Update March 17 2012
From Uganda’s Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi at bottom of page.
By Angela Mulholland,
Mar. 9 2012
A group aimed at bringing elusive African rebel leader Joseph Kony to justice is being praised for its ability to spread its message so quickly and effectively, but it’s also being harshly criticized for misleading the public.
The Kony 2012 campaign, orchestrated by non-profit group Invisible Children, calls for the arrest of Joseph Kony, the head of Lord’s Resistance Army, a small but infamous militia that has terrorized northern Uganda for years with killings, torture and the kidnappings of child soldiers.
The group released a 30-minute, slickly produced documentary online this week that quickly racked up more than 50 million views in two days, thanks to a highly successful social media campaign.
The video says it “aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.”
But the campaign has also spurred a debate about whether Invisible Children is dangerously oversimplifying the situation in Uganda, using outdated information, and possibly worsening the conflict.
Human Rights Watch was just one of many groups with experience in Uganda that came out this week to note that Kony hasn’t been operating in Uganda for years and that his army has withered to just several hundred members. These are two key points that the documentary left out, they say.
Mark Kersten, a Canadian at the London School of Economics who is working on his doctoral thesis about the International Criminal Court, notes that another issue that’s not shown in the video is that northern Uganda has been at peace for six years and there has not been a major LRA attack there during that time.
Kersten doesn’t believe the film gives an accurate portrayal of the actual conflict in Uganda.
“It paints the crisis in Uganda and LRA-affected areas as one in which the major problem – perhaps the only problem – is Joseph Kony, and therefore, that stopping Joseph Kony is the proper solution. The problem is much more complicated,” Kersten told CTV’s Canada AM Friday.
Ugandan writer Angelo Izama wrote on his blog: “To call the campaign a misrepresentation is an understatement.”
He said while it draws attention to the fact that Kony is still on the loose, “its portrayal of his alleged crimes in Northern Uganda are from a bygone era.”
Many, like Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire, point out that since Kony and the LRA was pushed out of Uganda six years ago, life there has been stabilizing.
“This paints a picture of Uganda six or seven years ago, that is totally not how it is today. It’s highly irresponsible,” Kagumire said this week.
She says Ugandans are now more focused on rebuilding their country. Inciting more conflict in the area will only set back the efforts of Ugandans who just want to return to normal life, she suggested.
Others have questioned what going after Kony now will achieve. The rebel leader has already been indicted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges, such as rape, mutilation and murder; some worry that seeking to arrest or kill him now might only incite his sympathizers.
“Suggesting that the answer is more military action is just wrong,” Javie Ssozi, an influential Ugandan blogger, said this week on his blog.
“Have they thought of the consequences? Making Kony ‘famous’ could make him stronger. Arguing for more U.S. troops could make him scared, and make him abduct more children, or go on the offensive.”
Ssozi also tweeted Thursday that “the #KONY2012 approach is wrong approach because what does awareness of Kony specifically do? Leads to peace or accelerate war?”
Freelance journalist Michael Wilkerson worries in a blog for Foreign Policy that in the rush to capture Kony, the problems with Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, are being overlooked.
“Museveni ushered himself to a fourth term last year, taking him to more than 25 years in power. Corruption is rampant, social services are minimal and human rights abuses well documented,” Wilkerson wrote.
“Stopping Kony won’t change any of these things, and if more hardware and money flow to Museveni’s military, Invisible Children’s campaign may even worsen some problems.”
Canadian Kersten notes that the Ugandan government has not been free of guilt for its part in the conflict either.
“When you go to northern Uganda and speak to people, they will be clear that atrocities have been committed by the government of Uganda as well,” Kersten said.
Invisible Children released a statement on Thursday to respond to the criticism, including that it has oversimplified the conflict in Uganda.
“In a 30-minute film… many nuances of the 26-year conflict are admittedly lost or overlooked,” the statement reads.
The film is a first entry point to this conflict for many, and the organization provides several ways for our supporters to go deeper in learning about the make-up of the LRA and the history of the conflict.”
The group says while it supports the deployment of U.S. advisers and soldiers to help locate and bring Kony to justice, it also supports increased diplomacy.
“Importantly, the campaign also advocates for broader measures to help communities being affected by LRA attacks, such as increased funding for programs to help Kony’s abductees escape and return to their homes and families,” the group says. Source
There are some pretty angry people out there. I actually do not blame them. They feel like they have been lied to.
The Charity is not well liked at this point in time. With good reason.
Check it out for your self. Invisible Children
They certainly do make a great deal of money. So how much actually makes it the people who are in need. Apparently not very much.
Seems to me someone should be checking.
You can bet they made a lot in the first while as this video went viral.
Some may be regretting donating to them, at this point in time.
Always check to make sure the Charities you donate to are on the up and up. I even noticed today Amnesty was looking for donations pertaining to this. They of all, should be more careful. Seems they didn’t check thing carefully either.
Uganda says Kony 2012 campaign misinforms
March 17 2012
The Ugandan government has launched an online response to the Kony 2012 viral video, seeking to correct “false impressions” created by the film.
Uganda’s Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi released a nine-minute video addressing those who had watched Kony 2012 video and back the subsequent campaign.
He said the fact that Jozeph Kony is a criminal is undeniable – but the film misses a key point.
“The Kony 2012 campaign fails to make one point clear: Joseph Kony is not in Uganda,” Mbabazi stated.
The minister said Kony has not been in the country since 2006, when the national troops forced the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) out of Uganda. He added that the LRA now consists of just a couple hundred fighters, who are based in Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and the Republic of South Sudan.
“Uganda is not in conflict. Uganda is a modern, developing country which enjoys peace, stability and security,” Mbabazi assured viewers, inviting anyone who doubts it to come and see for themselves.
He also said that he had sent a personal invitation via Twitter to twenty international celebrities who back the Kony 2012 campaign.
Kony 2012 was created by Invisible Children, an organization aiming to raise awareness about the activities of the LRA in Uganda and to seek the arrest of Kony.
The video has gone viral, getting over 80 million views on YouTube with millions of people reposting it on Facebook and Twitter.
While awareness was definitely raised, the question now is: what was the actual motive behind the video reporting six-year-old events?
Some say simple greed, as skyrocketing YouTube figures resulted in skyrocketing donation figures. Others think big politics and recently-discovered Ugandan oil reserves might be involved.
Last October, the US deployed troops to Uganda to provide military assistance in capturing Kony.
Coincidentally, the mission came after Uganda had announced discovering some 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil.
The troops are still in the region and have no intention of leaving, the US State Department says. Source
Right Honourable Amama Mbabazi, Prime Minister of Uganda
Then we have really dumb. This tells me that a few in the US Government are not to bright.
They should be introducing a bill to Check on Charities/Non Profits to make sure they are above board.
Joseph Kony resolution introduced in House
By Stephanie Condon
March 13 2012
Two House lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a resolution supporting efforts to counter the Lord’s Resistance Army, hoping to build on the momentum created by a viral YouTube video spotlighting the atrocities of LRA leader Joseph Kony.
The resolution, introduced by Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. and Ed Royce, R-Calif., calls for, among other things, expanding the number of regional forces in Africa to protect civilians and placing restrictions on individuals or governments found to be supporting Kony.
Kony gained notoriety in the U.S. this month when a 30-minute video produced by the group Invisible Children went viral, picking up more than 50 million views in just four days. The video spotlighted how the Ugandan warlord has been accused of kidnapping up to 30,000 children in the past 26 years, using girls as sex slaves and boys as child soldiers.
Invisible Children has since taken heat for how much of its budget it spends on aid to Africa versus marketing. Additionally, some Ugandans have complained the video misrepresents and over-simplifies the issue.
Still, McGovern said in a statement that the new attention the African conflict is receiving is a good thing.
“I am hopeful that we can use this momentum as a force for change,” he said. “We must do all that we can to protect innocent civilians — especially children — and end LRA violence once and for all.”
Last year, McGovern and Royce introduced and helped pass into law “The Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act.” Subsequently, President Obama sent 100 U.S. troops to Central Africa to serve as advisers in efforts to hunt down Kony. Source
It has to be the oil. Vultures.
Kony 2012/Invisible Children Leader Detained for Public Masturbation, Vandalizing Cars
March 16, 2012
A co-founder for Invisible Children was detained in Pacific Beach Thursday night for being drunk in public and masturbating, according to San Diego Police Department.
Jason Russell, 33, was allegedly found masturbating in public, vandalizing cars and possibly under the influence of something, according to Lt. Andra Brown. He was detained at the intersection of Ingraham Street and Riviera Road. Source
Charlie Brooker on Kony 2012 / Invisible Children
KONY 2012: Making The Invisible Visible
One of their partners and donators is Chase Community Giving who awarded them $1million as a prize for winning a contest that was mired in controversy and accusations of fraud. This organisation is part of JP Morgan Chase Foundation who are also listed as one of Invisible Children’s network of supporters. For the rest of the story Check it out it certainly is interesting
Kony 2012? Critics Alarmed by Aid Group’s Call for Foreign Intervention
Slick viral documentary calls for US forces in Uganda
March 10 2012
Aid group Invisible Children released a slick and emotive campaign video last week titled Kony 2012
. The video went viral in a short amount of time reaching 70m hits in one week helping the organization to raise $5m within 48 hours. For the rest of the Story
I wonder what the total Grand Prize was? Considering only about one third goes to anyone in need really needs to be investigated.
Jason Russell THE NAKED MELTDOWN Video and story.
JOSEPH KONY, AMERICA’S PRETEXT TO INVADE AFRICA: US Marines Dispatched to Five African Countries
The hidden agenda in Uganda, Central Africa and the Horn of Africa is the conquest of oil and strategic mineral resources. Going after Joseph Kony and protecting Ugandan children is a cynical smokescreen, a pretext for a “humanitarian intervention” in a region where US sponsored “civil wars” (Sudan, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia) have in the course of the last 20 years resulted in more than eight million deaths:
“Through AFRICOM, the United States is seeking a foothold in the incredibly resource rich central African block in a further maneuver to aggregate regional hegemony over China. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the world’s largest regions without an effectively functioning government. It contains vast deposits of diamonds, cobalt, copper, uranium, magnesium, and tin while producing over $1 billion in gold each year. It is entirely feasible that the US can considerably increase its presence in the DRC under the pretext of capturing Joseph Kony.” (Nile Bowie, Merchandising and Branding Support for US Military Intervention in Central Africa, Global research, March 14, 2012)
In a recent decision, the Pentagon confirms the sending in of Marine Special Forces to train Ugandan troops in the fight not only against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) but also against Al Shabab in Somalia. Joseph Kony is being used as a pretext for outright military intervention in five African countries.
“So far, the task force has deployed small teams to five African nations, including some threatened by the terror group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, according to a Marine news release” (Stars and Stripes, March 15, 2012 ).
Officially, the underlying framework is “peacekeeping” to be achieved through US sponsored “counterterrorism operations”. The stated objective is to transform Ugandan soldiers into “counterterrorism engineers”, namely Special Forces under US supervision, “who will then deploy to Somalia in support of infantry battalions.”(Ibid)
The sending in of US Marines to Africa is upheld as “part of a new Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-12 based out of Sigonella, Sicily” which will dispatch small teams of Marine forces throughout the African continent. The initiative was launched in 2011 “as part of an effort to prepare African militaries to conduct counterterrorism operations” under US guidance.
What this initiative also implies is the direct involvement of Ugandan troops and special forces in the civil war in Somalia:
“The genesis of this mission was operations in Mogadishu, Somalia, where African Union peacekeepers experienced IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and other complex obstacles, which exposed them to ambushes by al Shabaab,” said Maj.Charles Baker, a spokesman for the Marine mission, in a news release issued by the U.S. Embassy in Kampala.
“The soldiers on training will use the acquired knowledge in war-torn Somalia and in the hunt down of fugitive LRA commander Joseph Kony, wherever he is,” said Ugandan People’s Defense Force Lt. Col. Richard C. Wakayinja, in a separate Marine news release. (Stars and Stripes, March 15, 2012)