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UK Hunt With US Pompeo Talks Yemen Iran Russia INF and Brexit But Not Cameroon

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFTracker

UNITED NATIONS GATE, January 24 – 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. So Inner City Press wrote to London - and on September 10 received this shameful cover up answer in response: "Dear Mr. Lee, Thank you for your emails of 26 August to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Ministers Harriett Baldwin MP and Alistair Burt MP.  I have been asked to reply as Head of the UN Political Team.  I note that the United Kingdom’s Mission to the United Nations in New York replied to a similar email from you on 29 August, regarding the question of your accreditation to the United Nations. Media accreditation to the United Nations is a matter for the UN’s Department of Public Information. We refer you to them. Yours sincerely, Justin Bedford, UN Political Team, Foreign & Commonwealth Office." What makes this buck - (or Pound-) passing all the worse is that now Inner City Press has learned that UN is telling people the UK has supported and even asked for its banning of Inner City Press. Inner City Press has immediately replied to these MPs, "Dear Mr. Bedford, MPs Baldwin and Burt - Thank you for your response but it is woefully inadequate. First, it would mean that the UK performs no oversight over the UN. Would you refer a question about abuses by UN Peacekeepers to USG Lacroix, without more? This is particularly inappropriate when the USG in question, Alison Smale, is a UK national, as was the ASG who oversaw my physical ouster on 3 July 2018, Christian Saunders. But to make it clear: my question, now and with this request, is about the UK Mission's role in my banning from the UN. I am informed that the UN Secretariat is telling people that the UK Mission supports and even has requested my banning. So I am asking if that is true, appropriate and consistent with FCO's and even the PM's public statements including about freedom of the press. I note Inner City Press' petition to the ICO because the FCO did not provide even on document to Inner City Press about Cameroon, even a year after its FOIA request. Something is going wrong, including at the UK Mission to the UN. Isn't it the MPs' job to look into it? Awaiting your response." Watch this site. If someone raised to the UK Mission or FCO rapes by UN Peacekeepers, would they refer the matter to USG of Peacekeeping Jean Pierre Lacroix? Or is this deference to the obviously no due process censorship order of Smale because she is British? Or because the UK supports, benefits from and seemingly even called for this censorship of the Press? What about the British Assistant Secretary General who oversaw the roughing up on July 3, Christian Saunders, previously implicated in UN procurement corruption - was the UK Mission fine with that? With Justin Forsyth at UNICEF and before? The UK Mission's / Ambassador Pierce's response seems to show that there is no oversight of the UN by the UK, at least when a British official is the wrong-doers, or if the UK Mission (thinks it) benefits. Follow up questions have been sent to the UK Mission and Ambassador Pierce, including "Please describe your and the Mission's communications with British USG Smale this year, including prior to her/the directive to DSS Lt Dobbins to begin physically targeting me any time after 7 pm, even if there was a Budget Committee meeting, or as on June 22 a speecch by the SG?

  Does the UK / Mission / Ambassador Pierce believe that there should be content neutral accreditation and access rules for journalists at the UN?

  Does the UK / Mission / Ambassador Pierce believe that a journalist should be spoken to before they are physically assaulted and banned from the UN?

  Did you know that the March "warning" was a frivolous complaint by the Moroccan mission, that I couldn't use my camera phone at the UNSC stakeout, that even USG Smale's MALU told me it was frivolous?

Did you know USG Smale's MALU told me I did not require an escort or minder to live stream on the fourth and third floors? They did. Repeatedly.

  You "refer' me back to this Star Chamber but as the letter you cite shows, there is no appeals process?

  Given your topic today in the UNSC I am banned from, what does this no due process banning without any attempt to address the issues - like that parking lot which were never raised to me - say about the Secretariat's and USG Smale's "mediation " and conflict prevention?

  Does the UK / Mission / Ambassador Pierce believe that a UN investigation or review of a journalist should involve an opportunity to be heard, and specific charges rather than unnamed accusers?

  So do you accept this censorship by your compatriot or not?" 
Their complicity on the slaughter in Cameroon, particularly in light of Liam Fox bragging about UK-based New Age's gas deal with Biya, is striking, and the failure to answer uncomfortable - hostile? - questions about Pierce's meeting with Biya's lobbyists need looking into. We have a FOIA request in to FCO on just this topic. As some British say: Shocking, smacking of the Star Chamber.
After Guterres banned Inner City Press from entry from July 3 onward, in order to report on the UN Inner City Press had to seek answers other than at the UN Noon Briefing and UN Security Council stakeout position, from which Guterres and Smale also banned it. Inner City Press asks question in front of the UN Delegates Entrance, and has gotten about put online responses from, among others, outgoing UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid, Burundi's Ambassador, and on August 20, for example, a diplomat on the North Korea sanctions committee -- whose Dutch chair Karel van Oosterom refused to comment.

 This stakeout is where Inner City Press asks questions only because Guterres and Smale have banned it since July 3. But in her August 17 letter, Smale justifies the ban imposed July 3 with this post-July 3 interviews, and says that UNnamed member states - and somehow correspondents - have complained.

 Is that the UK? Inner City Press has submitted a FOIA request, even as the UK ICO considers the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's redaction of Yemen documents response to Inner City Press' request a year ago, and denial in full on Cameroon: "This is request under the UK Freedom of Information act for the following records as that term is defined in FOI, including but not limited to all electronic records, emails, text/SMS message and communications in any form, involving the UK Mission to the UN in New York since August 15, 2017 regarding Cameroon and/or Southern Cameroons and all meeting including Amb Pierce's July 11 meeting with ministers, all responses to communications received about Cameroon including but not limited to Inner City Press' communications of

Feb 6, 2018 (verbal question to DPR Allen),

June 2018 to Amb Pierce about Liam Fox and New Age's deal with Cameroon,

July 14, 2018 email to the UK mission about Cameroon and UK USG Alison Smale's then suspension of Inner City Press' access to the UN since July 3, 2018;

Aug 1, 2018, reiterated August 3:  written question to the UK Mission, not answered as of Aug 21: "not the agenda, troublingly, is the situation in Cameroon. Why not? Amb Pierce disclosed in yesterday's Twitter Q&A that she “spoke to a delegation of Cameroon ministers at the UN on 11 July.” Did she mean government ministers or religious ministers? If the former, who were they? Which departments? And what was it mean to say “we were watching the situation closely.” Does this mean the UK or the Council? Is there a role, does the UK think, for UN envoy Francois Lonseny Fall? Or should another mediator be assigned?"

August 7 written questions to Mission, also not responded to as of August 21.

  To explain the last part of this request, British national and head of UN Dep't of Public Info Alison Smale in issuing a lifetime ban to my on August 17 wrote "“We would also note your conduct at the entrances of the United Nations premises and nearby, including the use of profanities and derogatory assertions and language toward individuals accessing the United Nations, in close proximity to them. Video / live broadcasts of this are frequently published on the Inner City Press' website and other media platforms. This conduct gives rise to potential safety concerns for Member State diplomats...The conduct described above has generated multiple complaints to the United Nations from Member States."

  Given Ambassador Jonathan Allen's flat refusal to answer or even acknowledge the Cameroon questions I asked him at the Delegates Entrance stakeout on August 15, this is a request for all record that reflect or are related to any communications by the UN Mission to the UN about questions or comments received at the stakeout(s).

Given the situations in Cameroon and South Cameroons, I and Inner City Press asked for expedited processes of this request: faster than the 20 working days provided for. Please note our recent complaint to ICO about the FCO's failure to provide any of the Cameron records I requested on August 15, 2017." Watch this site.

Inner City Press asked the UK Mission's two spokespeople Matthew Moody and Amy.Quantrill: "On July 31 Ambassador Pierce stated on Twitter that she (and presumably others at the UK mission) had met on July 11 with Cameroonian ministers. On August 1, for the Program of Work press conference I was and am banned from by USG Alison Smale and SG Antonio Guterres, after being roughed up by UN Security while covering an event and a meeting on June 22 and July 3, I asked both of you: 'Did she mean government ministers or religious ministers? If the former, who were they? Which departments?'  I have yet to receive an answer, including after tweeting substantial the same question to Amb Allen yesterday. This time I am addressing this to Stephen Hickey as well. I am requesting an immediate answer to these Cameroon questions: Name the ministers Amb Pierce met with on July 11. State whether Amb Pierce or anyone else at the UK mission was aware this this Biya administration 'tour' July 11-20 was stage managed by DC-based lobbying firm Patton Boggs (reflected on documents Inner City Press has published), including US ex-Amb Frank Wisner. State whether any non-Cameroonians were present at the July 11 meeting and if so, who they were. State whether Amb Pierce has had any meetings with Cameroonian opposition or Federalists or separatists, and if not, why not. On deadline. Thanks you in advance. -Matthew." Nothing still


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