Among “unworthy victims” ignored by western media
In the first week of July, Ukrainian army bombing of the Donetsk People’s Republic—carried out with western supplied weapons—resulted in the death of four children.
One of those kids was a 10-year-old girl, Veronica Sergeevna Badina, who was killed by a standard NATO 155 millimeter shell fired by the Ukrainian army against central Donetsk.
According to Veronica’s grandfather and mother, Veronica went outside of her grandmother’s house which she was visiting to get some fresh air and talk with a boy her age.
She then decided to run home to brush her hair, but was torn into three pieces by the 155 millimeter shell, which was fired by a French Caesar self-propelled gun.
Veronica was a vivacious ten-year-old who loved animals and was a sports dancer. She was only two when the war in Eastern Ukraine broke out, so was among the generations of kids who grew up with its horrors.
For several years Veronica suffered from anemia, from which she recovered last year thanks to the help of Dr Lisa’s foundation—only to be cut down by the Ukrainian army.
Merchant of Death
The 155 millimeter shell is manufactured by the British based BAE systems, whose shares have reached an all-time high since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.
During the 2020 U.S. election campaign, the U.S. division of BAE Systems donated $569,202 to Democratic Party candidates, and $452,594 to Republicans, according to opensecrets.org Joe Biden received $102,591 compared to $94,966 for Donald Trump.
BAE Systems also has spent over $5 million on lobbying in the U.S. over the last two years. Recipients of BAE’s largesse include such anti-Russia hawks as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA—$7,373); Steny Hoyer (D-MD—$10,000), Chuck Schumer (D-NY—$5,605); Liz Cheney (R-WY—$3,259 and another $5,500 in 2022); Jamie Raskin (D-MD—$4,089); Adam Schiff (D-CA—$8,036); Mitch McConnell (R-KY—$9, 289), James Inhofe (R-OK-$13,300) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC-$11,383), who all voted in favor of more than $6.92 blilion in U.S. military assistance to Ukraine since the war started.
Worthy Versus Unworthy Victims
In their landmark 1979 book, The Political Economy of Human Rights: The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman traced a dichotomy between worthy and unworthy victims in the U.S. media.
Worthy victims were those of enemies of the U.S. who elicit wide media coverage and empathy. Unworthy victims were those killed by U.S. proxies or weapons, or directly by the United States, and whose plight is ignored.
In the Ukraine War, victims of Russian atrocities—both real and imagined—are the worthy victims, while Veronica and her family are the unworthy victims.
Not one major news network in the U.S. covered Veronica’s death—nor that of any of the other victims of Ukrainian army attacks in the Donbass, including two other children who were killed on July 6 when the Ukrainian army fired rocket launchers into the center of Makeyevka, hitting a playground.
The consequence of the latter omissions are significant: they have helped skew public understanding of the Ukraine war in the U.S. and lent support for continued weapons supplies to Ukraine—all of which help prolong the conflict and create more and more victims.
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About the Author
Jeremy Kuzmarov is Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine.
He is the author of five books on U.S. foreign policy, including Obama’s Unending Wars (Clarity Press, 2019), The Russians Are Coming, Again, with John Marciano (Monthly Review Press, 2018), and Warmonger. How Clinton’s Malign Foreign Policy Launched the U.S. Trajectory From Bush II to Biden (Clarity Press, 2023).
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.