Citizens Protest Army’s “Disneyland of Death”

May 6th, 2009 - by admin

Rob Kall / Op Ed New & Debra Sweet / The World Can’t Wait – 2009-05-06 09:04:08

The Army Experience Center:
Is Army Abusing Children?

Rob Kall / Op Ed News

Check Out this Video from a Professional Gamers website:

This video shows anti-war protesters yesterday as they marched with police escort to the Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia where they delivered a symbolic “criminal complaint” to US Army recruiters and the mall’s management company. The demonstrators were protesting the Army’s use of a high-tech, video game-equipped recruitment center located in the mall.
There was a significant police presence as the protesters arrived. They were permitted to enter the mall and stage their rally at the entrance to the Army Experience Center. As the rally ended, seven protesters, mostly in white masks, were arrested, presumably for refusing to disperse. The arrests were peaceful and appeared to be scripted by the protesters as a symbolic gesture.

(May 4, 2009) — The Army Experience Center is an experiment, the first of its kind. The average military recruiting facility is about 800-1200 square feet and it’s pretty much an open office with some desks. The Army Experience Center is a 14,000 square foot mini-version of Disney world, with simulation rooms and a massive collection of all sizes of video screens connected to war video games.

There are two military helicopters, a Humvee and another troop carrier all equipped, in separate simulation rooms, with guns and surrounded by giant screens, where images of enemy combatants and innocent citizens are displayed.

The facility is conveniently situated directly opposite a huge Woodward skateboard park, which is a huge lure for the teenage boys they seek to hook.

I took a tour of the facility and it was represented as designed to show all the “job opportunities” the army offers. That may be true, but for the average teenager, it’s a trip into a very cool, high tech, exciting video game and entertainment venue — a seductive trip designed to get the teen to sign up, come back and stay involved.

On Saturday, a group of about 150 protesters delivered a complaint, issuing charges, issuing charges, as OEN writer Elaine Brower reported in her article on the same event, “The complaint states in part:
“the Army Experience Center is involved in “Endangering the Welfare of a Child” and “Criminal Solicitation of a Minor” and “Corruption of Minors” – soliciting underage persons to act in a violent manner, and thereby supporting criminal and corrupt behavior…”

The company that designed much of the the AEC’s adolescent addicting technology, Ignited, was also involved in developing video games designed to lure children into fascination with the army experience.

This protest was a remarkably well organized event, put together by a number of groups, including Coalition for Peace, World Can’t Wait, Veterans for Peace, Grannies Against War, Code Pink, Iraq War Veterans…

The planning included cooperation with the mall and the Philly police department. Whistleblower, veteran and former diplomat Ann Wright spoke.

Protesters marched a bit more than a mile to the Army Experience Center at the Franklin Mills mall, where they presented the complaint. Afterwards, some protesters sat down in the middle of the mall, in front of the AEC. Captain William Fisher, the Philly policeman in charge of the police operation supervising the event, gave advance warning that people who stayed in the area would be arrested. Seven protesters made a decision to get arrested.

This was a very effective visibility event that brought substantial media attention and coverage.

Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and site architect of, President of Futurehealth, Inc. He is also published regularly on the To Watch Kall on having a lively conversation with John Conyers, Chair of the House Judiciary committee, search YouTube. The Rob Kall Show runs 9-10 PM EST Wednesday evenings on AM 1360, WNJC and is archived on Or listen to it streaming, live at either Also check the archived interviews at:

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Protesters Arrested at Army’s
Video Game Recruitment Center

(May 2, 2009) — Saturday over 200 of us, with two sound systems, large banners and signs, marched a mile through suburban streets and into the Franklin Mills Mall in NE Philadelphia. We were loud outside, and louder inside, determined to resist the Army’s recruiting of youth through video games and war simulations.

We were stopped by rows of police and security guards from entering the Army Experience Center. We read aloud a criminal complaint against the AEC and the owners of the mall, for conspiring to draw people into the commission of war crimes. I explained what war crimes are. We chanted “Shut It Down!” “War is NOT a Game!” and “What are they recruiting for? Murder, rape, torture, war!”

Sue Niederer of Pennington, NJ, whose son 2nd Lt. Seth Dvorin was killed near Iskandariyah, Iraq on February 3, 2004, wore a t-shirt saying “Recruiters Lied!” She got on the bullhorn to suggest we all take a public tour of the center. The police spokesperson announced, “you’re not going to be going on the tour because this center is closed down now!” Oh — he didn’t say that! We chanted “shut it down” all the louder.

Before the police warning to leave, some of the peace activists went outside to have a vigil on the road. But most of us stayed, attracting shoppers, and rows of young kids holding skateboards, from the skate park next door. Some of us sat down. We weren’t tired, but you’ve got to teach people how to sit down as resistance.

Thanks to Op Ed News who headlined an article by Elaine Brower. Editor Rob Krall called the action “very well organized.” Thanks to dozens of Veterans for Peace; to Pat Elder of the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth; Iraq Veterans Against the War; Code Pinkers and Grannies of all kinds, Peace Action, the Brandywine Peace Community, and activists from all over the east coast. Special thanks to the Activists Response Team, who did the March of the Dead, and took 7 arrests for disorderly conduct, which we will help fight.

Elaine Brower of World Can’t Wait, one of the 7 pictured in white masks who were arrested at the end of the action, wrote, “It seemed to me that the recruiters were becoming a bit unnerved, and the police were becoming extremely impatient. This was a peaceful protest, as we were not only exercising our first amendment right of ‘freedom of speech’, but trying to get our youth de-militarized, and away from the clutches of bloody war games. Of course, since the AEC is open to the ‘public’ many demanded to go inside, but weren’t allowed. Ret. Army Col. Ann Wright at that point was speaking directly to the kids who had gathered to witness what we were doing and told them not to ‘buy the recruiters’ stories’ of patriotic glory.”

A middle school teacher brought 4 of his students to the protest. They had already taken the tour of the AEC, and brought copies of the letters they sent to David & Melvin Simon, owners of the mall which leases to the Army.

Manny, who was about to speak to the crowd just as the arrests started, and was hustled out by his teacher (sorry Manny) wrote, in part:

“Do you believe money is worth more than human lives? You just probably said to yourself, ‘No, of course not.’ Well, now you are unknowingly answering ‘yes’ because of the space you have leased out to the Army. They have recently opened an Army Experience Center. They are supposedly not recruiting kids. They have video games set up for kids to play and have the ‘army experience.’ Last time I checked arcades don’t ask for your social security number….

The Army does not change a single cent for this. They don’t charge admission; they don’t charge you for playing either. Instead, they give you an ID card that you have to swipe in order to play. They record this in their database. They see how many times you played the Humvee simulation. They see how many times you rode in the Black Hawk Helicopter. Then they decide what field to place the child in once he/she turns 18.

The recruiters will come to the child’s home and ask them to take a test. The recruiters will not be regular run-of-the-mill men. They will pick strong, well built men who will try everything to convince them to take the test and join the Army. They will be sent to a war we don’t even belong in. We, the U.S., are like the strong kid who thinks he can beat everyone at the playground. We pick fights for no reason. Then we walk away not caring who got hurt or who died.”

Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can’t Wait – Drive Out the Bush Regime. World Can’t Wait – – 866.973.4463 – 305 W. Broadway #185, NY, NY 10013

• See Shut Down the AEC for ongoing news on the effort to shut down this project.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.