Overseas Civilian Contractors

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The Iraq evacuation we weren’t meant to see

The Sydney Herald  June 4, 2011   by Tim Young and Tim Lester

IMAGES showing the evacuation of Iraqi interpreters by the Australian Defence Force in 2008 have been obtained by The Saturday Age under freedom of information.

The first locally engaged employees who worked with the Australian Defence Force in Iraq start their journey to a new life in Australia. Photo: ADF


Defence released 301 photos and 70 minutes of video shot in May 2008 at Tallil airbase in southern Iraq.

The images show Australian-employed interpreters and their families arriving at the base, then undergoing medical checks and security briefings before boarding C130-Hercules transports

Interpreters who worked for coalition forces in Iraq were under constant threat from militias, who regarded them as traitors for helping foreign troops. Many have been attacked and killed because of their work.

As Australian troops prepared to withdraw from Iraq, concerns were raised for the safety of the ”locally engaged employees” Defence was leaving behind.

Australian soldiers pleaded the interpreters’ case directly to then prime minister Kevin Rudd during his Christmas 2007 trip to Iraq, and on April 8, 2008, the government announced that permanent residency visas would be offered to the interpreters and their families.

Please read the entire story and view the photo display here

June 3, 2011 - Posted by | Iraq | , , ,

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