Blackwater's Youngest Victim
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As we wrap up the interview, Mohammed Kinani gathers up all the photos he has brought to show me: pictures of Ali and his other children, pictures of his wife and of his severely damaged car. He stops and stares at a school portrait of Ali. We look at a video on his laptop of his home -- the one currently occupied by the Sunni militia leader -- and then he pauses and clicks on another video file. The screen pops up, and there is Ali, hopping around a swimming pool with his cousins and siblings. With a wide smile, Ali approaches Mohammed's cellphone camera and says, "I am Allawi!"
Mohammed tells me, "I wish the US Congress would ask [Erik Prince] why they killed my innocent son, who called himself Allawi. Do you think that this child was a threat to your company? This giant company that has the biggest weapons, the heaviest weapons, the planes, and this boy was a threat to them?" he says. "I want Americans to know that this was a child that died for nothing."
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Jeremy Scahill, an independent journalist who reports frequently for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now!, has spent extensive time reporting from Iraq and Yugoslavia. He is currently a Puffin Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute. Scahill is the author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. His writing and reporting is available at RebelReports.com.