The guardian newspaper has exposed new recruitment plans for Britain’s armed forces in which children from socio-economic deprived backgrounds are tempted to join the british army on the promise of further education and a cash bursary. Participating students who enrol in an armed forces endorsed course will receive £1000 on signing up and another £1000 on completion.
The british army has been suffering with poor recruitment issues as european parents have been reluctant to send their children to die for their queen and country. As a result british politicians and army personnel have been collaborating on projects in an attempt to replicate the ideology behind the highly successful but tragically amoral American military recruitment practise. In the US, many African American children are targeted and cajoled into joining the army under threat of being criminalised, imprisoned or trapped in an inescapable life of socio-economic impoverishment.
Earlier this month the National Union of Teachers voted against government plans that had enabled soldiers to visit educational facilities and spread “misleading propaganda” to school children in an attempt to recruit them down a military career path. Brigadier Andrew Jackson of the army recruitment group admitted that they had a strategy targeting children where their theme was “stay in education and then join the army”.
The government strategy of recruiting young child soldiers from the age of 14 has drawn much criticism. In 2007 the British government sent soldiers under the age of 18 to fight in Iraq, contravening a United Nation’s protocol on children’s rights. Defence minister Adam Ingram said that it was a shortage of available soldiers that led to the children being involved in direct combat action.
In 2006, fourteen thousand left the army yet only twelve thousand joined up with teenagers making up the bulk of these new recruits. As a result a new ‘bounty’ scheme has been introduced where children are given £650 if they rejoin or manage to encourage their friends to successfully apply to the infantry and royal artillery.
In the UK, young people in the UK cannot drink or vote before they turn 18, nonetheless approximately 40 percent of Britain’s military forces sign up around the age of 16 - 17 years old and are then trained to kill for money. Although an ethnicity breakdown of these children is not readily available a Ministry of Defence survey taken in 2004 found that 41 percent of recruits had a reading age of 11.
Since 1999 the Labour government and its Ministry of Defence has expended significant resources in targeting recruits from the African community. By using the rhetoric of attempting to address ‘equality and under representation’ in the armed forces, the british government has been able to create miseducation programmes diverting disaffected young people with low academic attainment results into the armed force. As a result, although African and other minority ethnic communities constitute about 6 per cent of the national population, in the army they constitute over 19 per cent of the 16-24 recruitment pool. Evidence also reveals that African recruits are increasingly more likely than their european peers to remain in military focused education after the age of 16 thus providing the armed services with an additional pool of cheap skilled labour.
Former british prime minister Tony Blair with African british troops occupying Iraq
Using roster and non-roster agencies, including its ad agency Publicis, the army has had much success with Operation Camouflage, the military’s child recruitment programme designed to hold the interest of children too young to do join the armed forces. Since the Camouflage strategy was enacted in 2000 over a quarter of a million children has been processed.
Responding to a related article on the advertising industry’s Brand Republic website, army marketing director Mark Bainbridge defended the technique revealing “the current network of marketing suppliers which includes Publicis, Haymarket, Biss lancaatsre Zenith, Tequlia London to name a few of our network agencies have not only delivered consistently against all measures and targets I have given them, they have faced but have scooped some of the marketing indusry's most coveted awards”.
The awards include; 2007 APA Camouflage Magazine: Best Consumer Publication 2007, 2007 APA Camouflage Programme: Best integrated campaign 2007, 2007 PR Week Grand Prix Campaign of the Year: Everest West Ridge, 2007 Connect Awards: Intelligent data use in Multi-Channel Campaign, 2007 Campaign Digital Award: Best interactive TV Campaign, 2007 NMA Best Recruiting Website, 2007 April/May Aerial Awards for Army radio commercials and 2007 Revolution Best Interactive TV.
As a result of adverts and exposure on mainstream and African youth targeting media and institutions approximately 18 percent of 2007’s recruitment intake were members of Camouflage, many of whom signed up when the army visited their schools.
In January 2008, a report exposed how the British army glamourises war as a means of attracting children into the military. The study revealed how more than £2 billion is spent each year recruiting and training about 20,000 new personnel to replace those who leave. The report funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust states "The primary target groups for armed forces marketing are children and adolescents," this is done through the use of army websites , such as Camouflage, aimed at 12- to 17-year-olds and propaganda films about people from ethnically diverse communities historically participating in the British army. The report also exposed how the armed forces draw non-officer recruits mainly from among young people with "low educational attainment and living in poor communities".
Last year the Labour government announced its controversial army summer initiation and recruitment camp programme being organised by Trevor Phillips, the anti-African chair of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights and supported by the racist Tory MP, Patrick Mercer and military personnel such as Air Commodore David Case, the highest ranking African officer in the British forces who infamously stated that he had never experienced anti-African racism in the armed forces.
None of the team refer to the case of Shaka Wallace, an African from Trinidad who was serving the British army. Wallace states that he was sacked by the Queen’s Royal Hussars regiment after complaining about being subjected to a barrage of anti-African abuse. During his service he was told by commanding officers that he was “not worthy to wear [the British army uniform]”, had the words “die [n word]” scrawled on his barracks door and was labelled a ‘yardie’ because he had Caribbean heritage.
Project advisor, Mercer who not only claimed even if there was no connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda there was no doubt that Britain should go to war in Iraq because "Baghdad is behind much of the world's terrorism" but
also infamously announced "[i]f someone is slow on the assault course, you'd get people shouting… come on you black b**tard…. I came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours".
Unsurprisingly the cabal of british warmongering has the full backing of British Prime Minster, Gordon Brown whilst the strategic plans have been discussed with the African British political representatives including Valerie Amos, Patricia Scotland and David Lammy under the rhetoric of being a project designed to “deter young people from getting into gang violence”.
It addition in August 2007 the government officials announced their plan to help develop what is widely referred to as the states “National Role Muddle programme” for young African men. The announcement followed the launch of the Reach Report, a collection of recommendations put together by government selected 'black' leaders without grass roots Pan African representation.
As part of the project, in December of last year, Simon Woolley, director of the integrationist Operation black Vote organisation wrote in the Guardian newspaper how he "along with [clothes designer Ozwald] Boateng, [former TV show winner Tim] Campbell and [Metropolitan Police Force Superintendent Leroy] Logan, will be [looking] to find 20 outstanding national role models to tour the country and encourage tens of thousands of 'black' men to recognise themselves as role models".
Yet whilst the british media promotes propaganda stories such as the awarding of the Victoria Cross to the Africans like Johnson Beharry from Grenada and over-saturating the news including children’s newsround type media with stories praising Prince Harry’s allegedly courageous "secret" tour of duty, the government seeks to manipulate those afflicted with poor academic attainment into an action packed gun focused occupation.
There is little focus on the many horrific stories such as that of Andy Julien, a 27 year old former cavalryman seduced into the British Army at the age of 14 who to this day still remains abandoned by Britain’s Ministry of Defence. Andy was left with severe injuries after his colleagues caused him to be dragged from a tank with both legs broken - one badly crushed - a broken arm and a brain injury caused by shrapnel that had blinded him. The subsequent inquest into the incident found ‘nobody to blame’ for what the army simply termed ‘friendly fire’. His mother who did not want her son serving in the armed forces said; "He needed our consent to join and we wouldn't sign the forms. He just said he'd wait until he was 18 when did not need our consent".
British and euro-American politicians such as Tony Blair, Jack Straw and George Bush do not allow their children to give their lives to the armed forces in order to fight in the illegal wars they initiate. However supporting Africans in their respective governments have made naïve Africans currently serving in the armed forces special 'trophy prizes' to Iraqi resistance fighters. From Condelezza Rice and Colin Powell to Oona King and David Lammy they place Africans worldwide at risk of attack.
An article in the Observer published in September 2004, exposed the endemic cultural hatred many arabs have of African people. Whilst interviewing Iraqi resistance fighters in Baghdad journalist Jason Burke wrote of how both African American and African British soldiers were a particular target. His article read; "To have Negroes occupying us is a particular humiliation,' Abu Mujahed said, echoing the profound racism prevalent in much of the Middle East. 'Sometimes we aborted a mission because there were no Negroes.'"
Despite these facts many supporters of the compulsory national service for children argue that a mandatory army career is essential to instil discipline in young African children. However In March 2008, the Ministry of Defence was forced to make an announcement admitting its soldiers breached the human rights of murdered Iraqi civilian Baha Mousa who was beaten to death in a psychopathic attack by british soldiers and that of eight other Iraqis detainee. It is unlikely there will be an independent and public inquiry into the UK's detention policy but Baha Mousa's father will now receive substantial compensation reputed to be up to a million pounds.
A related article in the Guardian newspaper reads; “Evidence shows that soldiers had no training in prisoner handling, and routinely treated Iraqis as dehumanised objects. Thus, one finds the clearest evidence of religious and sexual humiliation both in the Mousa incident and in others, such as Camp Bread Basket, and of soldiers routinely engaged in depraved and disgusting practices. Mousa's fellow prisoners say they were urinated on by soldiers, and were forced to drink their own or soldiers' urine when they understandably complained of thirst, given they were being deprived of water. To all of this shocking evidence must be added what is about to emerge in high court proceedings into an incident at the Abu Naji facility in May 2004. The evidence of survivors, medics and eyewitnesses claims that UK soldiers executed up to 20 Iraqis, tortured another nine (who will now give evidence) and subjected some of the 20 dead to unspeakable atrocities before finally dispatching them”.
Toyin Agbetu, head of education and social policy for Ligali does not believe that African people should be involved with the british armed forces and questioned the morality of using cash inducements to entice vulnerable and socio-economically deprived children into a career of “paid militancy”. He argues british culture and society does enough harm miseducating children and cultivating an ignorant, violent, unhappy and individualistic attitude towards life.
Challenging those thinking of colluding with the british army scheme he said “it is bad enough that some schools are working with Operation Camouflage to recruit those unarmed with the facts or in possession of the literacy level required to fully decipher the glamorous army propaganda they are being bombarded with, but the targeting of politically illiterate parents and their children with £2000 bursaries and offering another £650 bonus if they can secure someone else’s child is sick, it looks as though some types of british attitudes never change. Our children are not for sale”.
External LinksGuardian - Army accused of glamorising war and recruiting youngstersWSWS.org - British Army used under-18-year-old soldiers in Iraq occupationBBC - UK shamed over teenage soldiersReport - Diversity in British Armed ForcesGuardian - Britain
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African cultural values are a problem says BritainAfrican solider abandoned by British Army that maimed him
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Is the army’s cashback offer of £2000 for school leavers seeking further education in the armed forces scheme moral? Would you give up a friend’s child for a £650 bonus? Lack of discipline? – Is training by the british army the answer?
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