View Full Version : KONY 2012 is a scam

03-06-2012, 10:49 PM
[any new comers looking at this thread, please skip this post]

Just going to spread this here:

"KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice."

Guys, I strongly suggest you take 30 minutes of your time watching this documentary. And once you do, tell your friends, share on facebook, tumblr, whatever.


Make him famous. I'm going to make fliers and stick them around my community, and also tell my friends about it.

03-07-2012, 04:39 AM
It's not one thing we can all agree on. Rush Limbaugh defended him.

03-07-2012, 05:18 AM
Did people just learn about Uganda or something

03-07-2012, 03:23 PM
Just going to leave this here.
"I do not doubt for a second that those involved in KONY 2012 have great intentions, nor do I doubt for a second that Joseph Kony is a very evil man. But despite this, Iím strongly opposed to the KONY 2012 campaign.

KONY 2012 is the product of a group called Invisible Children, a controversial activist group and not-for-profit. Theyíve released 11 films, most with an accompanying bracelet colour (KONY 2012 is fittingly red), all of which focus on Joseph Kony. When we buy merch from them, when we link to their video, when we put up posters linking to their website, we support the organization. I donít think thatís a good thing, and Iím not alone.

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, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they havenít had their finances externally audited. But it goes way deeper than that.

The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money funds the Ugandan governmentís army and various other military forces. Hereís a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan Peopleís Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan Peopleís Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is ďbetter equipped than that of any of the other affected countriesĒ, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasnít been since 2006 by their own admission.

Still, the bulk of Invisible Childrenís spending isnít on funding African militias, but on awareness and filmmaking. Which can be great, except that Foreign Affairs has claimed that Invisible Children (among others) ďmanipulates facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRAís use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony ó a brutal man, to be sure ó as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil.Ē Heís certainly evil, but exaggeration and manipulation to capture the public eye is unproductive, unprofessional and dishonest.

As Christ Blattman, a political scientist at Yale, writes on the topic of ICís programming, ďThereís also something inherently misleading, naive, maybe even dangerous, about the idea of rescuing children or saving of Africa. [Ö] It hints uncomfortably of the White Manís Burden. Worse, sometimes it does more than hint. The savior attitude is pervasive in advocacy, and it inevitably shapes programming. Usually misconceived programming.Ē

Still, Konyís a bad guy, and heís been around a while. Which is why the US has been involved in stopping him for years. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has sent multiple missions to capture or kill Kony over the years. And theyíve failed time and time again, each provoking a ferocious response and increased retaliative slaughter. The issue with taking out a man who uses a child army is that his bodyguards are children. Any effort to capture or kill him will almost certainly result in many childrenís deaths, an impact that needs to be minimized as much as possible. Each attempt brings more retaliation. And yet Invisible Children supports military intervention. Kony has been involved in peace talks in the past, which have fallen through. But Invisible Children is now focusing on military intervention.

Military intervention may or may not be the right idea, but people supporting KONY 2012 probably donít realize theyíre supporting the Ugandan military who are themselves raping and looting away. If people know this and still support Invisible Children because they feel itís the best solution based on their knowledge and research, I have no issue with that. But I donít think most people are in that position, and thatís a problem.

Is awareness good? Yes. But these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, arenít of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow. Giving your money and public support to Invisible Children so they can spend it on supporting ill-advised violent intervention and movie #12 isnít helping. Do I have a better answer? No, I donít, but that doesnít mean that you should support KONY 2012 just because itís something. Something isnít always better than nothing. Sometimes itís worse.

If you want to write to your Member of Parliament or your Senator or the President or the Prime Minister, by all means, go ahead. If you want to post about Joseph Konyís crimes on Facebook, go ahead. But letís keep it about Joseph Kony, not KONY 2012."

03-07-2012, 05:29 PM
An international war criminal with experience in guerrilla warfare with access to weapons and resources, difficult-to-detect personnel who are still killing at chance (I believe the latest attack was 100 dead in late '10) still needs to be brought to justice, not left to his own devices. Not trying to argue with you, just stating how it is.

03-07-2012, 07:56 PM
Sry guys, I'm a little late replying, haven't been on the computer all day.
Oh god...I feel so misinformed now. It's interesting to see how popular something like this became, only to find out shortly the hypocrisy of it all.
I don't understand why, however? Like what's the point of exaggerating Kony and his act, or defending people who actually rape and murder as well? Did they not think any of this through well enough, did they want fame? It kind of pisses me off.

Do you guys think the US government is going to keep trying to capture him, however? The documentary made it seem like if everyone didn't spread the news THIS YEAR, then the US is bailing and Uganda's fucked.

03-07-2012, 08:31 PM
The last time we did something against the LRA, the Republicans threw a shitfit. Also while I would like to see Kony and other monsters like him brought to justice, I'd much rather see steps being taken to prevent future criminals like them from ever coming to power. Protecting the innocent and helping victims should always take precedent over punishing the guilty. Especially in something like war crimes, where I think we can all agree that actually pursuing and punishing war criminals in no way acts as a deterrent, I mean, fuck, most of the nations that did the pursuing of war criminals, like America and Israel, are basically the current biggest war criminals of all.

But yes. The problems surrounding this video and Invisible Children do not in any way undo or lessen the real horrors of Kony and just because these guys have some bad ideas, it doesn't mean that Kony should be left alone or escape punishment.

03-07-2012, 08:34 PM
@toast: There is nothing really exaggerated about Kony. He is basically the incarnate of what liberal America shudders to think when they're vehemently blasting organized religion. A religious zealot who killed countless people because he thinks God told him to. IMO, still worth bringing a guy like that to justice. In a situation like this, we must remember that humanity is not on a sliding scale. because things are typically "worse off" in Uganda doesn't mean they aren't still far worse than they are in America. So to say that Kony is an evil man who must be brought to justice is not in any way an overstatement in my mind.

But yeah, not sure if KONY 2012 is the right organization to actually DO this, though. They seem to be taking sides too easily.

03-07-2012, 08:46 PM

03-07-2012, 09:01 PM
I agree. Because otherwise, it would be quite hypocritical. It's like fighting violence with violence, and it's always pissed me off when people take that road (like those people who are mad about Osama's death because he wasn't brutally tortured)

Besides, I was looking around on reddit, and apparently the recruitment of children has decreased like 80% since a while ago, and it wasn't even because of IC...so they are essentially conning people now into "donating" their money and buying action kits and shit. It's easy to get people in my age group to be swayed by this cause, so they focus on facebook and tumblr and the act of spreading the word. This is bullshit. I feel so damn naive lol.
Here's the reddit article I looked at: http://www.reddit.com/r/DAE/comments/qlqzd/am_i_the_only_one_who_is_suspicious_about/

EDIT2: Yeah, I think it's important that we do lock him up. It's basically the right thing to do. It's just disheartening to find out that in the end, "spreading the word" does nothing. Like what the visible children dude said in his FAQ, it's like breast cancer awareness. When we're all aware, then what? I don't know if actually getting more people involved would influence the US government to get more involved, because it seems like they're already pretty much trying. I doubt this guys too easy to catch, and Northern Uganda seems to be doing a ton better anyway. Iunno

03-07-2012, 09:52 PM
I hate the Invisible Children sods at my school who act like they've been there through the brutalization for one, or like they're ready to actually take up some real frakking arms and be in real combat with Kony & cronies.

03-07-2012, 10:46 PM
I hate the Invisible Children sods at my school who act like they've been there through the brutalization for one, or like they're ready to actually take up some real frakking arms and be in real combat with Kony & cronies.


03-07-2012, 11:15 PM
Lots of social media this has gathered, but many people don't truly research their stuff and just jump right in supporting.
I probably would have done the same thing if i hadn't noticed the haters comments too.

03-08-2012, 09:46 AM
There is nothing wrong with supporting the cause. Supporting the organization is what's iffy. But I mean, the initiative donates 2.4 million and also works on the infrastructure by building schools and shiz like this. 31% may not sound like a lot in relation, but looking at the plain numbers 2.4 million is a crapton of money.

03-08-2012, 10:11 AM
Its kind of sad how such a shoddy organisation is the one managing to get people backing the cause. I mean, they spend more money on themselves and advertising the campaign then that do actually acting on the issue, and yet because of that they are the most well known organization working on this issue. (also @ Toast, with cancer awareness campaigns I think part of their purpose is to encourage people to notice and seek help for any symptoms of the illness more quickly, so they do serve a purpose).

03-08-2012, 10:30 AM
Yeh that's the main issue with campaigns that focus on media prevalence and awareness, they have to internalize much of the funds to stay afloat.

03-09-2012, 09:25 PM
As someone who is actually related to someone who has been through a war similar to the atrocities Joseph Koney has done to Uganda and parts of other African countries I can truthfully say this.

First you steal our diamonds and oil. Then you come back years later feeling guilt because people are killing us. Then you talk about liberating us.

It is not Africans do not want help, it is just we fear colonization and more "Christianity is here to save you" bullshit.

03-09-2012, 10:12 PM
That's actually a really good point. The intention of the citizens supporting the cause are undeniably good, but the intentions of the government really need to be resolved first.

03-09-2012, 10:47 PM
Imperialisation, hooooo!

03-09-2012, 11:22 PM
LRA was founded in 1987, why are we suddenly just paying attention to it.

03-09-2012, 11:32 PM
"...journalist who has worked extensively in Uganda, starts busting some of the myths around Kony and the situation in Uganda. He writes:

It would be great to get rid of Kony. He and his forces have left abductions and mass murder in their wake for over 20 years.

But let's get two things straight:

1) Joseph Kony is not in Uganda and hasn't been for six years;

2) The LRA now numbers at most in the hundreds, and while it is still causing immense suffering, it is unclear how millions of well-meaning but misinformed people are going to help deal with the more complicated reality.

It makes the following points:

• The LRA is not in Uganda but now operates in the DRC, South Sudan and the Central African Republic

• In October last year, Obama authorised the deployment of 100 US army advisers to help the Ugandan military track down Kony, with no results disclosed to date.

• The LRA is much smaller than previously thought. It does not have have 30,000 or 60,000 child soldiers. The figure of 30,000 refers to the total number of children abducted by the LRA over nearly 30 years.

It also makes the point that there is currently no threat to remove the US advisers who are working with the Uganda government to track down the army – Invisible Children's key aim is to force the US government to keep them there.

We're contacting Michael to ask him to write more about the background to this for us.

11.43am: Peter Bradshaw, the Guardian's film critic, has just filed his verdict on the Kony 2012, which will be up on the site soon.

I'm posting a taster below, partly in response to the reader who has just emailed me saying: "I am a mum in Devon with three kids, just about to run six miles for Sports Relief, please get behind this. Hollywood slick, who cares, support the kids – raise awareness and then start the criticism. It is a simple message which my 15-year-old son sent to me – Hollywood or not, it works!"

Peter Bradshaw writes:

Maybe Jason Russell's web-based film Kony 2012, calling for international action to stop the Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony, can't be considered great documentary-making. But as a piece of digital polemic and digital activism, it is quite simply brilliant.

It's a slick, high-gloss piece of work, distributed on the Vimeo site, the upscale version of YouTube for serious film-makers. And its sensational, exponential popularity growth on the web is already achieving one of its stated objectives: to make Kony famous, to publicise this psychopathic warlord's grotesque crimes – kidnapping thousands of children and turning them into mercenaries, butchers and rapists.

It does not stick to the conventions of impartial journalism in the BBC style. It is partisan, tactless and very bold. But it could be seen as insufferably condescending, a way of making US college kids feel good about themselves. And is Jason Russell scared to come out and admit that effective action entails an old-fashioned boots-on-soil invasion of a landlocked African country, with all the collateral damage that this implies?"

Taken from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/reality-check-with-polly-curtis/2012/mar/08/kony-2012-what-s-the-story?newsfeed=true

I didn't get through the entire article there but there were some very valid points made.

03-10-2012, 12:11 PM
Actually, there is a lot of misinformation on both sides of the argument. I actually compiled a bunch of commonly misstated facts just for the purpose of clarifying:

- Kony and the LRA are no longer Uganda, but have moved into the Congo, Sudan and the Central African Republic (1)
- LRA has been active throughout 2011. They are //not// inactive, though the scale of their attacks has significantly decreased (2)
- Kony does not currently have 30,000 troops in his army. The LRA is assumed to number anywhere from 500 to 3,000 strong. Roughly half are thought to be women and children. (3)
- Of the 5 highest ranking LRA members, 2 (Vincent Otti and Raska Lukwiya) have been killed (4) (5)
- Kony himself is not confirmed dead or alive.
- The number of children the LRA has abducted or killed over the group's lifetime is estimated to be 66,000. The war between the LRA and local governments has displaced 2,000,000 Ugandans overall. (6)
- The International Criminal Court indicted Kony in 2005, charging him with 33 counts of international crime--22 war crimes and 12 crimes against humanity. (7)
- According to agencies, Kony is 9th most wanted man on the planet and listed as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist". (8)(9)
- Invisible Children, in 2011, received over $13 mil in donations. $8 mil was used for expenses. 37% of that $8 mil went directly to Uganda. That is approximately $3.3 mil. (10) Their tax return (tax year ending Jun 30, 2011) states that $2.8 mil went directly to Uganda -- remember this only accounts for expenses before the end of the tax year. It is currently March 2012. (11)
- The executive salary for IC members is roughly $88,000 dollars. Including rent and salaries, administrative costs are 16% of their expenses ($8 mil) The leaders' salaries are only about 3-4% of expenses. (12)
- "Non-profit" does not mean no pay. Many non-profit organizations pay their high level executives, sometimes upwards of $1 mil annually. (13)
- Much of the footage in KONY 2012 is not recent, but taken during a trip to Uganda in 2003. No citation because it's stated in the film.
- Invisible Children has existed since 2003. (14)
- There are no apparent objectives to send more troops to Uganda (not mentioned in any of IC's mission statements or in the film), merely to support the 100 troops already deployed in Oct. 2011 by Pres. Obama. (8)
- AFRICOM (United States Africa Command) was deemed operational in Oct. 2008, creating a military network throughout all African nations except Egypt. There are currently 2,000 AFRICOM personnel, 1,500 of whom are stationed in the headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. The remaining 500 are stationed in Florida, England, or active in Africa. (15)
- There are no physical AFRICOM bases in Africa. (15)
- Uganda struck oil, projected to create revenue of $2 billion annually, in 2005-'06. (16)

‎1.) http://www.start.umd.edu/start/data_collections/tops/terrorist_organization_profile.asp?id=3513
2.) http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/05/23/no-end-lra-killings-and-abductions
3.) http://www.irinnews.org/InDepthMain.aspx?InDepthId=58&ReportId=72446
4.) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7156284.stm
5.) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4788657.stm
6.) http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111%3Ah2478:
7.) http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/doc/doc97185.PDF
8.) http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-14/obama-sends-troops-against-uganda-rebels.html
9.) http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2011/06/14/the-worlds-10-most-wanted-fugitives/
10.) http://www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/images/breakdownofexpenses.jpg
11.) http://c2052482.r82.cf0.rackcdn.com/images/736/original/FY11-990%20Tax%20return.pdf?1320205002
12.) http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=12429
13.) http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/2009-09-27-nonprofit-executive-compensation_N.htm
14.) http://www.invisiblechildren.com/
15.) http://www.africom.mil/AfricomFAQs.asp
16.) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/26/world/africa/uganda-welcomes-oil-but-fears-graft-it-attracts.html

As far as financials go, IC is not particularly great but not an outright "scam", either. Their executives make far less than most charity executives do but, because they are a significantly smaller charity that get less revenue, the administrative costs seemingly take up a larger percentage of the revenue by relation. Cuz obviously the amount of money you make varies, but expenses are relatively static without expansion or shrinkage of the actual organization. If you go on Charity Navigator and browse the highest rated charities, many of their executives make over 150k yearly. The CEO for American Red Cross makes almost a million. The idea that IC is full of turds that overcompensate themselves is not necessarily true. It just seems that way because people are comparing a million dollar charity to billion dollar charities.

Criticism should be directed away from finances and more toward the IMPLICATIONS of what hunting down Kony will do, since he is the kind of guy to enact retribution against civilians.

03-10-2012, 03:23 PM
http://www.invisiblechildren.com/critiques.html To add to what Cyp just said - this page is basically invisible children attempting to answer the questions/criticisms everyone's been posting online.

03-10-2012, 06:01 PM
You're right, invisible children are a problem. How are we meant to discipline what we can't see.

03-10-2012, 06:19 PM
punch randomly

03-10-2012, 06:20 PM
Good idea.

03-10-2012, 07:22 PM
Well they're Ugandan so I figure they're visible during the day. /sendmetohellalready

The potential for effective debate about the issue lessens every day. it looks something like this:

"STOP KONY! *reposts Kony 2012 video*"
"Educate yourself, stop blindly following other people! *reposts random tumblr, vlog, reddit post or editorial paper as if it were absolute truth*"

Misinformation and propaganda is ruining everything.

03-13-2012, 02:33 PM
Has anyone noticed how short the timespan is between the death of Bin Laden and the sudden media attention for Kony?
another weird thing is how out of the blue people are saying: "what happens in Uganda is bad, we need to do something!"
while it's been going on for 26 years. not to mention nearly all of Africa is basicly filled with these kind of conflicts.
Hell i've heard storys about little children getting raped by both rebels and government soldiers somewhere in Sudan (might be Congo, not sure tough. correct me if i'm wrong) besides, since when do human right organisations condone military intervention?
Something is very fishy about this KONY 2012 campaign...

03-13-2012, 03:40 PM
I think that can just be summed up by people's ignorance of world conflicts. My country went through a similar crises. Only a few months ago, the UN decided to intervene. Even then, most people still do not know what happened in my country, even AFTER the UN intervention.

03-16-2012, 11:43 PM

03-25-2012, 10:00 AM
Oh look, another devil figure to direct irrational hatred at. Oh look, this one's brown as well. Oh look, he's not even a serious threat on the global scale. Oh look, by supporting this cause people can feel they're making a difference.

There's a whole essay about symbolic enemies waiting to happen here. There are millions of people like Kony in the world, and quite a few of them are busy running/ruining entire countries. Yet the most popular campaign is against someone who does direct harm to children. This doesn't reflect well on the WASPs who are supporting this rather than doing anything that might require any sort of evaluation of their own values and lifestyles. You know what? Who cares about Kony? There are an infinity of better problems to deal with, starting with obedience and conformity to accepted thought-patterns and including climate change. Did everyone forget about climate change? The thing where everyone dies? Oh yeah, we stopped caring as soon as the economic crash hit. How about accepting an illegitimate leader's authority? Everyone seems to be in favour of the rape of the US constitution and the laughable mess of UK democracy and the European Central Bank installing a leader to further their own agenda, right?

Kony is a huge deal, guys. The death of democracy and humanity to crass materialism is unimportant.

“This planet has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much all of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.”

03-25-2012, 02:47 PM
But aren't guys like Kony like a picture perfect example of everything you've been complaining about in Psalm 14 for the past 4 years straight? I thought he, and organized religion, were the biggest threats to humanity.

Also I don't see how "lack of democracy" in the US/UK trumps heinous war crimes. I'm not saying Kony is an issue now. His relevance //today// is questionable, but c'mon now let's not overstate first world issues.

03-25-2012, 05:55 PM
Let's not overstate first world issues.

Okay, because a dogmatic, corrupt, unrepresentative government has never been known to perpetrate atrocities against its own people.

Oh wait. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism)

And the subjugation of humanity to systematic and unemotional rationalism has likewise never caused problems. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalinist_purges)

PS: Fyi my opinion on religion in general has changed recently; my opinion on some types of organised religion remains similar, though you picked the worst atheist on the forums to direct that remark at, given I'm a bit of an apologist and always have been. The Catholic conception of God is better than the Protestant conception; the Catholic church as an organisation is far worse than the Anglican church (the nearest thing to a unified Protestant sect).

03-25-2012, 06:12 PM
You are weighing the act of detainment under suspicion versus the act of ruthlessly killing innocent civilians for no reason other than "God told me to". I understand what you're getting at and all but those issues aren't even in the same league.

Besides, McCarthyism is even less relevant than Kony, as of right now. If you wanna talk about corrupt governments, we should be looking at Syria, not the United-somethings.

EDIT: I should never type while laying down too many typos

03-25-2012, 06:34 PM
Why should we care about them? We have our own problems. I think that's what he's trying to say.

03-25-2012, 06:43 PM
Well then he sure phrased it badly because he sounded like he was trying to out-prioritize issues based on severity.

And "Why should we care about them?" is kind of oxymoronic in a sense because you said "we". Under that logic, why should I care about "we'? Why should I care about anyone but myself? I have a hangnail, so I'd rather complain about that. By identifying as "we", you are suggesting that you sympathize for a group, so saying one shouldn't be sympathetic while making an inherently sympathetic statement is mehhhh~. The only thing you can really argue is priority, and, as I said, our issues aren't //that bad//.

03-26-2012, 01:20 AM
We, as in: First-world countries heading towards Fourth-world status.

03-26-2012, 12:54 PM
Sylux has it. If corruption and such gets much worse in the first world you can kiss the idea of a first world goodbye and say hello to your nice new shanty house. Personally I'd rather expend my energy on not being subjugated under the iron fist of neoconservativism (and/or neo-marxism) than on fighting a useless and irrelevant battle. Kony is a symptom, not a cause.