Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Iraqi Interpreters - Grant Immediate Asylum - MP

North Thanet's Member of Parliament, Roger Gale, has this morning called upon the government to grant immediate asylum status to Iraqi interpreters employed by the British authorities and also to grant asylum to members of their close families.

The MP. Who has consistently taken a robust line against the presence of illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom, said this morning:

"Is it not extraordinary that the British government should be prepared to use Iraqi citizens in the interests of our military and our endeavours to establish a legal civilian administration, to place their lives and those of their families in jeopardy and then, having used them, to be prepared to deny them a place of safety?

I believe that this decision - which clearly will have e been approved by the Prime Minister - shows Brown's administration in its true light. We may hopefully now see a Prime Ministerial "reconsideration" but the fact is that this government is incapable of deporting immigrants convicted of crimes, allows them to escape, targets "soft" asylum cases for deportation while failing to deal with the real issues and now is shown in all its meanness of spirit by refusing succour to those in genuine need and who have served our country and its military and civilian personnel.

These are people who, by implication, speak our language, are educated and deserve our assistance in their hour of need.Brown`s government's decision has once again underlined the manner in which his failed asylum policy is allowed to damage the interests of genuine asylum seekers while doing little or nothing to address the problem of illegal immigration. In an effort to appear "tough" the government is in fact demonstrating the real weakness of its position."

12 comments:

Jeremy Jacobs said...

This is a bit of a no brainer. Of course these translators should be assisted by the UK government.

This has nothing to do with the wider problem of immigration and the disgraceful scenes in Oxfordshire a few days ago.

Anonymous said...

It's reported on teletext that Gordon Brown is going to look at the decision again.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5.08 - thats boggered it then.
Of course they should be given Uk passports etc, there aren't even that many of them.

Doctor Doom said...

Not for the first time I am forced, reluctantly, to concur with the views of Roger Gale. Most worrying!

Fortunately Gale proceeds to debase his primary argument with petty partisan point-scoring, showing as ever that this MP is no better than those he criticises, and that his apparent concern for these particular asylum seekers is no more genuine than any other of his occasional forays into humanity.

Gale opines, " Is it not extraordinary that the British government should be prepared to use Iraqi citizens in the interests of our military and... to place their lives and those of their families in jeopardy and then, having used them, to be prepared to deny them a place of safety?”

But surely, Roger, this is exactly what we have been doing for the past few decades? Tory and Labour governments alike were happy to sell weapons and offer full support to Saddam Hussein, in the full knowledge of atrocities being committed against Iraqi civilians.

In the wake of our “liberation” of the country even more civilian lives have been destroyed, and continue to be so as we and the Americans continue our illegal occupation of this tragic country.

If this is the criteria Gale now wants to use to justify granting asylum then let’s open our doors wide and welcome the two million Iraqi civilians “our military” have displaced.

Of course that option is neither realistic nor desirable, so let’s return to the key issue of the translators at risk, for whom Gale has set aside is usual hard-line Little Englander rhetoric in a bid to score party points.

Yes, Brown is wrong to dismiss the claims, and his expected change of heart merely shows him to be no better than his predecessor when it comes to adopting policy to suit the headlines.

But the real issue here is the underlying policy that says that if they, or anyone else, wants to claim asylum in this country they must do it by the book. That is, they must first come to Britain, then claim asylum and justify their claim.

Let’s just savour for a moment that humanitarian gesture by our government.

You are in a country where you fear the life of you and your family are at stake. By very definition you are living a life of fear, unable to work or live a normal existence. Yet somehow you are expected to afford and apply for a visa (invariably requiring a UK sponsor to vouch for you) to come to Britain, to be able to afford to travel here (for some obscure reason Easy Jet and the other budget airlines don’t offer cheap flights to these sort of countries...) and on arrival present yourselves to the authorities and ask for asylum.

If, as in all likelihood will be the case, your application is refused (perhaps because you foolishly omitted to provide documentary evidence from the foreign government that it intended to torture or kill you), you face being imprisoned (sorry, “detained”) here and eventually deported back to the country you have just left, directly into the hands of the very authorities you seek to escape.

The alternative of course is to come here illegally, smuggling yourself in by whatever means possible. Which is normally the only option available for those in genuine need of assistance. Of course, as an illegal immigrant you will, on arrival, be immediately imprisoned (sorry, “detained” again) and face eventual deportation unless you are unlucky enough to bear the physical scars of previous torture by your tormentors and get a sympathetic review.

Such is the luck of the draw for asylum seekers who make the mistake of opting for the UK as a place of safety.

It’s very thoughtful of Roger Gale to give his valued support to the Iraqi translators, in a case where the public mood is clear and cheap head-lines and party points are at stake.

What a shame he cannot extend this rare humanitarian gesture to those in similar peril who are less news-worthy...

Anonymous said...

The matter is one of a simple principle; if our armed forces recruit local translators to assist them in what has become an internal security situation then surely we are duty bound to not leave them to the tender mercies of the militants as 'our boys' are pulled home to safety leaving the awful mess that Blair & Bush have made out of Iraq. I can remember debates about 'better dead than Red'and I cannot help but feel that many Iraqi's feel 'better Saddam than mayhem'.

Anonymous said...

But surely, Roger, this is exactly what we have been doing for the past few decades? Tory and Labour governments alike were happy to sell weapons and offer full support to Saddam Hussein, in the full knowledge of atrocities being committed against Iraqi civilians.

Examples of weapons sales please? Not just your opinion.

If, as in all likelihood will be the case, your application is refused (perhaps because you foolishly omitted to provide documentary evidence from the foreign government that it intended to torture or kill you), you face being imprisoned (sorry, “detained”) here and eventually deported back to the country you have just left, directly into the hands of the very authorities you seek to escape.

You might be better off asking Roger Gale just how many failed Iraqi asylum seekers have actually been removed. I think you will find the answer "not many"

As usual Doom you have blathered away with your liberal rubbish. Maybe you should try talking to people that actually deal with the "poor oppressed people" that keep trying to get here. Rather than spouting nonsense from the Guardian. If it is such a lottery why are there hundreds waiting in Calais? Why has the government spent millions of your taxes putting border controls in France and Belgium? Why are the vast majority of failed asylum seekers still here?

As for the interpreters they took the Queens shilling so if the situation is untenable then we should make arrangements for them to live elsewhere.

Doctor Doom said...

Anon 5:09 you ask for evidence of arms to Iraq, not just my opinions.

What planet do you live on?

I guess if you get your news from the Sun and the Express and rely on the back of a matchbox for your history it is possible to go through life completely oblivious to reality, but even so your stunning display of ignorance is simply breath-taking.

One doesn’t need to refer to the Guardian (and rest assured I wouldn’t be seen dead reading the Guardian) to have heard of the Arms-To-Iraq scandal, the Scott Report, the Matrix-Churchill affair, Alan Clark’s infamous “economical with the truth” admission, etc, etc.

A simple Google search on “arms to Iraq” will give you plenty of broad overviews.

For more detailed analysis, try these for reliable source (sorry, some have more than one page, and not many pictures to colour in, but I’m sure you can get someone to read them out to you):

Cowley, Chris Blake, Robin. Supergun: A Political Scandal. Arrow. ISBN 0-09-918781-7.

Leigh, David (1993). Betrayed: Trial of Matrix Churchill. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. ISBN 0-7475-1552-2.

Miller, Davina (1997). Export or Die: Britain's Defence Trade with Iran and Iraq (Global Issues). Northeastern University Press. ISBN 1-55553-285-3.

Norton-Taylor, Richard Lloyd, Mark Cook, Stephen (1996). Knee Deep in Dishonour: Scott Report and Its Aftermath. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-575-06385-8.

Phythian, Mark (1996). Arming Iraq (Northeastern Series in Transnational Crime). Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.. ISBN 0-304-33852

Kenneth R. Timmerman, The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq. New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1991.

Friedman Alan, Spider's Web: The Secret History of how the White House Illegally Armed Iraq. New York, Bantam Books, 1993.

Jentleson Bruce, With friends like these: Reagan, Bush, and Saddam, 1982-1990. New York, W. W. Norton, 1994.

Phythian Mark, Arming Iraq: How the U.S. and Britain Secretly Built Saddam's War Machine. Boston, Northeastern University Press, 1997.

When you’ve finished those, Anon 5:09, let us know and I’ll supply a few dozen more equally damning studies to keep you busy within your four walls.

Of course, it’s not just to Iraq that Britain is happy to sell weapons. So long as they can pay, we’ll sell. Consider the following report (no, it’s not from the Guardian)

""Revealed: the extent of Britain's arms trade WEAPONS: SALES UK ships
Sunday Herald, The, Jul 30, 2006 by Neil Mackay Investigations Editor
BRITAIN is selling arms and technology which can be used by the military to 19 of the 20 nations which the UK's own Foreign Office lists as "countries of major concern" in its human rights annual report.
The only "country of major concern" not in receipt of military know-how from the UK is North Korea. The listed countries getting shipments include:
Belarus, Burma, China, Colombia, Cuba, Congo, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Nepal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
The UK is also exporting huge shipments of arms to countries designated "zones of major armed conflict" and to nations which have been defined as Red Cross "hot spots" due to poverty, war and disease. Britain also fuels regional arms races by arming opposing nations.
Countries under arms embargo are also obtaining equipment and technology which can be used for military purposes from the UK. These include:
Burma, China, Congo, Iran, Liberia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe.
In 2005, a minimum of GBP62m in arms - including "components for nuclear reactors" - were sold to China by the UK. In the first three months of 2006, a further GBP19m worth of weapons went from London to Beijing. In the Foreign Office's human rights report, the British government says: "The UK continues to have serious concerns about basic human rights in China.""

As to your second banal observation, Anon 5:09, it’s not so much "liberal rubbish" as straight-forward factual observation, a concept clearly alien to you.

It’s precisely because getting asylum is such a lottery that genuine asylum seekers have to queue up with the many “economic refugees” in Calais.

Which bit of UK official policy don’t you understand? Prospective asylum seekers are legally obliged to GET IN TO Britain BEFORE they can make a claim for asylum in the first place.

You ask, “Why has the government spent millions of your taxes putting border controls in France and Belgium? Why are the vast majority of failed asylum seekers still here?”

Evidence, please, not your “opinions” and Daily Nazi editorials.

Anonymous said...

Don't mix it with Dr Doom, 5.09, unless you know your stuff or you will be on a hiding to nothing as his post above demonstrates!

Anonymous said...

what his post demonstrates is that he loves hearing the sound of his own voice,quickly getting away from the original post and causing arguments whenever he can.wish he would go back to his own blog,getting tired of listening to his"rants"

Anonymous said...

At first glance you would think that 'there aren't many of them' as pointed out by 5.56, but they are bringing their extended families with them. Being practising Muslims, this could be up to 10 people per family, making that nearly a thousand in total. Was it agreed at the outset that they would be guaranteed British Citizenship if they worked for the army ? This needs looking at more closely. I am actually in favour of offering them asylum, for the next decade or so that it is going to take to clean up the mess of Iraq, what we must avoid, at all costs is a repeat of the abandonment in Vietnam of all those that helped the U.S. we have a duty, but I wonder why there were no Iraqis available to take out there to act as interpreters, why was it necessary to compromise the locals when I am sure there are enough people in the rest of the world fluent in the language and available to work for the army.

Anonymous said...

Doctor Doom, your comments are counter-productive, you make such a long speech that I find myself 'skimming' to the bottom of your comment and reading the smaller posts ! You make your point most eloquently, but boy ! Don't you go on and on and on and on..........

Anonymous said...

Doom I would love to respond to your latest diatribe but I'm too busy increasing my holding in BAE systems.