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Blackwater's Youngest Victim

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Last weekend vice president Joe Biden announced that the US Justice Department would appeal the dismissal of the criminal case against five Blackwater operatives accused of being behind the infamous NisourSquare massacre in Baghdad in September 2007. Some 17 Iraqis were killed and more than 20 wounded in fifteen minutes of sustained gunfire. On New Year’s Eve, federal judge Ricardo Urbina threw out the cases, but not for lack of evidence or because the men are not guilty. Urbina charged that prosecutors had committed gross misconduct in the case and violated the constitutional rights of the Blackwater men. Despite Biden’s assurances that the US would seek justice for the Iraqi victims, legal analysts say the appeal is an uphill battle and Blackwater’s lawyers predict it will fail.

Nisour Square was the highest profile deadly incident involving Blackwater--or any private war contractor. And was supposed to be the case that stuck,the case that showed the US would hold private security companies accountable for their alleged crimes. The indictment of the Blackwater shooters was the first time the Justice Department had taken any meaningful action against the company. To the Iraqi victims, the New Year’s Eve dismissal was shattering. Adding insult to injury, several of the Iraqi victims say they were pressured into a settlement with Blackwater earlier this month for what many considered a paltry sum. Asit stands now, there is only one remaining legal case against Blackwater in the United States–a lawsuit brought by Mohammed Kinani,father of the youngest victim that day--his nine year old son, Ali who was shot in the head and killed by Blackwater forces. Ali’s father may well be the one man now standing between Blackwater and total impunity for the Nisour Square massacre.

Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill, the National Security reporter for The Nation magazine,has conducted an in-depth investigation of the massacre and of nine-year old Ali Kinani’s death. His story for The Nation this week isc alled Blackwater’s Youngest Victim. He files this exclusive report with Rick Rowley of Big Noise Films.

Originally aired on Democracy Now! , January 29, 2010.



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