According to their website,
the American NGO, Invisible Children, claims now to have had over 80
million viewers to their YouTube video, “Kony2012,” since its release
on YouTube a few weeks ago. For anyone with the patience to sit through
the entire YouTube of Kony2012, it is questionable how truthful the
figure of 80 million viewers is. Eighty million is unprecedented in
YouTube history by all accounts.
The video features such prominent Hollywood personalities as Angelina
Jolie, George Clooney, Lady GaGa, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Sean “Puff
Daddy” Combs and other notables. It’s a slick, sentimental story directed
by Jason Russell, a 33-year-old now-hospitalized American filmmaker
who apparently just underwent a bizarre mental disconnect on the streets
of San Diego. The YouTube video depicts a young Ugandan, Jacob Acaye,
whom Russell claims he befriended some ten years earlier after Acaye
escaped conscription into Joseph Kony’s Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)
as an 11-year-old killer. The film portrays Kony as the world’s worst
beast and terrorist, in effect, Africa’s Osama bin Laden.
The Invisible Children NGO is itself opaque. It reportedly rakes in
millions from sales of such things as buttons, Invisible Children T-shirts,
bracelets and posters priced from $30-$250, but it ranks low on transparency
regarding other donors. The group, which employs around 100 people,
is expected to raise millions of dollars from their “Kony2012” video,
but so far it refuses to say how much has been donated or how it will
spend the money. The founders of the group, who advocate direct US military
intervention in response to the LRA, had been previously criticized
for posing with guns alongside members of the Sudan People's Liberation
Army (SPLA) in 2008, an organization widely accused of rape and looting.
The group issued a statement in response: "We thought it would be funny
to bring back to our friends and family a joke photo. You know, ‘Haha
they have bazookas in their hands but they're actually fighting for
According to the London Guardian, Invisible Children's “accounts show
it is a cash-rich operation, which more than tripled its income in 2011”
to nearly $9 million, mainly from personal donations. Of this, nearly
25% was spent on travel and film-making. Most of the money raised has
been spent in the US, not for Africa’s “invisible children” or even
visible ones. According to information obtained by the Guardian, “the
accounts show $1.7million went to US employee salaries, $850,000 in
film production costs, $244,000 in ‘professional services’ thought
to be Washington lobbyists and $1.07 million in travel expenses.
Nearly $400,000 was spent on office rent in San Diego” Charity Navigator,
a US charity evaluator, gave the organization only two stars for "accountability
and transparency." The USAID, a State Department agency which
coordinates its foreign interventions with the Pentagon and CIA, openly
states on its website that it has funded Invisible Children Inc. in
The bizarre thing about “Kony2012” is that Joseph Kony either fled Uganda
or was killed fleeing more than six years ago. It is claimed he fled
to the wilds of Congo or Central Africa, hence he makes a perfect echo
of the elusive Osama bin Laden, justifying US military action across
the rich terrain of central Africa from Uganda to the Democratic Republic
of Congo, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Uganda and beyond.
Like Joseph Kony, Osama bin Laden was reliably reported to have died
in Afghanistan years before his staged murder by Navy Seals a year ago.
But his legend was kept alive to justify spreading the US War on Terror;
so now, with the legend of Joseph Kony propagated by Invisible Children
Inc. in San Diego. The issue is not whether Kony had committed atrocities;
that is beyond dispute. The issue is whether “Kony2012” is being falsely
promoted to justify US military intervention where it is unwanted by
One American human rights worker in Uganda in a recent interview declared,
“Invisible Children's campaign is…an excuse that the US government has
gladly adopted in order to help justify the expansion of their military
presence in central Africa. Invisible Children are ‘useful idiots’,
being used by those in the US government who seek to militarize Africa,
to send more and more weapons and military aid, and to bolster the power
of states who are US allies. The hunt for Joseph Kony is the perfect
excuse for this strategy - how often does the US government find millions
of young Americans pleading that they intervene militarily in a place
rich in oil and other resources?”
The “Kony2012” video is being credited with giving the US Congress the
spur to demand US military forces be sent to not just Uganda, but to
the entire region of central Africa where the elusive Kony and his child
army warriors are allegedly terrorizing the land. Democrat Jim McGovern
of Massachusetts and Republican Ed Royce have just introduced a resolution
in Congress calling on the Pentagon’s AFRICOM (Africa Command) to proceed
with “expanding the number of regional forces in Africa to protect civilians
and placing restrictions on individuals or governments found to be supporting
Kony.” Last year before the “viral” YouTube airing of “Kony2012”,
McGovern and Royce also sponsored "The Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament
and Northern Uganda Recovery Act." The media attention to the YouTube
makes their case easier for military intervention. After all, it’s “humanitarian”;
it’s about children, isn’t it?
Even the politically correct Washington Post was moved to write critically,
“The very viral campaign to capture Kony by the nonprofit Invisible
Children has largely been a U.S. phenomenon. Ugandans say the LRA has
not been active for years.”
Already President Obama has sent 100 US elite special forces troops
to Central Africa to serve as “advisers” in efforts to hunt down Kony.
If it all has echoes of Vietnam in the early 1960’s it is not accidental.
This is now the prelude to a huge Pentagon militarization of the entire
region of central Africa, following the NATO destruction of order in
Libya, and the chaos in Egypt and other Islamic states targeted by the
US State Department’s “Arab Spring,” better termed these days as, “Arab
“Kony2012” was produced by an apparently well-financed NGO headed by
Russell called Invisible Children Inc. in San Diego. The video reeks
of US State Department propaganda with its slick camera effects and
repeated scenes of Russell’s small boy to make it appear credible. Rosebell
Kagumire, an award-winning Ugandan journalist responded to the clamor
over Invisible Children’s “Kony2012” video, accusing Invisible Children
Inc. of “using old footage to cause hysteria.” Kagumire adds,
Is it about the dollars or a false belief that unless Americans know
about it, no solution comes our way? … the Juba Peace Talks 2006-2008,
which restored stability and paved way for the end to abductions in
northern Uganda, was not an American invention. It was local civil society
and peace actors like the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiatives
(ARLPI) who pushed for a negotiated solution. In fact the moment America
got involved, we witnessed “Operation Lightening Thunder”- a military
operation with disastrous effects as the LRA eluded air strikes, and
scattered into DR Congo and the Central African Republic where they
continue to commit atrocities in retaliation.
The entire brouhaha over Joseph Kony appears to be a flank in a major
AFRICOM and US State Department campaign especially to undermine Chinese
influence in central Africa -- now that they have successfully driven
the Chinese oil companies out of Libya, and carved out a new “republic”
of South Sudan containing much of the oil that fuels China’s economy.
That splitting of South Sudan and its oil, for those who did not follow
it closely, was a consequence of sending in US and NATO special forces
to “stop genocide” in Darfur. George Clooney was also the poster boy
for the Darfur action.
There is good reason for the apparent sudden interest of the Pentagon
and politicized US NGOs to focus on action in central Africa. So long
as the world largely ignored it, Washington policy was to let institutions
such as the IMF bleed the countries like Congo and allow western mining
companies to extract valuable mineral wealth for pennies on the dollar.
A few years ago all that began to change when China turned its attention
to Africa, and especially its Great Rift Belt.
Great Rift Belt
The region in question, according to the filmmakers of “Kony2012”, includes
not only Uganda where in recent years a giant oil field was discovered,
but also some of the planet’s richest mineral lands -- including the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and the US-sponsored
Republic of South Sudan. The area lies in the extraordinary geographical
conjuncture called the Great Rift Belt or Valley stretching from Syria
in the north, down through Sudan and Eritrea and the Red Sea, and deep
into southern Africa across the eastern Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia,
Somalia and into Mozambique.
This East African Rift System, as geologists term it, is “one of the
geologic wonders of the world,” and also prospectively, one of the richest
treasures of subsurface minerals, including clearly vast untapped reserves
of oil and gas.
The red line on this map shows the eastern and western faults of the
Great Rift Valley, which runs 4,500 miles from southern Africa, under
the Red Sea, and into Syria in southwestern Asia. it is so huge a geological
feature that it is prominently visible to lunar and
Ever since British oil company, Tullow Oil, discovered an estimated
2 billion barrels of oil in Uganda in 2009 the geopolitical importance
of the entire central African region suddenly underwent change. CNOOC
Ltd., China's biggest offshore oil explorer, is in a joint venture with
Tullow Oil to develop three oil blocks in Uganda's Lake Albert basin.
According to geologists, “the East African Rift is suspected to be one
of the last great oil and natural gas deposits on earth.” In a recent
article, Time noted, “Seismic tests over the past 50 years have shown
that countries up the coast of East Africa have natural gas in abundance.
Early data compiled by industry consultants also suggest the presence
of massive offshore oil deposits.”
This region of central and east Africa is considered one of the hottest
unexplored regions in the world for potential hydrocarbons—oil and gas.
In 2010 Texas oil company Anadarko Petroleum discovered a giant reservoir
of natural gas off the coast of Mozambique. Estimates are that Somalia
holds perhaps 10 billion barrels of untapped oil. The chronic political
unrest and AFRICOM-backed tensions there—convenient for western oil
majors seeking to maintain absurdly high oil prices by controlling supply—prevent
the development of the oil. While West and North Africa have undergone
tens of thousands of oil well drillings over the last decades, East
and Central Africa, including Darfur and South Sudan, Chad, Central
African Republic are all but terra incognita in terms of drilling.
This all runs smack up against the popular talk of “Peak Oil.” Far from
exhausting the Earth’s resources of oil and gas, oil companies everywhere,
from the eastern Mediterranean to offshore Brazil to the Gulf of Mexico
and now the Great Rift Belt of eastern and central Africa, are discovering
huge new potentials almost daily. We are, as oil economist Peter Odell
once noted, not running out of oil, “We’re running into oil.”
Oil is one of the most highly politicized businesses on the planet,
and secrecy in the industry among the four giant Anglo-American companies
makes the CIA and MI6 look like amateurs. Since the publication in 1956
by Shell Oil geologist King Hubbert of his unproven thesis that oil
fields deplete like Gaussian Bell Curves, Big Oil has fostered the myth
of looming oil scarcity. It serves an obvious aim of maintaining their
grip on the prime energy source for the world economy. Oil and its control
is a geopolitical foundation of the post-1945 American Century.
China alters African geopolitical calculus
So long as Africa was the “forgotten Continent” in terms of independent
oil and gas explorations, Washington policy was to ignore it. As former
South African President Thabo Mbeki recently put it, “Liberated from
the obligation to secure the allegiance of independent Africa in the
context of its global anti-Soviet struggle, the US had found that Africa
was otherwise not of any importance in terms of its global strategic
But as Mbeki pointed out, by 2007 that all began to change as China
began making economic and diplomatic inroads all over Africa: “There
was increasing international competition for access to Africa’s oil
and other natural resources, including by China. China was becoming
a ‘formidable competitor for both influence and lucrative contracts
on the Continent.’”
But Washington’s vision of so-called ‘globalization’ of the world economic
system allows for no one who does not read from their sheet of music.
Hillary Clinton put it clearly enough: “If you’ve got people who are
choosing a different path, then you have to use all the tools of your
suasion to try to convince them that the path that you wish to follow
is also the one that is in their interest as well.” George
W. Bush put it more succinctly: “You’re either with us or you’re against
Since China hosted more than 40 African heads of state in 2006 in Beijing,
and followed that with highest-level state visits across Africa -- with
Chinese oil companies and industry signing multi-billion deals with
the “forgotten” Africa -- Washington suddenly took notice. In 2008 President
Bush authorized creation for the first time of a single Pentagon command,
AFRICOM, for the African continent. As Daniel Volman, director
of the African security Research Project in Washington stated, “a number
of developments—especially the continent’s increasing importance as
a source of energy supplies and other raw materials—have radically altered
the picture. They have led to the growing economic and military
involvement of China, India, and other emerging industrial powers in
Africa and to the re-emergence of Russia as an economic and military
power on the continent. In response the United States has dramatically
increased its military presence in Africa and created a new military
command—the Africa Command or AFRICOM—to protect what it has defined
as its “strategic national interests” in Africa. This has ignited what
has come to be known as the “new scramble for Africa” and is transforming
the security architecture of Africa.”
By 2012 China had become the second largest foreign investor in Uganda
after Britain. It is the major investor in the oil resources of South
Sudan. In July 2007, the China oil company CNOOC signed an agreement
with the Somali government to search for oil in the Mudug region where
some estimate that reserves could amount to five to ten billion barrels
of oil. The Chinese investments in this part of Africa also include
the joint venture which CNOOC signed with Tullow Oil in 2011 for the
What is clear is that “Kony2012” is not documentary fact but manipulative
propaganda, which is being used to advance an AFRICOM military presence
in the richest mineral region in the world before China and perhaps
India and Russia preempt it. It hearkens back to the colonial resource
wars of the 19th century, with the only difference being the presence
of the Internet and YouTube to propagandize it at warp speed.
*F. William Engdahl is author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian
Democracy in the New World Order. He may be contacted from his
website, "http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net" www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net
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