AP: Here come the Iraqis

Thanks to Always on Watch who caught this AP story by our old friend Matthew Lee.   I didn’t even have to read the whole article by Lee to know it was his writing.  He says the same things every month, except this time he can report that the rush is on—Iraqis are arriving in the US in droves.   But, the numbers are never high enough to satisfy Senator Ted Kennedy and his NGO friends.    Kennedy is proposing a special White House ambassador to deal exclusively with Iraqi displaced persons.

Here are three things Lee says every month:

The 12,000 target is still far lower than the number admitted by other countries and only a small slice of the some 2 million Iraqis who have fled to neighboring countries since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

He reaffirms we are a bad bad country because we don’t admit enough refugees, but never mentions that many of Iraq’s displaced people have been displaced for many years (before our arrival in Iraq) due to Saddam’s reign of terror.   Lee:

Sweden, for example, has granted asylum to about 40,000 since 2003.

Lee never tells you that Sweden has begun deporting Iraqi Muslims and is trying very hard to stop the flow.  Lee:

Advocacy groups and lawmakers have criticized the U.S. for its poor performance on admitting Iraqi refugees.

And, finally, Associated Press reporter Lee never never gets a comment from anyone who is concerned about security issues.  It’s all about reaching this arbitrary magic number of 12,000 Iraqis from Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, etc. admitted to the US in FY08—to live in your hometown.

If you are interested in seeing how AP controls the news on this topic, check out our archive on Matthew Lee’s reporting here.

More information on the “fake” Bhutanese refugees

Last week I reported that a family has claimed that someone using their father’s identity has entered the US as a supposed Bhutanese refugee.   The US Embassy and the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) have denied those charges here, saying that the screening is rigorous.

However, a blogger writing at a blog called “Media in Bhutan” says reporters and others who have reported on infiltration have been threatened.

Of late, even local journalists in Jhapa are displaced from their regular reporting duties citing that they reported the issues related to ‘infiltration’ of non-Bhutanese in the refugee resettlement program. Bhupendra Timsina, Damak-based correspondent for Nepal Samacharpatra daily in an exclusive interview with Saranarthi Sarokar at Nepal FM 91.8 on Saturday June 21, said that separate gangs comprising both refugees and non-Bhutanese threatened him over telephone for reporting on infiltration of non-Bhutanese in refugee resettlement.

Timsina, who had written a news story regarding the infiltration of non-Bhutanese in the refugee resettlement program on June 8 in Nepal Samacharpatra, is mentally disturbed in returning to his normal duties. According to Timsina, attempts are underway from non-Bhutanese to fly to the US in the name of Bhutanese refugees and that a section of refugees are also involved in helping non-Bhutanese for such attempts.

However, in a joint statement issued on June 18, the US Embassy in Kathmandu and UNHCR strongly refuted such news reports thereby clarifying that such reports were unfounded. Here, the main concern is how could the gang threatened Timsina if attempts to ‘infiltration’ are not underway? While respecting the stance of both Embassy and Timsina, we can at least make a predicament [Editor: it is a ‘predicament’ but the word I assume he wants to use is ‘prediction’] that there are possibilities of infiltration even if such cases aren’t found till date. So authorities concerned should be alert in possible infiltration of non-Bhutanese in refugee resettlement.

What a mess.