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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Survey finds Afghans living longer, fewer infants dying

An Afghan child receives a vaccination during a polio eradication campaign at a health clinic in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Sunday, March 13, 2011.
An Afghan child receives a vaccination during a polio eradication campaign at a health clinic in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Sunday, March 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghans are living longer, fewer infants are dying and more women are surviving childbirth because health care has dramatically improved around the country in the past decade, according to a national survey released Wednesday.

The survey indicates that increased access to health care in Afghanistan, more hospitals and clinics and more trained health care workers and doctors have significantly contributed to an overall improvement in the health of most Afghans.
"There have been many changes in the health sector and that is why we have so many positive changes," said Bashir Noormal, director general of the Afghan Public Health Institute.

Conducted by the Afghan Health Ministry in 2010, the survey was sponsored and funded by international organizations such as UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the U.S. government and the British Department for International Development. It was the most comprehensive to date in Afghanistan, despite the exclusion of some rural areas in the south where international forces are fighting insurgents.

It showed that the estimated life expectancy is up to between 62 and 64 years for both men and women. That compares with previous studies that showed life expectancy from 47 to 50 -- the latter figure reported by the WHO in 2009.

More importantly, the survey showed that infant mortality has been cut in half in recent years, and is now down to 97 deaths per 1,000 live births. The survey said one in 10 children in Afghanistan dies before they are five years old while previous surveys, carried out about five years ago, showed that one child in five died before reaching that age. The 2009 WHO study reported 199 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Women in this war-ravaged country also are far more likely to survive pregnancy today. The survey indicated that the number of women who die from pregnancy-related causes has dropped to one in every 50. Afghan women on average have just over five children, it said.

Still, one Afghan women dies about every two hours from pregnancy-related causes and while childhood mortality is decreasing, it remains the highest in the region.

Despite the progress, Afghan Public Health Minister Suraya Dalil said, "we still have a very long way to go."

Recent improvements are visible at Kabul's Malalai Maternity Hospital, the oldest and biggest such facility in the capital. The teeming 200-bed hospital is crowded with women seeking mostly emergency help with difficult pregnancies. It handles 80 births a day, including 30 Cesarian sections.

Dr. Hafeeza Amar Khail, the facility's medical director, says the hospital is "seeing decreasing mortality every year -- last year, the year before and the year before that" and attributed the improvements to constant training.

"We now update doctors, midwives and all the staff of this hospital," she told the AP. "We also have a midwife clinic and supply midwives to the provinces."

In 2003, there were just 450 health facilities around Afghanistan, including hospitals, according to the health ministry.

Now, there are more than 1,800. The number of trained midwives has risen from 400 in 2003 to more than 2,000, in 2010, including many trained by organizations such as Save the Children.

"These encouraging results show that even in the most challenging and difficult environments, dramatic improvements in child mortality can be achieved," said David Skinner, country director for Save the Children.
Since 2003, around 20,000 community health workers have been trained nationwide by various groups and organizations. "As a result of this, and other community-level activities, fewer children are dying from preventable causes like diarrhea or pneumonia," Skinner said.

The study, however, revealed significant gaps between rural and urban areas and showed that wealth and education play a key role in the level of health care Afghans receive.

The Afghan government, experts and sponsors say it also shows that development aid to Afghanistan in the health sector has worked, despite obstacles, bureaucracy and endemic corruption.

They argue that aid must not be reduced as the international community gradually trims the funds it provides the government as it starts drawing down the 130,000 troops currently in the country. That troop withdrawal, which is slated to be completed by the end of 2014, has already begun with the transition of security responsibility from U.S. and NATO to Afghan forces in many areas of the country.

"International aid, which has funded many of the public health programs in Afghanistan, has made a real difference -- saving many children's lives," Skinner said. "Donor governments need to build on this success and continue to invest in Afghanistan in ways that directly benefit ordinary Afghans."

The World Bank said last week that Afghanistan will need billions of dollars in aid for a decade or more, especially if it hopes to fund services such as health. The health ministry receives the majority of its funding from foreign donors, with the biggest being the United States, World Bank and European Union.
The World Bank said Afghanistan this year received $15.7 billion in aid, representing more than 90 per cent of its public spending.

The study surveyed 225,351 households and 47,848 women from ages 12 to 49. Survey organizers acknowledge that although it covered 87 per cent of the country -- 98 per cent of the urban population and 84 per cent of the rural one -- the survey had data collection problems.
Because of security reasons, it did not include rural areas of three major southern provinces, Kandahar, Helmand and Zabul, which have seen some of the most intense fighting between insurgents and Afghan and NATO troops.

Read more: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Health/20111130/afghanistan-health-survey-111130/#ixzz1fF1JsbNv

Matt Gurney: U.S. war hero claims criticism of Pakistani ‘back-stabbers’ ended career

Dakota Meyer receives the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama at the White House on Sept. 15, 2011
On Sept. 8, 2009, United States Marine Corps Corporal Dakota L. Meyer became only the third person since the Vietnam War to not only win a Congressional Medal of Honor but live to tell the tale. A Marine Corps training team, working with a group of Afghan soldiers, had been ambushed. Four U.S. troops were dead, and dozens of others trapped. Meyer made four trips back to the site of the ambush, single-handedly killing eight enemy personnel, retrieving the bodies of his fallen comrades, evacuating 12 wounded and assisting dozens of U.S. and Afghan soldiers and Marines to escape the trap the Taliban had sprung. For these actions, President Barack Obama awarded him the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration a U.S. soldier can receive, this past September.
Meyer left the Corps in 2010, and joined Ausgar Technologies, a company that trains U.S. military personnel in the use of high-tech weaponry and equipment. Later, Meyer took another job with BAE Systems, a British-owned arms manufacturer. In May of this year, Meyer quit his job at BAE, under circumstances that have led to a lawsuit: Meyer claims that after he raised concerns over BAE’s plans to sell highly advanced military technology to Pakistan, he was bullied, belittled and subject to false accusations that damaged his reputation.
The items in question were 20 advanced optic scopes for Pakistani sniper rifles — scopes better than what U.S. military personnel are equipped with. Meyer wrote in an email to his superior, “We are taking the best gear, the best technology on the market to date and giving it to guys known to stab us in the back. These are the same people killing our guys.”
He’s almost certainly right about that. While attempting to read the political and military situation in Pakistan is difficult at the best of times, it seems all but certain that at least elements of the Pakistani state are directly colluding with the Taliban in Afghanistan — perhaps without the approval of the central government, but just as likely with its understanding and support. Pakistan will deny this til the cows come home, but then again, they denied that Osama bin Laden was in their country for years while he cooled his heels just down the road from a major Pakistani military base. Draw your own conclusions.
After protesting the sale of these scopes to Pakistan, Meyer claims he was subjected to workplace harassment, bullying and belittling, all by the superior he had emailed, identified as Bobby McCreight, also a former U.S. military sniper. This, combined with BAE’s determination to go ahead with the sale to Pakistan, eventually led Meyer to quit BAE, after only a few short months. He tried to return to his job at Ausgar Technologies, and was told they were eager to have him back.
But it didn’t happen, and Meyer has alleged in a lawsuit filed against BAE that he received an email from someone at Ausgar Technologies saying that the reason he wouldn’t be rehired was because McCreight had told officials at the U.S. Defense Department that Meyer was emotionally unstable and had a drinking problem.
The allegations have yet to be heard in court, and it will be a nightmare for BAE either way — they either had an employee slandering a Medal of Honor winner or didn’t, but must do battle in court with a Medal of Honor winner to prove it. They’re going to come out looking bad either way.
But if nothing else proves true in his allegations except that Meyer had spoken out against transferring advanced arms to Pakistan, he’ll still have a point. Bad news for BAE might be good news for the Western world — if the upcoming trial to hear Meyer’s allegations helps shine a light on the unconscionable transfer of advanced weaponry and equipment to a country that is unreliable at best and, at worst, an outright enemy, Meyer will be a hero once again.
National Post

Friday, November 25, 2011

Canadians end the Libyan mission on a bang

 Nov 24, 2011 – 10:57 AM ET Last Updated: Nov 24, 2011 2:21 PM ET
PAT McGRATH/Postmedia News
PAT McGRATH/Postmedia News
A flyover the West Block of Parliament Hill on Thursday by RCAF aircraft deployed in Libya in recognition of the Canadian Forces contribution to support of the Libyan people
    OTTAWA — Canada marked the completion of the Libyan mission Thursday morning with a tribute on Parliament Hill.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended the ceremony under grey Ottawa skies with his wife, Laureen, and Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard, who oversaw the NATO mission that helped oust dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Gov. Gen. David Johnston inspected the guard of honour as a 21-gun salute rang out.
A medal award ceremony were also expected after a flyby of 10 aircraft, which included seven CF-18s, two C-17 Globemasters and a Sea King helicopter from HMCS Charlottetown.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who also attended the ceremony, had earlier addressed concerns that soldiers who have spent the past 10 years fighting in Afghanistan are being snubbed in favour of those who took part in the Libyan mission.

“There will be a time, I assure you, that we will be doing something similar for the Afghan veterans,” MacKay told CBC.
Special Forces members prepare for the GG
He repeated his past comments that it would be premature to celebrate efforts in Afghanistan at this point, adding that any ceremony wouldn’t take place until after the new training mission for Canadian Forces in the war-torn country ends in 2014.
Canada’s combat operations ended this past summer.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Canadian Uniforms

Canadian Forces – Improved Combat Uniform

In the first redesign of the Combat Uniform since the 1950s, the transition to CADPAT now withstanding, the Canadian military is releasing the Improved Combat Uniform (fr. UNIFORME DE COMBAT AMÉLIORÉ (UCA)) beginning in 2012. This is not the introduction of a new uniform but rather an improvement of the existing issue item based on operational feedback.
The most striking change is that it becomes more ACU-like with 17 changes based on recent operational feedback. Production should commence in June 2012.
In particular, the ICU will incorporate these features:
•Mandarin Collar
•Flat Chest Pockets
•Pockets: Arms + pen pockets on sleeves
•Velcro attachment on sleeve cuffs
•No more draw strings
•Better fit
•Integrated kneepads (two models trialled: “green” and “grey”)
User acceptance trials and working group have already been completed with a design freeze anticipated for No Later Than 11 August. As this is planned as a rolling upgrade to the current pattern, fielding priorities will go to combat units and over time include the entire force.
There are two ironies at work here. The first is obviously that the uniform is becoming more ACU-like even as US Soldiers complain of the ACUs features. The second is that the uniform improvements won’t be fielded until Canadian combat troops have left Afghanistan.
One last thing I forgot to add. The CF Operational Clothing Team made it very clear that the uniform would remain in CADPAT and would NOT be MultiCam.
All photos Canada DND

Saturday, November 19, 2011

One of the last Gaddaffi's to be captured....

Saif al-Islam is seen on the left, according to Libyan TV
A TNC fighter posted this image on his facebook page claiming it was Saif al-Islam Gaddaffi

Colonel Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam has been captured, Libyan officials say.

Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam captured in Libya 

He was taken by fighters near the southern town of Obari and flown to the city of Zintan in the north. Saif al-Islam told a journalist he was well.
He is the last key Gaddafi family member to be seized or killed. Libya's new prime minister says he will get a fair trial in Libya.
Saif al-Islam, 39, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity.
A militia force allied to the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) said he had been captured in the desert about 50km (30 miles) west of Obari, and taken to their base in Zintan in the north.
A commander of the Zintan militia, Wisam Dughaly, said Saif al-Islam had been captured along with several aides as they tried to smuggle him out to neighbouring Niger.
Fighters said they were taken without a shot being fired.
"At the beginning he was very scared. He thought we would kill him," one of his captors, named as Ahmed Ammar, told Reuters news agency.
Libyan TV showed pictures of Saif al-Islam on the plane to Zintan with bandages on his left hand.
Asked by Reuters reporter Marie-Louise Gumuchian during the flight if he was feeling all right, he said simply: "Yes." He added that he had been injured in a Nato air strike a month ago.
Interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib told reporters in Zintan: "We assure Libyans and the world that Saif al-Islam will receive a fair trial."
He added that he was happy for him to remain in Zintan rather than be transferred to the capital, Tripoli.
"Our brothers and sisters here and the authorities are definitely trustworthy. We trust their ability to be able take care of this person," Mr Keib said.
The Zintan fighters, who make up one of the powerful militia factions in the country, have said they plan to keep Saif al-Islam until they could hand him over to Tripoli.
Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said Gaddafi's son would face justice in Libya itself.
ICC spokesman Fadi el-Abdallah told the BBC that Libya had a legal obligation to hand Saif al-Islam over to the court, and that the final decision on a trial venue was up to ICC judges after consultations with Tripoli.
ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said he was travelling to Libya for talks on the issue, adding: "The news is Saif will get justice. Where and how, that we will discuss."
The European Union urged Libyan authorities to ensure that Said al-Islam is brought to justice in full co-operation with the ICC.
British Prime Minister David Cameron called on the country's leaders to ensure he was tried "in line with international standards".
Saif al-Islam
Reuters has released this fresh clear image of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi on a plane in Zintan following his capture.


The capture leaves Gaddafi's former intelligence chief, Abdallah Senoussi, as the only Libyan ICC suspect still at large.
Saif al-Islam had been on the run since NTC forces took Tripoli in August, six months into the uprising.
Colonel Gaddafi himself was killed on 20 October after being captured during the final battle for his hometown, Sirte.
The interim government in Libya has launched an inquiry into how he died.
The BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says Saif al-Islam's capture is a very significant moment for Libyans.
They came to see Saif al-Islam as the heir apparent, as a younger version of his father due to his rhetoric during the uprising, she says.
However, at one time he was considered one of the more liberal of Col Gaddafi's sons and was courted in the West.
Celebrations erupted on the streets of Tripoli shortly after the news of his arrest emerged.
Our correspondent heard people hooting car horns, waving flags and firing guns into the air.
Saif al-Islam has been reported captured before. In August, rebel forces announced his arrest as they took control of Tripoli - only for him to appear in front of cameras to disprove it.

Saif al-Islam
Saif captured and again posted on facebook this time in Sabha

Civilian Death totals from NATO airstrikes...Libya

It looks like the total of civilians killed in NATO Air strikes is now being estimated and it seems as few as 50 and possibly over 100 were killed.   
Any civilian death is to be condemned but considering there was almost 10 000 strike missions the number seems very small.
Vehicles belonging to pro-Gaddafi forces explode after a Nato airstrike on a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah on 20 March 2011Nato insists it took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties but observers believe it would have been very difficult for Nato to avoid them altogether
As Nato ends its mission in Libya, just how many civilians lost their lives in the air strikes? As the BBC's Jonathan Beale explains, we may never know.
The famous phrase, attributed to Mark Twain, is that there are "lies, damned lies and statistics".
In war, establishing the truth is even harder.
As the dust settles on Nato's seven-month mission over Libya, there are few reliable statistics.
No-one is really sure, at least for now, how much this war has cost in human lives.
Estimates of those killed - including pro-Gaddafi forces, "rebel" forces and civilians - currently vary between 2,000 and 30,000.
Given that the United Nations' mandate for the mission over Libya was to "protect civilians", the Nato alliance has always maintained that it took every precaution to avoid such casualties.
The alliance says precautions often included round-the-clock surveillance from the air to establish "patterns of life" to ensure that civilians would not be hit.
On a number of occasions, planned air strikes were called off at the last minute because of fears that civilians could be hidden among legitimate military targets.
'Murderers and barbarians'
To avoid undermining the mission, the alliance also relied heavily on "precision" weapons - bombs and missiles with "low collateral damage" guided by either laser or GPS systems.
The RAF's Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Stephen Dalton, told MPs last week that these weapons "performed well above the predicted level". In one example, more than 98% of Brimstone missiles fired by RAF warplanes directly hit their target. The few that did not, still landed within a few yards.

But Nato did not only use precision munitions.
British Army Apache ground attack helicopters - used later in the campaign - fired some 4,000 rounds from their 30mm cannon. It is a weapon designed to provide an arc of fire, and its use in Afghanistan has been responsible for a number of civilian casualties.
However, once again, there is no hard proof that the Apaches used in Libya led to any civilian deaths.
RAF Typhoon fighter jet at Gioia del Colle air base in Italy after first mission over Libya on 21 March 2011 (Photo supplied by MoD)
Nato carried out nearly 10,000 strike sorties during its seven-month mission in Libya
Throughout the seven-month campaign, Nato admitted there had been one weapon "malfunction".
On 19 June, several civilians were reported to have been killed when a missile hit buildings in Tripoli. A Nato spokesman later said that "a potential weapon system failure occurred and this caused the weapon not to hit the intended target".
Even then, the alliance has disputed claims by the Gaddafi regime that civilians were the victims of its air strikes.
An attack on what Nato says was a command and control centre in Surman on 20 June reportedly killed two children and their mother.
It was this strike that prompted Colonel Gaddafi to take to the airwaves to denounce Nato as "murderers and barbarians".
Claims by the regime that Nato had killed hundreds of civilians became part of its propaganda to try to halt the bombardment.
In the middle of July, the Libyan health office claimed the air strikes had killed 1,108 civilians and wounded 4,500. But, again, no-one has been in a position to verify these claims.
'Revenge killings'
No-one within Nato, though, can claim that its air strikes did not cause any civilian deaths.

The sheer scale of the Nato bombing campaign - with 9,658 strike sorties - suggests that it would have been very hard to avoid civilian casualties.
Much of the fighting took place in built-up areas and a known tactic of pro-Gaddafi forces was to hide among the civilian population.
The UK alone - carrying out one-fifth of the total strike sorties - fired 1,420 precision-guided munitions, and hit more than 600 targets.
Anti-Gaddafi fighters fire Howitzers at pro-Gaddafi forces near Sirte on 23 September 2011
Civilians are known to have been caught up in the ground fighting between pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces
In September, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), an independent think tank, estimated that "between 50-100 civilians had perished from air strikes in the six months of the campaign". But, it added the caveat that the "figures [for civilian casualties] vary wildly".
Twelve years after Nato's bombing campaign over Kosovo, there is still no accurate figure for the number of civilians killed. The estimates are between 200 and 500.
It is likely that, in Libya, most civilian casaulties were caused by fighting on the ground between pro-Gaddafi and rebel forces.
There have already been well-documented reports of revenge killings by both sides.
Nato says it has no teams on the ground to assess the impact of its air strikes on the civilian population.
It has been left to organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to try to establish the scale of the killing - including examining the effects of Nato's air strikes.
But it might take years to get a picture of what really happened. And, even then the figures are likely be open to dispute.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Veterans 'horrified' after HMS Belfast is airbrushed from Olympics poster

HMS Belfast poster
HMS Belfast in her proper place

Evening Standard   9 Nov 2011 

Olympics bosses were today accused of trying to "remove" Britain's military history after HMS Belfast was air-brushed from a poster.
The advert, promoting the London 2012 Festival, shows the view around Tower bridge. But the warship, which has been moored on the Thames since 1971 and played a crucial role protecting the Arctic convoys and supporting the D-Day landings, is notably missing from the poster.
Veterans today said they were "horrified" by the omission. Sir James Eberle, who served on Belfast between 1944 and 1945 and again during the Korean war, said: "Hearing this news horrifies me. I'm astonished that HMS Belfast could be so thoughtlessly removed." Sir James, who is a former admiral and president of the HMS Belfast Association, said that Olympics chiefs should "show off" the country's maritime history. "This shows complete contempt for veterans, especially just days from Remembrance Sunday."
The poster was spotted on a Northern line platform at Camden Town. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games today apologised for the mistake and any offence caused and said the posters had been removed and redesigned. A spokesman said the reason HMS Belfast had been omitted from one of the designs was because it was underneath one of the letters in the text.

HMS Belfast poster
The offending poster as seen in the tube and as you can also see the HMS Belfast was never where the spokesman said it was....  " A spokesman said the reason HMS Belfast had been omitted from one of the designs was because it was underneath one of the letters in the text."

Is the UK going to suffer a hit in the 2012 Olympics?

The latest arrest of four Pakistani "martyrs" has led some to ask not if there is a next attack in the UK but when.  With the worlds eyes on London the eyes of terror groups are also looking to hit the gold. 

Terror sweep yields 4 more arrests in UK

Four men, aged between 19 and 24, have been 
arrested by the UK's West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit in the ongoing counter-terrorism sweep dubbed Operation Pitsford. The men from the Sparkhill area of Birmingham are accused of raising funds to support terror activities, traveling to Pakistan to receive terror training, and making a martyrdom video. Officials say that the public was not in immediate danger as the arrests were pre-planned and the suspects were under constant surveillance.
Operation Pitsford has now led to the arrests of 12 suspects who are each suspected of some combination of the following offenses: providing financing to terrorist organizations, training in Pakistan with terror groups, and plotting to unleash a wave of suicide bombers on UK soil.
In an earlier part of the terror investigation, eight suspects were arrested in September. It was later revealed that the accused were linked to an al Qaeda cell in Pakistan, where two of the suspects are purported to have trained to be suicide bombers and made martyrdom videos in preparation for their plot.
All suspects arrested under the UK's Terrorism Act 2000 are subject to questioning during the first 48 hours following their arrest, after which they must be charged, released, or detained under a further warrant. Seven of the suspects arrested in September have already appeared in court and are currently out on bail.

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2011/11/terror_sweep_yields_four_more.php#ixzz1e7RuewuO

2 Brits thought killed in US drone strike in Pakistan

Two British Muslims were killed in a US Predator airstrike that took place in the Waziristan tribal areas about three months ago, according to their families. One of the men had fled the United Kingdom after being placed under a so-called "control order" that is designed to limit the movement of a terrorist suspect. The other man, the brother of a senior al Qaeda leader who was also killed by the US in Pakistan, had been hit with financial sanctions in the United Kingdom due to suspected ties with terror groups.
The two Brits were identified as Ibrahim Adam and Mohammed Azmir. They were said to have been killed sometime in August, according to AFP.
Terror suspects
Lamine Adam, left, Cerie Bullivant, centre, and Ibrahim Adam (now known to be killed in a US drone strike) went missing after Anthony Garcia was captured after a terror bomb investigation.

Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/50312-hunt-for-on-the-run-terror-trio#ixzz1e7P710VM
The US carried out six airstrikes in Pakistan's tribal agencies in August; four were in North Waziristan, and two were in South Waziristan. One of the strikes, on Aug. 22, took place in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan. Mir Ali is known to host groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and al Qaeda. Both groups train Europeans to conduct attacks in their home countries.
At least one Briton is known to have been killed in a Predator airstrike in North Waziristan. On Sept. 8, 2010, Abdul Jabbar was killed in a US airstrike in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan. Two Germans were also killed in the strike. Jabbar, who was originally from Jhelum in Pakistan, was said to have been appointed as the future leader of the so-called Islamic Army of Great Britain. The group was formed by al Qaeda to participate in Mumbai-styled terror assaults that were to take place in Britain and other European countries.
Although both Adam and Azmir were known to be involved in terrorist activities, the British government had allowed the men to leave the country.
Azmir is the brother of Abdul Jabbar. Azmir "was slapped with a finance ministry order in February 2010 freezing his assets over concerns that he was involved in funding terrorism," according to AFP. It is unclear when he left the country.
Anthony Garcia in jail on terror charges during Operation Crevice, which planned for various bombings (using almost 1/2 a ton of fertilizer) or combining the attack with a hijacking 
Adam was the subject of a controversial control order, a form of house arrest which restricted his movements and allowed him to be monitored by authorities. He absconded on the control order along with his brother Lalime Adam and four others. Ibrahim and Lalime are brothers of Anthony Garcia, who is in jail for plotting to carry out bombings in the United Kingdom.
Adam is the second known jihadist to have been reported killed in the Afghan-Pakistan region after being subjected to a control order in Britain. Mahmud Abu Rideh, a Palestinian from Khan Younis who was jailed for four years in the United Kingdom after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, is reported to have been killed by the US military in an airstrike in Afghanistan in late 2010.
In 2004, Britain's highest court ruled that the emergency laws that allowed the government to hold Abu Rideh violated his human rights, and ordered his release. In March 2005, Abu Rideh was released from prison but was subject to a control order. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International took up Abu Rideh's case and sought to block his deportation to Jordan due to fears he would be tortured by Jordan's General Intelligence Department.
In July 2009, Abu Rideh, with the help of Amnesty International, succeeded in having the control order lifted. Amnesty International then sought to have his overseas travel restrictions lifted. He did an interview with an Iranian news agency in August 2009 and then disappeared shortly afterward.

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/11/two_brits_thought_ki.php#ixzz1e7OYi3A1

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Syrian Rebels Attack Damascus Military Base, Form Council

Is this the first steps in a Syrian civil war as protesters take up arms against the Assad regime.
Syrian rebel attack on army vehicles (BMP)

Posted Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 at 8:50 am
Syrian opposition activists say army defectors have attacked a government base near the capital, Damascus, and formed a rebel council in an escalation of an eight-month uprising against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Syrian protests
The activists say rebels of the Free Syrian Army fired rockets and machine guns at an air force intelligence complex in the Damascus suburb of Harasta early Wednesday. There was no independent confirmation of the rebel attack or information about casualties.
A Germany-based spokesman for Syria's Local Coordination Committees told VOA that the Free Syrian Army has established a temporary military council whose goal is to weaken the Syrian security forces. Hozan Ibrahim says the Syrian rebels announced the formation of the council in a statement released late Tuesday. The Free Syrian Army previously had no announced central command.
A group of men claiming to be Syrian army defectors also released a video statement Wednesday declaring their desertion from the pro-Assad military.
Army attacks on civilians
Syrian army defectors have engaged in increasingly deadly battles with government forces in the past week. But those confrontations had been concentrated outside the capital, including the northwestern region of Idlib, the central region of Homs and southern region of Daraa.
Free Syrian Army Green Logo.jpg
Logo of the Free Syrian Army
President Assad faced increased regional isolation Wednesday, as foreign ministers from Arab nations and Turkey met in Morocco to consider additional sanctions against Syria for refusing to end the crackdown. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the gathering the Syrian government “will pay a high price.” Syria boycotted the talks.
The league voted Saturday to suspend Syria's membership, accusing Damascus of failing to implement a deal with the regional bloc to stop the violent crackdown on dissent. The suspension was due to take effect Wednesday.
Government loyalists also have staged mass rallies in recent weeks. Syrian state television showed thousands of Assad supporters rallying in the port of Latakia Wednesday, holding up his picture and denouncing the Arab League.
Free syrian army 2011 11 2
The United Nations says at least 3,500 people have been killed in connection with the Syrian revolt since March. Syria blames much of the violence on foreign-backed terrorists and religious extremists.