Online rumor has it that the Obama administration is using United Parcel Service (UPS) cargo planes to smuggle Syrian refugees into the country in the dead of the night, and that some of the “refugees” could be ISIS terrorists.
The rumor emerged recently as part of reports and rumors circulating mostly in the right-wing blogosphere claiming that Syrians were sneaking into the country illegally, and that the country is at great risk of being infiltrated by ISIS terrorists posing as legitimate Syrian refugees.
Some conspiracy theorists claim that the clandestine smuggling activity, allegedly being sponsored by the Obama administration, is part of a plan to stage a “false flag terrorist attack” on U.S. soil through a “covert terrorist invasion” of the country.
The sources of the rumor claim that the ongoing “covert terrorist invasion” of the country involves “large scale human trafficking.” Other sources allege that the Israeli Mossad is involved in the operation to stage a “false flag” on U.S. soil.
The rumor that UPS cargo planes are being used to smuggle Syrian refugees into the country originated from an “eyewitness” who uploaded footage (see above) shot with a phone camera to Facebook, and later to YouTube, last week.
The eyewitness claimed that last Thursday, he saw at least 30 buses filled with people — allegedly Syrian refugees — flown into the country through the Harrisburg International Airport on a United Parcel Service (UPS) cargo plane.
In the video, the narrator drives behind at least two buses on a highway near Harrisburg in Pennsylvania — as road signs show. As he drives behind the buses, the narrator says he saw buses lined up, waiting for the refugees at the airport. The refugees were escorted hastily under the cover of darkness from a UPS cargo Plane into the buses.
“These buses just came in on a UPS flight from Harrisburg International Airport … they had FBI escorts … They snuck [sic] em’ [the refugees] out of there,” the narrator says.
He emphasizes that the UPS cargo plane was supposed to be “parcels only,” yet refugees were brought into the country in it under the cover of darkness.
However, some debunkers have noted that it is not possible to confirm from the dark video that the buses were actually filled with people, let alone Syrian refugees or ISIS terrorists smuggled into the country from a UPS cargo plane.
It also appears from the narrator’s statements that he was not getting off a plane when he saw the alleged Syrian refugees. He said he was at a doctor’s appointment nearby when he witnessed the people being smuggled into the country. But it is not clear how he was able to get past security at the airport to see the people being escorted off UPS cargo planes and loaded into buses.
“They snuck [sic] em’ out of there. Bus number 245…. Why is [sic] hundreds of people being snuck [sic] in on a UPS flight?… UPS people! This is no lie. We caught them red-handed sneaking people in.”
Others have also pointed out that the license plates of the buses and other particulars — such as route numbers — were visible at a point in the video. This gives the impression that the operators of the buses were not trying to hide anything or smuggle anything into the country.
Snopes notes that it seems unlikely that the U.S. government would use UPS — a private company — to smuggle refugees into the country when it could use government-funded companies, such as USPS.
Despite questions that analysts have raised about the authenticity of the video and the narrator’s claims, many viewers appeared to find the claims credible.
“Please help spread this information?”
“Not refugees; the word is terrorists! Obama hates America.”
“I have a DHS memo saying that $32,000 worth of UPS uniforms have been purchased during the last 30 days on EBAY. Could there be a connection, here?”
“They are saying that USPS uniforms were stolen… going viral about it… I think this has some connection… going to spread [this message].”
“Why wouldn’t this be true? Obama did the same thing not long ago with all the ‘unaccompanied children.’ I will never use UPS again.”
But others expressed doubt and some wondered why the “eyewitness” did not trace the buses to the point where the alleged refugees were dropped.
“Where did the buses drop the people?”
“This is ridiculous. All you have is some video of taillights of a bus.”
“People are very gullible.”
After the video surfaced online, UPS issued a statement denying the allegation that it was helping the Obama administration to smuggle Syrian refugees or “ISIS terrorists” into the country.
“UPS is a cargo airline and has not been involved in passenger flights of any kind into or out of Harrisburg,” the statement said. “Suggestions to the contrary are based on misinformation… At one time, UPS flew passengers on a very limited basis but we discontinued the service in 2001.”
[Image via KsKuebler/Wikimedia]