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Kony 2012 - A slick PR campaign aimed at normalizing U.S. military intervention in Africa

San Diego-based aid organization Invisible Children released a slick and emotive campaign video titled Kony 2012 that went viral in a short amount of time reaching 70 million hits in one week, helping the organization to raise $5m within 48 hours.
Kony 2012 - Invisible Children - A slick PR campaign
The video profiles Joseph Kony, a Ugandan rebel leader of the Lord's Resistance Army who uses child soldiers, and requests global action to 'stop Kony' at any cost -- primarily by way of U.S. military intervention.

The list of endorsers for Invisible Children's calling for U.S. military involvement in Africa includes: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Rush Limbaugh, Tim Tebow, Stephen Colbert, Bono, Oprah, Bill O'Reilly, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Harry Reid and Mitt Romney.

Isn't it a bit strange that an "aid group" would put out a call for military intervention (and pose for the photo above with the Ugandan military)?

Invisible Children has been criticized by a number of observers in the United States and Uganda for working with the Ugandan government -- which has itself been implicated in a number of human rights abuses -- as part of its campaign to apprehend Kony. The group responded to this critique on its website, noting that it "does not defend any of the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Ugandan government" and "none of the money donated through Invisible Children has ever gone to support the government of Uganda," but that nonetheless, "The Ugandan military (UPDF) is a necessary piece in counter-LRA activities."

Invisible Children Co-Founder Jason Russell Detained: Police say he was found masturbating in public, vandalizing cars and possibly under the influence of something

Mission From God: The Upstart Christian Sect Driving Invisible Children and Changing Africa.  The group is a product, and perhaps the most successful manifestation of, a little-known, ultra-liberal, and highly controversial post-Evangelical Christian movement known as the Emerging Church.

WATCH VIDEO: US Launches PR Campaign for Ugandan Oil Intervention

WikiLeaked cable: Invisible Children helped Ugandan security forces arrest government opponent.  The man was reportedly a former child soldier and was frequently featured in Invisible Children videos.

Whether or not Invisible Children is a propaganda-producing front group for U.S. expansionists (like USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy), they are clearly supported by the establishment, and at best seem to be naive.  One of Invisible Children's partners and donors 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 organization is part of JP Morgan Chase Foundation who are also listed as one of Invisible Children’s network of supporters. This organization is also owner of Chase Military, an organization that offers loans, mortgages and insurance to soldiers that are to be deployed abroad.

The United States and its allies are engaged in an Asian and African offensive, a multi-pronged assault thinly camouflaged as humanitarian intervention that, in some regions, looks like a blitzkrieg.  This frenzied aggression, still in its first year, saw NATO transformed into an expeditionary force to crush the Gaddafi regime in Libya and has yielded a U.S. military presence of some form in 22 African countries (read), and 5 South Asian countries (read).  In gaining massive public sentiment against Kony, the apparent hope is to make it easier for the U.S. to continue its military expansion in Africa.

But a number of humanitarian organizations with experience in Uganda, including Human Rights Watch, have come out to note that Kony hasn't been operating in Uganda for years and that his army has withered to just several hundred members.  Additionally, Uganda has a dictator (Yoweri Museveni) who has been in power for 25 years, and is supported by the U.S.  Museveni admitted, on film, to using child soldiers himself.  It should also be noted that Uganda has a large supply of oil.

Further, armed interventions in Uganda to find and kill Joseph Kony have been tried repeatedly over the decades with no success. Each push scatters the LRA to civilian areas with terrible costs to those who live in those areas. For example, Operation Lightning Thunder, which was a joint operation with the involvement of the US, resulted in the abduction of 700 people and the deaths of 1,000 civilians.

Sources, and more on this:

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