Sunshine Recorder

Link: Gitmo is Killing Me

Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, told this story, through an Arabic interpreter, to his lawyers at the legal charity Reprieve in an unclassified telephone call.

ONE man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.

I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either.

When I was at home in Yemen, in 2000, a childhood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do better than the $50 a month I earned in a factory, and support my family. I’d never really traveled, and knew nothing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try.

I was wrong to trust him. There was no work. I wanted to leave, but had no money to fly home. After the American invasion in 2001, I fled to Pakistan like everyone else. The Pakistanis arrested me when I asked to see someone from the Yemeni Embassy. I was then sent to Kandahar, and put on the first plane to Gitmo.

Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. A team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. During this time I was not permitted to go to the toilet. They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray.

I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.

I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Sometimes they come during the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I’m sleeping.

There are so many of us on hunger strike now that there aren’t enough qualified medical staff members to carry out the force-feedings; nothing is happening at regular intervals. They are feeding people around the clock just to keep up.

During one force-feeding the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stomach, hurting me more than usual, because she was doing things so hastily. I called the interpreter to ask the doctor if the procedure was being done correctly or not.

It was so painful that I begged them to stop feeding me. The nurse refused to stop feeding me. As they were finishing, some of the “food” spilled on my clothes. I asked them to change my clothes, but the guard refused to allow me to hold on to this last shred of my dignity.

When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the E.R.F. team. So I have a choice. Either I can exercise my right to protest my detention, and be beaten up, or I can submit to painful force-feeding.

The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one.

I do not want to die here, but until President Obama and Yemen’s president do something, that is what I risk every day.

Where is my government? I will submit to any “security measures” they want in order to go home, even though they are totally unnecessary.

I will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free. I am now 35. All I want is to see my family again and to start a family of my own.

The situation is desperate now. All of the detainees here are suffering deeply. At least 40 people here are on a hunger strike. People are fainting with exhaustion every day. I have vomited blood.

And there is no end in sight to our imprisonment. Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made.

I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late.

Link: "Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America's Prisons."

It’s been seven month since I’ve been inside a prison cell. Now I’m back, sort of. The experience is eerily like my dreams, where I am a prisoner in another man’s cell. Like the cell I go back to in my sleep, this one is built for solitary confinement. I’m taking intermittent, heaving breaths, like I can’t get enough air. This still happens to me from time to time, especially in tight spaces. At a little over 11 by 7 feet, this cell is smaller than any I’ve ever inhabited. You can’t pace in it.

Like in my dreams, I case the space for the means of staying sane. Is there a TV to watch, a book to read, a round object to toss? The pathetic artifacts of this inmate’s life remind me of objects that were once everything to me: a stack of books, a handmade chessboard, a few scattered pieces of artwork taped to the concrete, a family photo, large manila envelopes full of letters. I know that these things are his world.

"So when you’re in Iran and in solitary confinement," asks my guide, Lieutenant Chris Acosta, "was it different?" His tone makes clear that he believes an Iranian prison to be a bad place.

He’s right about that. After being apprehended on the Iran-Iraq border, Sarah ShourdJosh Fattal, and I were held in Evin Prison's isolation ward for political prisoners. Sarah remained there for 13 months, Josh and I for 26 months. We were held incommunicado. We never knew when, or if, we would get out. We didn’t go to trial for two years. When we did we had no way to speak to a lawyer and no means of contesting the charges against us, which included espionage. The alleged evidence the court held was “confidential.”

What I want to tell Acosta is that no part of my experience—not the uncertainty of when I would be free again, not the tortured screams of other prisoners—was worse than the four months I spent in solitary confinement. What would he say if I told him I needed human contact so badly that I woke every morning hoping to be interrogated? Would he believe that I once yearned to be sat down in a padded, soundproof room, blindfolded, and questioned, just so I could talk to somebody?

I want to answer his question—of course my experience was different from those of the men at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison—but I’m not sure how to do it. How do you compare, when the difference between one person’s stability and another’s insanity is found in tiny details? Do I point out that I had a mattress, and they have thin pieces of foam; that the concrete open-air cell I exercised in was twice the size of the “dog run” at Pelican Bay, which is about 16 by 25 feet; that I got 15 minutes of phone calls in 26 months, and they get none; that I couldn’t write letters, but they can; that we could only talk to nearby prisoners in secret, but they can shout to each other without being punished; that unlike where I was imprisoned, whoever lives here has to shit at the front of his cell, in view of the guards?

"There was a window," I say. I don’t quite know how to tell him what I mean by that answer. "Just having that light come in, seeing the light move across the cell, seeing what time of day it was—" Without those windows, I wouldn’t have had the sound of ravens, the rare breezes, or the drops of rain that I let wash over my face some nights. My world would have been utterly restricted to my concrete box, to watching the miniature ocean waves I made by sloshing water back and forth in a bottle; to marveling at ants; to calculating the mean, median, and mode of the tick marks on the wall; to talking to myself without realizing it. For hours, days, I fixated on the patch of sunlight cast against my wall through those barred and grated windows. When, after five weeks, my knees buckled and I fell to the ground utterly broken, sobbing and rocking to the beat of my heart, it was the patch of sunlight that brought me back. Its slow creeping against the wall reminded me that the world did in fact turn and that time was something other than the stagnant pool my life was draining into.

Here, there are no windows.

Acosta, Pelican Bay’s public information officer, is giving me a tour of the Security Housing Unit. Inmates deemed a threat to the security of any of California’s 33 prisons are shipped to one of the state’s five SHUs (pronounced “shoes”), which hold nearly 4,000 people in long-term isolation. In the Pelican Bay SHU, 94 percent of prisoners are celled alone; overcrowding has forced the prison to double up the rest. Statewide, about 32 percent of SHU cells—hardly large enough for one person—are crammed with two inmates.

The cell I am standing in is one of eight in a “pod,” a large concrete room with cells along one side and only one exit, which leads to the guards’ control room. A guard watches over us, rifle in hand, through a set of bars in the wall. He can easily shoot into any one of six pods around him. He communicates with prisoners through speakers and opens their steel grated cell doors via remote. That is how they are let out to the dog run, where they exercise for an hour a day, alone. They don’t leave the cell to eat. If they ever leave the pod, they have to strip naked, pass their hands through a food slot to be handcuffed, then wait for the door to open and be bellycuffed.

I’ve been corresponding with at least 20 inmates in SHUs around California as part of an investigation into why and how people end up here. While at Pelican Bay, I’m not allowed to see or speak to any of them. Since 1996, California law has given prison authorities full control of which inmates journalists can interview. The only one I’m permitted to speak to isthe same person the New York Times was allowed to interview months before. He is getting out of the SHU because he informed on other prisoners. In fact, this SHU pod—the only one I am allowed to see—is populated entirely by prison informants. I ask repeatedly why I’m not allowed to visit another pod or speak to other SHU inmates. Eventually, Acosta snaps: “You’re just not.”



On the conditions in Penal Colony No.6 in Kopeisk, Russia
“If you want to live, you pay them.”
On Saturday, November 24st, 2012, hundreds of prisoners at Penal Colony No.6 in Kopeisk, Russia walked out onto the roofs of the prison with banners in order to protest the horrific conditions inside. The signs, some of them allegedly written in blood, plead for help. The protest led to a violent confrontation between the police and the prisoners’ relatives gathered outside the prison gates—the protest had been staged on a visitors’ day. 
The following are three testimonies: the first a statement from Valeria Prikhodkina, a member of the Public Monitoring Committee of the Chelyabinsk region; next, a description of conditions inside Penal Colony No.6 from former inmate Mikhail Ermuraki, who was released in April 2012; and, finally, human rights activist Nikolai Shur’s interview with Russian independent news site slon.ru upon visiting the prison on Tuesday.
Valeria Prikhodkina
Public Monitoring Committee, Chelyabinsk
[Source: Bolshoi Gorod. Published November 25, 2012] 
Saturday was visiting day at the prison. People started coming early in the morning, some having traveled long distances. All visitors were stopped at the prison gates without explanation. Something was going on inside. Suddenly, the riot police stormed into the prison along with other police forces and even fire trucks. The visiting relatives began to panic.
The inmates had organized a strike; they went out into the prison yard and refused to go back inside. 
More relatives gathered at the gates. By evening, it seemed that military operations were underway inside the colony: you could hear screams, people were running on the roofs, and then prisoners hung out a sheet with the message “People, help us” written on it. Members of the Public Monitoring Committee arrived, but they were not admitted into the prison. After they left at around 23:00, a bloodbath began. The police beat the prisoners with sticks, indiscriminately and swinging wildly.
From among our colleagues, only Oksana Trufanova stayed. She met the prison warden and was told that the prisoners had captured the watchtower and that she would not be allowed inside. She went into the grounds as far as she could and then left when she found she could go no further. While we were talking to her on the phone, we suddenly heard screams and the line went dead. It turned out that the riot police had attacked the assembled crowd of relatives to disperse them. Oksana was hit on the head with a police club and she lost consciousness. I don’t know anything about the drunken young people they’re talking about in official reports. I think it’s just nonsense. Who visits prisons? Mothers, wives—they’d been standing at the shut prison gates in the cold since the morning.
This particular penal colony is, of course, problematic, and we tend to visit it more often than we do other places.
If you come to a prison and the prisoners don’t say anything or tell you everything’s fine, that’s no reason to believe that it’s a regular Young Pioneer summer camp. Prisoners only start speaking when they can’t take it anymore and believe it can’t get any worse. Apparently that’s what happened in Kopeisk.
We are currently reviewing the case of Nikolai Korovkin along with the prosecutor’s office. Investigators have kept themselves busy by refusing all our requests since June. We have a lot of evidence that he was simply beaten to death. The authorities claim he died of late stage AIDS. The problem with that story is that he only spent two months in the penal colony after his trial. So either something happened to him in prison or they sent a gravely ill man to the penal colony. We have found someone who witnessed the beating.
Another prisoner, Daniil Abakumov, when he wound up in a pretrial detention facility, disclosed details and wrote a statement. But then they sent him back to the colony. I can’t even talk about what happened to him after that, but there is video of his testimony online. We’re talking about extortion, beatings, rape—in a word, torture.
Why does all of this go on? They’re trying to shake the relatives down for money. I don’t know whether it’s for themselves or for the colony as whole. Prisons in Russia are being reformed right now, and the penal colonies are supposed to be outfitted to European standards. But they don’t have the money for it. And so the relatives are paying for everything from fans to game consoles. You want to be paroled? That will cost you. Do you want your son or husband to be safe from beatings? That will cost you.
There aren’t standard rates—they stop at nothing. Someone was bringing them desk lamps, someone else, toilets. And the relatives were the ones who took out the loans, who actually bought these toilets, in exchange for parole. Parents are constantly complaining that their children are completely eligible for parole but it is not being granted because they can’t afford to pay the authorities. They were extorting money from Korovkin as well.
There are rumors that if a prisoner complains, they break his hands. I don’t have any proof of this, but this kind of injury, fractured fingers, is very common in the Chelyabinsk region, and often ends in amputation. Especially in this colony, where there have been several cases. No one will say what happened. And what would you say if they broke your fingers?
Yes, this penal colony is mostly populated with “maximum security” inmates, repeat offenders. But the government admits that 30% of the incarcerated are there undeservedly, while in reality the number is even greater. As human rights advocates, we are not concerned about what people are in prison for. People are people. They have been convicted and sentenced to incarceration. No law legislates slave labor, humiliation, round-the-clock beatings and torturous conditions.

On the conditions in Penal Colony No.6 in Kopeisk, Russia

“If you want to live, you pay them.”

On Saturday, November 24st, 2012, hundreds of prisoners at Penal Colony No.6 in Kopeisk, Russia walked out onto the roofs of the prison with banners in order to protest the horrific conditions inside. The signs, some of them allegedly written in blood, plead for help. The protest led to a violent confrontation between the police and the prisoners’ relatives gathered outside the prison gates—the protest had been staged on a visitors’ day. 

The following are three testimonies: the first a statement from Valeria Prikhodkina, a member of the Public Monitoring Committee of the Chelyabinsk region; next, a description of conditions inside Penal Colony No.6 from former inmate Mikhail Ermuraki, who was released in April 2012; and, finally, human rights activist Nikolai Shur’s interview with Russian independent news site slon.ru upon visiting the prison on Tuesday.

Valeria Prikhodkina

Public Monitoring Committee, Chelyabinsk

[Source: Bolshoi Gorod. Published November 25, 2012] 

Saturday was visiting day at the prison. People started coming early in the morning, some having traveled long distances. All visitors were stopped at the prison gates without explanation. Something was going on inside. Suddenly, the riot police stormed into the prison along with other police forces and even fire trucks. The visiting relatives began to panic.

The inmates had organized a strike; they went out into the prison yard and refused to go back inside. 

More relatives gathered at the gates. By evening, it seemed that military operations were underway inside the colony: you could hear screams, people were running on the roofs, and then prisoners hung out a sheet with the message “People, help us” written on it. Members of the Public Monitoring Committee arrived, but they were not admitted into the prison. After they left at around 23:00, a bloodbath began. The police beat the prisoners with sticks, indiscriminately and swinging wildly.

From among our colleagues, only Oksana Trufanova stayed. She met the prison warden and was told that the prisoners had captured the watchtower and that she would not be allowed inside. She went into the grounds as far as she could and then left when she found she could go no further. While we were talking to her on the phone, we suddenly heard screams and the line went dead. It turned out that the riot police had attacked the assembled crowd of relatives to disperse them. Oksana was hit on the head with a police club and she lost consciousness. I don’t know anything about the drunken young people they’re talking about in official reports. I think it’s just nonsense. Who visits prisons? Mothers, wives—they’d been standing at the shut prison gates in the cold since the morning.

This particular penal colony is, of course, problematic, and we tend to visit it more often than we do other places.

If you come to a prison and the prisoners don’t say anything or tell you everything’s fine, that’s no reason to believe that it’s a regular Young Pioneer summer camp. Prisoners only start speaking when they can’t take it anymore and believe it can’t get any worse. Apparently that’s what happened in Kopeisk.

We are currently reviewing the case of Nikolai Korovkin along with the prosecutor’s office. Investigators have kept themselves busy by refusing all our requests since June. We have a lot of evidence that he was simply beaten to death. The authorities claim he died of late stage AIDS. The problem with that story is that he only spent two months in the penal colony after his trial. So either something happened to him in prison or they sent a gravely ill man to the penal colony. We have found someone who witnessed the beating.

Another prisoner, Daniil Abakumov, when he wound up in a pretrial detention facility, disclosed details and wrote a statement. But then they sent him back to the colony. I can’t even talk about what happened to him after that, but there is video of his testimony online. We’re talking about extortion, beatings, rape—in a word, torture.

Why does all of this go on? They’re trying to shake the relatives down for money. I don’t know whether it’s for themselves or for the colony as whole. Prisons in Russia are being reformed right now, and the penal colonies are supposed to be outfitted to European standards. But they don’t have the money for it. And so the relatives are paying for everything from fans to game consoles. You want to be paroled? That will cost you. Do you want your son or husband to be safe from beatings? That will cost you.

There aren’t standard rates—they stop at nothing. Someone was bringing them desk lamps, someone else, toilets. And the relatives were the ones who took out the loans, who actually bought these toilets, in exchange for parole. Parents are constantly complaining that their children are completely eligible for parole but it is not being granted because they can’t afford to pay the authorities. They were extorting money from Korovkin as well.

There are rumors that if a prisoner complains, they break his hands. I don’t have any proof of this, but this kind of injury, fractured fingers, is very common in the Chelyabinsk region, and often ends in amputation. Especially in this colony, where there have been several cases. No one will say what happened. And what would you say if they broke your fingers?

Yes, this penal colony is mostly populated with “maximum security” inmates, repeat offenders. But the government admits that 30% of the incarcerated are there undeservedly, while in reality the number is even greater. As human rights advocates, we are not concerned about what people are in prison for. People are people. They have been convicted and sentenced to incarceration. No law legislates slave labor, humiliation, round-the-clock beatings and torturous conditions.

Link: Life Without Parole: A Different Death Penalty

"As a death row lawyer who fights to keep his clients alive, I believe life without parole denies the possibility of redemption every bit as much as strapping a murderer to the gurney and filling him with poison."

If you were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of release, how long would you want to live? Would you want to live at all?

I think about these questions often. My clients, inmates on death row, think about them every day. In more than twenty years of representing prisoners facing execution, I’ve had several ask me to waive their appeals so they could hurry up and die. There are some who think any client who “volunteers”—that’s our euphemism for giving up—is necessarily irrational. I don’t share that view. To be sure, two of my clients who told me to waive their appeals were mentally ill, and I fought to keep them from volunteering to die. But the others were perfectly rational. They did not want to spend at least six years, maybe fifteen, appealing their sentences, only to ultimately be strapped to a gurney and injected with poison.

It’s easy for most people to see their decisions as unhinged. We don’t spend twenty-three hours a day in sixty-square-foot cells with no TV, limited access to radio, books or magazines, and no contact with other human beings (unless you count being escorted from point A to point B by often sadistic corrections officers). I’ve had clients who want me to fight for them, and then when we win and get their death sentence converted into life, end up telling me I’ve betrayed them.

Let me be clear: most of my clients want to live. Most of them prefer a life of virtually no freedom to no life at all. But underlying this preference is a hope, however faint, they might one day get out.

On November 6, Californians will vote on Proposition 34, the Savings, Accountability and Full Enforcement (SAFE) for California Act. The ballot initiative would abolish capital punishment in the state and replace it with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Every week I get e-mails from national abolitionist groups touting the virtues of Prop 34. Facebook ads urge me to “like” it. But there are good reasons to believe that if the vote were up to the 725 inmates on California’s death row, it would fail. When the Campaign to End the Death Penalty sent surveys on Prop 34 to more than 200 California death row prisoners, fifty inmates responded. Forty-seven opposed the measure.

For California’s 725 death row inmates, having their sentences commuted to life without parole would mean automatically losing their right to state-appointed lawyers to pursue their habeas corpus appeals. For a huge proportion, this would instantly rob them of every last ember of hope and increase by up to 20 percent the number of California inmates who will grow old and die behind bars. One California death row inmate recently wrote an op-edopposing Prop 34 suggesting that he’d rather be executed than have his opportunities for appeal taken away. In a state that has executed only thirteen people since 1976, it would take two millennia to kill every current death row inmate, a fact that also helps explain how prisoners might oppose Prop 34.

Concerns over innocence seem to be at the heart of Prop 34. “California Leads the Nation in Wrongful Convictions,” read a press release from the Yes on 34 campaign on October 24. “More Evidence that California Needs to Pass Prop 34 to Prevent Execution of an Innocent Person.” Prop. 34 supporters point out that those with strong claims of innocence will still be entitled to receive court-appointed counsel. But few of the residents of death row will be able to make such a showing.

The justifications given by death penalty opponents who have embraced life without parole reveal the extent to which abolitionists have surrendered the moral basis of their position. It used to be that abolitionists argued that most people who commit bad acts can change and that the cruelest punishment one can inflict is to rob a human being of hope. But this concept—I hesitate to use the word “rehabilitation”—has seeped out of the criminal justice system over the past forty years. Prisons are now designed almost entirely for security in mind and not at all for socialization. Sentences have gotten steadily longer. And while states are turning away from the death penalty, they are replacing it with a different kind of death sentence. Sending a prisoner to die behind bars with no hope of release is a sentence that denies the possibility of redemption every bit as much as strapping a murderer to the gurney and filling him with poison.

Opponents of capital punishment often point out that the United States is the only developed Western country still executing prisoners, a comparison meant to shame us for being aligned with such human rights–violating countries as Iran, China and North Korea. It’s not a bad argument, but exactly the same could be said about life without parole. Our neighbors to the south don’t have it. Almost all of Europe rejects it. Even China and Pakistan, hardly exemplars of progressive criminal justice policy, allow prisoners serving life sentences to come up for parole after twenty-five years. Meanwhile, the United States imprisons wrongdoers for sentences that are five to seven times longer than sentences for comparable offenses in, say, Germany. Yet the recidivism rate in Germany is roughly 25 percent lower than ours.


The Stunning Geography of Incarceration
There are 5,393 carceral facilities in the United States, places where people are held in local jails, state prisons, federal corrections facilities, immigration detention centers – “anywhere where an individual can be sort of confined and locked up,” explains Josh Begley, “and, in some of the bigger instances, warehoused in one place.”
Begley is a master’s student in the Interactive Telecommunications program at New York University. He wanted to graphically represent what all of this means, to communicate not just the sheer quantity of prisons in America (a number that has been booming for decades), but their volume on our landscape. As part of a class project, he created the oddly beautiful website Prison Map, which offers a mashed-up birds-eye view of all of these places, taken from Google Satellite images.
“A lot of times we’ll just use numbers to talk about this idea of mass incarceration,” Begley says, “and I thought that there maybe was something powerful about using no numbers, no words and just having the images.”
Begley’s images capture the massive scale of this entire industry and the land that we devote to it (America has less than 5 percent of the world’s population but houses a quarter of the world’s prisoners). His website, in fact, includes only about 14 percent of all of the prisons he’s captured (each one is scaled to the same size).

The Stunning Geography of Incarceration

There are 5,393 carceral facilities in the United States, places where people are held in local jails, state prisons, federal corrections facilities, immigration detention centers – “anywhere where an individual can be sort of confined and locked up,” explains Josh Begley, “and, in some of the bigger instances, warehoused in one place.”

Begley is a master’s student in the Interactive Telecommunications program at New York University. He wanted to graphically represent what all of this means, to communicate not just the sheer quantity of prisons in America (a number that has been booming for decades), but their volume on our landscape. As part of a class project, he created the oddly beautiful website Prison Map, which offers a mashed-up birds-eye view of all of these places, taken from Google Satellite images.

“A lot of times we’ll just use numbers to talk about this idea of mass incarceration,” Begley says, “and I thought that there maybe was something powerful about using no numbers, no words and just having the images.”

Begley’s images capture the massive scale of this entire industry and the land that we devote to it (America has less than 5 percent of the world’s population but houses a quarter of the world’s prisoners). His website, in fact, includes only about 14 percent of all of the prisons he’s captured (each one is scaled to the same size).

Link: Norway's controversial 'cushy prison' experiment has the lowest reoffending rate in Europe.

Can a prison possibly justify treating its inmates with saunas, sunbeds and deckchairs if that prison has the lowest reoffending rate in Europe? Live reports from Norway on the penal system that runs contrary to all our instincts - but achieves everything we could wish for.

On a clear, bright morning in the tranquil, coastal town of Horten, just south of Oslo, a small ferry slides punctually into harbour. I am to take a short boat ride to the sunlit, green island of Bastoy shimmering on the horizon less than two miles away. It is a curious place. There are no secluded holiday homes or elegant hotels with moorings for passing yachts. The 120 people who live there never visit the mainland, but then why would they?

They spend their days happily winding around the network of paths that snake through the pine forests, or swimming and fishing along the five miles of pebble beaches, or playing on the tennis courts and football pitch; and recuperating later on sunbeds and in a sauna, a cinema room, a band rehearsal room and expansive library.

Their commune has handsomely furnished bungalows with cable TV. The residents eat together in an attractively spacious canteen thoughtfully decorated with Norwegian art. The centrepiece is a striking 10ft long model of a Norwegian merchant ship.

If it sounds like an oddball Scandinavian social experiment, you’d be right. Bastoy is home to Norway’s only island prison. I am here to scrutinise its hugely controversial approach to crime and punishment, and to do so with some knowledge; the last time I set foot in a prison was as a foolish 23-year-old man.


Shawshank Without the Redemption
Imagine being held in solitary confinement, not for a day, not for a year, but for forty years. Imagine entering a cell, four paces long, three paces wide, when Richard Nixon was in the White House and still being confined to that cell, as Barack Obama gears up for re-election. Imagine being confined to that cell for every minute of those forty years apart from time out to shower and a walk around an outdoor cage three times a week, weather permitting. That has been the fate of Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, two of the so-called ‘Angola 3’, whose story was retold this week in a fine BBC Radio 4 Crossing Continents programme. It is a story not simply of injustice wrought upon three men, but of the inhumanity that lies at the heart of America’s prison and justice systems.
Woodfox and Wallace were convicted in 1969 of armed robbery and sentenced to 55 and 50 years of hard labour respectively. They were incarcerated in the notorious Louisiana State Pen, the largest and some say the bloodiest prison in America,  for years infamous for its brutal forced labour and the depth of the  sexual violence inmates had to endure. It was in Angola that Woodfox and Wallace met Robert King, who had been convicted of murder, a charge of which he, too, has always protested his innocence.
Louisiana State Pen is nicknamed ‘Angola’ because was built on the site of a plantation that had been worked mainly by Angolan slaves. It is still, King says, ‘run like a plantation’.  Inside prison, the three men became politicized and joined the Black Panthers. They set up political classes, organized the other inmates, staged protests and a hunger strike to improve the brutal conditions.
In 1972, at a time that their political activities were causing particular concern to the prison authorities, Woodfox and Wallace were charged and convicted of the murder of prison guard Brent Miller. The conviction was based entirely on the hearsay evidence of other prisoners, some of whom were jailhouse informants and all of whom gave contradictory accounts of what happened. Evidence that might have proved their innocence, including a bloody fingerprint left at the scene that came from neither Woodfox nor  Wallace was first suppressed, then ‘lost’. The jury that convicted them was all-white and comprised largely people who worked at Angola. Even Miller’s widow now acknowledges the men’s innocence. ‘If they did not do this’, she told a court hearing in 2008,  ‘and I believe that they didn’t, they have been living a nightmare for 36 years!’

Shawshank Without the Redemption

Imagine being held in solitary confinement, not for a day, not for a year, but for forty years. Imagine entering a cell, four paces long, three paces wide, when Richard Nixon was in the White House and still being confined to that cell, as Barack Obama gears up for re-election. Imagine being confined to that cell for every minute of those forty years apart from time out to shower and a walk around an outdoor cage three times a week, weather permitting. That has been the fate of Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, two of the so-called ‘Angola 3’, whose story was retold this week in a fine BBC Radio 4 Crossing Continents programme. It is a story not simply of injustice wrought upon three men, but of the inhumanity that lies at the heart of America’s prison and justice systems.

Woodfox and Wallace were convicted in 1969 of armed robbery and sentenced to 55 and 50 years of hard labour respectively. They were incarcerated in the notorious Louisiana State Pen, the largest and some say the bloodiest prison in America,  for years infamous for its brutal forced labour and the depth of the  sexual violence inmates had to endure. It was in Angola that Woodfox and Wallace met Robert King, who had been convicted of murder, a charge of which he, too, has always protested his innocence.

Louisiana State Pen is nicknamed ‘Angola’ because was built on the site of a plantation that had been worked mainly by Angolan slaves. It is still, King says, ‘run like a plantation’.  Inside prison, the three men became politicized and joined the Black Panthers. They set up political classes, organized the other inmates, staged protests and a hunger strike to improve the brutal conditions.

In 1972, at a time that their political activities were causing particular concern to the prison authorities, Woodfox and Wallace were charged and convicted of the murder of prison guard Brent Miller. The conviction was based entirely on the hearsay evidence of other prisoners, some of whom were jailhouse informants and all of whom gave contradictory accounts of what happened. Evidence that might have proved their innocence, including a bloody fingerprint left at the scene that came from neither Woodfox nor  Wallace was first suppressed, then ‘lost’. The jury that convicted them was all-white and comprised largely people who worked at Angola. Even Miller’s widow now acknowledges the men’s innocence. ‘If they did not do this’, she told a court hearing in 2008,  ‘and I believe that they didn’t, they have been living a nightmare for 36 years!’

Link: The Success of Drug Decriminalization in Portugal

I [Richard Branson] visited Portugal, as one of the Global Drug Commissioners, to congratulate them on the success of their drug policies over the last 10 years. Ten years ago the Portuguese Government responded to widespread public concern over drugs by rejecting a “war on drugs” approach and instead decriminalized drug possession and use. It further rebuffed convention by placing the responsibility for decreasing drug demand as well as managing dependency under the Ministry of Health rather than the Ministry of Justice. With this, the official response towards drug-dependent persons shifted from viewing them as criminals to treating them as patients.

Under Portugal’s new regime, people found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are sent to a panel consisting of a psychologist, social worker, and legal adviser for appropriate treatment (which may be refused without criminal punishment), instead of jail.

It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the problem far better than virtually every other Western country does. Compared to the European Union and the US, Portugal drug use numbers are impressive. Following decriminalization, Portugal has the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the EU: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%, Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana.

The Cato paper reports that between 2001 and 2006 in Portugal, rates of lifetime use of any illegal drug among seventh through ninth graders fell from 14.1% to 10.6%. Drug use in older teens also declined. Life time heroin use among 16-18 year olds fell from 2.5% to 1.8%. New HIV infections in drug users fell by 17% between 1999 and 2003. Death related to heroin and similar drugs were cut by more than half. The number of people on methadone and buprenorphine treatment for drug addiction rose to 14,877 from 6,040, after decriminalization, and the considerable money saved on enforcement allowed for increase funding of drug – free treatment as well. Property theft has dropped dramatically (50% - 80% of all property theft worldwide is caused by drug users).

America has the highest rates of cocaine and marijuana use in the world, and while most of the EU (including Holland) has more liberal drug laws than the US, it also has less drug use. Current policy debate is that it’s based on “speculation and fear mongering”, rather than empirical evidence on the effect of more lenient drug policies. In Portugal, the effect was to neutralize what had become the country’s number one public health problem.

(Source: sunrec)

Uncompromising Photos Expose Juvenile Detention in America

On any given night in the U.S., there are approximately 60,500 youth confined in juvenile correctional facilities or other residential programs. Photographer Richard Ross has spent the past five years criss-crossing the country photographing the architecture, cells, classrooms and inhabitants of these detention sites.The resulting photo-survey, Juvenile-In-Justice, documents 350 facilities in over 30 states. It’s more than a peek into unseen worlds — it is a call to action and care.

“I grew up in a world where you solve problems, you don’t destroy a population,” says Ross. “To me it is an affront when I see the way some of these kids are dealt with.”

The U.S. locks up children at more than six times the rate of all other developed nations. The over 60,000 average daily juvenile lockups, a figure estimated by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF), are also disproportionately young people of color. With an average cost of $80,000 per year to lock up a child, the U.S. spends more than $5 billion annually on youth detention. On top of the cost, in its recent report No Place for Kids, the AECF presents evidence to show that youth incarceration does not reduce recidivism rates, does not benefit public safety and exposes those imprisoned to further abuse and violence. Ross thinks his images of juvenile lock-ups can, and should, be “ammunition” for the ongoing policy and funding debates between reformers, staff, management and law-makers.

“Some of these kids really don’t stand a chance at all. Have they committed crimes? Yes. But has society failed in the social contract to keep these kids in a safe environment? Absolutely.”


The Gray Box: An Investigative Look at Solitary Confinement
Among the misperceptions about solitary confinement is that it’s used only on the most violent inmates, and only for a few weeks or months. In fact, an estimated 80,000 Americans — many with no record of violence either inside or outside prison — are living in seclusion. They stay there for years, even decades. What this means, generally, is 23 hours a day in a cell the size of two queen-sized mattresses, with a single hour in an exercise cage, also alone. Some prisoners aren’t allowed visits or phone calls. Some have no TV or radio. Some never lay eyes on each other. And some go years without fresh air or sunlight.
Solitary is a place where the slightest details can mean the world. Things like whether you can see a patch of grass or only sky outside your window – if you’re lucky enough to have a window. Or whether the guy who occupies cells before you in rotation has a habit of smearing feces on the wall. Are the lights on 24/7? Is there a clock or calendar to mark time? If you scream, could anyone hear you?
In the warp of time and space where Rodriguez lives, the system not only has stripped him of any real human contact, but also made it unbearable to be reminded of a reality that has become all too unreal. It’s ripping him apart.
“Anyone who spends more than three years in a place like this is ruined for life,” Powers writes. “Two or three hundred years from now people will look back on this lockdown mania like we look back on the burning of witches.”

The Gray Box: An Investigative Look at Solitary Confinement

Among the misperceptions about solitary confinement is that it’s used only on the most violent inmates, and only for a few weeks or months. In fact, an estimated 80,000 Americans — many with no record of violence either inside or outside prison — are living in seclusion. They stay there for years, even decades. What this means, generally, is 23 hours a day in a cell the size of two queen-sized mattresses, with a single hour in an exercise cage, also alone. Some prisoners aren’t allowed visits or phone calls. Some have no TV or radio. Some never lay eyes on each other. And some go years without fresh air or sunlight.

Solitary is a place where the slightest details can mean the world. Things like whether you can see a patch of grass or only sky outside your window – if you’re lucky enough to have a window. Or whether the guy who occupies cells before you in rotation has a habit of smearing feces on the wall. Are the lights on 24/7? Is there a clock or calendar to mark time? If you scream, could anyone hear you?

In the warp of time and space where Rodriguez lives, the system not only has stripped him of any real human contact, but also made it unbearable to be reminded of a reality that has become all too unreal. It’s ripping him apart.

“Anyone who spends more than three years in a place like this is ruined for life,” Powers writes. “Two or three hundred years from now people will look back on this lockdown mania like we look back on the burning of witches.”


The Wrath of Putin
Mikhail Khodorkovsky was the richest man in Russia when he dared  confront then president Vladimir Putin, criticizing state corruption at a  meeting with Putin in February 2003. Arrested that fall, then convicted  in two Kafka-esque trials, Khodorkovsky has been imprisoned ever since,  the once powerful oligarch now an invisible hero for the growing  opposition to Putin’s tyranny. From Moscow, as elections approach and  demonstrators spill into the streets, Masha Gessen chronicles the clash  of two titans, each of whom has badly underestimated the other.
This is the story of two men who are central to each other’s lives,  though they have neither met nor spoken in more than eight years. One of  the men has spent this time amassing impressive power and untold  wealth. The palace he built for himself sprawls over eight million  square feet. He travels from world capital to world capital. Everywhere  he goes, he is asked about the other man. The other man has spent the  past eight years behind bars, going for months without seeing the sky.  He has lost his business and most of his money. His family, his friends,  and most of his colleagues have stood by him, but the decisive  relationship of his life remains the one with the first man.
It  is a story of malice, cruelty, and vengeance—but more than anything it  is a story of a failure of imagination. Almost a decade ago, Mikhail  Khodorkovsky, then the owner of the Yukos Oil Company and Russia’s  richest man, completely miscalculated the consequences of standing up to  Vladimir Putin, then Russia’s president. Putin had Khodorkovsky  arrested, completely miscalculating the consequences of putting him in  prison. During his eight years in confinement, Khodorkovsky has become  Russia’s most trusted public figure and Putin’s biggest political  liability. As long as Putin rules Russia and Khodorkovsky continues to  act like Khodorkovsky, Khodorkovsky will remain in prison—and Putin will  remain terrified of him.
Of his eight years without freedom,  Khodorkovsky has spent more than half in Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina  Detention Facility, a 246-year-old jail, where living conditions are far  more punishing than those in a distant prison colony. He has declined  to describe the conditions in which he has been kept in any but the most  general terms, arguing that he is no different from other inmates, but  those who have been held in the same place describe cramped cells with a  hole in the floor that serves as the toilet. Inmates take cold meals  sitting on their cots, a few feet from the hole. Access to the outdoors  is virtually nonexistent. Khodorkovsky has spent a total of nearly three  full years attending his two trials, transported to court and back in  an armored car with a small holding compartment in which he must ride  standing up and bent over. During the first trial, he and his  co-defendant, Platon Lebedev, were made to sit in a cage, behind heavy  steel bars. During the second trial, after a complaint was lodged with  the European Court for Human Rights, they were displayed inside a  Plexiglas cube.
At the root of the conflict between Putin and  Khodorkovsky lies a basic difference in character. Putin rarely says  what he means and even less frequently trusts that others are saying  what they mean. Khodorkovsky, in contrast, seems to have always taken  himself and others at face value—he has constructed his identity in  accordance with his convictions and his life in accordance with his  identity. That is what landed him in prison and what has kept him there.
…
On December 31, 1999, former K.G.B. lieutenant colonel Vladimir Putin  replaced Boris Yeltsin as Russia’s president. Putin moved quickly to  consolidate authority in the Kremlin, taking power away from the elected  parliament and local governors as well as from big business. He cracked  down on the opposition and on the media. People who stood up to him  often found themselves on the run—or dead. Putin made it abundantly  clear what he wanted from the oligarchs: he wanted them to share their  wealth with him and his allies, and he wanted them to stay out of  politics. Those who refused would not be around to complain. Vladimir  Gusinsky had owned a media company, including two television networks  and several magazines; his journalists had been highly critical of  Putin. Gusinsky was arrested and forced to sign over his company to the  state. He was then allowed to leave the country. Once in the West, he  claimed that his signature had been coerced. Russia responded by issuing  an international warrant for his arrest. Gusinsky has spent the last 11  years living in Israel. The stage was set for a confrontation.

The Wrath of Putin

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was the richest man in Russia when he dared confront then president Vladimir Putin, criticizing state corruption at a meeting with Putin in February 2003. Arrested that fall, then convicted in two Kafka-esque trials, Khodorkovsky has been imprisoned ever since, the once powerful oligarch now an invisible hero for the growing opposition to Putin’s tyranny. From Moscow, as elections approach and demonstrators spill into the streets, Masha Gessen chronicles the clash of two titans, each of whom has badly underestimated the other.

This is the story of two men who are central to each other’s lives, though they have neither met nor spoken in more than eight years. One of the men has spent this time amassing impressive power and untold wealth. The palace he built for himself sprawls over eight million square feet. He travels from world capital to world capital. Everywhere he goes, he is asked about the other man. The other man has spent the past eight years behind bars, going for months without seeing the sky. He has lost his business and most of his money. His family, his friends, and most of his colleagues have stood by him, but the decisive relationship of his life remains the one with the first man.

It is a story of malice, cruelty, and vengeance—but more than anything it is a story of a failure of imagination. Almost a decade ago, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, then the owner of the Yukos Oil Company and Russia’s richest man, completely miscalculated the consequences of standing up to Vladimir Putin, then Russia’s president. Putin had Khodorkovsky arrested, completely miscalculating the consequences of putting him in prison. During his eight years in confinement, Khodorkovsky has become Russia’s most trusted public figure and Putin’s biggest political liability. As long as Putin rules Russia and Khodorkovsky continues to act like Khodorkovsky, Khodorkovsky will remain in prison—and Putin will remain terrified of him.

Of his eight years without freedom, Khodorkovsky has spent more than half in Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina Detention Facility, a 246-year-old jail, where living conditions are far more punishing than those in a distant prison colony. He has declined to describe the conditions in which he has been kept in any but the most general terms, arguing that he is no different from other inmates, but those who have been held in the same place describe cramped cells with a hole in the floor that serves as the toilet. Inmates take cold meals sitting on their cots, a few feet from the hole. Access to the outdoors is virtually nonexistent. Khodorkovsky has spent a total of nearly three full years attending his two trials, transported to court and back in an armored car with a small holding compartment in which he must ride standing up and bent over. During the first trial, he and his co-defendant, Platon Lebedev, were made to sit in a cage, behind heavy steel bars. During the second trial, after a complaint was lodged with the European Court for Human Rights, they were displayed inside a Plexiglas cube.

At the root of the conflict between Putin and Khodorkovsky lies a basic difference in character. Putin rarely says what he means and even less frequently trusts that others are saying what they mean. Khodorkovsky, in contrast, seems to have always taken himself and others at face value—he has constructed his identity in accordance with his convictions and his life in accordance with his identity. That is what landed him in prison and what has kept him there.

On December 31, 1999, former K.G.B. lieutenant colonel Vladimir Putin replaced Boris Yeltsin as Russia’s president. Putin moved quickly to consolidate authority in the Kremlin, taking power away from the elected parliament and local governors as well as from big business. He cracked down on the opposition and on the media. People who stood up to him often found themselves on the run—or dead. Putin made it abundantly clear what he wanted from the oligarchs: he wanted them to share their wealth with him and his allies, and he wanted them to stay out of politics. Those who refused would not be around to complain. Vladimir Gusinsky had owned a media company, including two television networks and several magazines; his journalists had been highly critical of Putin. Gusinsky was arrested and forced to sign over his company to the state. He was then allowed to leave the country. Once in the West, he claimed that his signature had been coerced. Russia responded by issuing an international warrant for his arrest. Gusinsky has spent the last 11 years living in Israel. The stage was set for a confrontation.

Link: Radiolab: Escape!

The walls are closing in, you’ve got no way out… and then, suddenly, you escape! This hour, stories about traps, getaways, perpetual cycles, and staggering breakthroughs.

The Great Escape Artist: Christopher Daniel Gay has broken out of jail more times than anyone else alive. He is the stuff of country songs and film rights. Reporter Ben Montgomery learned about him after Chris’s most notorious getaway; he had fled prison and stolen a tractor trailer so he could visit his dying mother. (Oh and somewhere in there he also made off with Crystal Gayle’s tour bus.) Running had become a way of life for Chris, and that big stunt made him into a folk hero—an underdog with seemingly good intentions, always one step ahead of the law. But the story behind the myth is more complicated. Producer Pat Walters joins Ben to unravel Chris’s past. They ask him, and those closest to him, why he keeps on running, and whether he can ever stop.

Is There an Edge to the Heavens? Edward Dolnick tells an escape story involving God, humanity, and a huge rewrite of cosmic laws. It began in 1665. A plague hit Cambridge University. All of the students were sent home. One of them is a twenty-something Isaac Newton, who spent his forced summer vacation solving “the problem of the moon” and explaining why that heavenly rock will never be free. Sucks for the moon. But Newton’s mental leap ultimately lead to humanity leaving the confines of planet Earth. And as producer Lynn Levy explains, we’re about to reach yet another new frontier. The Voyager probe (which we talked about in our Space episode) is about to become the first human-made object to leave the solar system. And the information it’s been sending us along the way has upended what we thought we knew about our little corner of the universe. Merav Opher is an astronomy professor at BU and a Voyager guest investigator. Ann Druyan is one of the creators of the 1977 Golden Album traveling on the Voyager probe. Together they describe how Voyager continues to surprise us.

Long Distance: In the mid-1950’s, a blind seven-year-old boy named Joe Engressia Jr. made a discovery that changed his own life and many others. While idly dialing information on the family telephone, he heard a high-pitched tone in the background and started whistling along with it. Slowly, he learned to recognize all kinds of tones, pulses, clicks and beeps that the phone system used to talk to itself. And when he got good at decoding those sounds, he became the grandaddy of a whole movement of like-minded obsessives known as “phone phreaks.” Phreaking-historian Phil Lapsley explains how Joe and his phreak-brothers explored the hidden arteries of Ma Bell. And Joe’s friend Steven Gibb helps us understand how telephony was the key to Joe’s great escape—out of the adult world and into an idyllic childhood he never had, complete with a new name.

Link: The Success of Drug Decriminalization in Portugal

I [Richard Branson] visited Portugal, as one of the Global Drug Commissioners, to congratulate them on the success of their drug policies over the last 10 years. Ten years ago the Portuguese Government responded to widespread public concern over drugs by rejecting a “war on drugs” approach and instead decriminalized drug possession and use. It further rebuffed convention by placing the responsibility for decreasing drug demand as well as managing dependency under the Ministry of Health rather than the Ministry of Justice. With this, the official response towards drug-dependent persons shifted from viewing them as criminals to treating them as patients.

Under Portugal’s new regime, people found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are sent to a panel consisting of a psychologist, social worker, and legal adviser for appropriate treatment (which may be refused without criminal punishment), instead of jail.

It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the problem far better than virtually every other Western country does. Compared to the European Union and the US, Portugal drug use numbers are impressive. Following decriminalization, Portugal has the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the EU: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%, Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana.

The Cato paper reports that between 2001 and 2006 in Portugal, rates of lifetime use of any illegal drug among seventh through ninth graders fell from 14.1% to 10.6%. Drug use in older teens also declined. Life time heroin use among 16-18 year olds fell from 2.5% to 1.8%. New HIV infections in drug users fell by 17% between 1999 and 2003. Death related to heroin and similar drugs were cut by more than half. The number of people on methadone and buprenorphine treatment for drug addiction rose to 14,877 from 6,040, after decriminalization, and the considerable money saved on enforcement allowed for increase funding of drug – free treatment as well. Property theft has dropped dramatically (50% - 80% of all property theft worldwide is caused by drug users).

America has the highest rates of cocaine and marijuana use in the world, and while most of the EU (including Holland) has more liberal drug laws than the US, it also has less drug use. Current policy debate is that it’s based on “speculation and fear mongering”, rather than empirical evidence on the effect of more lenient drug policies. In Portugal, the effect was to neutralize what had become the country’s number one public health problem.

 
Tim DeChristopher was chosen as an Utne Reader visionary in 2011. Each year Utne Reader puts forward its selection of world visionaries—people who don’t just concoct great ideas but also act on them. 
Tim DeChristopher knew exactly what he was doing when he slipped into a federal auction in Utah in 2008 and bid $1.8 million on oil and gas drilling leases that he didn’t have the money to pay for: He was, in Western parlance, risking his own hide in order to take a stand against fossil fuels and environmental destruction. DeChristopher ended up being sentenced to two years in prison for his brave, bold act, and in the process he became a folk hero to many fellow environmentalists. One reason is that Tim DeChristopher has resolutely stuck to his principles. He did not apologize for his actions in court, a simple concession that might have spared him prison time, because he doesn’t believe that what he did was wrong. He has been vindicated in a sense: The lease auction was in fact found to be flawed, and the land remains unsullied by drill rigs. “What one person can do is to plant the seeds of love and outrage in the hearts of a movement,” he wrote in August in a letter from prison published at Grist. “And if those hearts are fertile ground, those seeds of love and outrage will grow into a revolution.”

Tim DeChristopher was chosen as an Utne Reader visionary in 2011. Each year Utne Reader puts forward its selection of world visionaries—people who don’t just concoct great ideas but also act on them. 

Tim DeChristopher knew exactly what he was doing when he slipped into a federal auction in Utah in 2008 and bid $1.8 million on oil and gas drilling leases that he didn’t have the money to pay for: He was, in Western parlance, risking his own hide in order to take a stand against fossil fuels and environmental destruction. DeChristopher ended up being sentenced to two years in prison for his brave, bold act, and in the process he became a folk hero to many fellow environmentalists. One reason is that Tim DeChristopher has resolutely stuck to his principles. He did not apologize for his actions in court, a simple concession that might have spared him prison time, because he doesn’t believe that what he did was wrong. He has been vindicated in a sense: The lease auction was in fact found to be flawed, and the land remains unsullied by drill rigs. “What one person can do is to plant the seeds of love and outrage in the hearts of a movement,” he wrote in August in a letter from prison published at Grist. “And if those hearts are fertile ground, those seeds of love and outrage will grow into a revolution.”