Army bans masks for Iraqi interpreters

Nov. 17, 2008 at 9:31 AM
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BAGHDAD, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- A support group for Iraqis working for the U.S. military says interpreters in Baghdad are no longer allowed to wear ski masks to conceal their identity.

Interpreters employed by the U.S. government and Western companies have been tortured and killed by extremists who accuse them of collaborating with the enemy, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Kirk. W. Johnson, who founded the support group List Project, told the Post the military is wrong to think that the "lethal stigma faced by our Iraqi allies" has suddenly worn off with the decline in violence.

Johnson says a growing number of Iraqis have contracted his group in recent months concerned about the mask ban the army began enforcing in September.

"We have hundreds of Iraqis writing to us in desperation and fear," he told the Post.

"We can't work for the U.S. Army if we don't wear a mask," said one interpreter named Maximus. "If they recognize our face, they're going to kill our families."

Topics: W. Johnson
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