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Expat pilots : Are they really safe for Indian Aviation ?

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Expat pilots : Are they really safe for Indian Aviation ?

Old 30th Jun 2010, 08:40
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Expat pilots : Are they really safe for Indian Aviation ?

The Hindu Business Line : Conscienceless on aviation safety


M ay 22, 2010, was a black day for Indian aviation. The sufferings of the families of 158 departed souls can only have been assuaged if people in authority had a conscience. This includes the Government, the judiciary, the legal fraternity, airline owners and the regulators. All of them need to do some soul-searching on this issue. I would also like to take them back to an article written three years back ( Index of /2007/05/16/stories 2007051600 560900.htm). The contents are just as relevant today, though it is doubtful if they disturbed the conscience of anyone at that time.

In June 1972, Vietnamese photographer Nick Ut captured the stirring image of a nine-year-old Kim Phuc fleeing her village which was under a napalm attack. This picture won him the Pulitzer prize and outraged the conscience of the whole world. People with a conscience in India should remember the vivid image of a fireman carrying the foam-covered body of a young girl from the crashed aircraft after the recent fatal accident in Mangalore.

The crash brings into focus three issues: the standard of expatriate pilots, fatigue, and the safety aspects of our airports. Within a few hours of the crash, the Minister gave a clean chit to the safety aspects of the airport and said fatigue was not a factor, though the airport does not conform to several mandatory standards. And though the crash took place in the early hours of the day, when a person's circadian rhythm is at its lowest.
How did he come to such a conclusion on those two important factors? Doesn't this influence the findings of the enquiry panel? This is a clear failure on the part of the Government and a pointer to the urgent need for an independent regulator and an independent safety board.
On June 9, 2010, a Blue Dart B-757 had a near mishap during take-off at 5.15 in the morning. The crew, which had commenced the flight in the early part of the night, lined up on the right edge of the runway and took off, damaging the runway edge lights. This was another pointer to the circadian low affecting flight safety.
In July 2007, a scientific study-based Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on Flight and Duty Time Limits was issued by the DGCA. This placed a lot of emphasis on the aspect of rest periods and circadian lows. Airline owners perhaps found this might hamper their path to profits, as they would require additional crew. They used their power lobby and the Ministry ordered the CAR cancelled by the DGCA and brought into force an outdated circular issued in 1992.
The pilots' associations got the CAR restored by the Mumbai High Court. But, within a month, the same court overturned the judgment when a battery of high-powered lawyers representing the airlines and the Government, overturned its own judgment. The matter is now in the Supreme Court for its verdict. In the meantime, a fatal crash has cost 158 lives and another near-disaster occurred, with fatigue as the most likely cause.
The Civil Aviation Minister and the civil aviation regulator have maintained that the standards of the foreign pilots who come into the country are high. But it is a fact that rules were manipulated by officials in the DGCA to make several Indian pilots foreigners.

List of near disasters

Let us analyse the near disasters that we have had during the last seven years, where foreign pilots have been involved. The year coincides with the boom in aviation and the total disregard for rules and regulations which has become the cancer of our aviation culture.

In December 2003, an expatriate Examiner pilot of Air Sahara, landed on the wrong runway, which was closed for maintenance, at Kolkata. Fortunately, the men and equipment had just vacated the runway.

In December 2005, an expatriate Examiner pilot belonging to Air Sahara, landed high and fast at Mumbai. The aircraft overshot the runway and has been written off as a hull loss.

In December 2005, an expatriate Examiner pilot in Air Deccan went off the side of the runway at the old Bangalore airport. The aircraft was written off as a hull loss.

In May 2007, an expatriate pilot of Paramount Airways, overshot the runway while landing at Vizag.

In July 2007, an expatriate Instructor pilot, went off the runway while landing at Cochin in rain.

In June 2007, a Spicejet flight landed on the closed runway at Delhi. Fortunately, no one was on the closed runway at that time.

On June 9, 2008, an expatriate captain of Spicejet landed on the wrong runway at Delhi. The runway was closed and it was fortunate that the equipment and men had just moved off the runway.

On December 1, 2008, an expatriate captain of Spicejet landed on the wrong runway at Kolkata. Here, again, the men and equipment had vacated the closed runway.
On March 2, 2009, an expatriate captain of Jetlite (former Air Sahara) landed on the wrong runway at Kolkata.

On November 3, 2009, a Go Air flight operated by an expatriate Instructor pilot aimed short of the runway, twice. The flight was to land beyond the middle of the runway as 600 men were working at the intersection of the runways at Mumbai. The captain ignored all the signs indicating that the first portion of the runway was closed. But for the ATC asking them to ‘go around', all the 600 on ground and 150 on board, would have perished.

In November 2009, a Kingfisher Airlines flight with an expatriate captain overshot the runway at Mumbai, while landing in rain. The aircraft has been written off as a hull loss.


On May 22, 2010, the Air India Express flight with an expatriate captain crashed while landing at Mangalore, killing 158 people on board.


Can the authorities still claim that the standards of expatriates coming into the country are high? What is glaring is that the expatriate captain who landed on the wrong runway in December 2009 was supposedly terminated along with the Indian co-pilot. However, the expatriate captain was back with the same airline in a couple of months. He failed the breathalyser test before a scheduled flight in March 2009, and his authorisation to fly in India was cancelled by the current DGCA.
Were the airline and the licensing authorities in the DGCA right in permitting this captain to fly in India again?
There was also the case of the chief pilot of a private airline, an expatriate, who flew and conducted proficiency checks for more than three months, without the mandatory experience. The airline and the officials in the DGCA turned a blind eye until the current DGCA ordered his authorisation to be cancelled.
Political interference and judicial apathy have contributed to the lowering of safety and moral standards in Indian aviation. Commercial considerations have been the prime focus. Unless all those involved in regulating the sector start listening to their consciences, the tragedy in Mangalore is not going to be the last.
(The author is an airline instructor pilot with extensive flying experience, and a consultant in the field of accident prevention. [email protected])
alphabravocharlie1 is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2010, 09:09
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Doesn't look good for the expat trainers and checkers does it.

Maybe your source could divulge how many expat trainers and checkers have been fired for failing a local?
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Old 30th Jun 2010, 10:04
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Expat

The expat issue is a political as well as a resonable one.Flying an aeroplane and carrying public fare paying passengers should be taken seriously.The STDs are set by the DGCA .If anyone for that matter if is is expat,local,marsian............etc cant pass the checks and achieve a safe flying STD then they should not be at the controls of an aeroplane.period...
Now the facts which has been pointed out if this is correct then DGCA have to look in to this seriously.They have to make sure that flying in the Indian subcontinent is safe.
The FTDL in Indian aviation is an issue to be taken seriously.As you know the mangalore crash was an accident waiting to happen.If you look at the incidents which was happening before which points to a swiss chesse model.
There is no short cuts in aviation .You may get away with it 99 times but oneday you will get stuck and thats the day we see people paying with their lives .this is the case of mangalore accident.
The sooner the Public ,DGCA,Pilots,operators and media can realise these short comings then we can avoid accidents.
This is the time to have a good long hard look at things and move forward by adopting a Zero tolerance on safety,training,licencing etc.
These are the ? ????? you can ask

1 Are the pilots flying in India properly trained.....??? Do they have regular recurrent training,whats involved in the training program ,whats the emphassis on the CRM,ATC communications,medical STDS,

2 what about the flight tests ............who does them any conflict of interest involved,If some one does not make the STD do they given remedial training

Allways remember when we pointing 0ne finger at some one there are four pointing at you.
so see what you have done to make India a better place in aviation......

I can tell you my 2 .5 years in India have been good and i am sure I have passed my experience to many many pilots who infact are flying safe and good safe capts.

All the best
viking320 is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2010, 10:58
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Dear friend,

to answer your first question...do you think a 250 hour total time pilot is safe to fly a A320, B737, 777, A330 etc etc ? Have you thought that alot of the Cpt's (expats and indians) are actually flying SINGLE pilot in adverse wx conditions...very short runways etc etc. Cause I fly with some really really in experience F/O's here in India.
Also in India the phrase ''ground stop'' due to wx does not exist !!! basically, TS and lightning over the field (CCU) and tower allows airplanes to t/o and land despite the fact that alot of us have to actually enter Dhaka airspace to try to come and land in CCU cause even our alternate has the same wx conditions.
I do agree that who ever comes to work as an Cpt, and specially as a TRE/TRI needs to be checked and be propered trained into Indian aviation (specially wx).

Why don't you talk about how many times locals make mistakes...oh i forgot the indian news don't cover that they only mention when a foreigner is operating.
Here is a fact. Jet, Air India they have crew bases in Europe and US and Canada and by the way only expats are based there..you know why ?
Cause few months back FAA was about to downgrade Indian Aviation and put them in the same category as Indonesia. Also the lack of proper use of radio comms is a very very sore subject in India.

Few days back I had an DGCA FID on my jump, telling me how strict they are on selecting pilots (f/o's) and how ''sharp'' the 250-300 hours F/O's behind 757 or 737 etc etc are. So i said, ok, looked my senior F/O (with 1800 hours total time and ready for upgrade) disengaged the autopilot and ask him to hand fly an ILS with the FD on on a visual day with calm winds going to VVZ...


I have flown also with expats and i was really really surprised how the hell did they pass through upgrade training ???

My dear friend Indian Aviation is on the beggining stage and they have along way to go before they can reach a certain standard..alot of potential in India but the wrong MENTALITY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You want the expats out...no problem...don't renew the contracts or FATA..DGCA keeps telling that no more expats and more are coming and FATA's being renewed etc etc..why ?????
Why DGCA is asking for help from FAA and JAA (EASA) ? Why top managment in many companies is being run by non Indians (europeans, americans ) ?
Before you start asking if expats are safe for indian aviation ask if Indians are safe also...

Best of luck in your career and i just put my 2 cents and experience from being here 2 years and deceided not to renew my contract even though to this day company really is pushing to stay...I had fun in India made great friends for life but my dear friend the mentality that most of the senior indian captains have is hurting your aviation...new blood with new attitude is needed.
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Old 30th Jun 2010, 11:29
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I find this topic very racist.

For the umpteenth time....A pilot's nationality does not determine his skills, guys! Fast forward and move on please...
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Old 30th Jun 2010, 12:57
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racist it is.
but we have ars......oles like alphabravocharlie who keep posting this sort of crap. (probably in denial that he likes white boys)
then along comes puss....viking, who needs a job, telling everyone that he is gods gift to Indian Aviation, and everyone else does not know their job.
all the racist ranting and postings in the world will fly you not a plane.

sorry coco i agree with you, but you meet all types in this game.
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Old 30th Jun 2010, 13:43
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racist it is.
but we have ars......oles like alphabravocharlie who keep posting this sort of crap. (probably in denial that he likes white boys)
Yupp. The moment this pillock gets banned from this forum, I will burn a candle i my church
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Old 30th Jun 2010, 13:48
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In June 2007, a Spicejet flight landed on the closed runway at Delhi. On June 9, 2008, an expatriate captain of Spicejet landed on the wrong runway at Delhi.
Alphabravocharlie1

I have chosen two examples from your list but in reality many of the examples you have given could be used. Is the problem with expatriate pilots or with latent failures in the Indian Aviation System?

Active failures on behalf of "expatriate" pilots are neither necessary for accidents nor are they the root cause. The problem lies in the latent failures or "resident pathogens" that lay dormant in the Indian Aviation system as a whole. If this had of happened in a more mature system, the question would have been "what contributed to a pilot landing on the wrong runway at an International airport twice in one year?"

To blame the pilot for an accident based on where he/she has grown up is both biased and unhelpful. Try looking closer to home!
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Old 30th Jun 2010, 14:28
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There was never a better time for the so-called "expat pilot" to make history. To become a hero.
It takes all sorts to make a world-anonymous
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Old 30th Jun 2010, 14:36
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RDR

From your post its very clear that you have not read what I have wrote neither you are not willing to understand whats needed to be done for your own aviation growth in your country.

Some have started the thread and I believe I can write what my thoughts are .
You dont have to agree to that at all.thats what is called freedom of speech right.

Now for all your emotional outbursts to myself and others I would say
have a good look at yourself and what you have written about Alpha,Bravo,charlie. and myself .
Racisim is not colour based..........................

Its your ignorance that will kill you oneday.
so if you are an pilot try to respect other peoples opinion and try not to be a hero.......

Good luck
Viking
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Old 30th Jun 2010, 15:11
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The author is an airline instructor pilot with extensive flying experience, and a consultant in the field of accident prevention.
abc1 would have more credibility if he/she were to state the exact level - TC, STC, T/IRE - and on what type he operates.

The corruption that is rife in India allows some charlatans to be employed who have not had their credentials properly checked. Whilst I am sure that many expat pilots in India are the real thing, sadly, many are not.

The three examiners mentioned in the first of the quoted incidents may well have been in the jump seat, rather than operating pilots.
Neptunus Rex is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2010, 16:04
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GAWD!!! I'm so tired of seeing this on different forums. There should be some sort of check on these guys! Freedom is good till it is not abused, after a point it becomes pain in the A**. These posts here are defaming Indian pilots as general. For the advantage of some, who want anti-expat movement for their own benefit, so that some 250 hour wonders can find work. Does it require a lot of intelligence to understand a Pilot is not Expat or Domestic? Level of expertise defines him. There can be jack & Aces either way.

Can the authorities still claim that the standards of expatriates coming into the country are high?
My question is "Can the authorities still claim that the standards of locals are high??"

2008
VT -DAK Improper maintenance of the Helipad. Cessna
VT - ACC Pilot – i. Low Flying
ii. Disregard of laid down procedure Cessna
VT-EMR Pilot-Non adherence to laid down procedure. TB20
VT-IGC Pilot-Non adherence to laid down procedure . KA C90
VT-EHY Pilot-Lacked in training and experience
2007
VT-EGK Non adherence of procedure by the ground crew Chetak Helicopter
VT-RGB Bird Hit. Cessna 152
VT-JOY a)Low experience of pilot on type
b) Noncompliance of correct refueling procedure P 68 C


Latest
C152 Ujjain killing Both the instructors & Student

None of these are expats, should I be okay to exercise my right of opinion to draw conclusion that Indian pilots are not up-to the standard.


The issue is not of the nationality the issue is
though the airport does not conform to several mandatory standards.
the corruption, in Airport certification, Airmen certification, Recruitment & everything my eyes can see.

Lets try to oppose this, lets try & point out how many sons, daughter & relatives of DGCA officials are working without actually deserving the post. Kicking Expats just 'cause they are expat is not gonna clean the system, it's might make you find work, but in a corrupt & biased system.
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Old 30th Jun 2010, 16:58
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@wiedo salt, RDR, COCOCHANEL, pilotara, kellykelpie

you are all simply hastily jumping to conclusions.
why dont you all have a open mind in the first place to understand what really the author (Capt. Ranganathan) has tried to talk about in the article? and especially RDR who can do nothing better than resorting to name calling and abusing .......

and pl tell me what exactly is racist about this news article ?

what is wrong in questioning the standards and credentials of pilots (irrespective of nationality) looking for work here ? Is that racism ??!!!

expats coming to India for work are employed as captains, trainers or examiners.
Im sure u all will agree that these (tri,tre,captains) are far more responsible and critical positions than that of first officers.

therefore, it is important to see that standards are not compromised while hiring expats.
alphabravocharlie1 is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2010, 17:45
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Your only purpose is to stir the pot.

If you are so concerned about the aviation standard in India, the why don't you do something useful, like taking a knife and start scratching off the rubber deposits on India's Main runways

Forum Troll!
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Old 30th Jun 2010, 18:25
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just a quick question

i personally think a person should be allowed to fly where ever any 1 is willing to hire him. Expats are most welcome if they have the experience, y not.

my question being

1. all the so called 250 hr wonder boys ( me being 1 of them) almost all of us have done are training in canada / usa / europe / australia etc
we go for Type ratings to CAE or again the US of A etc.
so if with the same training people in other countries have gotten jobs y such a hue n cry when we got the same (not that there are any left ) ???

2. after almost similar training standards where are we lacking,,,, seriously no sarcasm intended i`d like to know and work on that.

ps : i really dont want to be dragged into a discussion regarding expats being allowed in india or not, as long as there are people willing to hire them they have as much of a right to be here as any 1 of us
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Old 30th Jun 2010, 18:32
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If you are so concerned about the aviation standard in India, the why don't you do something useful, like taking a knife and start scratching off the rubber deposits on India's Main runways

May be he is not doing that because there are too many planes landing on wrong runway.
jimmygill is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2010, 18:59
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ps : i really dont want to be dragged into a discussion regarding expats being allowed in india or not, as long as there are people willing to hire them they have as much of a right to be here as any 1 of us


I promise I will not drag you into the expat issue. But you raised a pertinent point.

1. I have work rights in India.
2. I have right to be meted out equal treatment in India.
3. No one outside India can get work rights in India, unless these rights are
granted by collective will of people of India.
4. Every Indian has a right to voice his/her opinion in order to influence the
policies determining expat work 'privileges'.
5. These privileges can be extended or retracted depending on our collective
will.
6. The process involved in determining this collective will is essentially political.


What expats have in India is a privilege, not a right. And these privilege will soon be retracted. In a political action everything is fair.

There are some good expats and there are some not so good ones. But, weevil must be ground with wheat.
jimmygill is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2010, 19:08
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Lets try to oppose this, lets try & point out how many sons, daughter & relatives of DGCA officials are working without actually deserving the post. Kicking Expats just 'cause they are expat is not gonna clean the system, it's might make you find work, but in a corrupt & biased system.
But before that don't we need to get the bread on the table.


In order to change a system you must begin with accepting the system, enter it and use it as a leverage to change itself. In order to get there if you have to create false stories about reckless expats, its a fair game.

I know TopTup won't agree to this, but TopTup hasn't sruvived this corrupt system either.
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Old 30th Jun 2010, 19:38
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You Indians make me laugh man

Why don't you quickly run and tell Cathay and Emirates and all the other serious expat airlines how at risk they are, how they need to quickly sack all their expats and replace them with Indians in order to improve their safety standards

Now seriously, if I was a journalist for a proper newspaper like the Times or the Sydney Morning Herald or in fact any journalist in a first world country, and I wanted to cause some trouble, if I went back into all the lists of incident reports for a few years until I had enough reports to write an article pointing out all the incidents of woman pilots, or black pilots, or Indian pilots, or Muslim pilots, or whatever, and demanding that they all be removed from their jobs, it would be easy to do. However you can be very sure that about 10 seconds after the article was published I would be absolutely crucified by the political-correctness police, and would lose my job overnight and never work as a reporter ever again.

But in India ... it seems nobody bats an eyelid when blatantly unresearched racism / sexism / minority bashing / whatever, gets front page news. That is not news my friend ... that newspaper article is not so much an indictment of how bad expat pilots are, as it is how bad Indian journalists are.

Then again ... in India it also seems that nobody cares when millions of women and children and your most vulnerable citizens are living in cardboard boxes and sh!tting on the streets and dying from starvation and diseases, while their big industrialists and cricket stars are living next door in huge mansions counting their billions. But that's all right ... lets keep on writing trash newspaper articles blaming the "expats"
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Old 30th Jun 2010, 20:59
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You Indians make me laugh man
Thank you.


Why don't you quickly run and tell Cathay and Emirates and all the other serious expat airlines how at risk they are, how they need to quickly sack all their expats and replace them with Indians in order to improve their safety standards
You have a highly misplaced sense of generalization. If emiratee pilot's don't have jobs, emiratees will throw out expats, as simple as that, same with Hong Kong. If you are an expat you will know the relevance of that statement.
Expats are a short term feature in any good paying job in any economy.


Now seriously, if I was(were) a journalist for a proper newspaper like the Times or the Sydney Morning Herald or in fact any journalist in a first world country, and I wanted to cause some trouble, if I went back into all the lists of incident reports for a few years until I had enough reports to write an article pointing out all the incidents of woman pilots, or black pilots, or Indian pilots, or Muslim pilots, or whatever, and demanding that they all be removed from their jobs, it would be easy to do. However you can be very sure that about 10 seconds after the article was published I would be absolutely crucified by the political-correctness police, and would lose my job overnight and never work as a reporter ever again.
You cannot be journalist if you think 'expat' is some sort of race or gender of human beings. Or may be the first world The Times and Sydney Herald will accept your level of linguistic prowess, but I am sure The Hindu will not.

Yes expats a minority, but by no means an exploited one.

Terming anti-expat sentiments as racist, is a sinister racist imagination which works on clubbing all expats into one race. For God's sake which race is expat. You tell me if I am against expats, than which race am I against.



But in India ... it seems nobody bats an eyelid when blatantly unresearched racism / sexism / minority bashing / whatever, gets front page news. That is not news my friend ... that newspaper article is not so much an indictment of how bad expat pilots are, as it is how bad Indian journalists are.

That author is not a journalist, he is highly experienced Instructor/Examiner Pilot with an airline.

Then again ... in India it also seems that nobody cares when millions of women and children and your most vulnerable citizens are living in cardboard boxes and sh!tting on the streets and dying from starvation and diseases, while their big industrialists and cricket stars are living next door in huge mansions counting their billions. But that's all right ... lets keep on writing trash newspaper articles blaming the "expats"
As though you do care, if you have come across those kids shitting on the street and have not stopped to do anything for them, then you have no ******* right to comment on this. So what if the cricketer is counting his billions, aren't you too counting your thousands. Just because you have only thousands to count, that doesn't reduce your part in the crime. Neither does your running away to home sweet home thousands of mile away make you any less guilty.

So come forward and admit we are all accomplishes in this monstrosity and get real about this.
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