Posted at 11:59 AM ET, 06/01/2011

Bahrain diplomat brought home because of threats, ethnic slurs


Tens of thousands of pro-government supporters gather for a demonstration on Feb. 21 in Manama, Bahrain. U.S. diplomat Ludovic Hood was attacked for allegedly supporting the protests. (John Moore - Getty Images)
The United States brought home its human rights officer from Bahrain last Thursday after he faced a two-month-long campaign of ethnic slurs and threats on a pro-government Web site, McClatchy reports.

The campaign against Ludovic Hood reached its peak on May 7, when a vitriolic, anonymous post on a pro-government Web site accused Hood of supporting the anti-government protests that have rocked Bahrain since Feb. 14.

President Obama has criticized the Bahraini government’s harsh crackdown on protesters since it began. But Arabic-language site BahrainForums.com now claims that the political section of the U.S. embassy has actively fostered the protests, with “a person of Jewish origin named Ludovic Hood” at its head.

“He's the one who trained and provoked the demonstrators to clash with the army,” the post read. It called for “honest people to avenge” Hood’s role.

The post also included links to photos of Hood and his “Jewish wife, Alisa Newman” on their wedding day, and information about where Hood lived.

The most troublesome aspect of the campaign against Hood is that Bahrainforums.com appears to have the approval of the country's royal family, according to McClatchy. Its home page includes photos of the country’s crown prince, prime minister, and king, which would not be permitted if the regime did not approve.

The State Department issued this statement about Hood’s departure: “The safety and security of our diplomatic personnel is our highest priority. It is unacceptable that elements within Bahrain would target an individual for carrying out his professional duties.”

In a final message to his friends, Hood wrote:

“Hello... 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.”

Even after Hood left Bahrain, two Bahraini newspapers have continued to target him, as well as the embassy’s current top diplomat, Stephanie Williams.

Read McClatchy’s original report here.

By  |  11:59 AM ET, 06/01/2011

 
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