrannies the world over.
Not surprisingly, however, the Kershaw County law enforcement community is refusing to admit there is anything wrong with the Gestapo-like tactics. In reference to the 18 DUI-related deaths in Kershaw County in 2008 compared to the 10 in 2011, after Matthews implemented his “guilty until proven innocent” checkpoint program, Lt. Scott Myers of the County’s Traffic Unit, proclaimed the program to be a great success. He stated, “I think they [DUI-related fatalities] would have stayed the same [without the new program]. I think they’ve been pretty consistent over the last few years.”
In reference to the opposition to the program expressed by many members of the community, Myers said, “Any apologies? No! We’re out here to make sure you get home every day and we want people to get to where they’re going as safe as possible and we’re gonna try to make sure that happens.”
Myers’ response is typical in the sense that law enforcement officials, although intended to be “public servants,” rarely ask permission from the public for anything they do and issue apologies even more scarcely than they ask for permission. It is also typical in that Myers exhibits the authoritarian view of government (law enforcement specifically) suggesting that the citizenry needs “Big Daddy government” to oversee their every move and force them to be safe from all dangers -- including themselves. Once again, we see how the American obsession with safety and security has overtaken the love of freedom and liberty.
Regardless of its effectiveness, however, the issue is whether or not the checkpoints are Constitutional, whether they violate rights, and, at the very least, whether or not they are worth the effort and the money they require in order to be administered.
Jeff Mattox raised some of these issues when he pointed out that the County’s DUI rate might not be something worth descending into a police state over. He pointed out that, when comparing the number of individuals killed in DUI-related crashes compared to the 60,000-plus population, the relative significance of the death-rate is a bit lower. 

Mattox continued by stating, “If we do a little math, that’s .00623 percent of the population that died on highways. Due to drunk drivers and all. It’s not massive; like everybody’s out drinking and driving. It’s not as big a problem as he’s made it out to be.”
Mattox could have also pointed out that DUI-related statistics are often artificially inflated to show higher rates of DUI by virtue of the manner of their classification, much like unemployment statistics are deflated to show lower unemployment rates. 

Generally speaking, if a crash occurs and either of the drivers were above the legal limit (which is quite low to begin with), regardless of who is truly at fault, the crash is classified as “DUI-related.” This, in itself, inflates the numbers of DUI-related deaths.
Another statistic that Mattox did not present, but could have presented, was the fact that, despite the fear-mongering over DUI-related deaths (18 in 2008) and the claims by the police that it is their job to act as elementary school-style safety directors, crime statistics from 2005 (apparently the most recently available) show that there were 14 rapes, 20 robberies, 155 assaults, and 265 burglaries in the County. Although no spate of crimes is worth turning into what Mattox has deemed “the police state of South Carolina,” one must wonder if the locals are not more concerned about the violent crimes and theft (805 of them to be exact) occurring in the County than they are with someone who has had three beers at the bar.
However, all of the above information is only the prelude to the current controversy. In fact, the police state checkpoints have received nothing but glowing reviews from the local and state media. It is actually the opposition to these checkpoints that is receiving such vitriolic treatment from the mainstream outlets and, obviously, the local establishment.
It was when Mattox and fellow activist, former Kershaw County Councilman, Larry Risvold, spoke to a social club in Cayce, South Carolina and expressed a plan to protest and confound the illegal checkpoints that the hand of the media came down upon them.
In the speech, which was recently posted to YouTube, Mattox outlined his plan to fight back. He stated to the group, “We’re already planning our tactics against this. We’re going to do the same thing they’re doing to us; harass them. When we find out that there’s a checkpoint, we’re going to have a mass of people that go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. We’ve got to stop it.”
Mattox also stated that he is working with some young people and that they have plans to use social networking sites and cellphones to locate checkpoints and warn others of where they are set up. They will also use the technology to coordinate efforts to confound the harassment of innocent citizens, the only true harassment that is taking place. Mattox plans to put up yard signs that indicate where the checkpoints are located and assist in detouring locals who want to avoid them.
It was after these comments were posted on YouTube that WIS-TV posted a report with a completely misleading title, “Elgin councilman involved in plot to ‘harass’ Kershaw Co. Deputies.” Although it took the term “harass” out of context and framed the title of the article as if it were revealing the existence of a terrorist sleeper cell involving government officials, the post was more or less a summary of the issue in question with the occasional subtle barb.
The television report, however, was an embarrassing exercise in what can only be described as yellow journalism. Here, the WIS-TV News crew made a concerted effort to point out that Larry Risvold had previously been arrested for DUI and that the rate of DUI-related deaths had decreased since the program was enacted. The reporter even went so far as to edit footage so it appeared that Mattox had changed his position on the DUI deaths.
A clip was shown of Mattox when he spoke to the County Council some time ago where he prefaced his comments by saying that the deaths were tragic and that no one wants to see these types of things occur. The video then cuts to Mattox stating that the Sheriff was blowing the DUI deaths out of proportion in an attempt to portray him as if he were reversing his previous position, which is clearly not the case. The first clip was actually taken from his testimony to the Kershaw County Council where he was opposing the enormous amount of money being spent on the new police state material.
In the presentation to the social club, Mattox stated that the Sheriff’s Department was exercising a “massive show of force and thuggery against the citizens.”
He continued, “It’s just a massive fishing expedition, catching all the fish in the sea, just to catch a few.”
Mattox also mentioned that the harassment of citizens is not limited to oppressive checkpoints. He claims that he has several individuals who have been illegally stopped, searched, and even arrested after having committed no crime.
Mattox recalled the story of one individual who had pulled off to the side of the road to take a cellphone call so as not to endanger himself or other drivers. Mattox claims this individual, identified only as “Ricky” in the video, was then approached by a plain-clothes investigator who demanded to see his license, registration, and proof of insurance; when “Ricky” questioned the officer, he was ordered to step outside of his vehicle where he was then placed under arrest for Disorderly Conduct. “Ricky” allegedly spent the night in jail before being released and the charges dropped.
Mattox claims this is not an isolated case and that he has at least “10 or 12 of these incidents” where the individual was doing “absolutely nothing wrong.”
Regardless of the outcome of these incidents, the fact is that the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Department is not only violating the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment, but doing so with a vengeance. Clearly, something must be done in Kershaw County and Law Enforcement must be brought under control. Obviously, Sheriff Matthews is not going to return to the reason-based community on his own and, apparently, neither are his officers. It is time the people of Kershaw County stop hiding in their homes and start making their voices heard.
As Mattox himself stated, “They’re going to continue their thug action until people stand up and say no.”
Feel free to make your own voice heard by contacting the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Department. Their contact information is listed below:
Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Jim Matthews

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here

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