Archive for November 1st, 2012


Obama or Romney: US Defense Spending Would Still Eclipse the World

Washington, November 1, 2012 – By Suleiman Wali for RIA Novosti* – One of the biggest issues in the 2012 US presidential campaign has been defense spending, as incumbent Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney battle over how much to spend on the American military. But the sheer amount the US spends on defense is a concept foreign to the rest of the world.

Mitt Romeny | Gage Skidmore | Wikimedia Commons

**Celebrating victory. Photo credit: flickr user chad davis and Jeff G.  | Wikimedia Commons

“The United States makes up 43 percent of global military expenditure. No one else comes close,” said Mattea Kramer, senior research analyst at National Priorities Project, an American non-governmental research organization.

“America outspends the next 10 countries combined on defense. No other navy has more than two aircraft carriers. The US has 11,” she added.

“Even under Obama’s plan, which calls for the first military cuts in more than a decade, the US will still dominate the world stage on defense for a long time.”

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Guantánamo: 10 Years of Human Wrongs

By AI*, 1 November 2012 – Musa’ab Omar Al Madhwani has spent almost a third of his life in US custody. Now 32-years-old, the Yemeni national has been held at the US detention in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for more than a decade.

Guantanamo protest White House © Scott Langley | Source of photo: Amnesty International

The story began on 11 September 2002, when he was arrested in an apartment in Karachi by the Pakistani security forces.

He said he was tied up, blindfolded, beaten with a rifle and threatened with death.

Around five days later he was handed over to US forces and flown to Afghanistan, where he spent about a month in a secret US-operated facility in or near Kabul.

During this time he says he was subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including sleep deprivation, stress positions and dousing with cold water.

In late October 2002, Musa’ab Omar Al Madhwani was sent to Guantánamo from the US air base at Bagram, where he had been subjected to more abuse and endured a further five days of illegal detention.

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Record Unemployment, Indebtedness in Europe

Human Wrongs Watch

By Stefan Steinberg, WSWS*, 1 November 2012 — The latest figures released by Europe’s official statistics agency confirm that the trend towards recession is deepening. The clearest indicator of this process is the steady increase in unemployment across the continent.

Photo: ILO

Unemployment in the 17-country euro zone rose to a record level of 11.6 per cent in September. With 146,000 workers losing their jobs that month, the total number of jobless in the eurozone climbed to 18.49 million.

The latest figures for the 27 nations in the larger European Union (EU) reveal that no fewer than 20 EU states have recorded increases in unemployment compared to a year ago.

The jobless rate is highest in those countries that have been singled out by the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (the so-called “troika”) for punitive austerity measures.

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Burma: UN ‘Alarmed’ at Violence, Calls for Access to Displaced People in Rakhine

Human Wrongs Watch

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) expressed alarm at renewed violence in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state over the past week, which the government says has displaced more than 28,000 people.

Since inter-communal violence flared up again on October 21 in parts of Myanmar’s Rakhine state, thousands of people have fled on boats towards the state capital Sittwe.

 “It is clearly urgent that law and order be restored to prevent further violence, and that access is facilitated so that aid can be provided to those in need,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told journalists in Geneva.

Since a new wave of inter-communal unrest began on October 21, the Rakhine state authorities estimate that dozens of people have been killed and more than 4,600 homes burnt in the townships of Minbya, Myebon, Mrauk-U, Pauk Taw, Rathedaung, Kyauk Phyu, Ramree and Kyauk Taw, Anna Little reported* on UNHCR.

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