Kony 2012: Going a bit deeper

Noah Anthony Russell posted on Tom Usher's Facebook Wall:

March 5 at 8:47pm - WATCH THE FILM www.kony2012.com Joseph Kony is the world's worst war criminal. KONY 2012 is a 24-minute film that explains everything he's done and how he can be stopped. This year. #KONY2012 Like · · Unfollow Post · Share · See Friendship

Tom Usher

Why this: "Accountability & Transparency 45.00"? When I tried to find out things about them, the info was not front and center. http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=12429 The slickness of the film bothered me, frankly. I am also anti military, as you know. If violence were the solution, I'd be the most violent person imaginable It is not a Christian message. Of course, there is only so much anyone can do in this world by mentioning the teachings of Jesus Christ. All of that said, the LRA has always been wicked. It is interesting that I was thinking earlier about George H. W. Bush's Iraq invasion. He duped the nation. His son did the same. I won't be sorry to see the LRA go though. I just don't believe that violence works. I believe it is an endless cycle that only ends when souls quit falling to the temptation to use it. Peace to you, Noah.

Invisible Children www.charitynavigator.org Using the power of stories to change lives around the world March 7 at 7:27pm · Like ·

Noah Anthony Russell

Unicef's accountability is only 63.00. The BEST accountability and transparency ratings of the highest charity is only 70.00. The total scores are fairly low. 45.00. just to show you that 100 isn't 100% but rather 70 is the best. And well look below at how they grade and all worries should be caste away. And were not sending troop in at all. Were sending advisers in to help capture him. It's not war, it's arresting. No christian would let a murderer run amuck. That's not pacifism. arresting murderers is not killing. it's keeping the peace! Now if we were sending in troops to do it it might be a different story. March 9 at 11:58am · Like

Tom Usher

Noah, I think you're being naive on this. If they corner him and he fights, he dies. They aren't going to do their best to capture him alive. That's just not how they operate. BTW, you won't have seen this elsewhere, but what happens to the little kids who stand between Kony and the soldiers out to get him? Those kids will be expected to fire their weapons at the soldiers to protect Kony. Will the soldiers not shoot back? Don't count on it. Anyway, the main reason the LRA hadn't been in the news is because so many other atrocities have happened. I disagree with the current news claiming that the LRA was all but unknown. I remember reading plenty of articles about them when they were a hot issue when they were so much more active. Anyway, I really meant it when I said I won't be sorry to see them go. Is Jason Russell a close relative of yours by any chance? Also, how's your schooling going? Well, I trust... March 9 at 11:29pm · Like

Tom Usher

For some reason, I'm not getting FB email notifications. I double check my FB settings, and I'm still set to get them. March 9 at 11:34pm · Like

Tom Usher

http://www.realliberalchristianchurch.org/2012/03/17/kony-2012-director-jason-russell-not-on-drugs-or-drinking-family-says-but.htmlKony 2012 director, Jason Russell, not on drugs or drinking, family says; but... | RealLiberalChrist www.realliberalchristianchurch?.org This CNN article says, "In October, the United States sent 100 combat-equipped troops on a mission to kill or capture Kony." That was my understanding at the time. I'll tell you, the two explosions in the Kony video suggested to me a killer's mentality behind the video. I also detected sexual confus... Saturday at 2:39am · Like

Noah Anthony Russell

Oh that's interestingO.o Oh and by the way I found that the Invisible Children donate the ideal percent of revenue to the cause. The ideal/average amount charities give is supposed to be 60% and the Invisible children give 61% Saturday at 10:48am · Like

Tom Usher

60% according to whom? Saturday at 5:10pm · Like

Tom Usher

http://www.facebook.com/TomUsher/posts/339723632745460 Saturday at 9:50pm · Like

Noah Anthony Russell

This article is enlightening in that it takes an extreme opposite view. It calls advisers that were sent "troops" and makes it sound like they are assassins when they were just military advisers. Showing an extreme bias. I would say the truth lies between the two extremes, but this article is of an extreme bias for sure. Makes me want to do more research. Also just read the "about us" area of the group who wrote the article. They are socialist. Interesting. The truth most likely lies between the two extremes though. That's my opinion. It's hard to make one's mind up about this issue because one side is "going with the flow" and the other is so hipster it's also "going with the flow." I've met a few people who disagree with the movement just to seem cool already. It all adds to the confusion. Not sure if I will take any action on it. OH and the 61% I calculated that by looking on the same charity site you provided me actually. I did the math myself. Percentages are easy enough to calculate. And Charity Rating Guide states that 60% of a charity is the average amount actually given to the cause your donating for. But you can find that statistic on a thousand other sites cause it's the average. Saturday at 11:09pm · Like

Tom Usher

If you buy into the idea that US military advisors for an at least semi-dictatorship is a good thing and that this whole Kony thing is not a pretext for AFRICOM, which is about US imperialism (to force markets open for the US and against the supposed encroachment of China and others into Africa, as if Africa belongs to the US just because the US has built the mightiest military and not because the US is the most ethical) and definitely not humanitarianism, then you need to do more research for sure. If the US ever acts consistently humanitarian, I'll stop taking everything it does with a block of salt. The socialists, as you pointed out that they are, have plenty of documentation to support the idea that US military advisors sent to help dictatorships are far from benign. As a Christian to a Christian, I suggest to you that you should take a Christian position and not a militaristic, US-patriot position. Jesus would not hunt down Kony. He would not militarily advise Museveni on how to capture Kony. He would tell Kony and Museveni to repent and leave it at that. That's how he was about the Pharisees and Sadducees and Herodians. What makes you think Jesus has changed since then or wants us to act differently now? Does Jesus suffer from a split personality, where he tells us not to call down the wrath one minute and then is the wrath the next? Again, who is Satan then? Can Jesus be the wrath because only God gets it right as to which souls to purge? Even if that's the case, the US government is not capable of not taking the wheat with the chaff. Just look at all the "collateral damage" (dead innocents) at the hands of the US military. Don't fall for it, Noah. http://www.facebook.com/TomUsher/posts/10150618063013741 Sunday at 6:34pm · Like

Tom Usher

As for the 60-61%, I must tell you, as an old charity fund-raiser, that 60% is pathetic. Yes, it may be the average, but that doesn't mean it's good. A grade of C is traditionally the most common, is it not? Do you want to make your foreign policy decisions based upon C information? Do you want to put your charity dollars into C charities rather than A charities? I run a charity, and 100% of donations go to the cause and not to overhead of any kind. Eventually, that would have to change; but if I couldn't maintain at least a 90%, I'd think I'm doing something pretty wrong. Sunday at 6:40pm · Like · 1

Tom Usher

Human Rights Watch | Defending Human Rights Worldwide www.hrw.org Sunday at 7:06pm · Like ·

Tom Usher

Oh dear, Noah, worse than we were told: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2116981/Jason-Russell-arrested-New-footage-Kony-2012-video-director-ranting-naked-emerges.html He is struggling mightily inside against evil spirits. He is terribly conflicted. This is only the tip of the iceberg. He's abusing/sabotaging himself because he can't cope. I hate to discuss this sort of thing publicly. He needs mercy and forgiveness. He needs to repent out of the limelight. One feels for his little children, what this will do to them. I hope his wife is strong. She'll need it.

Jason Russell arrested: New footage of Kony 2012 video director 'ranting while naked' emerges www.dailymail.co.uk Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell (pictured) was taken away by San Diego police responding to complaints about him cursing, potentially masturbating and hitting the pavement while naked at an intersection.

Yesterday at 3:06am · Like ·

Noah Anthony Russell

That is very embarrassing for the invisible children charity and sad. I think he is obviously on drugs or something. Cause no one in their right mind does that. Though if he's ranting about Satan possession is always a possibility. Pretty terrible.. 17 hours ago · Like

Tom Usher

Yes, Noah, I feel for him. I see people ripping him still rather than having compassion. I wonder if he'll ever live it down. His family, friends, and wife insist he's not on drugs or drinking. Whatever it is, it's psychotic (psych meaning soul). I saw the preview of his video so many months ago that I had forgotten about it. I remembered later how it struck me as strange timing among other things. He can get better. People can fall very, very far yet be lifted back to health. I hope he makes it. There but for the grace of God go I/we. This world is breaking people. There just is not enough real love. about an hour ago ·

I then posted to my own Wall: Tom Usher

Saturday at 11:56pm via NetworkedBlogs

Kony 2012 Video is Misleading [That's putting it mildly] This young lady, Sanyu, is bright and informed about Uganda. Her points are valid. source: Real Liberal Christian Church link: Full Article...

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Noah Anthony Russell

(I am surprised you can't see all the flaws in this video, it if full of shady and untrue points.) Uganda is a big place she is one of the richest Ugandans. This can easily be seen by the fact that she lives in the United States of America and can afford to fly to Uganda for months at a time. Also look at her wardrobe behind her and compare it to other people who actually live in the dangerous parts of Uganda. She might not have any trouble whatsoever. think of 9/11 terrorism. I live in the US, but didn't personally feel any of the effects of the disastrous event whatsoever. And I lived on the same coast at the time. Kony Hasn't been active for a year years in Uganda. He is roaming neighboring countries doing other things. You know why he is neighboring other countries? "American efforts to combat the Lord's Resistance Army took place during the Bush administration, which authorized the Pentagon to send a team of 17 counter-terrorism advisers to train Ugandan troops and provided millions of dollars worth of aid, including fuel trucks, satellite phones and night vision goggles, to the Ugandan army. Those efforts scattered segments of the army, but its remnants dispersed and regrouped in Uganda's neighboring countries, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo."- New York Times. In other words WE dispersed his group who scattered and ran into the neighboring countries. NOW some have regrouped and we are trying to finish them off before they gain strength and come back. It was our presence that made Uganda safe at all. This girl thinks we are searching for him in Uganda. Which is not true. We are searching for him. And we know he is not in Uganda. She also stated that only 31% of the donations go to the causes which is 100% a lie. The invisible children even released their financial documents after peopel started making idiotic clams like this. Here is a http://www.invisiblechildren.com/financials.html Now I agree th
at charities should donate over 90% but that's not what they do. The fact is Invisible children is just like most charities. I'm in no way supporting them(as in saying anyone should donate to them). There are probably better organizations to donate too, but invisible children is an average charity. Anyways she is wrong on many many accounts. She also states that the Ugandan military cannot cross borders. When we know they have and are. Operation lightning Thunder was one of their joint legal operations against the LRA. Besides the real purpose of being there is to PROTECT. Not to fight and kill. Our presence in Uganda keeps it safe. That is why the LRA is elsewhere. SO even if Uganda doesn't attack we are doing our part.

Invisible Children www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-w?ebsite-us-east-1.amazonaws.com We use the power of media to inspire young people to help end the longest-running armed conflict in Africa. We make documentaries, tour them around the world, and lobby our nation's leaders to make ending this conflict a priority.

17 hours ago · Like ·

Noah Anthony Russell

There are some good critiques, this chick just doesn't have many if any. 17 hours ago · Like

Tom Usher

Well, Noah, as you know, I link to things without agreeing 100% with them. Yes, of course, I can pick apart this high school girl's statements too. What she did do correctly is highlight the misleading nature of the Kony 2012 video. It truly did grossly oversimplify and leave way too much out. Most of the youth who hopped on board got the wrong impression that Kony is very hot (yes, in other countries); but he is not. As for the girl being relatively rich versus most Ugandans, she is better off; but that in and of itself is not disqualifying. In addition, she was going off what her parents were telling her and her relatives in Uganda. Are her views slanted by her background and ideology (whatever that is)? Likely. The Ugandan government though, which is headed by an Evangelical Christian (at least that's what he professes) is saying pretty much the exact same thing as this girl. Why? Well, the video scares people off visiting and investing in Uganda and puts the current administration, that is heavily supported by US Christian fundamentalists, in a bad light. So you see, I probably know more about what's really going on than you have perhaps realized. Let's take her comments within the overall context and not fall prey to US propaganda. Do you realize that when Kony was at his peak, the Ugandan government was highly undemocratic? Do you realize that it is true that Museveni was using child soldiers too? The big picture is important. The US is not, I repeat, is not going after Kony for humanitarian reasons. It was not interested in him in the least and only bowed a little to some public pressure. What it was interested in, and still is, is AFRICOM and preventing the Chinese from becoming a global economic imperial rival. It's about markets, Noah: Mammon! about an hour ago · Like

Tom Usher

"She also states that the Ugandan military cannot cross borders." Well, you know she means legally without an agreement with the other country/countries involved. They certainly can't do it and hang around long without permission without stirring up a stink. "Besides the real purpose of being there is to PROTECT. Not to fight and kill. Our presence in Uganda keeps it safe. That is why the LRA is elsewhere. SO even if Uganda doesn't attack we are doing our part." Even if you were correct, and I say you are not but rather being naive about US imperialist/colonialist intentions and the true nature of the current government there, we would not be doing our Christian part in doing that, Noah. You cannot be violent and be Christian at the same time. You cannot support militarism and be a Christian at the same time. Jesus did not support militarism but rather spoke clearly and often against all violence. We've had this discussion before about swords and whatnot referred to in the New Testament. I know you remember. The one and only time he was coercive was when he cleaned the temple. The temple was a voluntary place to be with house rules: God's house has God's rules. Even still, Jesus didn't draw as much as a drop of blood there else he would have been tried and convicted for it. The people just ran because he got the animals moving out and turned over the tables like a madman (the most sane madman in all history and prehistory to my knowledge). Peace and truth to you, my friend. about an hour ago ·

Now here are some articles that help shed more light and do flesh out somewhat some of what I've been talking about. Reproducing them here does not mean that I would necessarily characterize everything as these articles do. I'm about 95-98% in sync with them though. The source is:

Kony 2012, a 30-minute documentary about the murderous cult leader Joseph Kony, has gone viral and has been watched by tens of millions of people online. But will this mobilisation of millions be subverted into yet another weapon in the hands of those who want to militarise the region further? Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal offers some information that the filmmakers -- the Invisible Children -- failed to provide that puts the complex situation in that region into context. These articles show that demands for greater military intervention will only makes matters worse for the people of the region, and especially the most vulnerable -- the children.

The downside of the Kony 2012 video

By Mahmood Mamdani

March 15, 2012 -- Pambazuka News -- Two weeks ago, Ugandan newspapers carried front-page reports from the highly respected Social Science Research Council of New York, accusing the Uganda army of atrocities against civilians in Central African Republic while on a mission to fight Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The army denied the allegations. Many in the civilian population, especially in the north, were sceptical of the denial. Like all victims, they have long and enduring memories.

The adult population recalls the brutal government-directed counterinsurgency campaign beginning 1986, and evolving into Operation North, the first big operation that people talk about as massively destructive for civilians, and creating the conditions that gave rise to the LRA of Joseph Kony and, before it, the Holy Spirit Movement of Alice Lakwena.

Young adults recall the time from the mid-1990s when most rural residents of the three Acholi districts was forcibly interned in camps – the government claimed it was to "protect' t hem from the LRA. But there were allegations of murder, bombing and burning of entire villages, first to force people into the camps and then to force them to stay put. By 2005, the camp population grew from a few hundred thousand to more than 1.8 million in the entire region – which included Teso and Lango – of which over a million were from the three Acholi districts.

Comprising practically the entire rural population of the three Acholi districts, they were expected to live on handouts from relief agencies. According to the uganda government's own ministry of health, the excess mortality rate in these camps was approximately 1000 persons per week – inviting comparisons to the numbers killed by the LRA even in the worst year.

Determined to find a political solution to enduring mass misery, Uganda's parliament passed a bill in December 1999 offering amnesty to the entire leadership of the LRA provided they laid down their arms. President Yoweri Museveni refused to sign the bill.

Opposed to an amnesty, the president invited the International Criminal Court (ICC), newly formed in 2002, to charge that same LRA leadership with crimes against humanity. ICC prosecutor Luios Moreno-Ocampo grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Joseph Kony became the subject of the ICC's first indictment.

Critics asked why the ICC was indicting only the leadership of the LRA, and not also of government forces. Ocampo said only one step at a time. In his words: "The criteria for selection of the first case was gravity. We analysed the gravity of all crimes in northern Uganda committed by the LRA and the Ugandan forces. Crimes committed by the LRA were much more numerous and of much higher gravity than alleged crimes committed by the UPDF (Uganda Peoples Defence Force). We therefore started with an investigation of the LRA." That "first case" was in 2004. There has been none other in the eight years that have followed.

As the internment of the civilian populatio n continued into its second decade, there was another attempt at a political solution, this time involving the new government of South Sudan (GOSS). Under great pressure from both the population and from parliament, the government of Uganda agreed to enter into direct negotiations with the LRA, facilitated and mediated by GOSS. These dragged on for years, from 2006 on, but hopes soared as first the terms of the agreement, and then its finer details, were agreed on between the two sides.

Once again, the only thing standing between war and peace was an amnesty for the top leadership of the LRA, Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti in particular. In the words of Vincent Otti, the second in command: "to come out, the ICC must revoke the indictment... If Kony or Otti does not come out, no other rebel will come out." Yet again, the ICC refused, calling for a military campaign to get Kony, joined by the Uganda government which refused to provide guarantees for his safety.

Predictably, the talks broke down and the LRA withdrew, first to the Democratic Republic of Congo and then to the Central African Republic.

The government responded with further militarisation, starting with the disastrous Operation Lightning Thunder in the DRC in December, 2008, then sending thousands of Ugandan troops to the CAR, and then asking for US advisors. The ICC called on AFRICOM, the Africa Command of the US Army, to act as its implementing arm by sending more troops to capture Kony. The US under President Barack Obama responded by sending an unspecified number of advisors armed with drone aircraft – though the US insists that these drones are unarmed for now.

Now the Invisible Children charity has joined the ranks of those calling for the US to press for a military solution -- presumably supported by an army of over 70 million viewers of its video, Kony 2012. What is the LRA that it should merit the attention of an audience ranging from Hollywood celebrities to 'humanitarian interventionists" to AFRICOM to young people of the United States?

The LRA is a raggedy bunch of a few hundred at most, poorly equipped, poorly armed and poorly trained. Their ranks mainly comprise those kidnapped as children and then turned into tormentors. It is a story not very different from that of abused children who in time turn into abusive adults. In short, the LRA is no military power.

Addressing the problem called the LRA does not call for a military operation. And yet, the LRA is given as the reason why there must be a constant military mobilisation, at first in northern Uganda, and now in the entire region, why the military budget must have priority and, now, why the US must sent soldiers and weaponry, including drones, to the region. Rather than the reason for accelerated military mobilisation in the region, the LRA is the excuse for it.

The reason why the LRA continues is that its victims – the civilian population of the area – trust neither the LRA nor government forces. Sandwiched between the two, civilians need to be rescued from an ongoing military mobilisation and offered the hope of a political process.

Alas, this message has no room in the Invisible Children video that ends with a call to arms. Thus one must ask: will this mobilisation of millions be subverted into yet another weapon in the hands of those who want to militarise the region further? If so, this well-intentioned but unsuspecting army will be responsible for magnifying the very crisis to which they claim to be the solution.

The 70 million plus who have watched the Invisible Children video need to realise that the LRA – both the leaders and the children pressed into their service – are not an alien force but sons and daughters of the soil. The solution is not to eliminate them physically, but to find ways of integrating them into (Ugandan) society.

Those in the Ugandan and the US governments – and now apparently the owners of Invisible Children – must bear responsibility for regionalising the problem as the LRA and, in it s tow, the Ugandan army and US advisors criss-cross the region, from Uganda to DRC to CAR. Yet, at its core the LRA remains a Ugandan problem calling for a Ugandan political solution.

[Mahmood Mamdani is professor and director of Makerere Institute of Social Research in Kampala and Herbert Lehman professor of government at Columbia University, New York City. This article was first published on the website of the Makerere Institute of Social Research.]

Here's the second article:

Kony campaign won't help Uganda

By Tony Iltis

March 11, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Ugandan newspaper the Observer reported on March 2 serious allegations against Ugandan troops in the Central African Republic (CAR), where they have been present since 2007, chasing the remnants of the Ugandan militia, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The allegations include rape, child prostitution, arms dealing and the plunder of CAR's timber and diamonds.

Similar allegations have been made concerning the Ugandan army's (the Uganda Peoples Defence Force, UPDF) 1997-2003 intervention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Observer said. The UPDF and its predecessor, the National Resistance Army (NRA), have also been accused of human rights abuses in Uganda including the use of child soldiers.

A few days later US "charity" Invisible Children (IC) released the video KONY 2012, which instantly became an internet sensation. IC was established in 2006 by three US filmmakers who had released a documentary the previous year about the atrocities of the LRA and its leader, Joseph Kony.

The video demands its viewers "do something" to bring Kony to the International Criminal Court, which indicted him for war crimes in 2005. The film says its aim is to support the Ugandan military by supporting US military advisers in the country ? justified by the need to capture Kony, who has not been in Uganda since 2006.

Millions have responded, forwarding and retweeting the video and IC's campaign.


Despite its phenomenal success, the film has received criticism. This includes the narcissism of the filmmakers and the exclusion of African voices beyond a few stereotypical victims ? promoting the colonial myth of noble and competent Westerners saving black African victims from black African ogres.

The blatant commercialism of the campaign ? "doing something" meaning buying something overpriced from IC ? has also been criticised, especially given the high wages of the three filmmakers and IC's enormous expenses (more than US$1million annually on travel), leaving only 30% of the money they raise going to Africa.

Others have criticised the film's lack of context and inaccuracies. One of these is not making it clear the LRA have not operated in Uganda since 2006 when they were driven out in a US-supported UPDF offensive.

The film shows Kony with thousands of child soldiers behind him, but the LRA is now a remnant, with an estimated 200 remaining fighters. Furthermore, the focus on a single warlord takes the focus off the many other perpetrators of violence in one of the world's most violent regions.

This "dumbing down" of the message is more than just patronising to viewers. Most of the millions of people viewing and forwarding the video would be shocked to learn that Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni's government and military, who IC demand are given more arms to "get Kony", are responsible for the same sort of atrocities as the LRA.

US intervention

The IC and KONY 2012 explicitly support US military intervention. When US President Barack Obama announced in October 2011 that the US had deployed 100 troops in Uganda, IC was quick to take the credit. It described it as "a huge victory for the hundreds of thousands of young Americans who have been lobbying Washington to take action".

US military policy is generally not determined by the moral outrage of "thousands of young Americans". In 2003, millions of people, in the US and around the world, took to the streets fuelled by moral outrage to oppose the invasion of Iraq ? which the US carried out regardless.

The war in Afghanistan is also deeply unpopular in the countries with soldiers helping occupy the country. Yet it continues.

The reality is that a permanent military presence in the Great Lakes region of Africa has been a US policy goal for many years.

The viral spread of KONY 2012 has been aided by prominent and supportive coverage in the mainstream media, celebrity endorsement and bipartisan support from US politicians. The reality is that IC is working to influence young people in the US and other Western countries on behalf of Washington's war planners, not the other way round.

KONY 2012 portrays the LRA as if it came from nowhere.

In the 1970s, Uganda was ruled by Idi Amin, a tyrant whose regime killed at least 100,000 people. Amin came to power in an Israeli-backed military coup, but switched allegiance to the Gaddafi regime in Libya. This, along with his personal brutality and eccentricities, made Amin the West's archetype of a psychotic post-colonial dictator.

Having alienated the entire Ugandan political spectrum and launched irrational aggressions against neighbouring countries, Amin was overthrown in 1979 by Tanzanian troops and a broad coalition of Ugandan opponents.

Uganda's nightmare continued, however, as the coalition fractured along ethnic rather than political lines.

DRC killings

Between 1979 and 1986, 500,000 Ugandans were killed in what became known as the Bush War. In January 1986, Museveni's NRA took the capital, Kampala. Museveni's predecessor, Tito Okello, was from the Acholi ethnic group from the north, who had been particularly persecuted under Amin.

The invasion of Acholiland and crushing of pro-Okello forces was particularly brutal, even by the standards of the Bush War. The dislocation and resentment this caused led to an armed religious millenarian movement, the Holy Spirit Movement. This was crushed, spawning a number of smaller, more violent, armed religious cults.

One was Kony's LRA.The LRA's brutality alienated the support it initially had in Acholiland, but it retained its influence through terror.

The focus of IC's propaganda, as its name suggests, is on child soldiers. However, it was Museveni's NRA that was the first armed group in Uganda to make widespread use of child soldiers. The December 15, 2002 British Sunday Times carried an interview with China Keitetsi, who joined the NRA in 1984, when she was eight years old.

Describing a massacre she took part in, still aged 8, she said: "When we got back to our camp, the prisoners were ordered to dig their own graves and some of our officers told us to spit in their eyes. The enemy was told that no bullets would be wasted on them ... They were hit on their foreheads and on the back of their heads [with hoes] until they dropped into the graves and died."

Before the invasion of Acholiland the NRA had a better reputation than other armed groups with regard to treatment of civilians. However, this created more suffering for the child soldiers. Keitetsi explained: "Museveni wanted us to be different from the government soldiers. If we were caught taking money, we were s hot. If we stole food, we were shot ... I had to shoot my own friends, for stealing a sweet potato or cassava. That would be the last you saw of your friend, six bullets going into their bodies."

Keitetsi eventually left the army and fled Uganda because of sexual abuse. She was 12 when she first had to sleep with a much older male soldier. "It was not once. It was every night. It was an order. It was a duty you had to fulfil. I couldn't say no."

Despite having previously professed Marxism, upon taking power Museveni adopted neoliberalism and allied with the US. He has, with US support, become a regional power.

Between 1997 and 2003, Ugandan troops took part in the devastating war in the DRC.

On October 1, 2010, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report in which Uganda and its Congolese proxies (who made extensive use of child soldiers) were accused of mass rape, targeted killings of civilians and other crimes against humanity.

IC has repeatedly pointed out that the LRA has killed tens of thousands. But their opponents killed millions in the DRC.

Ugandan soldiers are no longer directly involved, but the war in the DRC continues. Rival militias backed by either Uganda, Rwanda or the DRC's weak government fight over the ability to use forced labour to mine minerals such as coltan.

The Congo War coincided with a boom in demand for these minerals because of their use in consumer electronics such as mobile phones and personal computers. Most Congolese coltan is exported, by way of Rwanda or Uganda, to the US.

One of several aspects of the KONY 2012 video that has outraged Ugandan commentators is it implies the LRA is still active in Uganda. Even the Ugandan government, which stands to benefit from IC's campaign, has criticised this aspect.


The US military deployment is clearly not mainly to fight the LRA.

One factor is the recent discovery of oil in Uganda. Also, the focus on working with the UP DF is due to its growing role as a US regional proxy.

Since 2009, Ugandan troops have tried to impose a US-friendly order on Somalia, something not achieved by Ethiopian troops who invaded in December 2006 or a 1992-95 intervention by a US-led multinational force.

More generally, the US is looking for an African nation willing to host the US military command for Africa (AFRICOM), which since its establishment in 2008 has been based in Germany.

Competition for Africa's resources with China (and to a lesser extent European powers such as France) is behind the US military interest in Africa.

However, fighting al Qaeda, and now the LRA, make more palatable public justifications.

Ugandan blogger Drew Ddembe wrote on March 8: "Today I have listened to lots of questions by really ignorant people! Just because they watched some 5 year old say Kony was a bad guy who made him sad, they believe they now know all about Uganda! Kind of like all those people who try to tell you they know all about Uganda ? because they watched the Last king of Scotland. This is activism pornography at its best! ... Ugandans need to move on with their lives ... not this time wasting white messianic crap! People need help to get back onto their feet. To fight poverty. To access quality healthcare. America sent 100 US troops into the region not to fight or look for Kony but to safeguard its interests in the region's resources. Let's not delude ourselves!"

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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