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Copyright © 2009 Ray Dickenson
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'09 mail

LATER FoI - Delay/denial Baby Elephants More Secrets Save-Lions Malaysia-Logs
Stop Whaling-IC Fair Trade EU? End Polio? Save Sight? Save Tigers? Seal Hunt
Seal Hunt Triathlon F.o.I Courses Big Ones Retrograde Secrecy EARLIER


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Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2009 10:59:22 +0100

Dear Colleague,

The Campaign has published a report documenting the long delays by the Information Commissioner's Office in investigating freedom of information complaints.  The report analyses nearly 500 formal decision notices issued by the ICO in the 18 months to 31 March 2009.

It finds that on average it took 19.7 months from the date of a complaint to the ICO to the date on which the ICO's decision was issued.  It also shows that 46% of cases took between 1 and 2 years from complaint to decision notice and 30% took more than 2 years to a decision.  The report also found that on average the ICO's investigation into a complaint did not begin until 8 months after the complaint had been received.  In 28% of cases, there was a delay of more than a year before the investigation began.

The report is published in two parts, a report plus a table providing data on all 493 decision notices considered in the study:

Delays in Investigating Freedom of Information Complaints report -

Table of decision notices 1.10.07 to 31.3.09 -

The accompanying press release is here -

Best wishes,

Katherine Gundersen
Research Officer

Campaign for Freedom of Information
Suite 102
16 Baldwins Gardens

Email: admin at

Date: Wed, 17 Jun 2009 14:43:29 -0700

Hi Ray,

Baby elephants are ripped away from their mothers and forced into a life of abuse and humiliation that is reinforced with bullhooks, whips, and electric prods.

Don't allow animal abuse to continue at the circus! -

These are the elephants forced to perform with Ringling Bros. Circus, which is scheduled to set-up near New York City in America this summer. New York City officials recently announced that Taconic Investments has donated land for Ringling Bros, which should help save the suffering amusement district.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has contacted the city and Taconic to inform them of Ringling's lengthy history of animal abuse, but they refuse to sacrifice this moneymaking opportunity for animal rights.

Join people from around the world who are speaking out against animal abuse

Abusing circus animals for our entertainment is unnecessary and just plain wrong. Thank you for showing that you do not support this inhumane practice.

Respectfully yours, Karina M. Care2 Petition Site Team

P.S. Every voice counts! Tell your friends and family to stand up for the circus animals too

Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2009 14:15:17 +0100

The Campaign for Freedom of Information has welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement, in his statement on constitutional renewal on Wednesday, that the Freedom of Information Act would be extended to additional bodies and that the 30 year period before old official papers are made public would be reduced to 20 years.

However, the Campaign expressed serious concern at Mr Brown's announcement that new exemptions to the FOI Act would be introduced for Cabinet Papers and for information relating to the Royal Family.

The Campaign's press release is available here -

Best wishes,

Katherine Gundersen
Research Officer

Campaign for Freedom of Information
Suite 102
16 Baldwins Gardens

Email: admin at

Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 16:08:49 -0700

Save Lions From Carbofuran Pesticide Poisoning!

Dear Ray,

Lions in Kenya are dying horrific deaths from carbofuran pesticide poisoning, a toxic chemical used on crops. Unfortunately, once one animal has been poisoned, its carcass attracts other wildlife, poisoning animals and predators up the food chain -- including the iconic and beautiful African lions.

Urge Kenya to enact a ban on carbofuran pesticide and protect these majestic, wild lions:

Lions are a vulnerable species that depend on a wide variety of wildlife to survive. With a diet that ranges from wildebeest and hippos to smaller animals such as hares and birds, they are at tremendous risk of poisoning from carbofuran pesticide.

While the Kenyan government has stopped allowing sales of the pesticide in their country, some members of Kenya's parliament still oppose a ban of the pesticide.

As home to the most iconic and celebrated wildlife on the African continent, it is important that Kenya ban this poison immediately.

Please take action today. Send your message to Kenya's Minister of Tourism and Wildlife, and urge Kenya to protect lions and other wildlife from carbofuran pesticide:

Thanks for taking action!

Natasha Care2 Campaign Team

P.S. - The population of African lions has already declined by 30 to 50 percent over the past two decades, due to human population growth, agricultural expansion, hunting and poaching by livestock ranchers. We need your help to protect their future - please take action today!

Forward to a friend >> Read the petition >>

Date: Sat, 30 May 2009 07:07:41 -0700

Hi Ray,
In the region of Terengganu, Malaysia, a stretch of forest filled with endangered wildlife is disappearing.

Put an end to the unnecessary logging that's killing endangered wildlife! >>

In preparation for a new hydroelectric project, the Terengganu state government is logging and then flooding the forest. But here's the twist: They are logging three times more land than is needed.

As this valuable forest disappears, so will many species that inhabit the area, such as the endangered Sumatran rhinoceros and the Malayan tiger.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has deemed 94 plant and animal species in the region threatened by extinction. In the face of reckless logging, these species have little hope of survival.

Urge the Malaysian prime minister to protect the wildlife and stop the unnecessary logging of the high-value forest in the Terengganu region >>

Karina M.
Care2 Petition Site Team

P.S. Spread the word! Tell your friends and family to take action too!

Date: Thu, 28 May 2009 15:39:03 -0700

Tell Iceland to Stop Whale Hunting Now!

Dear Ray,

It's a terrifying week for whales. Iceland's whaling season began on Tuesday, despite international outcry against the bloody hunt. Whalers plan to kill up to 100 minke whales this season.

Tell Iceland's Minister of Fisheries to reduce this year's whale hunt quotas immediately, and work toward a full ban on whaling in Iceland:

Clearly Iceland is sensitive to the outrage against whaling -- particularly its impact on the country's tourism industry. Whaling is banned close to Reykjavik harbor, and the first whales are usually killed in a bay just outside of the capital city.

But clearly a more effective effort to protect Iceland's tourism industry and popular whale watching businesses would be to ban the brutal whaling program completely.

That is why we need your help. These majestic beauties of the ocean deserve to live in peace. Please sign the petition opposing Iceland's whaling program:

Then, help us reach our ambitious goal of sending 50,000 petition signatures to Iceland by telling 5 friends to join you. You can use our tell-a-friend tool, or simply send them a personal note with this link:

Thank you for speaking out for these peaceful giants,

Natasha Care2 Campaign Team

P.S. - Iceland is one of only two countries worldwide that still authorizes commercial whaling. About half of the whale meat from this year's hunt is intended for domestic sales in Iceland, while the rest of the quota will be sold to Japan. Please take action today:

Forward to a friend -
Read the petition -

Date: Fri, 15 May 2009 16:36:22 +0100

Stop an unfair trade deal in it's tracks

Dear Ray,

The European Union is currently negotiating a trade deal behind closed doors with a group of Central American countries. This trade deal could increase poverty and inequality in a region where 40% of the population live off less than $2 a day; with women being the worst affected.

WDM has been asked for help by Norma Maldonado, a trade campaigner from Guatemala. You can watch her statement on our website. Norma is concerned that the EU's promotion of free trade and privatisation will lead to the continued exploitation of women in her country.

Fortunately we now have an opportunity to stop this trade deal in its tracks. Several Central American governments are expressing reservations about the deal and we need to take action to demand European negotiators change their approach.

You can email the negotiation team with our new online action and demand that the EU puts the breaks on this deal. We've tracked down the email addresses of the senior negotiators who aren't used to being in the public eye so that your messages will have even greater impact.

Please add your voice to this action today and help stop this travesty from taking place. Help us expose these secret trade deals and demand the EU works in a transparent, accountable and fair way.

Beverley Duckworth
WDM head of campaigns

Please take action now:

Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 18:31:19 +0000 (UTC)

Dear Ray,

Earlier this month, a report made public that polio has spread out of Nigeria to re-infect six neighboring countries that had eliminated the disease.  Unfortunately, polio still remains endemic in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Support the global eradication of polio, so no child will know its crippling effects ever again:

In the 1980s, polio paralyzed at least 1,000 children every day worldwide.  But today, thanks to extensive international effort, the world is almost polio-free.  Unfortunately, polio still remains endemic in Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.

As long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk.  Countries of the Horn of Africa -- like Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda -- are at risk of the spread of polio.  The outbreak in this region means there are concerns that polio, if left unchecked, could begin to affect other polio-free countries and reverse the excellent work done by countries to become polio-free.

The world is poised to stop polio forever.  Now, more than ever, we need all countries to support global eradication of this disease.  Please take a moment to show your support to ending polio:

Thanks for taking action!

Care2 Campaign Team

Forward to a friend >>
Read the petition >>

Date: Sun, 12 Apr 2009 01:38:37 -0700

Hi Ray,

Every five seconds, someone in the world goes blind - with women and girls accounting for four out of six of these cases.  Just as importantly, over 75 percent of blindness can be prevented or cured if communities have access to adequate eye care services.

That's where Seva Foundation comes in. Rather than sending outsiders to run programs in impoverished areas worldwide, Seva trains local people to provide care to their own communities.  In the past year alone, Seva supported programs have helped to prevent blindness in 25,000 children and restored eyesight to over 30,000 people, mostly through cataract surgery.

Add your voice to a chorus of others and say "Thank You!" to Seva Foundation for their amazing work to help people recover - and keep - the gift of sight! >>

One doctor recalls about remote western Tibet,  "There was one older woman who'd been completely blind from cataract for at least eight years... We did the surgery, and the next day when she took the patch off, she burst into tears because she could see her grandchildren for the first time."

And from rural Nepal:  "There was a young woman there, about 22 or 23 years old, and she had a one-year-old baby.  This woman had been blind since she was 6 or 7 years old.  Her husband was deaf... It must have been a difficult life for all of them.  The actual surgery takes maybe 15 minutes.  That next morning, I got up early because I wanted to see this young woman... Well, the patch came off - and she had the biggest smile on her face that I have ever seen, anywhere!  She could see her baby!  She could see her husband for the first time!"

Send a note to express gratitude for these amazing acts of good will >>

Warmly, Robyn E. Care2 Petition Site Team

P.S. Ask friends and family to say "Thank you!" too >>

Date: Tue, 7 Apr 2009 13:33:40 -0700

Hi Ray,

In Sumatra, Indonesia, illegal logging is threatening the habitat of the last remaining Sumatran tigers.  This logging is causing problems for both animals and humans, and must be stopped immediately.

Didy Wurjanto, head of the official nature conservancy agency in the area, has taken steps to stop this illegal practice.  Please ask Wurjanto to do everything possible. >>

Six people were recently killed from tiger attacks in Sumatra in less than a month. Three tigers were also killed by civilians in this same area.  This battle for territory cannot go on, especially when these tigers are not only fighting for their lives, but fighting for existence.

Fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild, and we must do everything we can to protect these animals and the forests they call home.

Please sign today to help stop illegal logging in Sumatra. >>

Thank you for helping save these tigers!


Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Forward to a friend Read the petition

Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 12:13:14 -0700

Hi Ray,

A Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) would be a powerful catalyst for change - inspiring the creation of national animal-protection laws in countries where they do not exist and encouraging all countries to improve their animal welfare legislation.

This declaration would raise the status of animal welfare as an international issue and inspire positive change in public attitudes towards animals.

Help make the UDAW a reality! Urge the Minister of Foreign Affairs to support animal welfare >>

Here are just a few things that this multi-national declaration would do:

- Improve practices for sustainable agriculture
- Lessen the risk of transmissible diseases such as BSE, rabies and bird flu
- Promote biodiversity and acknowledge the risks to animals caused by climate change, habitat loss and pollution
- Provide a benchmark for those countries with little or no animal welfare standards to aim for

More than 60,000 Canadians are campaigning for a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare at the United Nations.  And government representatives from Kenya, India, Costa Rica, United Kingdom, Australia and others have already indicated support for a UDAW.

Ray, send a letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and urge him to support the achievement of a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare at the UN >>

Thank you for taking a few minutes to make a difference today.

Robyn E.
Care2 and the Petition Site Team

Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 02:06:32 -0700

Hi Ray,

Last year's hunt left more than 200,000 seals dead - clubbed, shot and skinned in the largest commercial hunt of marine mammals in the world. Many were babies as young as 12 days old. This year, Canada's government is allowing 280,000 of these beautiful creatures to be slaughtered!

Let the European Parliament know you support a total ban on seal product trade >>

But there is new hope for the seals. The European Commission put forward a proposal to ban the import and trade in seal products in the European Union - a move many believe is a historic step towards ending cruel commercial seal slaughters around the world.

However, the Commission has included a problematic loophole in the proposal that would allow countries that meet certain inadequate standards of slaughter to continue trading seal products in the EU! Such an exemption would allow countries to improve their regulations on paper while the cruelty continues in the field unchecked.

Sign the petition letter >>

The good news is that there is still time to act. The proposal is now before the European Parliament, where this loophole can be removed. European citizens and their parliamentarians want a strong law - one that stops all trade in products derived from commercial seal slaughters, which are inherently inhumane. Please show your support for an unconditional prohibition on seal product trade >>

On behalf of Humane Society International, thank you for taking action today.

Robyn E. Care2 and the Petition Site Team

P.S. This senseless killing will not stop unless we raise our voices in unison! If you have already added your name to this petition, please forward this email to your friends, family and colleagues. Or simply send them this link:

Date: Mon, 02 Mar 2009 19:01:15 +0000

Dear Ray,

Do something amazing this year and help fight poverty

Want to do something amazing in 2009?  Then take on the London Triathlon with the World Development Movement and stand up to injustice.

The Triathlon is on 1st August 2009 in London.  The event is a 750m swim, 20k cycle and a 5k run (shorter or longer distances are available).  You can take part as an individual, or as a team.  This is your one chance to enter the Triathlon this year.  All individual places have now sold out - only charity places are left.

Sign up by 30th April to secure your place.

When you join the WDM Tri team, you will get a free WDM t-shirt, a training pack, a blog on our website, and all the training and fundraising advice you need.

For more info go to

To sign up, call us now on 020 7820 4923.  Or email me at Caroline.Griffin *at* - if you have any questions I'll be happy to answer them.

Best wishes,
Caroline Griffin
WDM Fundraising team

To forward click here:

Date: Date: Mon, 2 Mar 2009 13:57:00 +0000

Dear Colleague,

The Campaign for Freedom of Information is running two FOI courses in London and Birmingham which may be of interest:

'Information Commissioner & Tribunal Decisions - what do they mean in practice?'

A half-day course: Central London 27 April 2009 & Birmingham 30 April 2009

The course is aimed at practitioners, lawyers and other specialists with a working knowledge of the legislation.  It will look at the implications of key decisions from recent months on the main exemptions, public interest test and procedural requirements.  It will examine the approach being taken by the Commissioner & Tribunal in part by discussing apparently similar cases which have reached different outcomes.

Issues will include:
- "fair" and "unfair" disclosures of personal data;
- the FOI/EIR borderline;
- the Tribunal's recent approach to the disclosure of policy discussions;
- where the public interest line is being drawn;
- applying the cost limit, vexatious requests and advice and assistance.

The course will be presented by Maurice Frankel who has worked in the field for 25 years.

Significant discounts are available for more than one booking from the same organisation.  If you think anyone else from your organisation would be interested please do let them know.

For further information -

Best wishes,
Katherine Gundersen
Campaign for Freedom of Information
FOI Blog:
Email: katherine *at*

Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2009 10:13:35 -0800 (PST)

"Nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change." - President Barack Obama

Hi Ray,

President Obama has been in office for roughly one month and this week, ThePetitionSite activists have taken on animal cruelty, the death penalty, and even child abduction.

The five activists whose petitions are featured below gathered the most signatures in the first month of Care2's "Yes YOU Can!" Challenge. Help these winning citizen activists make a difference by reading and signing their petitions:
Stimulate the Economy -- Forgive Student Loans!

Over the past twenty years, student loan debt in the United States has more than doubled. Graduates boast marvelous skill sets, but mountains of debt; many individuals and families pay more than a third of their monthly income to student loan debt. Invest our tax dollars in paying off student loan debts in this country, and we free educated masses to create new businesses, invest in homes, and become a foundation for the new economy. This will have a much deeper positive impact on all Americans than handing bailouts to corporations who have no impetus to invest in this country.

Sign the petition here:
Return abducted minor Sean Goldman to his father

Four years ago, then four-year-old Sean Goldman was abducted to Brazil by his mother.  After her recent death, the man recently married to her was awarded custody by a Brazilian court.  Ever since the kidnapping, Sean's father David Goldman has waged a legal battle to have Sean returned to him, as required by U.S. law and an international treaty signed by both the U.S. and Brazil.

Sean's story was recently featured on NBC Dateline.

Read Sean and David's story and sign the petition to bring Sean home here:
Maximum Penalty for the Men Who Hacked Up a Puppy

Hardened police officers were shocked by the horrifying torture, mutilation and brutal slaying of a seven month old fox terrier puppy near Mackay, Australia. Police have even obtained graphic video footage of the terrible attack. The maximum penalty for such an offense is $75,000 or two years in jail but to date, the worst sentence has only been a four month jail term.

Sign this petition to make sure these criminals don't get off the hook with anything other than the absolute maximum punishment:
Pets Abuse in Uruguay With NO Punishment!

In Uruguay, a South American country self-dubbed "Uruguay - Natural Country" or "Uruguay - Pais Natural", no laws guarantee animal welfare or punish torture of animal victims.  Many pets living on the streets are subject to many forms of abuse as a result of any protection under the law.

Citizen petition authors, angered by the brutal dousing and lighting aflame one dog in Uruguay, beg that you sign their petition demanding tougher animal cruelty laws in their country:
Thank you for making a difference with Care2! Hilary, Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

P.S. Joining the Yes YOU Can challenge is easy! Just create your petition for progressive change and start promoting it for signatures. Visit our homepage for more information.

You don't have to "do" anything except promote your petition to qualify for the Challenge. All citizen petitions on are automatically in the running - get tips and tricks for promotion in our new Activist Toolkit (PDF file)

Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 19:25:35 +0000

Dear Colleague,

The Campaign for Freedom of Information said the government's decision today to veto the release of the Iraq cabinet minutes was "an extremely retrograde step".

The Campaign said the government should have abided by the Information Tribunal's decision on the release of the cabinet minutes - or appealed against it, but not overruled it.  It said the UK Freedom of Information Act had one of the most elaborate appeals processes of any in the world, involving the Information Commissioner, the Information Tribunal, the High Court and if necessary the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords.  The Campaign also expressed serious concern at the statement of Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, that the government was actively considering widening some of the Freedom of Information Act's exemptions, to make it easier to withhold official information.

The full press release is available from -

Best wishes,
Katherine Gundersen

Campaign for Freedom of Information
Suite 102
16 Baldwins Gardens

Email: admin at


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