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The day in FOIA: disability hate crime Guantanamo bay, drones and zombies

Disability hate crime is at its highest level since records began

There were 1,942 recorded incidents of disability hate crime in England and Wales in 2011, an increase of more than 25% on the total for 2010 and the highest since this data was first recorded in April 2010.

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows the number of recorded incidents grew by 60% between 2009 and 2011.

While almost 2,000 reports were made to the police last year, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) made just 523 convictions for disability hate crime over the same period.

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John Burn-Murdoch | The Guardian | August 14th 2012

Claire Savage | BBC | August 14th 2012

USA: This is not a trial. It is an attempt to legitimise a death threat’

A US Army officer representing one of Guantanamo Bay’s most notorious prisoners has spoken out against the secretive nature of the Military Commissions system, insisting it risks becoming little more than a “show game” to execute suspects, denying them and the American people the right to a fair trial.

Captain Jason Wright was appointed by the military to represent Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is charged along with four others with conspiring and executing the 9/11 attacks. Yet, the officer revealed to The Independent, rafts of vital evidence – including the three and half years his client spent at secret CIA “black” sites – have been deemed classified.

It was only through a Freedom of Information request that redacted files were released showing that Mohammed had been subjected to waterboarding interrogation 183 times, kept awake for seven days straight and had his family’s lives threatened.

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Terri Jodd | The Independent | August 15th 2012

Over £1m to police Olympic torch relay in Northern Ireland

It cost the PSNI more than £1m to police the Olympic torch run in Northern Ireland.

The figure was revealed following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the BBC to the police.

The exact cost to the taxpayer was £1,029,749.

In comparison, according to a Metropolitan police briefing paper, it cost the Met almost £750,000 to police the Olympic torch relay in London.

The Metropolitan police force covers Greater London which has a population of almost 8m people, and the torch relay was in the city for seven days.

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USA: FAA Documents Raise Questions About Safety of Drones in U.S. Airspace

Under pressure to open the nation’s skies to drone flights, federal regulators are relying on decades of aviation rules that imagined a human being in the cockpit – not an onslaught of remotely piloted aircraft – prompting questions about whether federal flight rules for drones are strong enough to prevent accidents and midair collisions, recently released documents show.

Congress in February directed regulators to more rapidly establish guidelines for the wider embrace of drones, and a subsequent debate about them leaves the impression for many Americans that unmanned aircraft have rarely operated here. Yet experimental drone flights accompanied by their own set of rules have occurred for years and are described in thousands of pages of FAA experimental flight records obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting through the Freedom of Information Act.

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GW Schulz | Wired | August 14th 2012

Zombie FOI request costs Lincolnshire County Council

Questions about a zombie pandemic and the cost of biscuits are among the requests costing Lincolnshire County Council up to £500,000 a year.

The authority said Freedom of Information (FOI) request numbers have risen from 450 to 1,000 in three years.

It added responding to some was “not a good use of public funds”.

An organisation supporting the legislation said people needed to know about important information that is not in the public domain.

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BBC | August 14th 2012

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