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  The search for the goodwill moon rocks (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   The search for the goodwill moon rocks
Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-27-2009 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Associated Press: 'Moon rock' in Dutch museum is just petrified wood
The Dutch national museum said Thursday that one of its prized possessions, a rock supposedly brought back from the moon by U.S. astronauts, is just a piece of petrified wood.


Photo credit: Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum spokeswoman Xandra van Gelder, who oversaw the investigation that proved the piece was a fake, said the museum will keep it anyway as a curiosity.

"It's a good story, with some questions that are still unanswered," she said. "We can laugh about it."

The museum acquired the rock after the death of former prime minister Willem Drees in 1988. Drees received it as a private gift on Oct. 9, 1969 from then-U.S. ambassador J. William Middendorf during a visit by the three Apollo 11 astronauts, part of their "Giant Leap" goodwill tour after the first moon landing.

Middendorf, who lives in Rhode Island, told Dutch NOS news that he had gotten it from the U.S. State Department, but couldn't recall the exact details.

The U.S. Embassy in the Hague said it was investigating the matter.

According to the article, van Gelder consulted with NASA, who told her "it was possible the country had received a rock: NASA gave moon rocks to more than 100 countries in the early 1970s, but those were from later missions."

In fact, The Netherlands received samples from both Apollo 11 and Apollo 17; both are held in the archives of the National Museum of the History of Science and Medicine in Leiden.


Video credit: DePers

A third sample, also from Apollo 17, is on loan from NASA to the Space Expo in Noordwijk.

NASA, nor any member of the U.S. government has ever been authorized to gift a moon rock to any individual.

Leon Ford
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posted 08-27-2009 02:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Leon Ford   Click Here to Email Leon Ford     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just reading the presentation, it doesn't say it is a moon rock. Aren't you suppose to give a gift of petrified wood whenever the Apollo 11 crew shows up in your country? I think I read that somewhere once...

xlsteve
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posted 08-27-2009 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for xlsteve   Click Here to Email xlsteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You see? This proves they didn't go to the moon! How do we know the rest of the samples aren't just pieces of petrified wood?

I think this might the the victim of a string of false assumptions. Who's to know what the prime minister was told when he received it, and he just assumed it was a moon rock because of the A11 crew visit.

SpaceAholic
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posted 08-27-2009 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Given shoes in that country are also made of wood seems appropriate...

nasamad
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posted 08-27-2009 02:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gotta love them old Dutch wooden lunar overshoes Scott!

FFrench
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posted 08-27-2009 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps this is a particularly European issue, as I recall reading a lot about British Astronaut Wood in the 1980s too...

SVaughan
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posted 08-27-2009 03:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SVaughan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Moon rocks don't just grow on trees, you know. Oh, wait a second...

poofacio
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posted 08-27-2009 04:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for poofacio   Click Here to Email poofacio     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wood the root of the problem be the prime minister was barking up the wrong tree?

Lou Chinal
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posted 08-27-2009 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Leon Ford is right: it doesn't say it's a moon rock. Maybe Netherlands gave it to Armstrong, Aldrin, Collins.

Max Q
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posted 08-27-2009 11:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by poofacio:
Wood the root of the problem be the prime minister was barking up the wrong tree?
What a sap, leaf him alone.

Aztecdoug
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posted 08-28-2009 12:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by xlsteve:
You see? This proves they didn't go to the moon! How do we know the rest of the samples aren't just pieces of petrified wood?
All this time I thought the fake moonlandings were filmed in Nevada. This may be the smoking gun that they were filmed in northeast Arizona.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 08-28-2009 03:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unbeleafable! It really goes against the grain. That must be a case of High Treesin.

MarylandSpace
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posted 08-28-2009 11:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wit and wisdom both from this group. I love it.

Garry (MarylandSpace)

moorouge
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posted 08-29-2009 03:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was it wood? Deep in the valleys of my native Wales, on dark, starless nights, you may hear told the tale of Morgan the Moon. Morgan landed on the dark side of the Moon so nobody knew he'd been there...
Old Moc the Mechanic, I remember him well
He once built a rocket, or so they will tell...
From an old winding engine he found on the dole
It was built in the Rhondda and powered by coal.

And when it was finished, he painted it red,
and he called it Bethania... or so it is said.
And they took it up a mountain on a night late in June
To get that bit closer, said Morgan the Moon.

Sleepy Treorchy was bathed in white light
when the shuddering hulk, took off in the night.
A deafening scream and then a great roar as up passed the houses old Morgan did go!
His heatshield was glowing... like anthracite coal!
And we prayed down in Cardiff, in mission control.
And the barrow wheels dropped
As was previously planned and old Morgan prepared for Bethania to land.

He landed like linen in a crusty old crater,
Dai said he'd get there lunar or later!
So off Morgan went in the moon's swirling dust
To collect some rock samples from the crater's hard crust.

A strange piece of rock soon old Morgan found,
It was lying there shining on the dust covered ground
He picked it up closely and he let out a call...
'Cause written right through it in Welsh was Porthcawl!

Well! Some people will believe anything.

Credit for that tale of Morgan the Moon should be given to Max Boyce.

Incidentally, Pete Conrad and his fellow Turtle Club members were convinced that the Moon really was made out of cheese and had plans to mine it as the Moon waned so nobody would know what they were doing.

TRS
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posted 09-14-2009 12:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TRS   Click Here to Email TRS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
World famous in New Zealand! (A local saying)

mikej
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posted 09-14-2009 07:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE got a mention in an article about the current location of moon rocks gifted to foreign governments. The article begins with the mention of the petrified wood nee moon rock in the Netherlands' national museum.
Of 135 rocks from the Apollo 17 mission given away to nations or their leaders, only about 25 have been located by CollectSpace.com, a Web site for space history buffs that has long attempted to compile a list.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-16-2009 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Associated Press' renewed interested in the location of the Apollo 11 Lunar Sample Displays and Apollo 17 Goodwill Moon Rocks inspired a long-overdue redesign of our guides to both: These guides live under the Resources section of our site should you want to find them in the future.

TRS
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posted 10-16-2009 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TRS   Click Here to Email TRS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a link to NZ's Apollo 11 moon rock.

dom
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posted 10-19-2009 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to clarify the story about the "dumped" Irish Apollo 11 rock sample, the 1977 fire mentioned totally destroyed Dunsink Observatory's famed library building - so I'd imagine finding these small samples amongst the gutted building would have been almost impossible at the time.

I'd like to mention that the other sample (from Apollo 17) is now the centrepiece of a very nice exhibit in Dublin's Collins Barracks museum, alongside a display of signed photographs/patches from every Apollo mission, numerous meteorites of various sizes and a beautiful handmade model of the Saturn V rocket on its launchpad that stands about five foot tall.

AstroAutos
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posted 10-19-2009 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the info Dom! I must take a look at this exhibit the next time I'm in Dublin.

Playalinda
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posted 01-12-2010 06:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Playalinda   Click Here to Email Playalinda     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Associated Press:
Moon rocks from first and last Apollo missions turn up in locked cabinet in Hawaii
Missing moon rocks from the first and last human lunar landings have been discovered in a locked cabinet in Hawaii.

The rare rocks from the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 missions were found last week during a routine inventory of gifts to the Hawaii governor's office over the years.

The rocks were given to the people of Hawaii during the Nixon administration, but they were presumed lost when a noted moon rock tracker and former NASA employee said their whereabouts were unknown.

Lenny Klompus, a spokesman for Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, says the rocks were never actually missing. He says state employees knew the rocks were in a secured cabinet, but they didn't know which cabinet.

He says the moon rocks will probably be put on public display soon.

Read more in the Honolulu Advertiser: Missing moon rocks turn up

Tykeanaut
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posted 01-12-2010 09:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These moon rocks could be anywhere!!

gliderpilotuk
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posted 01-12-2010 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have the same problem with losing my spectacles. Gotta be here somewhere.

AstronautBrian
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posted 01-12-2010 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstronautBrian   Click Here to Email AstronautBrian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not too long ago, I wrote letters to the Secretary of State of Louisiana, and four of the largest history and science museums in the state. I told them about the goodwill rocks and inquired if they had knowledge of the whereabouts for Louisiana's rock.

The only response I had was from the Secretary of State. He seemed very interested in locating the rock, as the letter was from him and not some staff member.

Anyway, they did not know the location of the rock, but knew that Governor McKeithen would have received the gift. The Secretary stated that they would try to locate the rock, but haven't heard anything in a couple of months.

If push comes to shove, I'll have to find out who was entrusted with Governor McKeithen's papers, and see if I can access those archives.

Rob Joyner
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posted 01-17-2010 03:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lenny Klompus, a spokesman for Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, says the rocks were never actually missing. He says state employees knew the rocks were in a secured cabinet, but they didn't know which cabinet.
Ahh... spoken like a true political spokesman!

mikej
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posted 06-14-2010 07:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A couple of recent news articles regarding the goodwill moon rocks:

Do You Have a Moon Rock? (This article contains a reference to collectSPACE's attempt to find the goodwill moon rocks.)

Where is New Jersey's Moon Rock? Lost in Space, Say Officials

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-14-2010 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fox News aired a segment about the missing moon rocks on their Sunday morning show. collectSPACE receives a mention at the end:

music_space
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posted 06-14-2010 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, so the Fox News piece recommands turning to collectSPACE to report any found Goodwill rocks.

The LiveShot article mentions Robert's collaboration with Prof. Gutheinz. That's interesting! Can you tell us more about this, Robert?

The prospect that one day the return of one such artefact would proceed through cS is fascinating!...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-15-2010 02:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The collectSPACE guides to the location of the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 goodwill moon rocks have become, as Joe Gutheinz describes them, the official registry for the search.

Each semester, Joe assigns his masters students to search for the moon rock displays and as part of their research, they quite often contact collectSPACE and I share with them whatever information we've collected by the way of their chosen state/nation.

If they are successful in their search, we list their name in the guide, crediting them with the find, which Joe shares is a point of pride for many of them.

Joe's students have done a tremendous amount of work but I must also credit collectSPACE readers for joining the search and submitting finds. The guides have also attracted the attention of those charged with caring for the rocks themselves, who have contacted to share information and photos.

Working together with Joe, collectSPACE can take credit for the recovery of at least one of the samples -- Cyprus' Apollo 17 sample. That's still an on-going story that when completed, we'll share here on the site...

Hawkman
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posted 02-06-2011 02:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkman   Click Here to Email Hawkman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The New Jersey State Police are looking for missing Apollo 17 moon rocks thought to be here in New Jersey.
If $5 million worth of moon rocks happen to be junking up your home, could you give New Jersey State Police a call? Detectives will arrive at, well, warp speed to reclaim state property — and solve a 35-year-old mystery.

The rocks were supposed to go on public display starting in 1976, when an astronaut presented the Governor’s Office with goodwill tokens of Apollo 17, the last manned lunar landing. But last year, researchers, curators and former Gov. Brendan Byrne told The Record they had no idea where the gift went.

Now, state police confirm they are looking for leads on the rocks, whose estimated black-market value is $5 million.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-30-2011 12:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Houston's CBS-affiliate KHOU reports that an Apollo-era moon rock gifted to the State of Alaska as a goodwill gesture by President Richard M. Nixon and thought to have been lost has been in the possession of a man who found it as a teenager in 1973.
In a lawsuit filed against the State of Alaska, Arthur C. Anderson claimed that he is the rightful owner of the moon rock, which the lawsuit said he found in a pile of debris after a fire at the Transportation Branch of the Alaska State Museum in Anchorage.

spaced out
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posted 06-30-2011 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The suit claims that "5.2 The State of Alaska became the true owner of the Plaque when it was gifted to the State of Alaska by President Nixon"

This is surely contrary to the established legal status of all NASA recovered lunar samples.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-30-2011 01:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the specific case of the two goodwill gifts (Apollo 11, Apollo 17) ownership was transferred from the U.S. federal government to the state, province or nation to which the sample was presented.

That is why NASA hasn't maintained records as to where the goodwill gifts are, and why our own location guides exist.

spaced out
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posted 07-01-2011 05:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does that mean a cash-strapped state or nation could legally sell one of these presentations?

Anyone know what the Greek government's eBay user id is?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-01-2011 06:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, if the laws of the land allowed such (or were changed to allow such) for public gifts.

Brazil briefly considered selling their Apollo 17 goodwill moon rock to fund expansions to the Museu dom Diogo de Souza in Braga, but public outcry put an end to those plans.

Romania's Apollo 17 sample was reported by the Christian Science Monitor as having been among the possessions of dictator Ceausescu to be auctioned. Post-auction reports however, included no mention of the moon rock being sold.

Glint
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posted 09-22-2011 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The long missing Arkansas state moon rock, returned by Apollo 17, was found stashed in papers belonging to William Jefferson Clinton.
A long-lost, highly valuable Moon rock brought back from the Apollo 17 mission has turned up in the files of Bill Clinton.

The rock was one of 50 presented to each state, and was given to Arkansas while the ex-president was governor. The rock, worth millions of dollars, had been missing since at least 1980 until an archivist found it in old gubernatorial papers. Bobby Roberts, director of the Central Arkansas Library System, told Reuters the archivist opened a box previously archived as "Arkansas flag plaque." The rock and a state flag were originally affixed to the plaque, but the rock had fallen off and the plaque had been misplaced.

"The moon rock, which is in a plastic container, had fallen off the plaque," Roberts said, explaining that the rock was at the bottom of the box. "The archivist immediately knew what he had discovered."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-22-2011 09:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The rock was one of 50 presented to each state, and was given to Arkansas while the ex-president was governor.
Arkansas was presented with its Apollo 17 goodwill moon rock by astronaut Dick Truly in 1976, when David Pryor was governor. Bill Clinton didn't become governor until 1979.
"The archivist immediately knew what he had discovered."
The archivist knew because he had read the previous reporting of Sarah Wile with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, who had written about the search for the moon rocks by former NASA Office of Inspector General special agent Joseph Gutheinz, who today as a professor has challenged his students to locate the goodwill moon rocks.

Gutheinz has collaborated his and his students' search with collectSPACE's own efforts and considers our guides to now be the official registry for goodwill gifts.

AJ
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posted 10-26-2011 12:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In a lawsuit filed against the State of Alaska, Arthur C. Anderson claimed that he is the rightful owner of the moon rock, which the lawsuit said he found in a pile of debris after a fire at the Transportation Branch of the Alaska State Museum in Anchorage.
The latest issue of Alaska magazine has an article about the lawsuit involving Coleman Anderson. According to him or his lawyers, Anderson is interested in claiming the sample so that he can eventually sell it.

I don't know much about the rules about these things, but would he be allowed to do that? How is that any different than the old lady who was apprehended at a Denny's?

Personally, I think he knows he's in the wrong and that's why he's keeping the sample "out of the country". Any thoughts, opinions on this specific case would be appreciated. Thanks!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-26-2011 12:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The lunar sample in question was legally gifted to the state of Alaska as a goodwill presentation. Mr. Anderson is now trying to have a court reassign legal ownership to him, claiming that he recovered it from the refuse from a fire and has cared for it since then.

There are significant questions about the circumstances that led to him obtaining the lunar sample display. If the court case he initiated proceeds, Anderson will need to address those concerns.

HistorianMom
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posted 10-26-2011 12:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HistorianMom   Click Here to Email HistorianMom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV, but I have always told my kids that if you "find" something valuable, it isn't just yours. You make an effort to find the rightful owner. The legal term may be "exercise due diligence." Of course he knows they are not his.


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