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Hmmm... Homeschooling, anyone?

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Pentagon Creating Database of High School Students
Privacy Advocates Say Recruitment Effort Goes Too Far

(Jun. 23) - As U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan continues, the Pentagon -- which has fallen short of its recruitment goals -- is using new means to find potential recruits.
Working with the private marketing firm BeNow, Inc. of Wakefield, Mass., the Pentagon has created a huge database of millions of high school students, aged 16 to 18.
The database includes names, dates of birth, genders, addresses, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, ethnicity, telephone numbers, and even grade point averages.
The purpose, according to a Defense Department statement, is "to assist" in "direct marketing recruiting efforts."
Privacy Advocates Concerned
But privacy advocates say it violates a federal law that restricts the government's ability to gather personal information. They say they understand the military's need to recruit but this type of information-gathering goes too far.
"It's very secretive," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "It feels a lot like a big brother proposal, and it really should be stopped."
The Pentagon -- struggling to recruit in the face of the daily violence in Iraq -- says the database is a way to remain competitive in a marketplace where young people have a lot of choices.
Officials say they will handle the data with care.
"We always worry about privacy issues," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said.
A growing number of parents were already upset about the military's recruiting techniques. A little-known provision in the 2002 "No Child Left Behind" education law requires every public school to provide the military with the names, addresses and phone numbers of students.
Last month, Louise Wannier went to her daughter's high school to submit an opt-out letter, which prohibits recruiters from accessing personal information.
She learned today about the new database, which may have much more information on her daughter than she'd ever imagined.
"I thought I had protected my kid," she said. "This is a direct violation of family privacy and parental rights."
Privacy advocates and at least one congressman are now fighting to stop the gathering of information for the database.
ABC News' Dan Harris filed this report for "World News Tonight."
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quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
I'm not sure what the big deal is really. While it is certainly offesnsive for me for the DOD to get kids' info - every 18 year old is required to register with the Selective Service anyway. So - this just pushes up when they get the info.


All the more reason for them not to have the information.

Quite alot of folks never register for the draft.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
I'm not sure what the big deal is really. While it is certainly offensive for me for the DOD to get kids' info - every 18 year old is required to register with the Selective Service anyway. So - this just pushes up when they get the info.

Well, one still has the option of not registering. The main penalty is that you will not be eligible for student loans. Also, I think that the requirement still is just for young men, not women.

I was in high school when this travesty was enacted. I felt compelled to register in order to get financial aid. If there had been a draft, I would have resisted. I remember a heated debate with my father telling him that I would be on the way to Canada in a heart beat.
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:

Well, one still has the option of not registering. The main penalty is that you will not be eligible for student loans. Also, I think that the requirement still is just for young men, not women.


Yeah. The Pacifist Purges of the US University system have been going on for a generation now.

Although only men are required to register, the Pacifist Purges do pick up some women, also. I recall a case in Pennsylvania where three women had been denied school loans for not cooperation with selective service on the forms. That was pretty early on, at least 20 years ago, and they lost. You don't hear much about the Purges anymore, since even though they are still going on, it is considered old news, I suppose.

quote:
I was in high school when this travesty was enacted. I felt compelled to register in order to get financial aid. If there had been a draft, I would have resisted. I remember a heated debate with my father telling him that I would be on the way to Canada in a heart beat.


Canada may or may not be an option if (when?) a draft is passed. Hinzman's case was reciently rejected by Canada, although I think that he is apealing the decision, so he hasn't been deported, yet.

Heading south to Mexico or Central or South America might be the only option left by the time that the draft hits, if Canada closes their borders to US refuges. It might be a good idea for high school students to pay good attention in their Spanish classes.
quote:
Originally posted by ricardomath:
Heading south to Mexico or Central or South America might be the only option left by the time that the draft hits, if Canada closes their borders to US refuges. It might be a good idea for high school students to pay good attention in their Spanish classes.

Good point. One of the things that I started including in my Chaplain's newsletter after 9/11 was also information about conscientious objector status, and how to begin the process of establishing such status and what type of documentation is looked for.
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
Good point. One of the things that I started including in my Chaplain's newsletter after 9/11 was also information about conscientious objector status, and how to begin the process of establishing such status and what type of documentation is looked for.


Kresge,

I remember there were a couple of soldiers sometime last year that tried to use the conscientious objector status to avoid having to return to Iraq after their first tour of duty. Do you know if that worked for them? Or where their requests denied?
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
Kresge,

I remember there were a couple of soldiers sometime last year that tried to use the conscientious objector status to avoid having to return to Iraq after their first tour of duty. Do you know if that worked for them? Or where their requests denied?

Sorry, but I do not know. If I had to guess, it would be that they were likely denied, especially if they had already done a tour and had not raised the issue earlier.

USA: International Conscientious Objector Day marked by sentencing Pablo Paredes to three months of hard labour


Amnesty International

Press release, 05/13/2005


While claiming to champion human rights, the US government continues to convict people for exercising their freedom of thought, conscience and religion, Amnesty International said today as US naval officer Pablo Paredes is sentenced to three months' hard labour for refusing to participate in the war on Iraq.

"The right to refuse to perform military service is a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It is particularly indefensible that anyone should be imprisoned whilst pursuing a claim through established procedures," said Amnesty International.

Officer Paredes' conviction and sentence, passed on 12 May 2005 was imposed despite his pending claim for conscientious objector status. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience who should be released immediately and unconditionally.

23-year-old Pablo Paredes was convicted because of refusing to board the USS Bonhomme Richard as it deployed to the Gulf region on 6 December 2004. His refusal to deploy was based on his moral objection to the war in Iraq and belief that the war was illegal.

Pablo Paredes has stated that "beyond having a duty to my chain of command and my president, I have a higher duty to my conscience and to the supreme law of the land."

He filed for conscientious objector status on 4 January 2005. The investigating officer has made an initial assessment that this application be denied on the basis that his beliefs are political in nature and that his objection is to the Iraq war in particular rather than to all wars.

Amnesty International considers a conscientious objector to be any person who, for reasons of conscience or profound conviction, refuses to perform service in the armed forces or any other direct or indirect participation in wars or armed conflicts, including people who refuse to participate in particular wars. However the US Military Selective Service Act stipulates that objection must be to participation in war of any form by reason of religious, ethical, or moral belief.

Amnesty International is calling on the US government to immediately and unconditionally revoke Pablo Paredes' sentence.

Background Information

Pablo Paredes is the third US conscientious objector adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International since the Iraq war began. The other two were Camilo Mejía and Abdullah Webster, both now released from military detention.

Since his release on 30 April, Abdullah Webster has elaborated on his reasons for objecting to participating in the war in Iraq "as time wore on it transpired that the reason for this war was false – there had not been any weapons of mass destruction. Given the legality of the war it was considered to be unjust and I was not mentally nor spiritually prepared to partake in an unjust war."

Amnesty International is also closely following the case of Army Sergeant Kevin Benderman who developed conscientious objections during his first deployment in Iraq. His Courts-Martial also began on 11 May but was postponed after the military judge determined that previous proceedings may have been biased against him. He faces a court-martial on charges of desertion and a possible seven year sentence.

A growing number of objectors to the war in Iraq from the USA are also seeking refugee status in Canada, including Jeremy Hinzman whose application for asylum was denied in March 2005. If he is forcibly returned to the USA and imprisoned on the basis of his conscientious objection, Amnesty International would adopt him as a prisoner of conscience. Jeremy Hinzman's application for conscientious objector status was turned down in April 2003. When he received notice of his unit's deployment to Iraq he decided to leave the military without leave as he considered that his participation in the war in Iraq would be a violation of his conscience, religious principles and international law. In early January 2004 he went to Canada and submitted a refugee claim.

http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGAMR510772005

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