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U2'S BONO BACKS INSIDIOUS PROPAGANDA: VIDEOGAME WITH VENEZUELA INVASION THEME
Washington, DC July 5, 2006
U2's Bono, well recognized for his campaigns to reduce poverty and treat AIDS in Africa is backing a videogame which promotes the invasion and destruction of Venezuela in order to check "a power hungry tyrant" who has "seized control of Venezuela and her oil supply." Bono has failed to respond to concerns raised by the Venezuelan Solidarity Network about his funding of this project.
"Mercenaries 2: World in Flames," created by Los Angeles based Pandemic/Bioware Studios, simulates a mercenary invasion of Venezuela in the year 2007. Pandemic is a subcontractor for the US Army and CIA funded Institute for Creative Technologies, which uses Hollywood techniques to mount war simulations in California's high desert in order to conduct military training. "Mercenaries 2: World in Flames" simulates destruction in downtown Caracas, and promises to leave no part of Venezuela untouched.
Elevation Partners is an investment firm that Bono helped create in order to exploit marketing opportunities between U2 and its fans, including projects from Pandemic/Bioware Studios. Pandemic states that as a partner in Elevation Partners, Bono "has visibility into all projects at Pandemic and Bioware."
Pandemic's target market is young men of military recruitment age and indeed this is not Pandemic's first military adventure. MSNBC reported that the videogame “’Full Spectrum Warrior’ was created through the Institute for Creative Technologies in Marina Del Rey, Calif., a $45 million endeavor formed by the Army five years ago to connect academics with local entertainment and video game industries. The institute subcontracted work to Los Angeles based Pandemic Studios." (<http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3131181#storyContinued>http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3131181#storyContinued)
One cannot escape the irony that today, July 5, Venezuela celebrates its independence -- just one day after the US celebrated its own. The most enduring aspect of an independent country is assertion of its sovereignty and demand that the world recognize international laws protecting that sovereignty. Yet, amid relentless US threats against Venezuela, a US-based company, Pandemic, which collaborates with the US Army to promote war, plans to market a videogame which advocates a most violent violation of Venezuela’s sovereignty.
Although Bono remains silent on the matter and Pandemic insists that "Mercenaries 2: World in Flames" is "a work of fictional entertainment" and "Venezuela was chosen for the setting of Mercenaries 2 (because it) is a fascinating and colorful country full of wonderful architecture, geography and culture," members of the Venezuela Solidarity Network are appalled by the game's openly racist, interventionist attitude. Says Chuck Kaufman, of Alliance for Global Justice, "if it's 'just a game' and it's all about selecting fascinating and colorful locales, why didn't Pandemic select Dublin or Washington, D.C.? Because people would be outraged, that's why. Pandemic is simply capitalizing on negative and inaccurate U.S. press stories about Venezuela and its leader, Hugo Chavez, in order to make a quick buck. It's another piece of anti-Venezuelan propaganda that serves only the U.S. military, pure and simple."
Gunnar Gundersen of the Oregon Bolivarian Circle says, "We have family and friends in Venezuela and many of us have walked and stayed in the places featured in the war game. To us, these are not just clever abstract pictures. They are scenes of a place we consider our second home. Please try to imagine how Venezuelans must feel viewing a bulky, blonde, military man laying waste to their country, a country that is finally rising above a 500-year history of oppression and exploitation by foreign powers."
The Venezuelan Solidarity Network calls for Bono, who has appealed to the world on many occasions for peace and poverty reduction, to apply those same values to block the manufacture and distribution of this videogame.