21st Century Wire
Forget about Russia and Syria for now, because this week – it’s all about Africa.
Remember KONY 2012 – with all those celebrities and American school children egging on Washington for a Hollywood-style hunt for the highly illusive rogue Ugandan ‘warlord’ Joseph Kony – hiding somewhere in the jungles of Uganda, or the Congo, or maybe Rwanda? The trail eventually went cold. The main problem: Kony hasn’t been spotted in 8 years.
KONY 2012’s failure, however, hasn’t deterred President Obama. Yesterday, the President ordered an increase of 150 additional U.S. Air Force Special Operations troops and personnel to be deployed to Uganda, along with additional U.S. military aircraft including four brand new CV-22 Ospreys, all set to arrive in Africa on Wednesday and Thursday this week – in a grand effort to kick-start a renewed ‘hunt for Kony’.
Washington still believes that Joseph Kony is leading of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), who has waged a long-running battle against the present Ugandan regime headed by Yoweri Museveni who along with his wife, as considered to be ‘good friends’ of Barack and Michelle Obama (see couples pictured below).
Uganda’s President Museveni has held on to power since 1986, a garden variety ‘President for Life’ by anyone’s measure, and commonly accepted in international circles as a dictator first class . As far as the international human rights industry goes, the key rallying cry in the hunt for Kony centers around the charge that he was impressing child soldiers into his ranks, but little mention is made of Museveni’s well-documented practice of doing this exact practice, forcing children into guerrilla combat, when he led the rebel army in the war that deposed Idi Amin Dada, ending his rule in 1979, and during the rebellion that subsequently ousted the Milton Obote regime in 1985. This is when the story of Kony and the LRA began. The London Evening Post explains:
“The LRA conflict goes back to the late 1980s. After toppling the regime of Tito Okello, the victorious forces of Uganda’s new president, Yoweri Museveni, sought to impose his authority on the Acholi population in northern Uganda, which had been closely associated with Okello. A diverse range of resistance groups emerged at that time; all were eventually defeated, except for the LRA, which proved more resilient than anyone might have imagined. In the decades that followed, the outside world largely looked the other way as Uganda’s north sunk into violence and deprivation. That changed in the early 2000’s, when images of thousands of children taking refuge in the town of Gulu, Uganda, first hit mainstream television.”
The fact that there have been no verifiable reports of Joseph Kony in Uganda for approximately 8 years hasn’t deterred the media-driven mythology surrounding the former (and possibly deceased) LRA paramilitary commander, who the White House still claims is on the run from a crack team of US commandos roaming the jungles of Uganda since the spring of 2012.
Back to Basics
Ever since the White House closed the book on Osama bin Laden in 2011, a drama vacuum was created in Washington. One chief legacy of the War on Terror has been that politicians, as well as many Americans, grew accustomed to the quaint psychological detachment of fighting villains of the mythological variety, and hence, grew to love the comic book-style hunt – as opposed to the complicated and messy nature of facing down an actual nation-state – especially one which is prepared to actually fight back. For this reason, wars (hot or cold) with both Syria and Russia have been a relatively hard sell.
It should come as no surprise then why Obama’s White House has invoked the ghost of Kony again, by reaching for the proverbial ‘bin Laden card’. From a foreign policy standpoint, the last 12 months will go down in history as one of the biggest failures by any US President in history. President Obama’s trademark management style of mediating and “leading from behind” has finally forced him into a rather dark political corner – put there by a new and emboldened Neoconservative faction presently vying for power in Washington. The neocon-driven project for the destabilization and regime change in the Ukraine is evidenced by the project’s front person, Victoria Nuland, who also just happens to be the wife of Robert Kagan, co-founder of the infamous neocon war think tank Project for a New American Century, now rebranded as the more ubiquitous sounding Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI). Kagan also happens to be a personal adviser to the overly enthusiastic pro-war Senator John McCain (R-AZ). You can safely include Democrat Hillary Clinton into this recharged Neocon effort, as it was then Secretary of State Clinton who was the architect of the post-Gaddafi Libya and Syrian Opposition nexus, as well as appointing Nuland herself to her present State Department role.
The result of all this has been that Obama has essentially been frozen out of matters involving the US-EU backed coup de tat in the Ukraine, and has been left only to deploy emissary John Kerry to London in order to save face over the diplomatic meltdown that has ensued between the US and Russia. The defense industry and energy giants who ultimately fund neoconservative think tanks like Foreign Policy Initiative are content with the results thus – with sanctions in place, the stage is set for new diplomatic and military stand-off with Russia – which means bigger defense budgets, more arms sales, renewed defense contracts and hopefully, higher energy prices globally. Most importantly for this neocon faction and the FPI crowd, the Russian issue has stalled any progress in bringing Iran back from the international sanctions dungeon, and effectively kept Israel out of the headlines and the Israeli-Palestinian ‘Peace Process’ languishing somewhere along the bottom of the Dead Sea.
Obama’s original hunt for Joseph Kony (photo,above) was launched in the wake of the spectacular KONY 2012 campaign, a viral video and social media PR stunt employing students of various ages across the US to lobby the White House to allocate more of the Pentagon’s resources to track down and capture, or kill the Kony. Advocacy briefings were held at the United Nations. Then celebrities seized the opportunity for a fresh cause, and the tweeting began. Western mainstream journalists swarmed to the Hollywood narrative. In the end, it provided Obama with the PR cushion needed to deploy some 200 US special forces and additional support staff to Uganda and to set-up an initial forward operations base there.
The bottom fell out of the KONY 2012 public relations campaign when it was revealed that the organisation behind the KONY 2012 campaign, Invisible Children Inc, was exposed as not only a ‘charity money spinner’, but also with questionable links to CIA front organisations running out of Africa, specifically Uganda and South Sudan. Watch the original KONY 2012 video campaign here:
Invisible Children’s links to an influential US right-wing religious-affiliated clique known as “The Family” revealed how KONY 2012 petition was fast-tracked on to the desks of politicans in Washington DC. A recent expose on Invisible Children explains:
“Among the current and past Invisible Children leaders and employees with professional and social ties to Fellowship members are Jason Russell, Laren Poole, Ben Keesey, Ben Thomson, Adam Finck, James A. Pearson, and Jared White – who in late 2009 went on a cross-Africa motorcycle trip with three young Americans who are working to develop The Fellowship’s programs in Uganda, including Eric Kreutter – son of Tim Kreutter, The Fellowship’s longtime American leader on the ground in Uganda.”
Because Invisible Children was not a registered charity in the US, all of its investment funding can not easily be accessed but watchdogs have been able to unearth some serious problems related to the company’s finances:
“Invisible Children has been condemned time and time again. As a registered not-for-profit, its finances are public. Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 32% went to direct services (page 6), with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production. This is far from ideal for an issue which arguably needs action and aid, not awareness, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they lack an external audit committee. But it goes way deeper than that.“
In addition, questions arose regarding a number of Invisible Children’s Ugandan staff who had strong ties to other controversial ‘Christian aid’ organizations working in Africa, including the NGO micro-finance institution known as the Ecumenical Church Loan Fund.
The reality behind this latest Washington push into Africa is simple: it’s the result of think tanks funded by industrial and US-based transnational corporate lobbies pressing Washington’s US State Department for an increased US military presence in oil and mineral-rich East Africa – a lobbying effort which interestingly dove tails perfectly with the Pentagon’s new AFRICOM military initiative signed into action by President Bush in 2007. According to its own documents, AFRICOM’s chief objective is reduce the influence of China on the continent and to secure America’s own natural resource interests in Africa. Kony is simply political window dressing…
The bottom completely fell out Invisible Children its KONY 2012 campaign after one its founders, chief ‘visionary’ spokesman and head filmmaker, Jason Russell suffered a very public nervous breakdown in March 2012, when he was picked up by San Diego police. Public onlookers and police were stunned to find activist Russell shouting to himself and running naked through the streets – a stark display of exhibitionism which ended in him being committed to mental care. See the video of Russell’s meltdown here:
Amid all the recent US and EU media spin and LGBT outcry over Russia’s alleged ‘anti-gay laws’ (which actually do not exist, there are no laws outlawing homosexual behaviour in Russia), what hasn’t been mentioned by the White House or US media regarding Uganda, is that Obama’s good friend and companion in Africa’s War on Terror, President Yoweri Museveni’s government has just passed an anti-homosexual decree in his country – a law allowing those convicted of homosexuality to be imprisoned for life. As a result, US secretary of state John Kerry, announced in late February that “all dimensions” of US engagement with Uganda would be reviewed, including Washington’s aid budget.
Again, it’s the running theme of the Obama Presidency – lots of talk, ample diversions, and the opposite action to that which was previously announced.
Leading from behind.
READ MORE AFRICA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire AFRICOM Files