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The Kony 2012 Scam And Why You Should STOP Supporting ‘Invisible Children’

8 March 2012 88 Comments By admin



There is no doubt that Joseph Kony is a horribly cruel man. If you are on facebook or twitter, you have surely seen by now a lot of your friends becoming so called “activists” after watching a YouTube video about “Kony 2012″ and the Invisible Children organization. Even Rihanna has announced that she will be helping to “fight the cause” by supporting the organization and helping them put together a new video.

What’s disturbing about all of this is that nobody is fact checking or doing any research on the subject – they are simply buying into everything the video preaches without knowing anything else about the topic!  The situation is much more complex than the video alludes to and the organization itself is very shady at best. Check out information on the issue and organization that we put together below:

THE QUICK RUNDOWN

The issue:
-The LRA is only 250 soldiers strong at this point.
-The LRA hasn’t been in Uganda since 2006.
-Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting.
-US Africa Command has been trying to stop Kony for years, which only results in failure and retaliation from Kony.
-To get to Kony you’d have to ultimately kill some of his army…which consists of children soldiers…..

Invisible Children:
-Only 32% of money raised went to direct services (if you support the issue you may want to choose a more worthwhile charity).
-Their accountability and transparency is a 2 out of 4 stars on charity navigator.
-The group is in favor of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces.
- Foreign Affairs has claimed that Invisible Children (among others) “manipulates facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA’s use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil.”

Military intervention may or may not be the right idea, but people supporting KONY 2012 probably don’t realize they’re supporting the Ugandan military who are themselves raping and looting away. Educate yourselves a little bit before supporting a particular nonprofit.

IN DEPTH

The organization behind Kony 2012 — Invisible Children Inc. — is an extremely shady nonprofit that has been called “misleading,” “naive,” and “dangerous” by a Yale political science professor, and has been accused by Foreign Affairs of “manipulat[ing] facts for strategic purposes.” They have also been criticized by the Better Business Bureau for refusing to provide information necessary to determine if IC meets the Bureau’s standards.

Additionally, IC has a low two-star rating in accountability from Charity Navigator because they won’t let their financials be independently audited. That’s not a good thing. In fact, it’s a very bad thing, and should make you immediately pause and reflect on where the money you’re sending them is going.

By IC’s own admission, only 31% of all the funds they receive go toward actually helping anyone [pdf]. The rest go to line the pockets of the three people in charge of the organization, to pay for their travel expenses (over $1 million in the last year alone) and to fund their filmmaking business (also over a million) — which is quite an effective way to make more money, as clearly illustrated by the fact that so many can’t seem to stop forwarding their well-engineered emotional blackmail to everyone they’ve ever known.

And as far as what they do with that money:

The group is in favor of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. At the top of this article is a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 by their own admission. These books each refer to the rape and sexual assault that are perennial issues with the UPDF, the military group Invisible Children is defending.

Let’s not get our lines crossed: The Lord’s Resistance Army is bad news. And Joseph Kony is a very bad man, and needs to be stopped. But propping up Uganda’s decades-old dictatorship and its military arm, which has been accused by the UN of committing unspeakable atrocities and itself facilitated the recruitment of child soldiers, is not the way to go about it.

The United States is already plenty involved in helping rout Kony and his band of psycho sycophants. Kony is on the run, having been pushed out of Uganda, and it’s likely he will soon be caught, if he isn’t already dead. But killing Kony won’t fix anything, just as killing Osama bin Laden didn’t end terrorism. The LRA might collapse, but, as Foreign Affairs points out, it is “a relatively small player in all of this — as much a symptom as a cause of the endemic violence.”

Myopically placing the blame for all of central Africa’s woes on Kony — even as a starting point — will only imperil many more people than are already in danger.

Sending money to a nonprofit that wants to muck things up by dousing the flames with fuel is not helping. Want to help? Really want to help? Send your money to nonprofits that are putting more than 31% toward rebuilding the region’s medical and educational infrastructure, so that former child soldiers have something worth coming home to.

The bottom line is, research your causes thoroughly. Don’t just forward a random video to a stranger because a mass murderer makes a five-year-old “sad.” Learn a little bit about the complexities of the region’s ongoing strife before advocating for direct military intervention.

There is no black and white in the world. And going about solving important problems like there is just serves to make all those equally troubling shades of gray invisible.

Some good reads:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/invisible-childrens-stop-kony-campaign/2012/03/07/gIQA7B31wR_blog.html

http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136673/mareike-schomerus-tim-allen-and-koen-vlassenroot/obama-takes-on-the-lra?page=show

http://www.wrongingrights.com/2009/03/worst-idea-ever.html/

http://chrisblattman.com/2009/03/04/visible-children/

http://allafrica.com/stories/201203080526.html

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2012/03/problem-stop-kony/49634/

Not saying Kony isn’t a horrible person. Just thought people might want the entire picture before they support an organization that is shady at best.

**Update**

Ugandan Girl Says Kony 2012 Video is Misleading

Could Uganda’s Recently Discovered OIL Be The REAL Motivation Behind Kony 2012?

  • Zer

    You guys are idiots who think this is a big scam. Joseph Kony has been at this over 20 years. Those Ugandan Children are in need of our help. How would you like it if you were a Child in Kony’s army? Would you want to kill your own family, destroy them? How would you like it if you had to be forced to do something horrible to your loved ones? If you were not supported by everyone else, you know what woul happen? Kony would not be captured, and you would be forced to do stuff. I think you are all stupid. It seems like a scam, but it is serious. People do live their lives. They do not spend every hour, day, second, or minute about this. If you argue with me about this, I will find you. And don’t think I will not!

  • admin

    Zer, why don’t you try reading the article before you make a comment. We know Joseph Kony is real and was a bad man. Lol, and if you noticed this article was written the day after the video was released and lonnnng before it went ulta-viral and was seen by over 100million people. Obviously our research is a little more in depth since we knew of these issues before you and you fake activists did.

  • Sparky

    I’m probably like many just learning about the Invisible Children and Kony and trying to figure it all out. The issue as I see it is should the US govern the world and if so, how and who, which is almost always blurry. We are hated by many for trying to help and need to be careful. I don’t believe Bush, Obama, Clinton, etc are murderers. And I don’t think this is a racial issue.

    Julie – shut your racist mouth. I’m sick of racist people trying to make everything a racial issue. Your type are the biggest hypocrits in this great country of ours, period.

  • bob

    wow really opened my eyes!!

  • Abner

    Anything that seems to be too good to be true, is probably too good to be true.

  • Scott

    should probably read this before deciding aswell.

    from the charity navigator site.

    http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1359

  • http://generalmeldor.deviantart.com Meldor

    I think that Kony has a pretty good idea going, children never do anything during war.

  • jason

    this website is crap!!! its someone oppinion so far… im amzed at what skool could teach me somethin, all ik is that this is your oppinion, whether its accurate or not, doesnt mean its true… for this seems to still be going on, and it does need to stop. do we know if joseph kony is still alive or not, i guess would be uknown, but we do need to end this, and i do agree but not with there ways.

  • Support KONY2012

    Evil prevails when good men do nothing. Proverbs 1:7

  • mary

    watch the other videos. the will provide more info on the subjects you are questioning.

  • Crock

    @ Jason – You’re amazed at what “skool” taught you? I’m amazed how you could spell so perfectly and still criticize the author on this “crappy website”. Personally I’m neutral towards this article. However I do not support Kony 2012 because I just don’t see it happening. Yes, Kony is a BAD person and YES the Government has been going at him for so many years but why is it a continuous fail? There are /so many/ other god forsaken things to worry about since it’s almost safe to say the entire world has SOME sort of corruption.

    Christ. I liked what this article had to say and yeah I’ll disagree with some however I will not be so much as to be incredibly simple minded into objecting the fact just because a video influenced me to do so.

    Btw I cried at the video and also felt happy that Kony 2012 was trying to stop this madness, but THINK CAREFULLY think FOR YOURSELF /something/ just isn’t right.

  • Taylor

    I would like to know the sources for this article. I would like to know where the stats came from. I’m a writer myself and we always have to have our sources listed. I wonder why they are not here…?

  • Amber

    Okay, it might be old but in order to COMPLETELY stop it, we need activists. I’m 12 years old but that doesnt mean i dont care. Right now i am wirting a persausive essay on HIM beecause i know its wrong and needs to be stopped.

  • Okoro

    No kidding. As an African, this pissed me right the fuck off. I appreciate that people want to “help,” but this saviour complex bollocks has got to go.

  • Funn

    It is weird to see things about what the US Africa Command is doing when I was stationed in Africa for a year. No one on this page seems to have a clue about the mission of USAFRICOM. Please do not discuss things you know nothing about.

  • Sarah Neff

    Uhh, if that picture is correct you DO realize that you are in the tiny amount of fools who actually believe this is a scam, right?

  • SaphiraN

    _ Author, I have a direct question for you. What is your goal in posting this article? Considering, all it would do or has done would be to create doubt. Are you attempting to stop the program, or simply change the ways in which they work? Or, are you disappointed by the fact that most of said “activists” only watched the video and didn’t bother to do more research on the subject before wholeheartedly joining the cause? Please, answer me.

  • Robert

    I’m 15 and a sophmore in high school. I love this article. I couldn’t agree more with the picture that said “Watch a 30 minute video on the Internet- Becomes a soical activist.” At my school, our student gov. went around collecting funds to support the Kony 2012 “campaign”(more like embezzlement scheme) and some of my classmates donated and afterwards acted all smug like they were actually making a difference by giving miniscule change in their pockets to the scam. It seems as though people want to go to war with the LRA, but why? Why can’t we as Americans focus on OUR problems and not those of every other nation on this planet? Back to war with the LRA. This organization is trying to provoke war with the LRA, but wouldn’t we just be killing the very kids we’re trying to save who are in the LRA now? And when I say we, I’m referring to the people who support this corrupt cause, I frankly don’t care for little kids over in Uganda. And before we all blow our tops and call me racist for that last sentence, I’m not racist, I just think it’s Uganda’s problem; not ours. yes, Uganda’s gov. is corrupt so they probably wouldn’t do much, but we can’t go to help EVERY little country that is in need of help. What really makes me mad is all these so-called “activists” who have hot-air in their heads and are saying “Stop Kony!” and all that nonsense when they wouldn’t be doing a d*mn thing. They’d sit at home, sleeping on a nice soft bed, eating good food, thinking they’re “heroes for supporting the cause”, when the REAL heroes would be the ones over there fighting,some perishing, and the REAL heores (The U.S. army. I feel I should point this out for the idiot activists who actually support this and may think it’s them I’m talking about)STILL taking no credit for it. My Uncle and my Father are in the army. My Uncle has served in Afghanistan twice, and my Father is over there in Iraq now. So my Uncle or Father may be sent over there to help them, shoud a war arise with the LRA or Uganda. Do I really f**king care about the lives of some kids over the lives of my family? No! My Uncle once said “Why should our soldiers die over there, and die for some kids we don’t even know exist or care about?” Some person in the comments said go to war with the Ugandan government. So we would provoke war with Uganda and all of their allies, FURTHER plummeting us into even MORE debt and deaths of our soldiers. And for what? Some little kids in Africa? No. I hate how liberals wanted to pull out of Iraq, where we needed to be to further stop world terrorism, and instead now want to stop this man. We pulled out of a country that killed 2500+ of our citizens to now go to a country that has done nothing to us as U.S. citizens. I thought liberals “hated war” which is why we left Iraq because of our liberal president. But now that there’s some humanity cause that will put hot-air in your head for supporting, well NOW war is necessary. Hypocratical liberals. Why would you donate to ANY “company” the ony gives ~32% of the funds to the actual cause, and to a man who masturbates in public? And someone else in the comments said “Why is there always a problem when it’s BLACK Africans being helped! Ask yourself that!” Why does EVERY LITTLE THING have to be a racial issue nowadays? You can go up to someone in my school and state the color of their skin and you will be pegged as a racist by them. I hope many people see this and realize how corrupt this cause is as well as how corrupt the liberal media has made U.S. citizens now.

  • Egoraptor

    You’re all fuckin Stupid!!! lol

  • Krysten

    Wait….31% or 32%? And how about some references to support your \facts\. Might not want to protest if you yourself are not reliable.

  • Dumb Okie

    Doing something for the right reason is always commended! In both cases here it should be. First is that the video is well put together and has made people think (which if you drive on a daily basis anywhere in the US you understand that’s a miricale in itself). The author of this article is also making you AWARE that at the time he wrote this what they had researched to the best of their ability about the organization and giving some useful feedback. I am a former marine so my awnser is to just take them out and any who try to become a predecessor after them till they get the hint, it works to a point but there will always be a bad guy/girl person. No matter what side you look from, WE HAVE IT AMAZINGLY GOOD HERE, EVEN IF YOU ARE POOR! (untill you have been and seen what poverty really is, keep your mouth shut) There are people all over the world that need help and that’s what should be taken away here,especially children, find a reputable cause/group/organization and give back. That could be to the homeless shelter in your town, education, church, third world help in any manner ( time, money, resource you have). Just be smart with whom you support, thieves are everywhere. No one here is perfect, NO ONE! Open your mind beyond what you think, you will be amazed at what you learn, even if you don’t like it try and grasp and understand it before you stomp it out. Love what needs love and ignore what needs not your attention or time and if you must fight, fight to win at all costs!

  • Dan

    We should just worry about ourselves and our own problems that we have here in our nation (bottom line). If the US really wanted Kony dead they could’ve taken care of it already. @Egoraptor I strongly agree with you lol it was a scam, 3 guys think of a get rich quick scheme and it worked. It’s obvious it’s a scam, what’s wrong with an audit??? If they are doing their part it shouldn’t be a problem. C’mon only 31% out of every million they snake… And the idiots actually have a picture posted up holding Automatic weapons and RPGs xD

    \Let’s just fix our own problems first America\

  • Tom

    Take a moment to think.
    What this organization will accomplish is easily understood.
    What do you think will happen once kony is captured and corrupt Uganda officials are raping and killing. With so much attention on this matter, we will realize this right away and the Uganda government isn’t stupid. This capture will reduce crime overall.

    Your argument is not a great one because you are advocating for no action without any other solution. Your plan is to let kony rest while he builds forces in other nations. There is a potential inaction will result in a terrorism attack on the U.S since we already made a stand.

    I don’t care if this guy spends 1mil on travel or film making. Someone with this much passion can create a world of change we all dream to see. Your argument does nothing but calls for inaction.

    Maybe we should question your motives. It’s very easy to see that this organization has about 100 million viewers, and most propel will question if it is a scam like I did searching. Your argument helps me think about the subject much deeply and I now even more for the organization. You, on the other hand may have used social media and popularity of this topic to make a few extra dollars on the side. If this is the case, shame on you.

  • Anonymous

    Why go after Kony for? Like he’s been the root of all the world’s problem with the crappy economy, unemployment skyrocketing, foreclosures increasing, the “promised land” becoming a totalitarian police state, etc. Who’s to blame for all of this? KONY!!

  • jsmo

    Ive been aware of the organization since 06 or 07 so for a long time now. This video was just another attempt at getting people aware of their cause. This is not a scheme. Invisible Children does a lot more to help to people on Uganda then just bringing awareness to the war. They have people over there helping to build safe housing, schools, educators, and they also help provide an income for some the people. For any nonprofit organization to work they have to have employees, not volunteers, EMPLOYEES. People who know what they are doing. Would you rather 20 people who don’t know anything about building a school go try their hand at it or have a couple of professionals who can get it done right, quick, and safe. These organizations need to have a good staff and that does cost money. If you only donate on the basis of the money going directly to a cause, then it is probably a company without any good employees working to make the cause successful.

  • anon

    LOL the BBB is a NON-Profit organization and is in itself is hypocritical , its No better than a Union. Do more research on the BBB before spouting off about what the BBB says is right and wrong.

    You people go right ahead and keep drinking that cool aid.

  • tab

    http://invisiblechildren.com/about/q-and-a/#navigator
    this pretty much rebuttals all these points.

  • Bob

    You people are ill informed and honestly sound jealous or are trying to make excuses to not support a worthy cause. Either of which I find appalling. My daughter spent time with the Invisible Children on a youth mission trip. I know first hand this is going on and why the G.O.V. wants to hide it I have no idea. But, the atrocities being performed there should never be allowed anywhere.

  • Dumb Assess

    All I have to say to people that spammed KONY 2012 HELP everywhere is: How do you feel now?

  • Diego

    Typical egocentric knowitall comments, but did the guys who started this post ever give a better solution than supporting the invisible children, no right!. Typical of a bunch of lazy nerds just living in the bubble of comfort, trying to leave a dark mark over those who have step out of the bubble to do something to help with the problems we faced. Obviously a huge sign of jealously in their behalf. All I say is step out of your bubble, put the gloves on and move your ass towards those in need, it’s very easy!!!!

  • Some Guy

    quote: Robert said:
    I’m 15 and a sophmore in high school. I love this article.:endquote

    Robert… you’re 15… your opinion doesn’t count. If you think differently, it doesn’t matter, your opinion doesn’t count. The person who wrote this article is an idiot. I’m sorry.. I meant an IGNORANT idiot. Which is not the same as being a dumb idiot. Meaning that I really believe that you believe what you’ve written here… you just don’t know any better. But you should. And to the rest of you that are backing this idiot… please do research before you back an idiot on the internet. The things you do and say will make a difference one day to you and your children and your children’s children, do you really want it to be some misguided opinion on some misguided article about a charity organization that isn’t bothering anyone? The BBB? OMG, do you really not know that the BBB supports anyone that is a member and anyone that is not a member is \the devil\? Wow. I seriously thought that was pretty much common knowledge nowadays. I don’t know anyone that still takes the BBB’s input seriously about anything. As for the rest of this… if you’ve read this much of my comment then I guess you’re probably either agreeing with me or steaming mad and ready to retort. Before you do, know this, I won’t come back here to check to see if you’ve blew off any steam in my direction so feel free if you must but your words will never find a target. God bless, have a wonderful day. Enjoy your time you have left on Earth with your loved ones and quit letting things like this bother you.

  • Zach

    This comment section is full of hypocritical people

  • andy bowen

    i am kony

  • Colt

    ..I thought Kony was running for President…. ;P

  • Jack Ike

    After watching the video, I knew for a fact that Kony was a terrible man. Now, I’m not saying he should be forgotten, he most certainly should be brought to justice, but after reading about Invisible Children Inc. I’m not quite sur they’re the best way to go. I mean, surely the salvo’s are onto this issue already? I mean no offence, but I’d probably trust a well-known non-profit Christian group with money to stop Kony than a organisation that has apparently only put 32% of it’s money towar the actual problem.

  • Carlos

    just so all you guys know kony has been dead for a while so you know its fake

  • Jake

    Lets just sit around on our fat asses and not help anyone at anytime!

    Fuck the admin of this article!!

  • Rich

    All the references used at the end of this article are OPINIONS! Not academically peer reviewed resources. These folks offer no solution and isn’t even ONE child, who is forced to kill his or her parents and forced into combat, worth saving? The “authors” of this article are full of *$(# because I actually had a Master’s Level Course (Children In Crisis) where we discussed this very issue. Boys are forced into combat and the girls are forced into sexual slavery. The authors never address this because they are ill-informed and put this piece together with a High School level education at best.