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Amnesty International Calls for Arrest of George W. Bush on Torture Charges

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Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper –

Former President George W. Bush began a tour of Africa during the week of Nov. 28 and, according to Amnesty International, he needs to see the inside of a jail cell while he’s there.

The human rights group is calling for the arrest of Bush for authorizing the use of torture techniques of suspected terrorists while he was president.

“All countries to which George W. Bush travels have an obligation to bring him to justice for his role in torture,” Matt Pollard, senior legal advisor for Amnesty International, said in a statement. “International law requires that there be no safe haven for those responsible for torture; Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia must seize this opportunity to fulfill their obligations and end the impunity George W. Bush has so far enjoyed.”

According to Pollard, there is enough evidence from prisoners, American Red Cross reports and Bush himself for the two-term president to be investigated for approving waterboarding as a method of interrogation. Bush told NBC’s “The Today Show” last year that the practice was approved by his legal team.

“The lawyer said it was legal,” Bush said. “He said it did not fall within the anti-torture act. I’m not a lawyer. But you gotta trust the judgment of people around you, and I do.”

Amnesty International has written to the ministers of justice in each country and provided supporting documentation to make their case.

Waterboarding has been banned by President Barack Obama.

ANALYSIS: Cain's Presidential Bid was Asinine-Nine-Nine

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NEWS ANALYSIS

By George E. Curry, TheDefendersOnline.com –

(NNPA) Herman Cain’s asinine campaign to become president of the United States is now toast. Not just toast – burnt toast. He officially flamed out Saturday on the heels – or, shall we say, high heels – of yet another woman accusing him of sexual misconduct.

The latest of five female accusers, Ginger White, claimed she and Cain had a 13-year affair and produced telephone bills and text messages proving that she and Cain had been in constant communication, sometimes at 4 a.m. Moreover, she said, Cain had lavished her with money and gifts and flew her to cities across the country where they rendezvoused at posh hotels.

“It wasn’t a love affair. It was a sexual affair, as hard as that is for me to say and as hard as it is for people to hear it,” White said in an interview with MSNBC.

Cain fought back against Sharon Bialek, the first woman to go public with allegations of sexual harassment. Cain supporters tried to contain the damage by asserting it was simply a case of “he said, she said.” But a second woman Karen Kraushaar, came forward and before it was over, the total was five women and counting. “He said, she said,” quickly became he said, she said, she said, she said, she said and she said.

After the initial story was published by Politico, Cain vehemently denied the two allegations of sexual harassment; he also subsequently denied two more charges and the assertion of a long-term extramarital affair with an Atlanta woman. But much of the public remained skeptical, remembering New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s week-long denial last summer and later confession that he had used his twitter account to send a nude photo to a woman who was not his wife.

Sex scandals are nothing new to politicians, including Weiner, President Bill Clinton, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey, United States Senators Gary Hart, Bob Packwood, David Vitter and John Edwards, and Congressman Gary Condit.

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 46 percent of those interviewed said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who had an extramarital affair in the past, compared to 49 percent who said it wouldn’t matter and 2 percent who said they would be more likely to vote for the flawed candidate. A majority of Republicans – 57 percent – said they would be less inclined to vote for an unfaithful candidate.

While slightly more than half of the public expressed forgiveness toward infidelity, the problem becomes magnified for conservative candidates campaigning on family values and morality. And that goes double for someone such as Cain, an ordained minister.

Although it was White, the lone Black accuser, who sealed Cain’s political fate, Cain’s quixotic campaign had been fading for weeks, largely because his explanations became less believable by voters and his failure, in some cases, to directly deny the specific charges.

Politico broke the story on Oct. 30 that at least two females who were employed by the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, a period when Cain was president, had filed sexual harassment claims against him. In an appearance at the National Press Club on Halloween, Cain said he was “unaware of any settlement” with the women.

Later that day, however, he said he recalled one complaint in which a woman was given the equivalent of three months’ salary. The following day, he said on CNN that the payout had been “somewhere in the vicinity of three to six months.” The New York Times subsequently reported that the two women were awarded a year’s salary after filing complaints against Cain.

In a Republican presidential field known for flip-flopping, Cain proved he can switch positions with the best of them. On CNN, he said that in the case of rape, a woman should make the decision about whether to have an abortion. But in an interview on CBS, he took a contrary position, objecting to abortion in all cases, including rape, incest or when the life of the mother is threatened.

Cain ran an unorthodox campaign to win the Republican nomination for president. When his competitors were crisscrossing Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina – the first states to hold Republican primaries or caucuses – Cain was promoting his new book in Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois, Texas and Indiana. In the week leading up to his withdrawal, Cain campaigned in Ohio, which has next to the last primary in the nation.

In addition to having a third-rate political operation, Caine simply wasn’t ready for prime time. He was a male Sarah Palin. In debates, his 9-9-9 tax plan seemed to be his answer to every question. He blamed the media, Democrats and Republicans for his various missteps. He pointed fingers everywhere except where they belonged – at himself.

Even when his camp tried to blunt the sexual harassment charges by presenting his wife, Gloria, for a television interview, Cain overshadowed the story line by inviting himself to an editorial board meeting in Wisconsin – another state that does not vote early – and showing appalling ignorance about Libya, which was prominent in the news at the time.

At an editorial board meeting at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cain was asked a simple question: Do you agree or disagree with President Obama on Libya?

A videotape of the interview shows Cain, leaning back in his chair, staring at the ceiling and asking whether Obama had supported the removal of Moammar Gaddafi. After saying he disagreed with Obama, he said, “Um, nope that’s a different one.” Looking at the ceiling again, he said, “I gotta go back, see, got all this stuff twirling around in my head.”

Evidently stuff was twirling around in Cain’s head during his visit to a Cuban restaurant in Miami. When asked how he liked his snack, Cain asked, “How do you say ‘delicious’ in Cuban?” Of course, Cubans speak Spanish. There is no such language as Cuban.

Ironically, the candidate who sought to minimize the impact of racial discrimination in the U.S. said he was disliked by Democrats and the media because he was an “authentic” Black candidate. Cain said African-Americans were brain-washed into voting for Democrats. He predicted that he would receive one-third of the Black vote, proving that if Cain isn’t brainwashed, he’s brain-dead.

What Cain failed to realize was that conservatives weren’t so much interested in supporting him as they were ABM – Anybody But Mitt. First, there was flirting by Donald Trump and, to a less extent, Sarah Palin. After the rapid rise and fall of Michelle Bachman, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Cain, Newt Gingrich, who has so much baggage that even Southwest Airlines charges him a baggage fee, is the flavor of the month. And much of Gingrich’s rise has been at the expense of Cain, who will probably endorse him.

A month ago, a poll by the Des Moines Register showed Cain was favored by 23 percent of Republicans in Iowa. By the time the darling of the Tea Party exited the contest, his support had fallen to only 8 percent.

Similarly, support for the Tea Party has also taken a nose dive.

A Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll taken last month shows that since the 2010 midterm elections, the Tea Party has not only lost support nationally, but in the 60 congressional districts represented by members of the House Tea Party Caucus.

More Americans (27 percent) say they disagree with the Tea Party movement than agree (20 percent). A year ago, amid large GOP gains, 27 percent agreed and 22 percent disagreed. According to Pew, support for the Tea Party ran high in Tea Party districts throughout 2010. Now, however, 25 percent of the voters in those districts agree with the Tea Party and 23 percent disagree.

The Republican Party has also taken a beating in those districts, according to the poll. As recently as March, voters in Tea Party districts favored Republicans over Democrats by a margin of 55 percent to 40 percent. Today, Democrats have almost pulled even in those districts, with the GOP enjoying a slight 41 percent to 39 percent edge over Democrats.

Cain may have gotten out of the race at just the right time.

It was hard to take Cain seriously. His ever-present fedora hat made Herman Cain, the presidential candidate, look like Big Daddy Kane, the rapper. And some say his political journey was all about promoting the Herman Cain brand, which was non-existent before he entered the presidential race last May. He sold many books while pretending to be a serious presidential candidate. Getting out now, before he embarrassed himself in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina allows him to exit the stage without facing certain defeat at the polls. Closing one door at this time opens up other doors for yet more books, high-paying speeches and perhaps a network show on Fox.

That’s not as asinine as you may think. Eliot Spitzer had a short-lived program on CNN and far more women have implicated Cain than the former New York governor. If that happens, it might not be the last time we hear Cain’s trademark, “Awwww, Shucky Ducky Now!”

Philadelphia to Host Urban League Annual Conference in 2013

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By Eric Hayes, Special to the NNPA from the Philadelphia Tribune –

Philadelphia will host the National Urban League’s 2013 annual conference, announced League president and CEO Marc Morial and Mayor Michael Nutter, on Friday.

The event, which, it is anticipated, will draw more than 4,000 visitors, is expected to generate $8 million in economic activity for the city.

“We will roll out the big red carpet,” Nutter promised Morial, noting that Philadelphia would have to outdo New Orleans, which is hosting the conference in 2012, where Morial was once mayor.

“We’re more than up to it,” joked Nutter. “Philadelphia was the place selected for the first convention just down the street, and you see what happened.”

The conference will be held July 24 – 27 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Morial told the crowd gathered at City Hall for the announcement that Urban League officials chose Philadelphia for three reasons: the first was the work of Patricia Coulter, president and CEO of the Philadelphia chapter.

“She’s breathed new life into the Philadelphia chapter,” said Morial. “It’s soared to the front of the class. We want to showcase the work that Pat Coulter has done in this city.”

The second was Mayor Michael Nutter.

“He’s a rising star on the national scene,” said Morial.

And, finally, he added: “4,000 plus people are just dying to eat cheese steaks.”

“We are proud that Philadelphia is home to a thriving Urban League affiliate,” Coulter said, who credited her staff for making the chapter what it’s become. “And, our selection to host the 2013 Annual Conference is a very welcome validation of our accomplishments and strategic focus on economic empowerment through public policy advocacy, quality programs and employment opportunities.”

In addition to the events for registered attendees, the conference will host a number of events open to the public. They include: all the exhibits in the exhibition hall, a college fair, a career fair. In addition, the conference will include a youth summit and a business summit.

“This conference is also going to be for the people of Philadelphia,” Morial said, adding that he hoped it would attract residents from throughout the Delaware Valley.

In addition to showcasing the Urban League, the conference will give visitors, many of whom have never been here, a chance to absorb Philadelphia’s art, culture and food, said Nutter, noting that Travel & Leisure magazine recently named Philadelphia the number one city in the country for culture and National Geographic named Capogiro the best ice cream in the world.

“There is no other city in American that has the amenities that we do,” crowed Nutter. It will also display the city’s potential.

“It will showcase Philadelphia as more than a time machine to the 18th Century,” said Dennis Maple, a local board member.

The National Urban League last held its annual conference in Philadelphia 13 years ago.

Contact Tribune staff writer Eric Mayes at (215) 893-5742 or emayes@phillytrib.com

Vanessa Long Resumes Divorce, Eddie Taking Leave from New Birth

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Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American –

Just two days after his wife Vanessa announced she would be seeking a divorce, withdrew the divorce petition and then resumed divorce proceedings, megapastor Eddie Long announced that he would be taking a leave of absence from his position as senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Church.

"I'm still your pastor. You'll still receive my direction," Long said Sunday. "You've given me some weeks to take care of some family business."

Long's wife, Vanessa filed for divorce late Thursday afternoon. She said Friday morning she had changed her mind but by day's end announced the divorce was on.

Bishop Long was sued in a September 2010 lawsuit by former New Birth members Anthony Flagg, Spencer LeGrande, Jamal Parris and Maurice Robinson, who alleged the bishop used his influence, trips, gifts and jobs to coerce them into sexual relationships.

The suit was settled in May after months of mediation.

Information from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

Nigeria Joins Uganda to Pass Homophobic Legislation

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

(GIN) – Joining a movement fueled by a segment of conservative American evangelicals, the Nigerian Senate approved this week a bill criminalizing gay marriage, gay support groups and same-sex public displays of affection.

It was the latest attack on a minority already facing discrimination in Africa’s most populous nation.

The Senate increased the penalty for gay marriage from five years' imprisonment proposed in a draft bill to 14 years. The bill must be passed by Nigeria’s House of Representatives and signed by President Goodluck Jonathan before becoming law.

“Such elements in society should be killed,” said Sen. Baba-Ahmed Yusuf Datti of the opposition party Congress for Progressive Change, drawing murmurs of support from the gallery.

Gay sex has been banned in Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people, since colonial rule by the British. In some areas of Nigeria’s north where Islamic Shariah law is enforced, gays face death by stoning.

The bill’s penalties were debated this week at the National Assembly before a television audience to the occasional sound of laughter, sources said.

One senator worried the bill would hinder the tradition of Nigeria’s Igbo ethnic group in the southeast to have infertile wives “marry” other women to carry their husbands’ children. Another said gays suffer from a “mental illness.”

The Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Rights in Nigeria, in an open letter to President Goodluck Johnson, urged him to guarantee the safety of all human rights defenders including gays.

“We could not help but notice from the outcome of the public hearing on the Same Gender marriage Bill, 2011 that committee members had already taken a position on the subject. That was evident from their deliberate name calling and profiling of the groups or individuals opposed to the Bill.

“The experience has been denigrating and humiliating and does not conform to democratic principles of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, prohibition of discrimination, and fair hearing,” the group wrote.

Meanwhile, in Uganda, a court this month sentenced the killer of noted gay activist David Kato to 30 years behind bars. Kato's slaying came only months after his picture was published in an anti-gay newspaper next to the words "Hang Them."

Rights activists blame an increase in homophobia in Uganda on evangelical preachers. Val Kalende of Freedom and Roam Uganda, defending gay rights, said: “David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S Evangelicals in 2009. The Ugandan Government and the so-called U.S Evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood!”

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