Written by Nile Bowie
Edward Bernays believed that society could not be trusted to make rational and informed decisions on their own, and that guiding public opinion was essential within a democratic society. Bernays founded the Council on Public Relations and his 1928 book, Propaganda cites the methodology used in the application of effective emotional communication. He discovered that such communication is capable of manipulating the unconscious in an effort to produce a desired effect – namely, a capacity to manufacture mass social adherence in support of products, political candidates and social movements. Nearly a century after his heyday, Bernays’ methodology is apparent in almost every form of civic and consumer persuasion. The platform of social media is being used in unprecedented new ways, one such example is a new online documentary about the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an extremist rebel group operating in Central Africa.
The documentary is unprecedented, not for its educational attributes but for its capacity to use visual branding, merchandising and highly potent emotional communication to influence the viewer to support US military operations in resource rich Central Africa under the pretext of capturing the LRA’s commander, Joseph Kony. The Lord’s Resistance Army was originally formed in 1987 in northwestern Uganda by members of the Acholi ethnic group, who were historically exploited as forced laborers by the British colonialists and later relegated by the nation’s dominant ethic groups following independence. Together with the Holy Spirit Movement, the LRA represented the armed wing of a resistance faction aiming to overthrow the government of current Ugandan President and staunch US military ally, Yoweri Museveni.
This is the first large-scale campaign to mobilize social medialites to aggregate public support for what would otherwise be, controversial pro-intervention US foreign policy. The production relies on highly charged and often unrelated emotional triggers, which ultimately rely on the viewers sense of compassion in tandem with a lack of prior information on the subject to produce a desired result – explicitly, the villainous mythification of Kony and the mainstream acceptance of US presence in Africa through a proposed archipelago of AFRICOM military bases in the region.
Invisible Children has partnered with two other organizations, Resolve and Digitaria, to create the LRA Crisis Tracker, a digital crisis-mapping platform that broadcasts attacks allegedly committed by the LRA. On its list of corporate sponsors, Resolve lists Human Rights Watch and the International Rescue Committee. Digitaria’s website boasts commercial clients such as CBS, FOX, MTV, ESPN, Adidas, NFL, Qualcomm, NBC, National Geographic, Hasbro and Warner Brothers. While KONY 2012 attempts to portray itself as an indigenous activist movement bent on bringing justice to African children, its parent organization is affiliated with the upper echelon of the US corporate media and a network of foundation-funded pro-war civil society groups with a long history of fomenting pro-US regime change under the banner of democratic institution building.
Through AFRICOM, the United States is seeking a foothold in the incredibly resource rich central African block in a further maneuver to aggregate regional hegemony over China. DRC is one of the world’s largest regions without an effectively functioning government. It contains vast deposits of diamonds, cobalt, copper, uranium, magnesium, and tin while producing over $1 billion in gold each year. It is entirely feasible that the US can considerably increase its presence in DRC under the pretext of capturing Joseph Kony. The US may further mobilize ground forces, in addition to the use of predator drones and targeted missile strikes, inevitably killing civilians. In a press conference at the House Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2008, AFRICOM Commander, General William Ward stated that AFRICOM will further its regional presence by "operating under the principle theatre-goal of combating terrorism".
During an AFRICOM Conference held at Fort McNair on February 18, 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller openly declared AFRICOM’s guiding principle as protecting “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market”, before citing China’s increasing presence in the region as challenging to American interests.The crimes of the Lord’s Resistance Army have been documented in the past and they are truly despicable actions. Presently, the operations of the LRA have nearly dissolved and their presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is difficult to verify. While the pro-war filmmakers behind KONY 2012 naively call for the US military to assert its place in the conflict, an independent fact finding mission would be far more effective in assessing the seriousness of the LRA threat in the present day.
http://nilebowie.blogspot.com/2012/03/y ... itary.html