SwimVortex is running a series scrutinising sports governance and the structures that underpin it. From domestic to international, federations and associations are coming under scrutiny like never before. For good reason, too.
This week, we are considering the issues raised by the sex abuses cases in USA Gymnastics, the Ariana Kukors allegations in swimming in the wake of many decades of abuse on a number of levels in the sport – and the response of blazers coupled to an Olympic structure that has all too often reached for Omertà as the preferred tool of self-protection rather than reach for the best-practice processes required for the protection of athletes, first and foremost, and others who work in sport, including coaches.
Next week, we will consider the questions that need putting to key players as swimming wrestles with its own #metoo and #Time’sUp challenges; we will ask those players to respond and, the week after – providing plenty of time to reply – bring you their replies and note any ‘no comment’ returns and explanations as well as any lack of response.
- significant developments in GB Masters
- the words of Olympic podium placer Michael Jamieson and considered their relevance to woeful culture at the heart of FINA and the poor response of national federations who show no inclination to use their potential power to change the game in the interests of athlete protection from various forms of abuse.
- the Larry Nassar abuse case, a story about much more than a doctor who traded the hippocratic oath for hypocrisy and criminality; a story that calls into question the usefulness of the Olympic Movement, the United States Olympic Committee and the role of USA Swimming when it comes to the protection of athletes.
- Climate Change: empowering coaches to ensure sport is a safe, healthy and enriching place for all, at whatever level: we recall 2014 lectures delivered by Prof. Joan Duda, of Empowering Coaching, at the World Aquatics Development Conference in Lund on a day of high relevance to current events; and by Dr. Fiona McLachlan, academic adviser to Shane Gould in the 1972 triple Olympic champion’s PHD studies, for the guardians of swimming youth to consider “How to be Good”.
- the relevance of Fran Crippen and his passing to events at the Winter Olympics.
- the death of Qing Wenyi
- World Coaches call for global swim community to press FINA on clean sport
- If Prohibition Must Sober The Olympics, Then Ban The Blazers Craving Nobel Prizes
- Time To Ban The Olympic Cold Shoulder To Truth, Whistleblowing & Red-Flag Waving
The next to last on that list includes a detailed investigation of the death of Fran Crippen and material that will form a part of a book series. It comes from the deep SwimVortex Archive and as such is only available to subscribers. SwimVortex.com relies on reader support for our work to continue: almost all our articles, including all in this series, are available to those who contribute just €1.25 a month (€15.00 a year) to work that some at the very helm of swimming governance have actively sought to shut down and discredit. Thank you for your understanding.
Today, we look at child and athlete protection in sport, shifting tropes and trends in society at large and ask why the Olympic Movement is not doing much more to make athlete safety an urgent priority with global obligations that insist all nations have the kind of measures we see in the likes of the American Safe Sports Act, newly passed as the scandal of USA Gym came to a sorrowful and cathartic end in January with the passing of a 175-year sentence on Larry Nassar. The fallout from that includes pressure on the United States Olympic Committee to fall on its collective sword.
A changing world – about time, too
Imagine the scene: women are invited to talks aimed at securing peace between nations only to have their voices drowned out by the sound of men making a sort of bumble-bee-hum designed to deliver a clear message: shut up and know your place. It got no better when some of the women were told that their best contribution to peace would be to go home and make babies for the future of the nation.
Suffragettes 100 years ago? The first woman in the UK Parliament back in 1919? No, sadly not. The women were elected politicians who were party to the Good Friday Agreement for peace between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. “Go home and make babies” unfolded just 20 years ago.
In that sense, solid progress has been made – but some cultural tropes and trends will take a little longer to overcome. The allegations of Ariana Kukors have now been well aired, loud comment and screaming silence a part of the response – and the things we now know from both swimmer and the coach she accuses, Sean Hutchison, are part of a legal process that demands care in what we write and what we judge.
Easy to see the extremes:
- if we take the swimmer at her word, then we have a truly disturbing story that goes well beyond ‘coach abused swimmer’ and the trust that must be a part of all pupil/teacher relationships – we are talking about events that will lead to calls in high places for sports governors to fall on their swords (as is already the case when it comes to the United States Olympic Committee and the ‘independent’ inquiry into who knew what, when and what did they do about it as Larry Nassar, a doctor who tore up the Hypocratic oath every time he sexually abused Olympic gymnasts in his care on the way to a 175-year prison term.
- if we sympathise with the coach’s denial (as some do) and his assertion that nothing happened before the swimmer came of age, and then it was all consensual – and if we take a timeline and an inquiry conclusion at face value, then we hear why some put this down to ‘swimmer and lawyers who have long been a thorn in USA Swimming’s side seek to get the most out of a coach who has done well for himself in the past decade since the alleged abuse started’. This version of events requires us to believe that Kukors is a liar from beginning to end: she was never underage, she consented to it all; she’s out to get what she can from it; and, further, she’s just whinging when she says the extent of USA Swimming efforts to hold an inquiry into rumours of a relationship between her and Hutchison came down to a short telephone interview with her conducted by a private eye (followed by an almost immediate media statement from the federation that came down to ‘no sex here; no case file to open’).
Calls for coaches and swimmers, of whatever age, to be barred from having personal relationships look ever more attractive and sensible.
Both those extremes above, as well as other interpretations along a broad spectrum of such things, are out there in the swimming community, social media alone confirms. The specifics, the questions that flow and whether they are heard are now a part of due legal process that should be allowed to proceed without prejudice from any quarter barring those directly involved as alleged victim, alleged abuser and those who represent them.
There are some aspects of the allegations and many other proven cases in swimming, however, that speak to the broader issue of how men treat women and the history of abuses of power and exploitation, including morality as the gadfly that troubles beauty, the stick in the ointment of healers, the breaks on the pace of fast-flying achievers.
It is no coincidence that the relatively rare abuse cases in swimming (relatively because one is one too many, a handful worth a red-flag reaction and a list as long as the ranks of USA Swimming members banned for life well beyond a crisis) that have made headlines, including in a fair few tales of conviction for rape and sexual assault, have one thing in common: ‘Olympic’. No, this is not a story of the odd pervert in the pool; we’re talking about key characters who have been given a leg up to the highest places on the deck, held in high esteem, talked up in terms of the ‘next big thing in coaching’.
History is stacked, in many realms, with folk who got up to no good but whose artworks, ‘sporting successes’, motorways, buildings, compositions and much else end up blinding us to the realities in the shadows.
Take model Renaissance man Benvenuto Cellini: master goldsmith, accomplished musician and a soldier to fear, not to mention works of art such as Perseus with the Head of Medusa (left), made in 1548, a year after Henry VIII had passed from the world. No escaping Henry’s wives and all that but history all too often leaves the remains of achievers to a footnote: Cellini liked to bugger little boys, was found guilty of doing so, alongside multiple sexual assault charges, being implicated in three murders, one of which he wrote about with relish in his autobiography. The debate, from Hollywood to Humanitarian aid, is on when it comes to how we are now supposed to consider the excellent art and works and charitable commitments of people whose nature and skills and choices were anything but excellent.
Nothing Under The Sun
It may be pure coincidence that Kukors chose to head her blog revealing the allegations she makes with the title “My Story”. That takes us right back to the Hollywood source of #metoo and #Time’sUp, Harvey Weinstein (how the woes grow) and all that followed, terrific speeches delivered by the likes of Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey along the path of protest.
“My Story” is the precise title of the autobiography of Marilyn Monroe in which she described her early life in 1940s Hollywood. Norma Jeane Mortenson recalled:
“The drugstores and cheap cafes were full of managers ready to put you over if you enrolled under their banner. Their banner was usually a bedsheet. I met them all. Phoniness and failure were all over them. Some were vicious and crooked. But they were as near to the movies as you could get. So you sat with them, listening to their lies and schemes. And you saw Hollywood with their eyes—an overcrowded brothel, a merry-go-round with beds for horses.”
The same could not be said of ‘swimming’ in its broadest community sense but there can be no question that pockets of that picture are a part of the history of the sport. No, we are not just talking about coach-abuse cases that taint a profession occupied by legions of good people doing terrific work day in and day out.
We’re talking stories from the archive and vault known to Hall of Famers, like stories of the way Tarzan treated his Janes in the pool in an era when women who chose to wear suits were obviously fair game; and how that fits into a string of questions that haunt many a swimmer and coach and official: what did you hear, what did you know, in what way might you have made a difference – and, importantly, what was it about the prevailing culture and environment (in sport and society at large) that prevented you from raising the red flag? Responses to such things like ‘that’s just how it was’ do not mean it was ok then – and certainly doesn’t make it ok now – or at any time since.
Here is Deena Deardurff and then a presentation on her case read through by a young woman to highlight the statistics of sexual abuse in swimming in the United States (alone):
“Locations that were never obvious to those around” … says Deardurff before the killer words that apply across time … “It was not a topic people wanted to talk about ….”.
The record shows that good people have been a part of the shades-of-grey mindset that binds not only all the realms in which #metoo and #Time’sUp is having an impact but also those of coaches and blazers who are often blinded by something they hold in common at critical moments when the gifts of foresight and vigilance are in highest demand: they lack the facility for critical self-reflection and feel a sense of safety in numbers if they all sit tight and let it blow over.
To any who feel offended by that: don’t be. It may or may not apply to you personally – but it does apply to many good folk and high achievers far and wide; it is part of the human condition, one now facing a cultural revolution through awareness and the tipping point of mass protest that refuses to accept the unacceptable status quo.
In such an environment, all the easier for a Rick Curl, a Paul Hickson, a Mitch Ivey, an Everett Uchiyama, an Andy King, to make it through. I recall meeting Paul Hickson for the first time. I didn’t like him. He had an edge of arrogance to him. Not a criminal offence, of course: but the rapes and assaults he went to jail for were – and there were some he worked with who knew “what he was like” but, hey, the girls could say ‘no’, couldn’t they, and anyway, look at the results and the coaching and how he’s loved by his peers…
Leave the pool for a moment. Last year – as the #MeToo movement started to drive powerful, high-profile sexual harassers out of their jobs – Wonder Wheel, produced by Woody Allen, went on general release. The film, set in a 1950s amusement park on Coney Island, stars Kate Winslet, Jim Belushi, Juno Temple, and Justin Timberlake.
We don’t need to go through the history of Allen and Mia Farrow, here. Suffice it to say that there was enough family contortion, legal action and bitter fallout in the story to add “controversial” to the biographical notes of the American director whose work, to this day, is revered by peers and others in the film industry, as well as film fans and audiences far and wide.
In the wave of #MeToo angles on all things, Winslett was asked about why she was working with Allen. She replied “Having thought it all through, you put it to one side and just work with the person. Woody Allen is an incredible director.” In a YouGov poll that speaks to the doping issue in sport and statistics that suggest a fair few in the audience couldn’t care less if everyone’s on steroids (nor, by implication whether child abuse and athlete abuse is in play), nearly 40 per cent of American filmgoers said that an accusation of sexual assault against an actor wouldn’t deter them from watching films with those actors in them. The actress Greta Gerwig released a statement expressing regret at having worked with Allen but also said: “I grew up on his movies, and they have informed me as an artist.”
It is often hard to denounce your heroes and nowhere is that more apparent than when it comes to doping in sport, swimming included, from the cult of Sun Yang* in China (not to mention adoration at the heart of FINA) to the love and excuses granted to Yuliya Efimova*. (* denotes a swimmer with a doping record here at SwimVortex)
Important to note, of course, that lately we’ve witnessed a shift in the reception received by such ‘go soft on the stars’ attitudes, a shift made all the easier when the drivers happen to be the stars beating the tainted stars, Lilly King and Mack Horton not only having gone down in history as Olympic champions at Rio 2016 but also young athletes who stood up and called it like it is when their guardians in blazers were unable and unwilling to do so. When the adults in charge leave the rules of engagement to the children, they abdicate their right to govern.
The issues run deeper still when it comes to people in positions of authority falling down on their responsibilities as leaders and guardians.
If swimming and sports federations in general should get round to beginning to consider child protection as part of their responsibilities, they would do well to talk to those who have worked in and with the Humanitarian aid sector when things go badly wrong.
They should be turning to references like these and following the trail of what should and could be achieved:
- Sexual violence in the aid sector: what should NGOs be doing?
- How should the media report rape and sexual violence?
Megan Norbert, a survivor os sexual abuse while working in the Humanitarian sector, penned the latter.
In the news today is the story of Oxfam and the use of girls and young women as prostitutes by men working for the charity. The fallout included revelations that the Oxfam’s disgraced Haiti official had left an earlier post over ‘sex parties’ – but no-one appeared to have spotted it when he landed the post that would put young and vulnerable girls in harm’s way.
In the intelligent and informative discussion that flowed on the BBC today, through Radio 4 programs Today and Jane Garvey on Women’s Hour we were reminded of the story of Kathryn Bolkovac, now a human rights advocate, consultant and a former police investigator with the Lincoln Police Department, and former monitor with United Nations International Police Task Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She came to prominence when she sued her employers for unfair dismissal after she lost her job following her attempts to expose sex trafficking in Bosnia. Her story was shown in the film The Whistleblower.
In the film, Vanessa Redgrave plays the part of Madeleine Rees, secretary general of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Rees had several key message today on the BBC, these two demands particularly pertinent to Olympic sport:
“There is a need for a real legal framework that gives teeth to processes …”
“We have to change the culture in such organisations”.
Quite right. Back to those image rights. How many archive images have you seen of late with one actress of another snapped smiling next to and even on the arm of Weinstein? Too many to count. Such images exist too of swimmers and coaches who turned out not to be quite the friends in the swimming family the lens may have led us to believe.
Take that thought, couple it to the aforementioned Star Wars of Rio 2016 and think more deeply about what’s been happening in your sport. It hasn’t escaped the notice of many in swimming that Olympic and World champions and podium placers down to juniors just setting out on the performance pathway are placed in compromised positions because of their very success and the nature of a swimming governance that obliges them to sign away rights in return for the right to compete.
In the mix of culture that needs a light shining on it are team cultures that insist on things such as “only talk about your own performance and race and nothing and no-one else” after your race is done and you meet the media; and pre-event things such as “we talk only about our racing, not about doping, corruption or other things that do, in fact, affect us directly, but the highly remunerated (they call it a per diem – but it is not) volunteer executives and coaches paid a wage to govern and guide us would rather we didn’t speak about”.
There are reasons why that might be wise. There are reasons why it is unwise, too, including the impact such control has on those who might be handling abuse quietly for fear of what all those people who tell them to speak only of their races might say; the impact on those who find themselves under the guidance of ‘guardians’ revered and respected, praised and rewarded at national and even international level and then unable to come forward when they are frozen by the excruciating circumstance of being abused by the very person everyone around you thinks of as superman.
Then there are athlete contracts, including for Olympic teams. They differ from event to event, nation to nation but these are a couple examples of things that are a part of the aquatic Hobson’s Choice (either you sign or you don’t get selected):
- a swimmer MUST wear the logo and brand of a FINA sponsor on cap and bib regardless of whether that brand is a direct competitor of the personal sponsor and main source of income of the athlete (that’s the issue that had Amanda Beard in tears at the world s/c championships in Indianapolis over a decade ago – and USA Swimming felt unable to press the matter then on behalf of athletes – and has not pressed it since)
- a swimmer MUST agree to wear certain equipment of their national federation kit sponsor even if that branding clashes directly with their own kit sponsor paying their way through the sport
- a swimmer must agree that they will never race in events organised outside the club of FINA members (this international and domestic rule is still on the books but has now collapsed as a result of the European Union’s Competition Commission ruling ordering the international skating federation to remove such anti-competitive conditions from its rule book. The competition (trade/business/work) authority also issued a clarification to say that the ruling would be applied to all and any sport in European Union nations if an athlete lodged a complaint. As such, FINA can no longer threaten athletes and their European federations should any wish to race on a Pro Tour being planned by those who have established a World Swimming Association in opposition to FINA).
- In some cases of things going wrong in swimming careers, individuals have been asked to sign confidentiality agreements (why? what purpose do they serve? do they serve to stifle the truth? are they there to cover up mistakes – and if so how can progress be achieved if you don’t acknowledge a mistake that might then be repeated in other guise far and wider in your realm? Those question, alongside others, will be put to those it must be put to in the coming week.
- a swimmer MUST agree to hand over their image rights to FINA, federations and others
There are some other salient points we will return to but that last one is particularly interesting in the light of all those images of Weinstein and the women he is said to have abused.
Photos galore are out there in the world, some of them sent directly from FINA itself, of Olympic and World champions and other podium placers, being hugged and kissed as they receive their medals from people the athletes might well not wish to be associated with, people to whom the following descriptions apply:
- men charged with fraud and corruption, some already having spent time in jail, some awaiting trial
- men named as co-conspirators to corruption in guilty-plea bargain convictions brought by the U.S. Justice Department
- men who have presided over events when Fran Crippen died
- men who presided over moments when rules have clearly been broken but almost all involved looked the other way.
- men who lied or sat and heard the lie without comment when it was claimed that Putin was granted FINA’s highest honour at the say of all members of the ruling FINA Bureau (seven members confirmed to this author that they had never been consulted nor asked, newspaper stories having informed them of the news)
- men who failed to report doping cases to WADA and others who failed to do anything about it
- men who are linked to regimes cited by Amnesty and others as being responsible for catastrophic human rights abuses
- men who granted honours to the likes of GDR doctor Lothar Kipke, have had decades in which to strip away those honours in recognition of the vile abuse of teenager girls in the mix of State Plan 14:25 but have done nothing about it whatsoever
- men who have completely ignored calls for review and reform and even requests from internal committees and commissions of experts asking for consideration of reconciliation of victims on all sides so that the ghosts of swimming’s past can be exorcised.
- men who are alleged to have made the visits of prostitutes to their hotel rooms a part of their volunteer lives – and even, rumour has it, a part of bidding processes.
So, next time, you, swimmers, coaches, parents and fans think “all that FINA stuff” very far from your lives, think again. The photos are out there to prove it, like a ticking time bomb of adverse publicity come the hour.
The photos Kukors claims Hutchison took of her naked in showers before she came of age would be another kind of ticking time bomb if any still remain, complete with their digital dates. As things stand, it is her word against his, his against hers.
“It’s a new regime.” That’s how Nancy Hogshead-Makar, the CEO of Champion Women, described changes swept in by the Safe Sport Act recently passed in the United States. The presidential seal is just about all that remains for a new era of child protection in sport in the United States to begin in the wake of the USA Gym scandal and similar but not the same in several other sports, swimming included.
The legislation is S.534: the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act. It was brought into being after a campaign by the following advocates, led by Hogshead-Makar, the 1984 Olympic 100m freestyle champion, and including child-protection organisations, lawyers and Olympians.
The signatures include names from my own book of childhood heroes: Donna de Varona, Micki King, John Naber, Karen Moe Humphreys. There there are Gary Hall Jr., Betsy Mitchell, Bruce Hayes, Joan Pennington, Greg Louganis, Dagny Knutson, abuse survivor Jancy Thompson, coaches Randy Reese and Dia C. Rianda. The list includes leading lights from all corners of sporting life, including tennis legend Martina Navratilova.
The bill, introduced in the Senate last March by lead sponsor Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), makes members of amateur sports organisations such as USA Swimming and other Olympic sport feds, mandatory reporters of sexual abuse. It also obliges all such organisations to implement standard protections for athletes. Hogshead-Makar noted:
“To me, it means all future generations of children will be in a safer place.”
Feinstein had met some Nassar survivors who poured out painful testimony on the way to the bad doctor’s sentencing, a year ago. She told the Washington Post:
“The minute I walked in the room, I knew something was very different, and something that was very wrong. We spoke for more than an hour, and we talked about how USA Gymnastics (USAG) and the adults in charge failed at every turn.”
A month later, she had introduced the bill to the Senate. It passed the Senate last November by unanimous consent, and then at the end of January after Nassar went down in flames it passed the House 406-3 and cleared a final vote in the Senate.
Shocking to think that it is 2018 and we’re just seeing a bill to protect children in sport make it through in the No1 Olympic nation, a nation which, through NBC funding and its success rate have enormous sway at the IOC and in the way things are done in “the Olympic Family”, with all the woe therein, as we outlined in this editorial.
What might we say of regimes and rules in the rest of the world of more than 200 Olympic nations?
Who will make sure that they, too, have mandatory reporting of sex abuse claims by anyone affiliated to a sports federation to local and federal law enforcement or social service agencies within 24 hours? And if they don’t, they have committed a crime themselves.
The IOC, FINA and domestic federations have various rules in place that cover bad behaviour and anyone proved to have committed child, sexual, doping and other forms of abuse can be barred for life. The trouble is, such rules are often uneven, as our small image notes, or simply left to rot on the shelf while the rotter goes free.
FINA among organisations that use the law to protect the cheat not the clean athlete. In 2015, FINA removed the historic record of doping offences in aquatic sport from the public domain on the grounds that it was unfair to taint those who had served suspensions beyond their time of punishment.
That ruling misses a key aspect of the anti-doping regime: the right and ability for the swimming community, through what ought to be mandatory transparency of the federation, to spot a multiple offender. And we are not just talking about swimmers – but the rogues in the shadows behind them.
In 2015, it took this author and website to alert the World Anti-Doping Agency to the presence of Dr Ba Zhen** on the pool deck at the Asian Games with Sun Yang* just four months after the swimmer had tested positive for a banned substance. The world did not get to know that until late November, past reporting deadlines and much obfuscation, including the fact that FINA – they even confirmed it themselves – had to tell China that it was obliged to imposed a penalty on Sun under the WADA Code. It did: three months, backdated, so that no penalty was ever served. FINA accepted that without challenge.
But what of Ba Zhen? There he was on the deck of a major international. Not accredited through us, said China. Interesting how a Chines doctor could travel independently to Korea to work alongside the nation’s No1 swimmer and then double Olympic champion without any authority granting him permission and signing an accreditation that demands the official signature or stamp of an official body.
More interesting was the fact that Ba was served a one-year suspension for his part in the May 2014 offence. By being on deck in September that year he had committed a second offence – which WADA duly imposed on him. Ba, an Olympic team doctor for China in Beijing back in 2008 and beyond, has had under his medical wing a great many swimmers.
Under the conditions of the Safe Sport Act in the U.S., leading Chinese officials and FINA bosses would all now have criminal records for having failed to report an offence on their watch.
I relate the story not to repeat a story we have often reminded our readers of, it being so relevant to the malaise and madness at the heart of FINA, but in the context of the control athletes find themselves under; in the context of the death of Qing Wenyi and a total failure of any swimming authority in the world, from China, through the Asian Swimming Federation and on to FINA and then the Olympic realm, to ask a single child-protection question that screams from the death of a national junior champion at her first camp designed to take her to the next level.
Sun, of course, is a big boy now and was at the time of his offence – but he’s been in the bubble of the same regime and minders for much of his life since he was 6-7 years old. In China, the long list of doping positives is soaked with the names of under-age girls who surely did not opt to swig a steroid here and a diuretic there of their own volition (the list of banned Chinese coaches is not long enough but it does confirm the controlling influence).
Where are the calls in the Olympic Movement for rules governing specific circumstances that demand the kind of protections the Safe Sport Act affords, the kind of protections that ought to be obligatory as a condition of membership of the Olympic Movement?
The failure to have clear lines of reporting and responsibilities to back clear rules designed with child protection in mind stretches to the governors themselves – an aspect we will consider later this week. The Olympics are stacked with under-age folk, some of them among those collecting gold, swimming among the sports in which that is and has long been the case, the majority of State Plan 14:25 winners and losers under-age teens at the time. If the likes of the USA sport and USOC and USA Swimming fall under the safe Sport Act, where is parity around the world? How can it be achieved? Through the IOC, that’s how and where – if the politics of sport stopped speaking to Putin, a dictator’s sisters and the like and started speaking to the ‘Youth of the World’ claimed by the blazers to be their top priority.
The U.S. Safe Sport bill achieves more than that, among its measures:
- victims of child sex crimes are entitled to statutory damages of $150,000 as well as punitive damages
- the statute of limitations is extended so it doesn’t begin to run until victims realise they’ve been abused (Kukors says, for example, that she realised during therapy last year)
- the newly-created Center for Safe Sport must establish strict policies for preventing abuse and procedures for handling allegations – and it must put in place oversight procedures to make sure that all governing bodies in sport follow those procedures.
Are reporting measures in your own country strong enough? Are investigative processes truly independent? Are due process systems in place, complete with independent oversight, as they are in realms beyond swimming in certain parts of the world? In Britain, an inquiry into alleged bullying highlighted serious flaws in a process that the likes of UK Sport and British Swimming have, so far, failed to acknowledge. It will be a matter of time before they must, as we will consider soon in this series.
Let us know if you have a contribution to this discussion by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments will be treated with the confidentiality you request; no comment will be published without your express permission.