1826 U2's Bono Backs Videogame with Venezuela Invasion Theme

20060725 15:09:00 webmaster

Il musicista Bono, degli U2, che partecipa a campagne contro la fame e l´AIDS in Africa, adesso sta sponsorizzando un videogame che simula l´invasione del Venezuela per deporre il presidente Hugo Chávez.

Thursday, Jul 06, 2006
By: Venezuela Solidarity Network

WASHINGTON D.C. – 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
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."
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.
For more information contact: Shirley Pate at +1-202-277-8252

Fact Sheet on Mercenaries 2 (PDF File)

Letter from Chuck Kaufman, Actions/Emergency Response Committee:

Bono (of U2) c/o Principle Management 250 West 57th Street New York, New
York 10019

Dear Bono,
On the "Hearts & Minds" page of your website, you open with an appeal to
others with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, "We must become the change we want
to see in the world." Your appeal goes on to highlight the many
philanthropic efforts of U2 over the years. These have included benefit
concerts and other worldwide campaigns for issues such as human rights,
sustainability, debt reduction, AIDS, poverty, disease, militarism, and
political oppression.
Given this background, many people around the world have been shocked to
find out that you are a part owner, through Elevation Partners, of
Pandemic/Bioware, producers of "Mercenaries 2".
As you must know, "Mercenaries 2" is a war game that simulates the invasion
of Venezuela in the year 2007. Of course, at this point, we have only been
able to see the web-based sample of the game. However, even this is enough
to see that the game is designed to demean the Venezuelan people, to
undermine the democratically elected government of Venezuela, and to strike
fear in the hearts of ordinary Venezuelan citizens who, through this game,
can witness their very neighborhoods, villages, and capital being blown up
and their virtual selves being massacred by a band of marauding mercenaries,
who are clearly working for foreign interests who want to take control of
the country’s oil industry. Please note that in one of the scenes in
downtown Caracas one of the buildings being blown up belongs to the
state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela. This building is amongst a group of
easily recognizable residential buildings, in which it is presumed thousands
of innocent people are being burned alive. You may also want to note that
this oil company (PDVSA), which owns CITGO, is the only oil company to offer
discounted heating oil to residents of poor neighborhoods in the United
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. To them, this game is simply another sign of the racist,
interventionist, arrogant, and uncaring attitude of the United States and
Europe toward Venezuela.
Clearly, this issue goes beyond Venezuela. As you know, your company,
Pandemic, has developed video games with military applications for the
Pentagon and the CIA. "Full Spectrum Warrior" is one example of this.
"Mercenaries 2" is obviously an offshoot of this Pentagon/CIA funded
development. Here is a web reference about this:
In addition to the concerns we have expressed, it seems that you would want
to give some consideration to how this "game" will be received by people in
Venezuela, Latin America, and throughout the world. We can only imagine that
the general impression will be very negative and this negativity will
reflect on you and on U2. Is there any "upside" to the release of this game,
other than some shortterm profits in the U.S. and European markets?
Potentially, all of the work you have done for the causes mentioned on your
"Hearts & Minds" page could suffer because of your association and ownership
of this game. One would think that you might also give consideration to how
this video game, like many others, may be used as a recruiting tool. The
game is targeted to teenage and 20-something males, the same target market
for military recruiting. Bono, are you now joining the recruiting efforts of
the U.S. military?
In addition to impressionable young people who may be stimulated by this to
join the military or become mercenaries, it is clear that another side
effect of such a game is that it contributes to the process of desensitizing
people to the horrific violence of war. In the case of "Mercenaries 2," it
also could help people rationalize the invasion of countries by the United
States and its allies for the sake of controlling natural resources. Given
your "public persona," it is hard to imagine that you think this is a good
We realize that for you this may seem like a smart investment and you may
not even be aware of the nature of this video game. That said, on behalf of
reasonable people everywhere, we appeal to you to re-think your association
with this game and your ownership of this company. Please take steps to stop
the release of this game.
Our hope, and that of many, is that you will do the right thing and stop the
release of this virtual rape and devastation of a small, developing country.
Would you see fit to release a version of this game set in South Africa,
Haiti, or Ireland?
If that would be objectionable to you, then why are you singling out
Venezuela? One can only conclude that there are motives beyond the immediate
profit that may be gained by selling the game. Thank you for your attention
to this matter and we would appreciate a response.
Sincerely, Chuck Kaufman Actions/Emergency Response Committee






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