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We Will Shut Down the Army Experience Center at Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia on May 2, 2009


By Pat Elder

Killing is fun -- and life is cheap at the Army Experience Center at the Franklin Mills Mall in suburban Philadelphia.

"This is so cool!" This is so cool!" The enthralled 13 year-old kept repeating as he squeezed rounds from his M-16, picking off "enemy combatants" while perched on a real Army Humvee.

We're in the new Army Experience Center in suburban Philadelphia and the young teen, who doesn't look older than eleven, was obviously impressed with the Army's killing machines. "I just came to the mall to skateboard in the skate park across the hall but everyone said this was pretty cool. I just had to try it and its great!"

Video games offer the perfect segues between childhood innocence and institutionalized killing. That's why the Army opened the Army Experience Center, a one-of-a-kind, 14,500-square-foot "virtual educational facility" in August of 2008. Although the Army says it's not about recruiting, all 20 soldiers stationed at the mall are active duty recruiters.

From the popular America's Army video game:

The Army will run the Experience Center as a pilot program for up to two years when it will decide whether to launch them nationally, like so many Wal-Marts. Early reports regarding the success of the program indicate that the Army Experience Center is able to attract the same number of recruits as five traditional recruiting centers in the area surrounding Bensalem, the Philadelphia suburb where Franklin Mills Mall is located.

With the unemployment rate of Bensalem, Pennsylvania, steadily rising from 3.8% in December of 2006 to nearly double that rate today, the military chose an excellent location for the pilot program. Although the Army Experience Center cost more than $12 million to design and construct, the recruiters on duty explained that the Army is "giving back" to the community by preparing students for the high school equivalency test. The center includes 20 PC work stations where recruiters provide GED instruction for free.

Although most of the youth at Franklin Mills Mall seemed generally pleased with the shooting experience offered on the Humvee, the Black Hawk, and on the America's Army video game, avid gamers in their late teens are critical of the America's Army video game, at least compared to other popular killing games like Viking on the PS3 where gamers can hack their enemy to death with an axe, or Nintendo's Mortal Kombat where blood and intestines seem to hit the screen. Teens also complain that America's Army is unrealistic because good guys and bad guys can exchange point-blank automatic weapons fire for ten seconds before anyone goes down.

Youth and adults enjoy the killing games at the Army Experience Center at Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia:

Generally, however, the Army's killing game is fun for the teens in Philadelphia, especially because it's at the local mall and it's free.

The 14,500 square feet of retail space is laid out in several distinct sections, each attempting to sell the Army. Youth are impressed when they examine the Global Base Locator which highlights Army bases throughout the United States and around the world. The Career Exploration Area, using the same name as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Career Exploration Program, ASVABCEP that operates in 11,900 high schools across the country, lets visitors use its touch-screen technology to learn about 179 different Army career fields. This is where recruiters might engage youth in discussions of their interests to gauge possible career paths. For instance, if a teen explains that his favorite pastime is playing in a rock band, the recruiter might describe an Army career as a Bass Guitarist. If a potential recruit expresses interest in graphic arts, for instance, recruiters at the Army Experience center might suggest a job as a Multimedia Illustrator.

Of course, the Army is first and foremost about killing -- and the Army Experience Center is part of that mission. None of the recruiters at the center or their literature mention that soldiers in the Army may be killed in action or may be required to kill others, but the Army has a different spin. "The Army is not all about boots and guns," explains Army Major Larry Dillard, Army Experience Center Program Manager. "We want to give people the opportunity to experience the Army for themselves, so they have an understanding of what soldiers do, and they can be proud of their service."

"We're the good guys and they're the bad guys." - a 13 year old in Philadelphia:

The highlight of the Experience Center is the Black Hawk Simulator in which participants take a virtual tour through an Afghan mountain village while shooting at enemies who are trying to sabotage a U.S. medical convoy headed to a field hospital. "We're the good guys trying to bring medicine to people and the bad guys are trying to stop us from giving medicine to the sick and dying because they hate our freedoms." At least that's the way 13 year-olds in Philadelphia who've had fun "blowing people away" explain it.

The virtual shooting ranges and video games are an abomination that cheapen life and blur the lines between virtual killing and the real thing. We are outraged by this development. We see it as a dangerous escalation in the militarization of American society and we vow to shut it down.

Please join us on Saturday, May 2. We're simply encouraging people to show up early at the mall and spend some time shopping. Franklin Mills Mall Directory. Shopping bags are an excellent decoy. (The cops will suspect everyone with a shopping bag!) At 2:00 pm people will come out of the woodwork and converge on the Army Experience Center. It may not be wise to congregate into large groups before the demonstration or wear clothing that would suggest your participation in the protest. We think it's possible for hundreds of us to arrive at the mall without being detected. And it is a free country, sort of.

In America today, privately owned spaces like shopping malls are not generally considered to be public property like streets, sidewalks and public parks. It's a real problem for 1st Amendment enthusiasts because, well, because many of today's public spaces are…private.

Malls pose a special challenge for purposes of 1st Amendment activity. Generally, in Pennsylvania, if the owner of a mall doesn't want protesters, they have the "right" to demand that we leave. In February, 2009, 50 of us suddenly appeared at the Army Experience Center with large labels on our clothing that said, "War is not a game." The police and mall security were very cordial and repeatedly asked us to leave. After about 15-20 minutes of negotiating with officials, the "freeze action" dissipated. We made our point. No one was arrested and everyone was pleasant.

Franklin Mills Mall is owned by a huge multinational corporation, Simon Property Group, Inc., NYSE:SPG. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, SPG is the world's largest retail outlet owner. It owns or has an interest in at least 380 properties in the United States comprising more than 258,000,000 square feet in 39 states. Simon Property Group also holds interests in 52 malls around the world. Maybe we're out on a limb here, but Simon is probably more concerned with protecting the rental income from its tenant, the U.S. Army, than protecting our 1st Amendment Rights. David Simon, co-owner of Simon Property Group, is an Army veteran. Simon says, "Shop!" And part of what he's selling is the Army. Simon, however, is not our primary adversary. We're targeting the Army. We're simply going to convince Melvin Simon and David Simon that leasing to the Army is a bad idea and we intend to affect their bottom line until the Army goes.

So where does all this leave us?

We can enter the Army Experience Center and cause a great big fuss at 2:00 pm until we're asked to leave and then we can take our time to get out. We'll go to peacefully and artistically express our indignation at this abomination. Some are planning on singing. Some will unfurl banners, some will chant and some will cry. There's talk of a die-in. We are people of peace. We're nonviolent. The Army is Shock and Awe, Abu Ghraib, recruiting lies, a thousand rapes, and cool video games.

Immediately after the action, we have a location picked out for a demonstration on public property -- on the street -- right outside of Franklin Mills Mall where we have the "right" to peacefully assemble.

We demand the Army close up shop at Franklin Mills Mall and we're determined to block the expansion of this monstrosity in malls across the nation. We will be successful in this campaign because we'll bring in enough protestors to attract national media attention. Simon will get the message that leasing to the Army was a mistake and other retailers will learn from his miscalculation. If he doesn't close it down, we'll return in greater numbers.

The demonstration being planned for 2 pm on May 2, 2009 at Franklin Mills Mall has been endorsed by Code Pink Women for Peace, World Can’t Wait, Student Peace Action Network, SPAN, Peace Action Montgomery, Next Left Notes, American Friends Service Committee - Youth & Militarism Program, Staten Island Chapter of the Movement for a Democratic Society, Gray Panthers, NYC Network, AfterDowningStreet.

Let us know if we can add your organization.

------------------

Franklin Mills Mall is located in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Its street address is 1455 Franklin Mills Circle Philadelphia, PA. Getting to Franklin Mills Mall is simple. It's a mile off of Rt. 95. By car, Take Exit 35 off of Rt. 95 and merge onto Woodhaven Rd, (PA 63 West). Go a mile and take a right on Millbrook Rd which leads into Franklin Mills Mall.

Map - Zoom in 3 times and you'll see Franklin Mills Mall.

Getting to Franklin Mills Mall by public transportation:

Frankford Transportation Center is the Philadelphia hub for train and bus transportation. >From the Frankford Transportation Center, take the Route 67 Bus northbound to Franklin Mills Mall. On Saturdays, buses depart at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 1:30 pm. It's a 43 minute ride. Afternoon service is available from the mall to the Frankford Transportation Center at 3:47, 4:47, and 5:47.
http://www.septa.com/service/sched/067_sat.html

We encourage you to join our Yahoo List Serve:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/franklinmillsmall

For more information, contact Elaine Brower - mermaid423@aol.com or
Pat Elder - patrickelder@verizon.net

See these websites, where we'll post updates:
http://shutdowntheaec.net
http://www.wearenotyoursoldiers.org

SHUT DOWN THE AEC!

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Does any other Country have such a propagandistic, mind bending war gaming arcade? After seeing this for the first time I am convinced we are greatly reduced as a "civilized" pople, who claim this is the best Country in the world!

THE AUDACITY OF WAR GAMES!

Do not be silent! Show up on May 2nd and don't stop!!!!!!

MMaximus

There is no other crime in America that is comparable to the 9/11 attack including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. If your mind is open and you desire to see the evidence please watch the speech by Richard Gage at this web address
http://www.911blogger.com/node/10025

Dan Rather CBS nightly news anchor stated, “We’re going to show you a video tape of the collapse itself. For the third time today we’re going to show you, it is reminiscent of a building deliberately destroyed by dynamite to knock it down.”

The comments by CBS reporter Dan Rather and other witnesses at the WTC scene were never repeated since those moments on 9/11. That contrasts to the current story being replayed over and over right now when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met President Obama, shook his hand, and handed him a copy of his book. Last month there were hundreds of broadcasts of Olympic swimming great Michael Phelps smoking a bong. Why do media producers make these choices?

To be able to grasp the validity and purpose of the media it is important to be able to evaluate the censorship of an overwhelming event – explosions at the moment of the collapse of all three WTC buildings – compared to repeated broadcasts of inconsequential occurrences. For the entire American nation to ignore the comparison of news broadcasts that fills our minds with trivial nonsense while it censors a devastating crime capable only by the Commander in Chief is the essential issue being raised.

There are many other facts and evidence that point directly at President Bush besides the explosions that collapsed the WTC. Another fact is that the NORAD F-16 jet fighters stationed at Andrews AFB, 15 miles from DC, to protect the Pentagon from enemy attack were ordered to leave their post to be in a training exercise 180 miles south in North Carolina. I served in the Navy on board submarine USS Trigger and stood watch armed with a loaded .45 to prevent boarders on the boat and on the pier. Leaving that post would result in a Court Martial. Only the Commander in Chief has the power to order the NORAD General Ralph Eberhardt to have his pilots abandon the post. The Air Force has hundreds of F-16’s that could have been used for the training mission in North Carolina.

Which conspiracy theory do you prefer to believe? There is the government’s theory or there is the conspiracy reality proven by the evidence that Richard Gage presents that shows the footage and the commentary being broadcast at the scene by notable reporters and first responders. President Bush and his vast group of admirers love to claim that Bush kept us safe since 9/11. Bush neglects to explain that he kept us safe from himself.

The 9/11 Commission never mentioned one word about the collapse of Building 7 in its report. That omission is conclusive evidence that the 9/11 Commission covered-up the truth. To completely ignore the collapse of that 47 story building, never hit by any plane, speaks for itself. You need to really want to be misled to ignore that omission.

Controlled demolition needs thousands of charges synchronistically timed resulting in a free fall collapse. Typical features are direct evidence of explosives, dust clouds, cutter charges, and a total collapse of the steel structure ready for shipment.

Expert corroboration by control demolition experts stated that the columns of steel inside the buildings were removed by slashing the steel with thermate. Thermate is an incendiary pyrotechnic composition that can generate short bursts of exceedingly high temperatures focused on a small area for a short period of time.

WTC building 7 is a 47 story building 100 yards from the North Tower that had two small fires. It was never hit by a plane. It collapsed after 5:00 PM on 9/11 about eight hours after the planes hit the WTC Towers.

Craig Bartner of the NYFD stated, “The whole time you’re hearing thoom, thoom, thoom, thoom, I think I know an explosion when I hear it. That didn’t sound like just a building fall down. I was real close to building 7 falling down. That’s one of the things I live with all the time and a lot of guys should be saying the same thing.”

After I heard numerous firefighters, reporters, and other people who were at the WTC complex within minutes of the two planes that crashed into the North and South Towers state that they heard explosions, I became suspicious. It never came to my mind that all of these people were hallucinating. To have hundreds of witnesses to any crime who were being ignored by law enforcement is extremely convincing that there is intimidation by very powerful officials who decided to gag the witnesses.

I have a personal experience of observing a conspiracy by senior government and media decision makers. I wrote and published this story titled Just Cause Just Facts in 2005. My experience in this case that began in 1987, gave me first hand exposure to the willingness of the government’s team to jump into protecting a huge Wall Street fraud even though they had no apparent benefit other than being on the team.

The most common defense used to discredit citizens who choose to learn the truth is to call them “conspiracy nuts”. I learned that the nuts are the citizens who believe the government’s version of 9/11. The credibility of the most senior government and media officials has been bullet proof even after they are caught in one lie after the next. This is a cultural trait that isn’t likely to change. If the evidence of the 9/11 case continues to be ignored the outlook for change is bleak.

President Obama has promised change and is determined to “look forward”. That is a sly way to obstruct justice. Justice is impossible when criminal investigations are prevented. When criminal laws are applied to regular citizens but are suspended for the most powerful, most senior officials who are considered royalty by President Obama, our revolution and Constitution just disappeared before our eyes.

Americans have destroyed their own country. The conflict of interest being ignored is an irrational medical disorder that can only be treated by citizens who will unite to form a third party determined to win an election. There are no signs for hope that the 9/11 incident will trigger a new beginning.

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