The Weight of a Death 156

At least 28 people have been killed in US drone strikes in Afghanistan in November so far. Several of those were involved in tribal fighting against the Afghan government, but at least five were small children and total non-combatants were probably in double figures. These deaths do not go reported at all in western media. Cameron and Miliband both started at Prime Minister’s Questions today by condemning the killings in Jerusalem. No chance they will ever mention the ongoing US murders in Afghanistan, let alone the three Palestinians killed by Israelis lately, including a taxi driver lynched by Israeli illegal settlers.

No amount of “what-aboutery” can distract from the horror of the attacks in the Jerusalem synagogue, and I have no difficulty in condemning those killings unequivocally, too. But the hypocrisy of the Western media and political establishment, in terms of which deaths are important, is breath-taking. The truth is that the causes of these deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and across a swathe of other countries cannot be disentangled from the history of violent western aggression into those countries. But we are urged to forget context, forget cause and indulge in highly selective emotional outrage and indignation.

Some deaths count an awful lot. Some should not be noticed. It is a strange way of looking at the world.

156 thoughts on “The Weight of a Death

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  • John Goss

    Rehmat, exactly. Performing an anti-Jewish salute is an offence in the eyes of this government, and yet the Nazis in Kiev funded by western governments freely salute in their murderous genocide against East Ukraine. The world is upside down.

  • Ben-9260th dojo katana

    Non-violent, non-cooperation has been said to work only if the State has some decency within it. We look at our own governments as mostly sociopathic and lacking conscience. But unity and cohesion can even win against the most criminalized organizations.

    “Palermo, the largest city in Sicily, is at the heart of mafia country. In the past, trade association surveys have shown that about 80 percent of the town’s shops were paying pizzo. But now more than 900 Sicilian firms, a majority of them in Palermo, are publicly refusing to give money to the mob, thanks to one of the most remarkable social movements to emerge in the last decade. Addiopizzo—Italian for “Goodbye, protection money”—is resisting the racketeers with tactics you’re more likely to associate with Gandhi or the Arab Spring than a campaign against organized crime. The store mentioned on that tapped telephone call was affiliated with Addiopizzo, and the mafiosi didn’t think that trying to collect from it would be worth the inevitable trouble.”

  • BrianFujisan

    Medialens –

    ” Wise words from Craig Murray, particularly this quote:”

    ‘we are urged to forget context, forget cause and indulge in highly selective emotional outrage and indignation.’

    Nature is THEE Religion –

    ” The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart away from nature becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his youth close to its softening influence.

    In the Indian the spirit of the land is vested; it will be until other men are able to divine and meet its rhythm. Men must be born and reborn to belong. Their bodies must be formed of the dust of their forefathers’ bones.

    [The Indian] was kin to all living things and he gave to all creatures equal rights with himself. Everything of earth was loved and reverenced.

    As yet I know of no species that was exterminated until the coming of the white man … The white man considered animal life just as he did the natural man life upon this continent as “pests.” There is no word in the Lakota vocabulary with the English meaning of this word … Forests were mown down, the buffalo exterminated, the beaver driven to extinction and his wonderfully constructed dams dynamited … and the very birds of the air silenced … The white man has come to be the symbol of extinction for all things natural in this continent. Between him and the animal there is no rapport and they have learned to flee from his approach, for they cannot live on the same ground.”

    Chief Luther Standing Bear

  • Ben-9260th dojo katana

    Webb, who was Ronald Reagan’s Navy secretary and who has held centrist views on a number of issues, has been bolstered by progressive news outlet The Nation as a potential challenge from the left to Hillary Clinton…

    Reagan’s Navy secretary is challenging Hillary from the left.

    I love it.

  • Ben-9260th dojo katana

    Brian; You might enjoy reading Spinoza.

    Spinoza’s metaphysics consists of one thing, substance, and its modifications (modes). Early in The Ethics Spinoza argues that there is only one substance, which is absolutely infinite, self-caused, and eternal. He calls this substance “God”, or “Nature”. In fact, he takes these two terms to be synonymous (in the Latin the phrase he uses is “Deus sive Natura”). For Spinoza the whole of the natural universe is made of one substance, God, or, what’s the same, Nature, and its modifications (modes).

    It cannot be overemphasized how the rest of Spinoza’s philosophy—his philosophy of mind, his epistemology, his psychology, his moral philosophy, his political philosophy, and his philosophy of religion—flows more or less directly from the metaphysical underpinnings in Part I of the Ethics.[15]

  • BrianFujisan


    Thanks for the tip

    That sounds very interesting, i’ll go and look it up… i might learn enough to get back to you on that ( over at Squonk ) 🙂

  • Laguerre

    rioting at Al-Aqsa Mosque and the so-called “Wailing Wall”, which has nothing to do with the Temple Mount. The wall is part of an old Roman fortress.

    American archaeologist and author, Professor Dr. Ernest L. Martin (1932-2002) had conducted archaeology work in East Jerusalem. In his controversial book ‘The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot’, published in 1999 – Dr. Martin claimed that Muslim sacred places, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of Rock are not built on top of the Temple Mount ruins.

    That is bonkers. The Wailing Wall is indeed part of the platform of Herod’s Temple. In any case, it is of the type of luxury monumental construction only used for religious architecture. I have to teach the subject, so I do know it. The “old Roman fortress” was the Antonia, of which no remains have actually been identified, as far as I know.

  • nevermind

    @Laguerre. How is it that absolutely nothing of Solomon’s or Herods temple was ever found, and they did look more than once?
    Are we indulging in speculative archaeology when we support scriptures with dubious history?,d.d2s

  • Gary

    You makes some very good points. I watched PMQ and felt very uneasy about the bias in the condemnations.

  • Laguerre

    @ Nevermind.

    How is it that absolutely nothing of Solomon’s or Herods temple was ever found,

    Nothing of Solomon’s temple has been found, but yes, the platform of Herod’s Temple can been seen in the platform of the Haram al-Sharif. It’s only the Temple building itself which disappeared after the Jewish Revolt in 69-70 AD. The platform was a really massive construction of evidently ancient origins, in order to level the site for building, Jerusalem being somewhat hilly. You should look at it from the Mount of Olives to get a good idea.

  • Ben-9260th dojo katana

    It’s not surprising little was salvaged after Titus was done. But they were fulfilling prophecy ‘no stone would remain’, and they were fed up with Israel.

  • Republicofscotland

    I’ll never forget reading Brando Bryant’s account of being a “Drone Pilot” as he sat in his container in New Mexico he killed many people, thousands of miles away in Afghanistan.

    Mr Bryant asked his superiors what to do if children were present during an imminent attack, his superiors told him just to pretend, that the children were dogs, a short time later Mr Bryant sickened by this response, left the army.

    When the order to fire on a target arrives, Bryant paints the roof of a hut with the laser that will guide in a Hellfire missile released by the pilot beside him.

    “These moments are like in slow motion,” he says to Abé.

    No doubt, because on this occasion Bryant says a child walked from behind the building at the last second. Too late for him to do anything else but ask the other pilot, “Did we just kill a kid?”

    From der Spiegel:

    “Yeah, I guess that was a kid,” the pilot replied.

    “Was that a kid?” they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.

    Then, someone they didn’t know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack. “No. That was a dog,” the person wrote.

    They reviewed the scene on video. A dog on two legs

    Read more:

  • Mary

    Not April 1st. November 20th actually and it’s not a wind up. It is the last time though that Save the Children get any of my money or support. Outrageous. How many Iraqi and Afghani children died because of Blair?

    Tony Blair honoured with Save The Children’s Global Legacy Award at charity gala attended by Ben Affleck and Lassie

    The usual suspects are on these lists. Even Goldman Sachs is there as a corporate partner.

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    19 Nov, 2014 – 8:19 pm
    “I’ll think I’ll give up on this topic now because it looks – judging by the increase in off-topics – as if this thread’s reached the end of its natural life.”

    It is pure coincidence of course that Habbabkuk disappears at the same time that Craig introduces a new thread dealing with Israel, just as he did when the previous Israel thread was posted!

    The first poster to this Israeli thread came in at 8:25 pm. Habbabkuk’s final entry on the last topic: 8.24pm.

    We will miss you Habbabkuk.

  • Reluctant Observer

    An interesting observation, Doug Scorgie. This post was entered (by Mr. Murray) at 20:16.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Mary 20 Nov, 2014 – 5:55 pm: “Tony Blair honoured with Save The Children’s Global Legacy Award at charity gala attended by Ben Affleck and Lassie”
    It’s so confusing working out who the bad guys are (except for Tony Blair). I was admiring Ben Afflick on this YouTube video last night ….
    Ben Affleck Angrily Defends Islam Against Bill Maher/Sam Harris Muslims
    …. and then he goes and spoils it all by doing something simple like honouring a mass murderer.

  • doug scorgie

    20 Nov, 2014 – 5:55 pm

    “Tony Blair honoured with Save The Children’s Global Legacy Award”

    Satire is dead again Mary.

    I have sent a critical e-mail to Save the Children UK asking them to distance themselves from the award presented by Save the Children USA.

    I mentioned our Tony’s friendship with Karimov of child slavery fame.

  • Aidworker1


    I presume you are in Rochester today!

    You completely took apart the case against Julian Assange.

    Post this again – a link would be fine!!

  • Ben-9260th dojo katana

    They flow deep underneath the Atlantic Ocean and into the United Kingdom below the golden sands of idyllic beaches. But the internet cables that come ashore at the coast of Cornwall, England, are not just used to connect the country with the rest of the world.

    According to new reports based on documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the cables have become an integral part of the global mass surveillance system operated by the British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters, intimately assisted by a company that is now owned by Vodafone, the world’s third largest cellphone network provider.

    The latest details about the extent of the spying were revealed on Thursday by the British Channel 4 News and the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, who worked in partnership with Intercept founding editor Laura Poitras. The Intercept obtained a preview of the revelations in advance of their publication.

    According to the reports, British telecommunications firms have helped GCHQ dramatically scale-up the volume of internet data it collects from undersea cables. In the five years leading up to 2012, there was a 7,000-fold increase in the amount of data the agency was sweeping up, with its computers monitoring some 46 billion private communications “events” every day, according to documents cited in the reports. The data swept up from the cables would include content from emails, online messages, browsing sessions, and calls made using internet chat tools.

    British telecommunications company Cable & Wireless played a leading role in the secret cable tapping operation, according to the reports, and the collaboration appears to have gone further than simply complying with the law in helping implement the surveillance.

  • lysias

    Philip Nelson, the author of LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination, has a new book just out, LBJ: From Mastermind to the Colossus. It has a chapter on the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in June 1967. I have just been reading it on my Kindle. He accepts Peter Hounam’s Operation Cyanide theory (LBJ plotted with the Israelis for the U.S. ship to be sunk so that it could be used as a pretext for the U.S. joining in the attack on Egypt). I can’t tell you everything he says, as I am only midway in the chapter.

  • BrianFujisan


    Cheers for Wiki link…i didn’t know about the Hollywood Stint.

    Ba’al, Mary, Doug.

    Re the sickening vision of blair awarded by save the Children, some Outrage ensues –

    ” And this isn’t some sick, satirical joke. The man who was to a huge extent responsible for killing, injuring, displacing and immiserating several hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children (among his many other crimes and misdemeanours) has been recognised ‘for his humanitarian work’ by one the ‘Western’ world’s foremost child welfare NGOs.

    And me saying that he ‘is to huge extent responsible for the killing, injuring, displacement and immiseration of several hundreds of thousands of children in Iraq’ is not just rhetoric.

    To that end, it’s worth looking in a bit more depth at the scale of the catastrophe inflicted on Iraq’s children by the war that Tony Blair launched and continues to defend.

    In March 2013, the charity War Child released a report entitled ‘Mission Unaccomplished’. This report documented how:

    ’51% of 12-17 year olds do not attend secondary school’
    ‘One in four children has stunted physical and intellectual development due to under-nutrition’.
    ‘In 2011 a survey found up to 1 million children have lost one or both parents in the conflict’.
    ‘In 2010, 7 years after the conflict began, it was estimated that over a quarter of Iraqi children, or 3 million, suffered varying degrees of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’.
    ‘Between December 2012 and April 2013, ‘An estimated 692 children and young people have been killed’ in conflict related violence., and more ‘than 1,976 children and young people have been injured’. These figures are almost certainly underestimates’.

    The report also points out that the numbers presented above ‘come to life when you realise the pain, trauma and suffering behind them. Every number in the statistics above has a story to tell and a life attached to it’…….

    ….. ” To take another example, The Guardian had reported in 2003 on how Save The Children had been:

    ordered to end criticism of military action in Iraq by its powerful US wing to avoid jeopardising financial support from Washington and corporate donors

    And then how:

    Senior figures at Save the Children US . . . demanded the withdrawal of the criticism and an effective veto on any future statements blaming the invasion for the plight of Iraqi civilians suffering malnourishment and shortages of medical supplies.

  • guano

    Boring tho’ it may be to many, nit picking over who built the wailing wall, which was Rome the Herodian temple having been destroyed as prophecied by the Romans, or qui bono the war in Ukraine, which was Rome i.e.the West in preparation for liberating the former Muslim colonies of the Soviet Union with the aid of political Islam, I have recently noticed a curious divide between the teachings of Christianity and Islam on the the parallel realities of heaven and earth.

    Christianity’s Lord’s Prayer says that what happens on earth is the same as what happens in heaven. Everything is by God’s decree, even the destruction of walls and nations. I have heard it said in a lecture on Islam that even if the Holy sites of Islam were destroyed, they would continue to exist in heaven.

    This seems to me to be exactly the same thinking as the wishful thinking of the Jewish nation. All empires that have been destroyed continue top exist as a dream in the minds of their descendants. The memory of the Ottomans in Turkey, British in the UK, Moghuls in Pakistan, Assyrians in Kurdistan or St David in West Wales, are still fresh as a daisy in the minds of local people.

    All empires that refuse to allow immigration and change, and who prosecute injustice on others to maintain their position, will bear the brunt of rebellion and destruction.

    It is hard to remember sometimes that God/Allah uses one nation to contain the unjust power of another. The residual injustice of Assad in Syria or Saddam in Iraq have been or will be destroyed eventually, however powerful they may have seemed at the time. If Allah wills Assad’s destruction, no amount of US real politic capitulation will save his horrible torturing neck from obliteration. Gaddaffi was sightseeing in Paris a few months before his complete annihilation. There will be no going back.

  • glenn_uk

    @Guano: “I have heard it said in a lecture on Islam that even if the Holy sites of Islam were destroyed, they would continue to exist in heaven.

    Wow… that must make it a definite possibility then, around which we should build our lives – right?

    Come on – FFS, this religious mumbo-jumbo, piling one unsupported supposition upon another, is hardly a rational basis on which to base a conclusion over which shoelace to tie first, let alone how to conduct our lives. We might as well argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and use our conclusions to designate the correct brightness for traffic lights. Or any other arbitrary nonsense.

    The argument between science and religion was lost, when Mosques/ Churches started putting up lightning conductors.

    You might find this utter BS comforting on an entirely personal basis, but let’s face it – every belief system is entirely bereft of fact or evidence, or it would not have to rely on “belief”. It’s all fantasy, myth, BS in other words.

    Stop being so terrified and obliged to hate “the other”, and start confronting reality, man.

  • Richard Henson

    @Mary, 7.55: Disgraceful. I hope Scotland can steer clear of becoming a US state, because it is looking like England is already just about there. Not surprising we are being politically steered out of Europe…

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