Mojo - December 2009

War Crimes Looming, Sri Lankan General Eyes Presidency

| Tue Dec. 1, 2009 12:30 PM EST

Six months after he engineered the defeat of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers), Sri Lanka's former top general announced plans Sunday to headline a broad opposition ticket in his country's special elections in January. His bid—on the heels of one of the bloodiest and longest-lived civil conflicts in modern history—is not without international controversy.   

Sri Lanka came under heavy international criticism beginning last September, when it evicted the UN and all foreign NGOs from contested northern territories. Observers speculated that the military was gearing up for an endgame with the rebel Tamil Tigers—a separatist group from the island's ethnic Tamil minority that fought the Sinhalese majority for close to a quarter century. According to official estimates, as many as 20,000 Sri Lankan Tamil civilians were killed between January and May of this year. Six months later, 280,000 of them still languish in Displaced Persons (DP) camps; today, for the first time, 130,000 were given clearance to leave what observers have described as an "open-air prison". A recent US State Department report implied that both the president and the general (among others) may be responsible for war crimes. And yet, between Sri Lanka's president and its army chief, the battle is more about who deserves the glory than who should take the blame. 

Sunday's announcement comes after weeks of political infighting between the sitting President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and ex-Army General Sarath Fonseka. The president accused the general of hogging the spotlight, and 'promoted'  him to a largely ceremonial post, from which the general promptly resigned. Now, with early elections looming, Fonseka's lobbing criticism at the government, which he says continues to impinge freedom of the press (foreign reporters were barred from the country in the final weeks of fighting and access to DP camps is still severely restricted) and has done too little to resettle refugees. 

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Neocon Target Trita Parsi Wins $200,000 Prize

| Tue Dec. 1, 2009 11:41 AM EST

In recent months, Trita Parsi, the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council, has been the target of conservative attacks. The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb implied that Parsi works for the Iranian regime. In a controversial piece for the Washington Times, Eli Lake suggested that Parsi potentially broke federal lobbying laws. Parsi and his defenders point out that there's no evidence for the first charge and say that the second charge stems from a broad campaign against him by right-wing activists who oppose President Obama's policies.

In any case, none of that controversy stopped Parsi from winning the 2010 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for "Ideas Improving World Order," which is worth $200,000. In fact, the attacks on Parsi may even have helped his cause. "We are aware of the political controversy around us, and we are expecting to get some heat as well as opening some light," Rodger Payne, the political science professor who administers the awards, told the Louisville Courier-Journal. If Payne is thinking that all publicity is good publicity, he got his wish. Over at the American Thinker, a conservative website, Ed Lasky slams the prize as an award from an "anti-Israel" group. "This is a disgrace," Lasky writes:

Rodger Payne, a University of Louisville political science professor, directs the award. He has left-wing views which is not a surprise. He thought George Bush's foreign policy was Orwellian. And he is a big believer in climate change (at least before Climate Gate).

He also is a big fan of the Israeli left and wants a one-state solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians that would inevitably lead to the destruction of Israel as millions of Palestinians who live in Gaza and the West Bank are joined by millions of refugees.

He was a research fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and at the University of Chicago. Is it a coincidence that the two men most responsible for promoting the conspiracy theory regarding Jewish control of American foreign policy (Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer) both teach at these universities?

Working at Harvard and the University of Chicago, opposing Bush's foreign policy, believing in climate change, and supporting the Israeli left? Rodger Payne truly is history's greatest monster.

Chuck Norris Takes on Obama's Climate One World Order

| Tue Dec. 1, 2009 11:14 AM EST

Chuck Norris is worried about climate change. Not the environmental effects caused by rising temperatures—that phenomenon, he thinks, is a "con game." No, he's worried that Obama and other world leaders are using global warming as an excuse to create "a one world order" when they meet in Copenhagen next week.

That's what Norris argued on a recent appearance on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, warning that if the US signs on to a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, "Our country as we know it now will no longer exist."

"My big worry, is that we as a nation, if we start having to be obligated to other countries ... Like, in this conference they're going to try to take our money and send it to third world countries, because of since we spend so much oil, and these other countries have suffered, then we're going to give our money to these third world countries."

In his Townhall.com column, Norris has also called attention to the phrases in draft versions of the negotiating text indicating that climate negotiations are a stealth attempt to create a unified world government:

Phrases such as "creation of new levels of cooperation," "a shift in global investment patterns," "adjust global economic growth patterns," "integrated system of financial and technology transfer mechanisms," "new agreed post-2012 institutional arrangement and legal framework," "new institutional arrangement will provide technical and financial support for developing countries," "global fund," etc., are messages that make one wonder how far this political body's arm would reach into our country and force our hands into others.

All this leads Norris to the inevitable conclusion: "Now, if that isn't one powerful intergovernmental or global-governmental group overseeing and manipulating America's and others' economic and political conditions, I don't know what is."

Video below the jump:

Where to Buy an AK-47 for a Mentally Ill, Abusive Felon This Holiday Season

| Tue Dec. 1, 2009 10:07 AM EST

With legislation to close the gun-show loophole stalled in Congress, Virginia Tech shooting survivor Collin Goddard teamed up with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to show just how easy it is for anyone to legally buy firearms—even individuals who would otherwise be barred from gun ownership, such as convicted felons or domestic abusers.

While most gun purchases require prospective buyers to submit to a National Instant Check System background check by the FBI, in 33 states proof of residency is all that's needed to buy firearms from unlicensed private dealers at gun shows. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives estimated that each year some 2,000 to 5,000 gun-shows take place nationwide.

In the video below, Goddard, who was shot four times in the Virgina Tech massacre that left 32 dead, buys firearms in his native Virginia and at gun-shows in Ohio, Minnesota, and Texas with the help of local activists in those states. Wearing a hidden camera, he records the purchase of a weapons cache that includes cheap handgun, a pistol with a silencer, and yes, an AK-47. Goddard and an Ohio resident were even able to obtain the Maadi Egyptian assault rifle without showing any form of ID, as federal law requires.

 

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for December 1, 2009

Tue Dec. 1, 2009 5:59 AM EST

GOLESTAN, Afghanistan (Nov. 25, 2009)—Chief Hospital Corpsman Anthony Geron, left, and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Nicholas Becker assigned to India Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, look out from a mountain. Marines and sailors patrol the mountain to find caves and hiding spots used by the Taliban. (US Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Chad J. Pulliam.)

Need To Read: December 1, 2009

Tue Dec. 1, 2009 5:57 AM EST

Today's must reads:

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