Iraqi Translator Fights for Asylum

Check this out about U.S. officials' treatment of Nour al-Khalm an Iraqi translator/fixer who almost lost her life trying to protect that of American journalist, Steven Vincent, who was kidnapped, beaten, and killed by insurgents in Basra in August 2005. The journalist's widow, Lisa Ramaci-Vincent,testified about it in the Senate hearings today.

If Nour's story spreads maybe she will be granted refugee status protections in the U.S. She sounds like she's deserved it.

A key line of testimony: When Vincent's widow lobbied American bureaucrats to extend refugee status to Nour, she says,

"I have been told she does not qualify for refugee or asylum status because Iraq is now a democracy, hence there should be no reason she would need to flee."

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    It sounds like a winner to me (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by aw on Tue Jan 16, 2007 at 08:20:15 PM EST
    The widow's testimony says it all.  

    Iraqi refugees (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by janinsanfran on Tue Jan 16, 2007 at 10:54:42 PM EST
    When we were in Amman last summer, after meeting with Iraqi refugees, we ask the political officer and the cultural officer of the U.S. Embassy what provision the U.S. was making for all the people displaced when the U.S. broke Humpty-Dumpty. They said "none" -- refugees were welcome to apply like any other Iraqi, but no measures had been taken to help them. Since Jordan is a tiny, poor country already flooded with Palestinians displaced by Israel, the Jordanians don't want the nearly 1 million Iraqis who have fled there. The situation is really dire. And some, like this woman, are in danger not from the general insecurity, but precisely because they worked with U.S. occupiers, military and civilian.

    Duhhhhh (1.00 / 2) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 16, 2007 at 10:03:20 PM EST
    Absolutely stupid.

    She should slip into Mexico and walk across the river.

    Duhhh? (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Peaches on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 08:41:09 AM EST

    Let's pretend were working in the garden to make this easier. We're on our knees in the ealy summer sun pulling up weeds. Occasionally we'll go to our water jugs and drink some cool lemonade and let some run down our chins, then hastily wipe it off with the back of our hands while breathing a long "ahhh...", then continue our conversation.

    We go back to where we left off and you work deligently while I begin a long dialogue while working bedside you. You'd respond, but your breathing hard and enjoying the work, so you just sigh and listen intently and smile inwardly at my ignorance. You'll get a chance to rebut, but you'll wait till the weeds are pulled and we get out of the sun where we can make the switch to the Ales and cocktails.

    According to the Link, Steven Vincent was killed after reporting on the infiltration of the Iraqi police force infiltrated by Iranian-backed fundamentalists and shiite militiamen loyal to Moqtada Al-Sadr. He wrote an op-ed piece in the NYtimes and talking about death squadas traveling Basra in police cars. Two days later one of the police cars came for him and took him in broad daylight from the Basra streets along with his translater Nour Al-Khal. Then they tortured him over several hours before driving him and Nour to the outskirts of town and telling them to run for their lives before shooting both in the back.

    Vincent died and Nour survived. she was handed over to the FBI and took to the Green Zone where she was repeatedly interrogated, then tossed back into Iraqi society and left on her own to fend for her life. What is going on here?

    Well, I don't know, but it certianly doesn't fit very well with your picture of Iraq overrun by terrorists backed by Iran who are killing Americans. Obviously, we give some support to the "death Squads" in the Iraqi police squads we are now asking to lead the charge in our surge for control of Bahgdad. These are the forces who also receive some backing from Iran. The insurgents are the Sunnis and Baathists who were loyal to Saddam and are now badly outnumbered by the American and Iranian supported Shias.

    But the above description is a little too simplistic, because we are also giving support to the Sunnis and negotiating with the Sadia Arabia and Syria over protecting the Sunni population from being killed and driven from Iraq. At the same time we are condemning Iran and Syria for supporting the same people we are also giving support to. We have our hand in every jar fueling the civil war and sectarian violence and holding all of Iraq hostage to forces that are merely pawns in the game of geopolitics operating for strategic positions in the war for global resources and wealth in the coming years while continuing to give assistance to the corporations and infrastructure that is dependent on perpetual war. All this to support the lifestyles of a few that include this little gated community we are currently kneeling in while tending our garden.

    You know, why can't Iraqis have the same luxury? It has nothing to do with being Muslim or their tribal ancestry. It has to do with the same fear that we are currently building here in America. A fear that grows until you cannot trust, even your neighbors and you are forced to take up arms to defend your family. We are playing a part in fueling these fears by arming and supporting death squads. Why not give them some spades, pruners, seeds, and a little organic fertilizer instead, so they can enjoy tending a garden and lemonade in the sun just as we are?

    Hey, you missed a spot over there by the asparagus.


    Skeptical (none / 0) (#5)
    by Gabriel Malor on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 10:37:49 AM EST
    I doing asylum cases now for a firm in L.A. and I have to tell you, I don't know what Ms. Ramaci-Vincent is talking about. I'm sure she has been told that Nour al-Khalm is not eligible for refugee or asylum. But, from what I can tell of the situation, that is simply not true. Nour al-Khalm's case looks like a classic asylum situation. She needs to get a lawyer.

    Refugees... (none / 0) (#6)
    by desertswine on Wed Jan 17, 2007 at 10:47:40 AM EST
    The U.S. does have a program to give visas to a small number of translators and others who have helped the U.S. But so far only 50 have been granted. Lawmakers want to increase that number.

    Iraqi Exodus

    Iraq is producing an estimated 100,000 refugees a month.  Those are the ones with enough money to get out of George's paradise.