Just in case you thought the Iraqi Interpreter situation had solved everything, check out the Blogs coming out of Iraq. I particularly liked the atheist point of view.
Just look. You will find plenty of news about Iraq.
The one thing you won’t find is detailed explanations of the plans to bring interpreters and their families out of Iraq, sanctioned by anyone in the government. You won’t find a transparent eligibility policy. You won’t find out who is organising it.
So – Is it happening? Or is it just too late?
So a number of the Iraqi Interpreters will be granted asylum. I have a feeling this is not the end…
When will they be resettled? How will they find them now that they have taken so long to get this moving? Some will not be able to get out. Some will not be eligable due to only working for the forces for 11 months 29 days…
And since when is three stories a campaign?
Iraqi interpreters and families prepare for new lives in Britain – Times Online
This story highlights the main reason stories are not reported from Basra. If we can’t be there, how can we report on it. But then, that’s not to say we can’t tell the story.
According to a report by Reporters Without Borders, 47 journalists lost their lives in Iraq in 2007, up from 41 in 2006, while 25 were kidnapped. The vast majority of the victims were Iraqi citizens. The only foreign journalist killed last year was a Russian photographer who was killed in a bomb blast north of Baghdad. Most of the hostages were freed unharmed, Reporters Without Borders said.
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Are our MP’s actually doing anything for the Iraqi interpreters? Of 12 known to a connection, 3 are now dead. This is beyond stupid. This is beyond ignorant.
If the British government had have got off it’s fat lazy arse when they got out of Basra, they could have saved some of these guys. To offer them pick up in Summer 2009 is a joke. A very black joke.
Most are running for their lives. Basra is not safe. Things are only getting better in Baghdad because all the insurgents are in Afghanistan or Basra. Relatives of the interpreters are being kidnapped because of the assumed money lavished upon interpreters. So they try to get out – to Jordan, to Egypt, anywhere.
If you and your family are under threat of death, making an application will not help. Getting a ticket number and waiting will not stop you being kidnapped, tortured, beaten, blown up, shot, hacked to death or stoned. Only getting out of that country will help.
Yet nowhere is safe. The Danes have lifted theirs out. The American Media is full of one of stories of interpreters being rescued. Why are we, the british public, the british media, the british government, ignoring this issue?
Write to your MP. Ask them what they have done. If they are Conservative, help them make the Labout Government look bad. If they are labour, ask them about their responsibility. If they are Lib Dem, ask them what they have done as part of their protest.
Write to your newspapers. Ask them why they are not reporting this issue. I have seen conversations with these people. It is not hard to find this information.
Fuck keeping quiet. WHAT ARE WE DOING?
We have now had a response from David Heath (MP), who happens to be Lib Dem. He has been chasing this one for a while, and he sent a transcript from the PQM of 8th October. here are some interesting excerpts…
Sir Menzies Campbell (North-East Fife) (LD):
Obviously, we welcome the Government’s change of heart in relation to interpreters and other civilians, but we are entitled to ask why it has taken so long and precisely how generous the terms will be. What is the Government’s estimate of the number of people who will be entitled to take advantage of that change of policy?
The harsh truth is that Britain’s involvement in Iraq has been a catastrophe. Is it not time now to set a framework and a programme for the complete withdrawal of all our forces from Iraq?
The Prime Minister:
On the specific questions about interpreters, let me give the House the information. There are probably 200 who would immediately qualify as past staff members. There are 250 who are staff members at the moment. There may be others who will join that list once they have done a year’s service. We will discharge our obligations that they will either gain help to go to a country of their choice or be able, in agreed circumstances, to come to the United Kingdom. We will provide the support that is necessary for that to happen.
We will discharge our obligations. The Iraqis will take responsibility for their own security, and we will support them in doing so.
Mr. Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy) (PC):
Can the Prime Minister give a reasonable and reliable figure for the likely number of ex-Ministry of Defence Iraqi employees who might come to Britain to seek asylum in due course? Finally, the Prime Minister has frantically been trying to row away from the Blair project and the Blair war—frantically rowing away from the Blair mother ship, as it were. Will he really make a difference, and show why he is so different, by apologising to the British people for this debacle?
The Prime Minister:
I think that I told the House the numbers of interpreters and other staff who would qualify under the scheme we have announced today. There are 200 who have already completed their work and 250 or so in situ. There are others who may qualify once they complete their work with us over a period of a year or more. Those are the kind of figures involved. They will either be people who will go to another country, with support from us, or, in agreed circumstances, come to the United Kingdom.
So… it would appear that any Iraqi who has been employed by the British armed forces for more than a year can take a ticket and wait to be rescued from almost crtain torture. You are number ’75’ in the queue. Your call is imporatnt to us. Press hash at any time to hear the options again.
Mr. Doug Henderson (Newcastle upon Tyne, North) (Lab):
I have a constituent who was involved in international protection for an international statesman who was visiting Iraq, and his life was saved by two local Iraqi security men. Are they the kind of staff whom my right hon. Friend envisages might be given access to the United Kingdom, as my constituent has requested?
The Prime Minister:
The persons I am talking about are mainly interpreters and translators who have worked for the British forces in Iraq—our direct employees, some of whom have finished their work but are vulnerable to attack, and some of whom are still working with us but do not meet the year’s qualification, although they may do so at a later date. Those are the men and women who would qualify for the proposals that we are putting forward today.
But no Timetable. That would be a Plan. And failure to plan is planning to fail. Put a deadline, otherwise they will be dead before they get through to a call adviser!
We have pulled out of Basra. Why are these people still there?
Can he really only ‘think of people’ and not take action?
All thos in favour of not just voting, but doing something raise theri hands…
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Interview about the situation in Iraq part of the Jeremy Vine show broadcast on Radio 2, 17th December 2007 12.25 pm.
I just received this from a friend of mine. It kind of brings home exactly how badly our forces are being treated in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I remember when we first went into this illegal and ill advised war, the Liberal Democrats were berated by both the Labour and Conservatives for denouncing the war and yet supporting the troops. I still think that was a despicable act of two faced cowardice to save individuals political careers, and it still makes me ill to think that the conservatives will probably win the next election on the back of this kind of rhetoric. Yet I don’t see them actively campaigning on this…
Please read the following message. I would be grateful, if you feel so inclined, to encourage people to sign the petition. It won’t do any good, but the more people that are aware of this issue, the better.
I apologise for sending a blanket message out like this but Roz was asked to be a witness to a rather upsetting MSN conversation tonight between a friend of hers who served in Iraq, Mark Brockway, and an Iraqi man who was an interpreter for the British Army during the war.
The man was talking to Mark about how his brother had been kidnapped and beaten for two days by police and militia who were trying to find the interpreter’s whereabouts. The brother told them nothing. Luckily they let him go. The interpreter is very afraid for his life and that of his family. Both he and Mark knew an interpreter who has already been killed.
If you were unaware, any Iraqi who has worked for the coalition forces are considered by some Iraqis to be traitors and are being hunted down and killed. He has applied for immigration to the UK and his repeated e-mails and phone calls to the immigration office have merely resulted in him being given a reference number. He was asking Mark what he could do.
Mark asked Roz to be a witness to the conversation. She was and she was also sent photos by the interpreter of him and his family (including one of his brother taken after the beating).
If you were under the impression that all interpreters were to be given special treatment, as the government promised earlier this year, you would be wrong as the Times article linked below emonstrates:-
The American and Danish forces have already flown all Interpreters who worked for them out of Iraq and given them asylum. Only the UK has chosen to abandon them.
Mark is very close to this as he hired many of the interpreters and worked with them on a daily basis. He has set up this website (www.weoweittothem.com) to keep people informed of their plight and to tell people how they can help. Also you can visit this website (http://campaigns.libdems.org.uk/interpreters) which gives you a link to contact your local MP or sign an online petition.
Any petition, no matter how many signatures, will only count as one complaint. This is the ‘unofficial’ stance, communicated to us via someone involved in a protest against telephone masts. It is the same for National and Local Government.
Standard letters also don’t work (viewed as above). The only thing that does is moving mass opinion and raising awareness to the point where we, as individuals, pen our own letters and views. So sod the petition, WRITE to the MP. Tell your friends, your family.
If you don’t like things that happen in this world, get off your arse and do something.
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This morning the BBC interviewed a serving officer who was just back from Iraq. He beacme visibly upset when asked about how he was treated upon his return. “Everyone is more interested in X-Factor.”
Are we, the public, just not interested in Iraq? Is it because nothing new is happening?
Well, actually, it is. Every day there is a newsworthy incident. Someone is injured. The government tries to increase control. There are personal stories to be told from Iraq. A lot more is happening than ever did with Diana or Madeleine.
But if these were told, they would make the war look bad. Very few people support the war, it would seem, which is why we ignore it. It is in our governments interest to ignore it – at least until we all feel happier about the next war. Meet you in Iran.
Also, it is a lot safer to cover the X-Factor, press reports, court hearings. You are very unlikely to be shot at or blown up.
“I wonder if that is true. Is there really any news at present? To read
papers such as the Mirror, the Sun and the Express, you would not think
so. These papers are dominated by three stories: the disappearance of
Madeleine McCann, the Mills-McCartney divorce and the death of Princess
Diana. The age of these stories ranges from six months to more than 10
years and, by normal standards, there is no news to report. Nobody has
a clue what happened to Madeleine; Diana died because of a drunken
driver; Mills blames McCartney for their marriage breakup. We’ve known
all that from the start.”
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