US Mission Pakistan: reports of Consul General’s departure due to Taliban threats wrong

The Times of India reports that the US diplomat quit Peshawar due to Taliban threats.  Press TV out of Tehran puts a different spin with “US consul flees Pakistan amid threats.” DNA out of Mumbai reports that US consul general departs from Pakistan amid Taliban ‘threats’.  The Deccan Herald out of Bangalore which misspelled Ms. Rood’s name blares the headline US diplomat refuses to serve in Peshawar.  The Nation calls her departure a mystery.

DNA India quotes Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province who contended that Rood had returned to the US for “personal reasons”.  “It is incorrect to speculate that the US consul general had received threats from militants,” he said. Rood was “satisfied in Peshawar and had appreciated the foolproof security extended by our government to her on several occasions”, Hussain said.

We asked  Alberto Rodriguez, the US Embassy spokesman in Islamabad about Ms. Rood’s departure.  He writes that “Elizabeth Rood left Peshawar before the completion for personal reasons. Reports that she left because of Taliban threats are inaccurate.”  He also identified Constance Arvis, the Pol/Econ Officer in Peshawar as the acting CG until a new Consul General is identified and arrives at post.

The US Consulate General in Peshawar was established in 1958 to represent the United States in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. On February 9 this year, the Consulate was elevated to a Consulate General. Ms. Rood arrived as CG in Peshawar this past summer.

Prior to her assignment in Peshawar, Ms. Rood was the Department of State representative on the U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team in Paktika Province in southeastern Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009.  From 2006 to 2007, she was the Director of the State Department’s Office of Caucasus Affairs and Regional Conflicts. And from 2004-2007 she was the Deputy to the U.S. Special Negotiator for the Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria conflicts.

Elizabeth Rood is the first recipient of the Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Leadership in Expeditionary Diplomacy.

Which country has been googling WikiLeaks the most?

After we found out that the state of Virginia registered the most number of  WikiLeaks search on Google, we also wanted to see which country overseas has been googling WL the most. And here is what Google Insight’s magic ball says for the 2004-present search parameter:

See how the ten countries change when we adjusted the search parameters to the last 7 days. We imagine that the list changes with every new cable dump.

The interest on the Wikileaked cables in Kenya is constant in both list so it’s probably not surprising that the local media is riveted on the embassy cables, as well as their politicians reactions to them. Our ambassador there has not only been called a “rogue” ambassador, there are also calls for his removal. And unlike Germany where the government spokesman came out to say US-Germany relations remain strong and they are not asking for Ambassador Murphy’s removal, no such thing happened in Nairobi.  See a sample of the media clips from the last 24 hours.

Kenya has approximately 3,359,552 internet users according to the World Bank/ International Telecommunication Union. It has a 10% internet penetration rate and a user growth of 1,897.8 % in the last 10 years. 

Previously US Ambassador to Mali and Ambassador to Kenya since 2006 (also responsible for US relations with Somalia) Ambassador Ranneberger reportedly described the Kenyan leadership as steeped in corruption and incapable of reforming the country in the embassy cables. A local paper points out that “This is only the second time since Independence for Kenya to demand the recall of an envoy. The first was during the old Kanu regime of former President Daniel Moi, when another US Ambassador, Smith Hempstone, rubbed the Government the wrong way.”

The ambassador is on Twitter with quite a telling handle, USAMB4REFORM.