It takes a particularly clear-cut depravity to unite the mainstream left, centre and right in feelings of contempt, disgust and shame, but the Home Office has achieved this with their approach to the crisis facing Iraqis who have helped the British Army in and around Basra.
Dan Hardie, who has been organising the campaign to ensure that these Iraqis are able to seek refuge in the UK, emails today:
The Government is going to let some people in, but the Home Office is 'bargaining the numbers down' and neither the Home Office nor the MoD seems to have realised that the longer they wait, the more Iraqis are being tracked down and murdered in Basra. Also, the longer they wait the more difficult any eventual evacuation becomes: all the soldiers I have spoken to agree that an evacuation is operationally feasible, but if the Government waits forever that may change.Today's Times highlights one such case:
A man said to have been an interpreter for the British Army in Basra has been killed by militia gunmen on the very day that his wife learnt she was pregnant with their first child.And it's getting worse:
Nine or ten masked men went to the home of Moayed Ahmed Khalaf in the al-Hayaniah district of Basra and beat him in front of his wife and mother, four sources told The Times. They then dragged him away, telling the frantic women that they would bring him back shortly. Khalaf's body was found on Al Qa'ed Street later that night. He had been shot multiple times, according to Colonel Ali Manshed, commander of the Shatt-al-Arab police station.
Colonel Saleem Agaa al-Zabon, who leads Basra's special forces, said that the militias had stepped up their hunt for "collaborators" since the British withdrew from Basra City two weeks ago, and urged all interpreters to leave Basra or be killed. Colonel Manshed repeated that warning yesterday, telling The Times: "All the people who worked for the British forces are not safe now. Even people who quit one or two years ago are in danger."I have been in contact with my MP, James Paice, and he has so far given limited support, but I have pressured for this to be extended and am waiting to hear from him once he returns from overseas.
If you're a UK reader and you haven't yet contacted your MP, please consider doing so. Please impress on them the urgency of this issue.
Every day the dishonourable, conniving scumbags of the Home Office prevaricate, more people get tortured to death. This can't wait.