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US Pompeo With Lavrov Talks Venezuela INF and Salisbury As UNSG Guterres In Mansion With Maduro FM

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFTracker

UNITED NATIONS GATE, February 13 – As the dispute about Venezuela heats up and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stays in his mansion with Maduro's foreign minister, on February 13 US State Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino issued this read out: "Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke yesterday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.  Secretary Pompeo reiterated the U.S. determination to hold Russia accountable for its use of a chemical weapon in Salisbury, UK through sanctions as required by the CBW Act.  Secretary Pompeo also underlined the United States’ position that, unless Russia comes back into full and verifiable compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Treaty will terminate six months after February 2.  They also discussed the situation in Venezuela and a peaceful transition to democracy that is in the best interest of both the United States and Russia." While the UK at the United Nations is engaged among other things in covering up for Cameroon where its Liam Fox bragged of a gas deal with New Age and in censorship, its Jeremy Hunt on January 24 met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino gave this read-out: "Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met with UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt today in Washington, D.C. to discuss key global priorities, including countering Iranian malign behavior and next steps on the political process in Yemen.  Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Secretary Hunt also discussed next steps on encouraging Russia to return to full and verifiable compliance of the INF Treaty.  As close allies, the two reaffirmed that the U.S.-UK special relationship yields unparalleled cooperation, which will only grow stronger in the years ahead and as the UK exits the European Union." And this, earlier in the day: "Vice President Mike Pence met today with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt of the United Kingdom.  The Foreign Secretary updated the Vice President on the status of preparations for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union and both reaffirmed a mutual desire for a U.S.-UK bilateral trade agreement.  The Vice President reiterated his support for Interim President Guaido and both agreed on the need to restore a constitutional, democratic government in Venezuela.  They also discussed the situation in Syria and Yemen." No Cameroon.

  As the Cameroon government of 36 year President Paul Biya slaughters civilians in the Anglophone regions as well as in the North, it has re-engaged Washington lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, on a retainer of $100,000 per quarter plus expenses, documents show. The UN belatedly acknowledged to Inner City Press, which UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had roughed up on July 3 right after it spoke to Cameroon's Ambassador Tommo Monthe and on which he and UK USG Alison Smale imposed a lifetime ban on August 17 profiled in Press Freedom Tracker US here, that Guterres met with a Cameroon delegation on July 11. Guterres' spokesmen have repeatedly refused to answer Inner City Press e-mailed question whether Guterres was aware his meeting was stage managed by lobbyists at Patton Boggs, and what was discussed. Inner City Press  asked the same and more to the UK Mission to the UN, president of the UN Security Council for August, in writing (below) and verbally.
The UK Mission has yet to answer those questions, or even acknowledge Inner City Press' written questions about Yemen (where UK bombs kill children) and Western Sahara. But on August 29 they were very quick to proudly support the Press censorship order of their compatriot Alison Smale. (While Smale on 18 December 2018 told Inner City Press she would take under advisement that her Aug 17 letter has been followed by a total ban from entering the UN, outrighted targeted censorship, still nothing has been done to reverse it - it must be.)  Now this has been raised, as a case of first impression to the UK Information Commissioner's Office as retaliation, background here and below. And this is where it stands, at year's end ("I appreciate that the information disclosed to you by the FCO to date only includes information concerning Yemen, albeit that the request sought information about both Yemen and Cameroon") I appreciate that the information disclosed to you by the FCO to date only includes information concerning Yemen, albeit that the request sought information about both Yemen and Cameroon. with a decision due: "21st December 2018
Case Reference Number FS50771047
Dear Mr Lee
Further to the emails below, I am writing with regard to your complaint to the ICO about the FCO.

The FCO has now provided me with a response to my enquiries including a copy of the withheld information falling within the scope of your request.  I am in the process of reviewing this information and will then start drafting a decision notice which sets out the ICO's findings in relation to your complaint.

This draft notice will be reviewed by colleagues before being signed and issued.  I cannot give you a definitive date by when this notice will be issued, but I will keep you updated if there are any significant delays in this decision notice being issued.


Jonathan Slee

Jonathan Slee
Senior Case Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF"

And referenced:

"Case Reference Number FS50771047

Dear Mr Lee
... I appreciate that the information disclosed to you by the FCO to date only includes information concerning Yemen, albeit that the request sought information about both Yemen and Cameroon.  I will therefore be establishing whether the information the FCO is seeking to withhold includes information relating to Cameroon and, if not, whether it has undertaken sufficiently adequate searches to locate any information falling within this aspect of your request.
With regard to point 2, the ICO’s remit is limited to determining whether a public authority has complied with the requirements of the FOI Act when responding to a freedom of information request.  We cannot comment on or become involved in any other broader concerns that an individual may have with how a public authority (in this case the FCO, or more specifically the UK Mission to the UN) has engaged with an individual.  The ICO’s investigation of your complaint will therefore be restricted to the matters set out in my letter of 13 September, namely:

Considering the FCO’s reliance on the various exemptions it cited to withhold information falling within the scope of the request; (As discussed above, this will include establishing whether the FCO holds information falling within the scope of your request about Cameroon, and if so, whether this should be disclosed);
Considering the FCO’s failure to provide information falling within the second part of your request, ie information related to the oral briefings; and
The FCO’s delays in responding to the request.
Once I have received a substantive response from the FCO I will contact you again.
Jonathan Slee
Jonathan Slee
Senior Case Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office

 "Dear Mr. Slee -- I don't want to slow down your work, which has ben too long in coming. I simply want to make you aware of two points: 1) beyond the withheld or redacted documents you will be reviewing in camera, be aware that FCO after after a full year, and after Inner City Press voluntarily (or under information coersion) limited its request to Cameroon and Yemen, has not to provide a single document about Cameroon. This while UK Mission to the UN Ambassadors Matthew Rycroft (now at DFID), Karen Pierce and Jonathan Allen repeatedly assured Inner City Press, including on camera, that the UK was constantly reviewing the situation in Cameroon's Anglophone areas. You must obtain, review and I believe release these responsive documents on Cameroon.
2) Most troublingly, during the pendency of this review, not only was Inner City Press ousted and banned from the UN - Inner City Press is informed that the UN is telling people that the UK Mission supported or even requested this roughing up and banning.
I hereby assert or allege, perhaps as a case of first impression for the ICO, that the UK Mission has engaged in impermissible retaliation against Inner City Press and myself for, among other things, asserting our rights under UK FOIA.
This is a formal request that as an inseparately part of ICO's mandate you inquire into and acting on this now alleged retaliation.
Please confirm receipt, and advise on your next steps on these two." We'll have more on this. Inner City Press wrote to Ambassador Pierce, and verbally notified her deputy Jonathan Allen, that Smale allowed no due process or appeal. This quickly came back, from Matt Moody Spokesperson @UKUN_NewYork: "Dear Matthew, I am replying on behalf of Ambassador Karen Pierce to your email to her of 29 August. As you note in your email, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications wrote to you on 17 August setting out why the Department of Public Information has withdrawn your media accreditation. Media accreditation to the United Nations is a matter for the Department of Public Information. We refer you to them." This would mean no oversight of the UN.


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