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Law and Disorder May 30, 2016


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Remembering Michael Ratner

Hosts Heidi Boghosian and Michael Smith remember Michael Ratner as cohost, activist, radical attorney, author and close friend. In this show, hosts reflect on Michael’s work and listen back to several monologue updates. They include his work as co-counsel for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the Dahiya Doctrine, SNAP- Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, NSA survelliance in the Bahamas and Guantanamo Bay prisoner exchange.

Michael Ratner (1943-2016) was president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and author of Guantanamo: What the World Should Know. Michael worked for decades, as a crusader for human rights both at home and abroad litigating many cases against international human rights violators resulting in millions of dollars in judgments for abuse victims and expanding the possibilities of international law. He acted as a principal counsel in the successful suit to close the camp for HIV-positive Haitian refugees on Guantanamo Base, Cuba. Michael Ratner has litigated a dozen cases challenging a President’s authority to go to war, without congressional approval. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the Center has focused its efforts on the constitutionality of indefinite detention and the restrictions on civil liberties as defined by the unfolding terms of a permanent war. Among his many honors were: Trial Lawyer of the Year from the Trial lawyers for Public Justice, The Columbia Law School Public Interest Law Foundation Award, and the North Star Community Frederick Douglass Award.

 

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Law and Disorder May 16, 2016


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Tomas Young’s War

At age 19 Tomas Young joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. For patriotic reasons he wanted to fight in Afghanistan because of that country’s connection to the attack.

He was instead deployed to Iraq, a country that had zero connection to the attacks on September 11, 2001. He was in Iraq but a few days when he was shot in an insurgent ambush while sitting in the back of an open truck driving through an area of unrest in Baghdad.

The first shot severed his spinal cord paralyzing him from the nipples on down. The second shot shattered his knee. He never felt it. Tomas Young lived for nine years with his catastrophic injury. He became a forceful and eloquent spokesman against the war in Iraq.

The movie “body of war” was made about him.  Tomas died of his injuries in 2014 at the age of 34.

Guest – Cathy Smith, a single mother who had cared for her son Tomas and advocated for him.

Guest – Mark Wilkerson spent eight years in the U.S. Army as an AH-1 Cobra & UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew chief with the 3rd Infantry & 101st Airborne Divisions. He was deployed with the 101st to Mogadishu, Somalia, for six months in 1993. Mark has three children, Alex, Nick and Sam. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife Melissa. This is his third book. Phil Donahue and the DONAHUE show have been honored with 20 Daytime Emmy Awards, including nine for Outstanding Host and a George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Journalism Award.

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Surveillance State and Tor

As computer technology has evolved and communications providers have profited, law enforcement and government intelligence organizations increasingly lobby to mandate that data services be engineered to allow them “back door” access to encrypted data.

Even as expansive anti-terrorism legislation provides more ways for the government to harvest our personal data, calls still continue for regulation of technology to ensure extra access channels. With each high-profile criminal attack, on U.S. soil or elsewhere across the world, government efforts to access personal communications gain momentum.

Years ago, many considered TOR, software that enables anonymous communication, to be equivalent to the Dark Net, the nefarious sites and services accessible on the Tor network that promote/enable illegal activity such as drug and gun marketplaces. After Edward Snowden’s massive data release, however, TOR use in the last year has grown quickly.

Guest – Shari Steele, Executive Director of the Tor Project. As the former director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Shari built it into the nation’s preeminent digital rights organization.

 

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Law and Disorder May 2, 2016


Updates:

  • Co-hosts Heidi Boghosian and Michael Smith Discuss Raza v. City of New York and Handschu v. Special Services Division Settlements.
  • Renaming Law School After Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

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Miko Peled: The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine – Second Edition

Miko Peled comes from a distinguished Zionist family.  His grandfather signed in 1948 the Israeli declaration of independence. His father General Matti Peled, was a hero in Israel’s victorious 1967 war against 3 of it’s Arab neighbors. Miko Peled wrote the book “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine” in 2012. It is an account of his family history and his own personal political and moral evolution. He served in the Israeli Air Force. His sister’s young daughter was killed by a Palestinian in a terrorist attack. His book is considered so important that it has been republished in a new updated second edition. Peled moved from Israel and now lives in San Diego. He believes the only just solution in Israel – Palestine is for the creation of a bi-national state with equal rights for the Palestinian people.  He is in New York on tour to promote the second edition of this book.

Guest – Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in the US. He was born and raised in Jerusalem. His father was the late Israeli General Matti Peled. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, its people and their narrative. He has written a book about his journey from the sphere of the privileged Israeli to that of the oppressed Palestinians. Peled speaks nationally and internationally on the issue of Palestine. He supports the creation of a single democratic state in all of Palestine, and a firm supporter of BDS

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Racism Within Chicago’s Police Department

Chicago Attorney Flint Taylor is a founding partner in the People’s Law Office. He’s been engaged in police abuse litigation since the 1960s when he and his partner Jeff Haas represented the Fred Hampton family after Chairman Hampton, the head of the Black Panther Party was assassinated by the Chicago Police and the FBI. Flint then for 30 years represented the victims of the Jon Burge torture machine. Burge, through the use of torture got false confessions from more than 100 African American men, sending them to prison. Recently, under court order a video was released showing the execution by the Chicago Police of a young black man named Shaquan McDonald. In the wake of the release of the video, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was forced to fire his police chief and appoint a commission to investigate the lack of accountability and widespread racism in the Chicago Police Department.

Guest – Attorney G.Flint Taylor, a graduate of Brown University and Northwestern Law School, is a  founding partner of the People’s Law Office in Chicago, an office which has been dedicated to litigating civil rights, police violence, government misconduct, and death penalty cases for more than 40 years.

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Law and Disorder February 29, 2016


Update:

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Black Women, LGBT And Police Abuse

Attorney Andrea Ritchie has dedicated the past two decades to challenging abusive and discriminatory policing against women, girls, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people of color. An accomplished litigator, she is a highly-respected commentator –and recent Soros Fellow– on policy reforms and litigation strategies addressing the ways in which discriminatory policing impacts women of color.

Guest – Andrea Ritchie is the co-author of Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States (published in 2011) and Caught in the Net, a report on women and the so-called war on drugs. She works closely with a range of local and national organizations, including Streetwise & Safe, an organization focused on policing of LGBT youth of color, and is a member of INCITE! She is also involved in #SayHerName, a gender-inclusive racial justice movement that campaigns against police brutality and anti-Black violence against black women. It aims to highlight the gender-specific ways in which police brutality and anti-Black violence disproportionately affect black women, especially black queer women and black trans women. Andrea’s Website.

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Milbank Changes Course on $1M Harvard Law School Gift after Pro-Palestine Event

Today we explore a controversy that has erupted at Harvard Law School when a prominent law firm, Milbank Tweed, discontinued a $1million grant it had given to the school after it learned that its donation helped pay for a panel on Palestine.  We’ll talk to the Harvard Law Student who organized the event, who will explain how students on campuses across the country have been met with fierce efforts to suppress discussion of Palestinian rights.

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Law and Disorder February 22, 2016


Updates:

Co-hosts Heidi Boghosian And Katherine Franke Discuss Past Decisions By The Late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

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An Evening of Solidarity: PAROLE FOR THE MOVE 9

We hear select presentations from the many speakers and performances at the Parole For The Move 9 event. In the summer of 2015 supporters of The Move Organization initiated a petition for United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch . The goal of the petition is to push the United States Attorney General to investigate the wrongful and ongoing imprisonment of The  Move 9 who have been imprisoned since August 8th 1978. Last May marked 30 years since the unconscionable bombing and murder of the MOVE family by the U.S. government. Live Stream of the MOVE9 event.

Speakers:

Johanna Fernandez, Campaign to Bring Mumia Home  
Civil Rights Attorney Lynne Stewart
Amina Baraka, Poet/NJ Activist/Movement Leader
James McIntosh, CEMOTAP
Imam Al-Hajj Talib, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, Inc.
Harabic Tubman, Existence is Resistance
Calib Maupin, Press TV
Pam Africa, MOVE as Master of Ceremonies

Sponsored by: The MOVE Organization; Resistance in Brooklyn; NYC Leonard Peltier Support Committee; Pro Libertad Freedom Campaign; NYC Coalition to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal; Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network; Universal Zulu Nation; and many more.

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Law and Disorder February 8, 2016


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Public Water Crisis Flint Michigan: Attorney Bill Goodman

We take another look at the public water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The legal cases being brought are being litigated at the intersection of environmental racism and capitalist austerity. Flint, a predominantly impoverished African-American city north of Detroit, had an emergency manager imposed on it by Tea Party Governor Rick Snyder. The emergency manager, acting outside of democratic controls, switched the clean water supplied to the city from the Detroit water system to the polluted Flint River claiming this would save money. Chemicals added to the filthy Flint River water caused lead from the supply pipes to leech into the drinking water.  This caused lead poisoning to thousands of children in Flint. Lead poisoning is known to cause irreversible brain damage. FlintWaterClassAction.com

Guest – Bill Goodman is the attorney for a number of victims of water poisoning in Flint, Michigan. He’s a leading civil rights attorney in Michigan and the former Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

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Remembering Attorney Michael Kennedy

We speak today with Bernadine Dohrn about the late Attorney Michael Kennedy. Kennedy died two weeks ago in New York City from cancer at the age of 78.  He was one of the great civil rights in criminal law defense attorneys of his generation. Kennedy graduated from law school in California and began his career representing Cesar Chavez and the migrant farm workers. He also represented Black Panther leader Huey Newton and SDS leaders Rennie Davis and Bernadine Dohrn and Native American protesters at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. He later moved to New York and became staff counsel for the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee where he represented opponents of the war in Vietnam and supporters of the Irish freedom struggle.

Guest – Bernadine Dohrn, former leader of SDS and longtime member of the National Lawyers Guild where she served a student organizer in the late 60s.  Until recently Bernadine Dorh taught law at Northwestern University Law School supporting justice for juveniles.

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Law and Disorder February 1, 2016


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CCR Human Rights Group Returns From Israel

Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights Attorney Vince Warren returned from Palestine Israel last month where he was accompanied by CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy and CCR Deputy Legal Director Maria LaHood.  We talk with Vince Warren about what they saw, with whom they met, and the current activities of the CCR in support of the Palestinian people and human rights in Israel Palestine.

Guest – Vince Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He oversees CCR’s groundbreaking litigation and advocacy work, which includes using international and domestic law to hold corporations and government officials accountable for human rights abuses; challenging racial, gender and LGBT injustice; and combating the illegal expansion of U.S. presidential power and policies such as illegal detention at Guantanamo, rendition, and torture. Prior to his tenure at CCR, Vince was a national senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, where he litigated civil rights cases, focusing on affirmative action, racial profiling, and criminal justice reform. Vince was also involved in monitoring South Africa’s historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, and worked as a criminal defense attorney for the Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn. Vince is a graduate of Haverford College and Rutgers School of Law.

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American Exceptionalism And The Proto-Fascist State

American exceptionalism is a term referencing the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty.  Our guest Todd Pierce has written about this and American militarism on sites such as MondoWeiss.com, Consortiumnews and Truthout. We’ll also talk with him about the Obama Administration’s expression of “American exceptionalism.” How has military rule degenerated the principles within U.S. Constitution? Todd Pierce points out that there is a continuity between the Obama Administration – today’s neoconservatives and the law under fascist Germany in the 30s and 40s.

Guest – Todd Pierce, retired Major in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions. In the course of that assignment, he researched and reviewed the complete records of military commissions held during the Civil War and stored at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

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Law and Disorder January 25, 2016


Updates:

  • Co-host Michael Smith Makes Presidential Election Prediction

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Mumia Abu-Jamal Health Lawsuit Update

For three days in late December, the 3rd Circuit Federal District Court heard Mumia Abu-Jamal’s lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for refusal to provide him treatment for Hepatitis C.  Testimony from Dr. Paul Noel, Chief Medical Officer of the Pennsylvania DOC revealed that under the DOC’s new protocols only 5 out of an estimated 5,000 prisoners with chronic Hepatitis C were being treated with the new anti-viral drug beginning this fall – less than 1/10th of one percent.

The trial ended with a stunning revelation that the lawyer representing the DOC had knowingly introduced false evidence. Dr. Noel was the final witness; he stated that an affidavit introduced by defense attorney Laura Neal bearing his signature was NOT his actual testimony. It quickly became evident that the DOC attorney had ignored Dr. Noel’s repeated requests not to insert an erroneous paragraph into the document–in other words, she tampered with the evidence.  This same altered affidavit had been a key piece of evidence used by a PA magistrate judge in September to deny Mumia’s injunction against the DOC.

Guest – Bob Boyle, one of Mumia’s attorneys and a long time National Lawyers Guild member.

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Guantanamo Bay Prison: 14 years

As of January 2016 more than 100 men remain at the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. While our own Michael Ratner was president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a network of hundreds of lawyers were at the forefront of the legal battle against indefinite detention and torture at Guantanamo. After the Center won landmark Supreme Court cases that established U.S. court jurisdiction over the prison and affirming detainee rights to habeas corpus review, hundreds of Muslim men and boys were gradually released from the offshore prison. Keep in mind the majority of the men at that prison weren’t charged with a crime. Many have been cleared for release yet remain trapped by political inaction or other bureaucracy. The pressure from concerned activist groups, organizations and citizens calling on the president of the United States to close Guantanamo has gained momentum.

Guest – Aliya Hussain, the Advocacy Program Manager for the Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

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Drinking Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan

A severe water crisis in the city of Flint, Michigan is attracting mounting concern from around the country. Politicians, celebrities and even presidential candidates are focusing on the toxic tap water in one of Michigan’s biggest and most troubled cities. When the state took charge of the City’s budget during a financial emergency, it decided to temporarily switch Flint’s water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River to save money until a new supply line to Lake Huron was finished. After the April 2014 changeover, residents complained about water looking, smelling, and tasting odd. Virginia Tech researchers revealed that the water was highly corrosive. A class-action lawsuit alleges the state Department of Environmental Quality failed to treat the water for corrosion, as federal law requires, and because so many service lines to Flint are made of lead, the toxic element leached into the water of the city’s homes. Although the city switched back to the Lake Huron water supply in October, the damage was already done to the lead pipes. The state is now handing out filters and bottled water with the National Guard.

Guest – Sheila Foster, the Albert A. Wash Professor of Law at Fordham Law School and Faculty Co-Director of the Urban Law center at Fordham University.

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Law and Disorder January 18, 2016


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NYC Teacher Fired For Lessons About The Central Park Five

An English teacher at a New York City high school claims that she was fired because of a lesson on the so-called Central Park Five which school administrators warned her would “rile up” black students. Jeena Lee-Walker recently filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Dept. of Education and several administrators from the High School for Arts, Imagination and Inquiry after being fired for insubordination and poor evaluations. She claims they were the result of her pushing back on topics like the Central Park Five. Lee-Walker,  who graduated from Barnard and has post-graduate degrees from Harvard and Fordham, began working at the school in 2013 and says she was told to be more “balanced” in covering the Central Park Five case in November of that year.

The  lawsuit claims retaliation against her “violated her First Amendment right to discuss the Central Park Five case, and that the firing violated the city’s contract with the teacher’s union because she was not given a required 60 days notice.” As listeners may recall, the Central Park Five, who were wrongfully jailed for the 1989 rape of a Central Park jogger, received a $42 million settlement from NY City. In 2014, they sued the state seeking $52 million in damages for the emotional trauma of being incarcerated for years for a crime they were coerced into confessing to.

Guest – Attorney Ambrose Wotorson, a Brooklyn based attorney who is representing Jeena Lee-Walker in this case. He’s a trial lawyer focusing employment law and business litigation. Twitter account.

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Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror

Retired Florida U. S. Senator Bob Graham was the head of the US Senate intelligence committee and also  the chairman of the 9/11 commission of inquiry. He is the leading person trying to get President Obama to release to the public the suppressed 28 pages of the 911 report which have been hidden. Senator Graham contends that the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom who were Saudi Arabians,  could not have pulled off the operation alone and that in fact they were part of a support network involving the Saudi Arabian monarchy and government which helped plan, pay for and execute the complicated 911 plot which, says Senator Graham, would have otherwise been impossible to accomplish. Senator Graham has written the book Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America’s War on Terror. It provides a candid insight to the workings of the US in Saudi relations and their implications on US foreign-policy making as it pertains to the middle east and bags tension, contemporary geopolitics.

Guest – Senator Bob Graham, is the former two–term governor of Florida and served for 18 years  in the United States Senate. This is combined with 12 years in the Florida  legislature for a total of 38 years of public service. As Governor and Senator,  Bob Graham was a centrist, committed to bringing his colleagues together behind  programs that served the broadest public interest. He was recognized by the  people of Florida when he received an 83% approval ranking as he concluded  eight years as Governor. Bob Graham retired from public service in January  2005, following his Presidential campaign in 2004.

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Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism and Middle East Geopolitics

We take a deeper look at Saudi Arabia and its relationship first United States and then to the other countries in the Middle East region.

Guest – Professor Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian American who grew up in New York City. He teaches at Columbia University where he is the Edward Said Professor of Arab studies and the head of the Middle East Institute.  He is the author of a number of books, most recently “The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle For Statehood. He has written more than 80 scholarly articles on Middle Eastern history and politics as well as op-ed pieces in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles times, the Chicago Tribune, and The Nation magazine.

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Law and Disorder January 4, 2016


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U.S. Pressed on Israeli Settlement Tax Breaks

The U.S. Treasury has long turned a blind eye to as many as 150 nonprofits that funnel up to $1 billion a year to Israeli settlements, according to a federal complaint filed in December. It now finds itself as a defendant in a just filed a lawsuit by Washington DC attorney Mark McMahon. Rather than engaging in “charitable activities,” these nonprofits—supported by US donations—are allegedly fueling land theft, forcible expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land, demolition of homes and paramilitary activities carried out by armed Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians. Some of the tax-exempt entities include the Hebron Fund, the Gush Etzion Foundation, American Friends of Ariel and Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Pro bono attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, Martin McMahon, claims that huge tax deductions are being taken that support ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Proving the allegations could lead the U.S. to designate these entities as “special designated global terrorists,” stripping them of their tax-exempt status and freezing their assets, he says. In addition to entrenching Israel’s occupation of Palestine, the complaint alleges that these organizations have undermined U.S. foreign policy in support of a Palestinian state and helped breed the conditions from which Palestinian violent resistance emerges. It alleges that the Treasury’s “double standard” in enforcing its own regulations has led to the proliferation of the Israeli settlement enterprise, resulting in up to $1 trillion in lost U.S. tax revenue.

Guest – Attorney Martin McMahon, the founding member and managing partner of Martin F. McMahon & Associates. He has extensive experience in the securities industry, civil rights litigation, and has argued in over 10 appellate cases before the D.C. Court of Appeals and Maryland Court of Appeals.

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Islamophobia 2016

After 9/11, and now in response to recent events around the globe, thousands of innocent Muslims continue to be monitored, entrapped, and arrested in the name of subverting radicalized terrorism. Hateful rhetoric from presidential candidate Donald Trump and others have inflamed anti-Muslim stereotypes and led to numerous instances of hate crimes.

Joining us to discuss law enforcement ideologies and strategies, as well as the general public’s perceptions of Muslims, is Arun Kundnani, author of the 2014 book The Muslims Are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror.

Guest – Arun Kundani – Born and bred in London, Arun moved to New York in 2010 on a fellowship with the Open Society Foundations. He lives in Harlem. He is also the author of The End of Tolerance: Racism in 21st Century Britain, selected as a New Statesman book of the year in 2007. A former editor of the journal Race & Class, he attended Cambridge University, holds a PhD from London Metropolitan University, and teaches at New York University.

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