US Embassy Bahrain’s Ludovic Hood: Move was in the "context of the summer transfer season" — ur kidding, right?

The Deputy Spokesman, Mr. Toner was dancing around the circumstances surrounding the departure of FSO Ludovic Hood from the US Embassy in Manama due to reported threats.  This report says that the campaign against Hood had been going on for two months with one of the most virulent attacks coming May 7 in an anonymous posting on a pro-government website that included links to photos of Hood and his wife on their wedding day and information on where Hood and his family lived.

The head of the office, the blog claimed, was “a person of Jewish origin named Ludovic Hood,” and charged: “He’s the one who trained and provoked the demonstrators to clash with the army” near the Pearl Roundabout that was the epicenter of the demonstrations.

Hood also was “the one” telling the opposition of the steps they should take “to inflame the situation,” the posting claimed.

The blogger called for “honest people to avenge” Hood’s role, gave the neighborhood in which he lived with his family in Manama, the capital, and promised to provide his street address. It linked to a wedding photo of Hood with his “Jewish wife, Alisa Newman.”

One reporter got so dizzy from Mr. Toner’s dance moves and finally requested a fill in the blanks briefing: “if you could say it in a full sentence: He was not transferred back to D.C. because of –“

QUESTION: Can you talk about this report that – about threats to one of your diplomats in Bahrain and his reassignment —
MR. TONER: Sure.
QUESTION: — or relocation?
MR. TONER: My understanding on this, Matt, is this is – you’re talking about Ludovic Hood–
QUESTION: Yeah.
MR. TONER: — who came back to the U.S. from Manama. He did just complete his tour in Manama and returned to Washington; he’s taken up a position here within the State Department. So he wasn’t recalled in his posting. As you know, our assignment cycle has already been set for, like, the last six months or so. That said, we are aware, as press reports have cited, that there were threats, accusations made against him on some websites, and obviously we take the safety of our diplomatic personnel very seriously. But in this case he was simply transferred back to Washington.
QUESTION: So it did – his coming back to D.C. had nothing to do with the —
MR. TONER: No.
QUESTION: Sorry?
MR. TONER: Yeah. No.
QUESTION: Are you investigating?
MR. TONER: It didn’t. It simply was his normal transfer. Sorry, am I not – no —
QUESTION: Well, no, I mean –
MR. TONER: We are – I guess I’m doing —
QUESTION: — if you could say it in a full sentence: He was not transferred back to D.C. because of —
MR. TONER: I’m sorry. I’ll give you the quote. No, he was not brought back here because of these accusations or allegations.
QUESTION: The reports of these allegations were on government-affiliated or associated websites and media there. Have you made any representations to the Bahrain Government to stop baselessly accusing your envoys there?
MR. TONER: Well, again, we have no way to confirm that they were actually made by the government or people within the Government of Bahrain. I’m aware that they were on these websites. But it’s unacceptable that any elements there would target an individual, a diplomat, for carrying out his duties. But beyond that, I’m not aware that it was raised —
QUESTION: Is the Bahrain foreign minister meeting with Steinberg today?
MR. TONER: He is, actually.
QUESTION: Is that going to be a subject of discussion?
MR. TONER: I don’t know what – they’re going to speak broadly about regional issues and then, obviously, very clearly they’re going to talk about the bilateral issues, including steps to ensure that civil rights and human rights are respected and that the government works to foster a constructive political change, but I can’t specifically say whether that’s going to be raised.
[…]
QUESTION: Just to put a final point on this Hood incident, you’re saying that – I understand that his tour was coming to a close and he was coming home, but you’re saying he was not brought back early because of these incidents?
MR. TONER: My understanding is that he wasn’t.
QUESTION: You’re sure about that?
MR. TONER: As sure as – I said my understanding is that he was not brought back early.
QUESTION: My understanding is he was brought back several weeks early. I mean, we’re not disputing that his tour was coming —
MR. TONER: Right.
QUESTION: — to an end, but —
MR. TONER: Right. My understanding is that it was not. While there were, obviously, concerns about his security – and again, we take the safety of our diplomats – and I don’t think we’re disputing that there were allegations or accusations, I guess, against him —
QUESTION: No, we’re not disputing that.
MR. TONER: — and we view that as scurrilous. We condemn it. But as far as his transfer goes, I believe it was done just within the context of the summer transfer season.

This report says that Mr. Hood left Bahrain last Thursday. According to unnamed U.S. officials cited by the report, “during his final days in Bahrain, Hood was given security protection equal to that of an ambassador.”

“The safety and security of our diplomatic personnel is our highest priority,” the State Department in Washington said in a statement in response to inquiries from McClatchy Newspapers. “It is unacceptable that elements within Bahrain would target an individual for carrying out his professional duties.”

It is reported here that in in his final message to his friends in Bahrain, Hood apologized that he had had to assume a low profile in his final weeks and couldn’t say goodbye. In his message, he sounded like a man ordered home on short notice.

“Hello,” he wrote. “I am leaving Bahrain today and moving back to Washington. I will start my new assignment at the State Department in June. I am sorry I was not able to say goodbye properly. Given recent developments affecting the Embassy, it was prudent for me to keep a low profile during my final weeks in Bahrain.”

He was just transferred back to DC on a regular rotation. Right. It’s not a state-sponsored targeting so no need to file a diplomatic protest. Right. To acknowledge that probably means the Deputy SecState would have to bring it up with the Bahraini Foreign Minister, like, “What are you trying to do targeting our people dude?” Except that Mr. FM of another great ally, may not like that, especially if delivered in an uppercase voice. 

Anyway, Mr. Hood will start work at the mothership in June; tomorrow is already June. He doesn’t get any leave before he starts his new job?  Yeah. Sounds pretty regular.

Nothing to see here, just “normal rotation.” Move along folks.

Now, what’s in Bahrain, again? Right.

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Confirmations: George Krol, Daniel Shapiro, Henry Ensher, Stuart Jones (Corrected)dated)

Also confirmed Ex-Im Bank and Public Diplomacy Commission nominees

The following civilian Executive Nominations were confirmed by the Senate on May 26, 2011:

PN114 *       DEPARTMENT OF STATE
George Albert Krol, of New Jersey, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Uzbekistan.

PN337 *       DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Daniel Benjamin Shapiro, of Illinois, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Israel.

PN362 *       DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Henry S. Ensher, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.

PN427 *       DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Stuart E. Jones, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class 
of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the 
United States of America to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

PN272 *       UNITED STATES ADVISORY COMMISSION ON PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
Sim Farar, of California, to be a Member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy for a term expiring July 1, 2012.

PN273 *       UNITED STATES ADVISORY COMMISSION ON PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
William J. Hybl, of Colorado, to be a Member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy for a term expiring July 1, 2012.

PN408 *       EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF THE UNITED STATES
Wanda Felton, of New York, to be First Vice President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a term expiring January 20, 2013.

PN409 *       EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF THE UNITED STATES
Sean Robert Mulvaney, of Illinois, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a term expiring January 20, 2015.

Correction:
Stuart Jones was also confirmed by the Senate on May 26, 2011. I regret the oversight. Thanks R!

FCO to reposition diplomats, EU diplos under fire, India, India, India and more….

Serious concerns are being voiced that the newly-created European External Action Service (EEAS) – known as “Europe’s State Department” – and the EU Commission are going beyond their remit to speak for the EU – {The Telegraph}

FCO is increasing its presence in India and China, the world’s two emerging superpowers; 50 diplomats to be deployed to China and 30 to India.  {VOA News.com}

India has long shown mouselike diplomatic clout but that’s changing as it starts to make waves in Africa {The Economist}.

State Department’s “Experience America” to Bring Ambassadors to Alaska {Alaska Journal}

U.S. authorities are investigating whether an Indian software giant Infosys Technologies Ltd.  repeatedly violated American visa laws in order to place its own foreign employees in temporary jobs at some big corporate clients in the U.S. {Wall Street Journal}

Diplomatic Immunity Interpretation: US  vs. India {Hindustantimes}

Tom Shah and Molly Huckaby Hardy were among the 44 U.S. Embassy employees killed when a truck bomb exploded outside the embassy compound in Kenya in 1998. Though it has never been publicly acknowledged, the two were working undercover for the CIA. In al-Qaida’s war on the United States, they are believed to be the first CIA casualties.
{Yahoo/AP}

Memorial Day Remembrance

U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry and Deputy U.S. Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne host a Memorial Day ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday, May 30, 2011.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Photos from US Embassy Kabul/Flickr


Operation Iraqi Freedom
4772

Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan
2495



Eligible Family Member Memorial Plaque
U.S. Department of State
(from State Magazine, February 2011)

2002
Kristen Wormsley {Pakistan}

2007
Zelda White {Kenya}

2010: {Haiti}
Evan James Yves Wyllie
Baptiste Thomas Michel Wyllie
Laurence Pignarre Wyllie

Locally Employed Staff Memorial Plaque
U.S. Department of State
(from State Magazine, February 2011)


2004
Mohammed Basheeruddin  {Saudi Arabia}
Romeo Delarosa  {Saudi Arabia}
Ali Bin Talib  {Saudi Arabia}
Imad Musa Ali  {Saudi Arabia}

2005
Ryadh Hamad {Iraq}
Ali Al-Hilifi {Iraq}
Raida Aghaveva {Azerbaijan}

2006
Ahmed Ifi khar {Iraq}**Iftikhar Ahmed {Pakistan}
Hussein Ibraheem Abdullah {Iraq}
Bijnan Ajarya {Nepal}

2007
Ali Mohammed Hashim {Iraq}

2008
Abdel Rahman Rahama {Sudan}
Moktar Al-Faqih {Yemen}

2010
Jean-Daniel Lafontant  {Haiti}
Olriche Jean  {Haiti}
Jacques Josue Desamours  {Haiti}
Laica Casseus  {Haiti}
Joseph Fontal  {Haiti}
Racan Domond {Haiti}

** I received the following note from an FSO who previously served in Pakistan: “Under 2006, you have “Ahmed Ifi khar {Iraq}”. It should be “Iftikhar Ahmed” and {Pakistan} — he was the LES who was killed with David Foy in the Karachi bombing. (Iftikhar, which means “Honor” in Persian, is his first name, though the concept of first name/family name doesn’t really exist in Pakistan).”

I have corrected the list above and checking with State/HR if this is a magazine error or a plaque error.  Thanks Dakota!