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Indybay Feature
Thu Aug 7 2008 (Updated 08/09/08)
San Francisco Protest Against Army Child Recruitment
Community rallies to end "America's Army" recruitment program
On August 6th, around 50 anti-war activists in San Francisco targeted the video game maker Ubisoft to “help stop the Army’s child recruitment program” in the form of the free “America’s Army” game. Organizers noted that the game “targets children as young as 13. San Francisco game companies Ubisoft, Gameloft, and Secret Level are profiting from the illegal recruitment program.

After a brief rally in South Park, near 2nd and Bryant Streets, protesters marched a short distance to the Ubisoft office. Speakers included San Francisco Board of Education members and community activists working hard to end the military's recruiting program, JROTC, in the city's public high schools. The rally also included writer and poet Rebecca Solnit, Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, and a call to support Robin Long and all GI resisters by Courage to Resist.

"America's Army", available since 2002 as a free download, is a game developed by the U.S. military to instruct players in "Army values," portray the army in a positive light, and increase potential recruits. The "game" is the property and brainchild of the US Army, which admit freely, and with pride, that it is one of their principal recruitment tools.

The military recruitment of children under the age of 17, however, is a clear violation of international law (the U.N. Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict). No attempt to recruit children 13-16 is allowed in the United States, pursuant to treaty. In May, the American Civil Liberties Union published a report that found the armed services regularly target children under 17 for military recruitment. The report highlighted the role of "America's Army," saying the Army uses the game to "attract young potential recruits . . . train them to use weapons, and engage in virtual combat and other military missions", adding that the game "explicitly targets boys 13 and older."

photo Read More With Photos | video Video | DASW: US Military Recruits Children | Event Announcement

Videogame Violates International Law | US Army Recruits Online Gamers
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