I strongly recommend checking out Jeremy Scahill‘s new documentary on Blackwater and its alleged murder of a nine-year-old boy during the 2007 massacre at Nisour Square. Filmed in conjunction with Rick Rowley, (who has reported on U.S. detention centers and Iraqi insurgents for the Pulitzer Center, among others) the short documentary dropped this morning on Democracy Now!. It centers on a lawsuit being brought against Blackwater by the boy’s father, Mohammed Kinani. Kinani survived the Nisour Square massacre—he was in the car with his son and watched him die. In the film Kinani explains how a group of Blackwater employees inexplicably blocked off traffic near the square in Baghdad that day and began a ghoulish killing spree, exploding a car with grenades and firing indiscriminantly into the crowd. When the dust settled, 17 civilians were dead and 24 more were wounded.
The lawsuit being brought against the behemoth mercenary outfit is important because it is the last of its kind. Earlier this month a federal judge dismissed charges against the five Blackwater officers accused of orchestrating the massacre, citing procedural improprieties on the part of prosecution. As a consequence of this, Mohammed Kinani’s lawsuit is now the last action moving forward in the courts against the company for crimes they’ve committed servicing U.S. wars abroad. The Ifund has long-funded Jeremy’s reporting on Blackwater, and he’s a fellow here at the Nation Institute so we got to talk to him a bit about the film. He said one of the most important things about it for him is that Mohammed Kinani has the chance to give long-form testimony—in his own words—about what happened at Nisour Square. It’s not every day that Iraqis get to speak candidly in the U.S. media about their experience of living under occupation, or of enduring atrocities such as this one.