The Bush Administration’s exploitation of Iraqi state archives for atrocity material to justify its failing 2003 invasion of Iraq was based on precedent.  The genealogy of exploiting Iraqi archives for political ends serves as a warning about how the self-evidently virtuous notion of human rights can be used to justify war.


In the winter of 2003 after the US invasion of Iraq earlier that year, Pentagon officials resigned themselves to the reality that the search for Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction and al-Qaida links had failed. A thousand-strong multinational team of document exploitation analysts at the Iraq Survey Group in Qatar found no evidence for either claim in the tens of millions of pages of Saddam Hussein’s ruling Ba‘th Party’s records in their possession.

Complicating matters, the Group’s analysts possessed neither the necessary expertise nor the resources to process the magnitude of Ba‘th Party paperwork arriving in their headquarters each week.1 Paul Bremer, leader of the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq at the time, later noted that: “the Iraq Survey Group was hopeless…they had seven linear miles of documents in Qatar. A lot of it handwritten. The vast majority in Arabic with no capacity for translation. There was no way they were going to get through it. That never would have worked.”2

But the stacks of Iraqi state documents were nevertheless quite valuable as the potential basis for anti-Ba‘thist propaganda. As the US occupation deteriorated in Spring 2004, Donald Rumsfeld’s office of the Secretary of Defense issued an internal memo entitled “Plan for Publicizing Iraqi Atrocities.” The document outlined a George W. Bush administration initiative to publicize evidence of Ba‘thist atrocities to a global audience. The first paragraph outlines its premise:

Problem: The single strongest proof of the “evil” of Saddam Hussein’s regime, and therefore of the justice in removing him, is the evidence of his atrocities against the Iraqi people. These atrocities rival even those of the Nazis and Stalinists. However, knowledge of this evidence is scant in the mind of the American public, in Europe, and elsewhere.3

The thousands of Iraqi state records captured in the first weeks of the invasion of Iraq, the memo observed, contained a steady stream of atrocity material that could be exploited by the Pentagon for a public-relations campaign.

As part of a wider propaganda campaign, the Pentagon’s team would use evidence of Saddam Hussein’s many oppressive acts against the Iraqi people to retroactively justify the war. Moreover, the dossiers identified scholars at American universities as an untapped resource for facilitating the atrocity project. As part of a “strategic information campaign,” the Bush administration aimed to “expose to the widest audience possible the detailed history of Ba‘thist Iraq” by ensuring “the widest academic exploitation of recovered archive materials.”4 The operational intent was clear: “let the words and documents of the former [Ba‘th] regime remind the free world why it was at a state of war with this regime from 1991 until 2003.”5

The Pentagon singled out Kanan Makiya as a “logical source” for maintaining a Ba‘thist atrocity archive and for making it available to scholars in the United States.6 A prominent Iraqi exile, critic of Saddam Hussein and close advisor to the second Bush administration, Makiya had formed the Iraq Memory Foundation shortly before the war with the intent of creating a memorial in Baghdad with all of the Ba‘th Party’s paperwork. The Foundation’s stated mission was to preserve the historical record of 38 years of Ba‘thist rule, educate Iraqis on human rights and help them come to terms with their past. Playing upon Makiya’s status as a human rights defender, the Pentagon reasoned that “the Iraq Memory Foundation has the added advantage” of reaching audiences “in the US that are hostile to the Bush administration and that would look askance at any atrocity material the USG [United States government] directly provided.”7

Behind the scenes, Makiya could not raise the nearly $10 million necessary to fund his memorial. The Bush administration, however, recommended “funding $1 million for the IMF [Iraq Memory Foundation] if Kanaan [Makiya] will agree to tailor its role to housing, categorizing, and organizing these atrocity records.”8 As such, Makiya’s organization received generous funding from the US government. In total, between 2004–2006 the Iraq Memory Foundation received $5.1 million in Pentagon contracts and $1 million from seized Iraqi state funds to create an archive at an academic institution that would “powerfully impart the brutalities of the former regime to the public and scholars.”9

The thousands of Iraqi state records captured in the first weeks of the invasion of Iraq contained a steady stream of atrocity material which could be exploited by the Pentagon for a public-relations campaign.

In January 2005, the Department of Defense granted Makiya’s organization sole custody of the nearly seven million pages of Iraqi state records comprising the Ba‘th Regional Command Collection (BRCC). The Foundation agreed to “provide assistance to the USG in extracting, analyzing, and interpreting” the BRCC “for purposes of interest to the USG” in exchange for airlifting the collection to the United States and digitizing its contents.10 In 2008, Makiya forged an agreement with the Hoover Institution to house the BRCC and to make it and several other collections of Iraqi state records available for scholars to research through an on-site computer terminal.

Thus, in post-invasion Iraq, the Pentagon executed a campaign to weaponize Ba‘th Party records to justify the rapidly failing war. In order to make the Iraqi documents “speak” to the viciousness of Saddam Hussein, the Pentagon enlisted those best positioned to exploit this material to their advantage: a network that linked captured Iraqi records to American academics vis-à-vis an organization ostensibly focused on human rights. This campaign’s existence should surprise few who were aware of the Bush administration’s ever-shifting justifications for the war, or those scholars and journalists who noted the widespread destruction and looting of Iraqi cultural patrimony in the wake of the invasion.11

Less known is that the Pentagon’s capacity, or lack thereof, to weaponize these documents was based on precedent. A decade earlier, the US government, with the help of human rights organizations, exploited the Northern Iraq Dataset—a Ba‘th Party collection also held at the Hoover Institution—captured by Kurdish rebels shortly after the 1991 Gulf War. In this case, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Pentagon and Makiya’s first human rights organization, the Iraq Research and Documentation Project, digitized, analyzed and ultimately circulated atrocity files from the millions of documents comprising the Dataset. The operational intent for these campaigns was to try the regime in an international court, to learn how to exploit Iraqi documents, to build an academic archive and, finally, to circulate anti-Ba‘thist propaganda.

The US government’s infatuation with Ba‘thist atrocity records, its difficulties in processing those records, and its recruitment of the human rights and academic communities in that effort, thus have their roots in a human rights-styled soft war against Ba‘thist Iraq—one which places their weaponization in the broader context of continuous US intervention in Iraq. Tracing the US engagement with these records from the 1991 Gulf War to the 2003 invasion of Iraq makes visible how knowledge production about Ba‘thist Iraq has been shaped by the politics of waging war on Iraq. Further, the biography of the Iraqi files serves as a warning for how the self-evidently virtuous notion of “human rights” can be used as a compelling framing device by states to legitimate violence in the name of progress.

The Politics of Iraqi Suffering

The origins of external actors exploiting Iraqi state documents for political ends are found in the 1991 Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein’s forces abandoned millions of Iraqi state records in deserted police stations, torture chambers and other Iraqi state compounds in Kurdish areas of northern Iraq where the US-led coalition established a no-fly zone. In late 1991, Peter Galbraith of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations made an agreement with the Kurdish political parties to airlift between 14 and 18 metric tons of these files to the United States where they were initially housed at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

The possibility of having access to the state records of an active authoritarian regime in the Middle East precipitated excitement within the human rights community, particularly from Human Rights Watch. A 1993 HRW report referred to these documents—later named the Northern Iraq Dataset (NIDS)—as the “Holy Grail” for human rights researchers.12 Analysts at the organization believed that the captured files contained firsthand evidence of the planning and implementation of the 1988 Anfal genocide campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan that could be used to try Ba‘thist Iraq in the first ever case of genocide brought to the International Court of Justice.

At the same time, the Pentagon planned to use the NIDS to create anti-Ba‘thist propaganda, and to develop document exploitation technologies in Arabic. Employing a variety of analytical and technical practices such as Optical Character Recognition and linking keywords to persons of interest, document exploitation “provides leaders at all echelons with intelligence about enemy forces…through the rapid and accurate extraction, exploitation, and analysis of acquired documents.”13

The Pentagon’s document exploitation team, however, was not staffed with Iraq or human rights experts and did not possess the specialized knowledge required to interpret the often coded and culturally specific language of the millions of documents contained in the NIDS. In exchange for NIDS access, therefore, HRW agreed to help the Pentagon find what Joost Hiltermann, HRW’s lead researcher for the Anfal genocide project, sarcastically described as “the good stuff…material to smear the enemy with”—evidence of chemical weapons use, destroyed villages and mass executions.14 In Hiltermann’s words: “[The Pentagon’s] document exploitation team didn’t know what to look for. They couldn’t recognize the regime’s own terminology. Every single document they read, we reread, and we found everything and they found nothing.”15

There are several reasons why HRW worked closely with the Pentagon—the most important was that Kurdish political parties would not have entrusted the documents to a private entity without the imprimatur of the United States, as well as the considerable logistical and financial challenges associated with housing such a large collection. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that throughout the 1980s the US government ignored repeated Kurdish claims of genocide and ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq while at the same time arming and financing the Iraqi state during its eight-year war with Iran. Saddam Hussein’s systematic repression and use of chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians in 1987–1988 was widely known. Yet, as Samantha Power noted, “since the United States had chosen to back Iraq in the [Iran-Iraq] war, it refrained from protest, denied it had conclusive proof of Iraqi chemical weapons use, and insisted that Saddam Hussein would eventually come around.”16

At best, the partnership between HRW and the Pentagon was unusual but necessary—at worst, it was in all respects ethically compromised. Despite its estimable motivations, a leading human rights organization tasked with uncovering evidence of a genocide in Iraqi Kurdistan was collaborating closely with one of the state agents that made the genocide possible. HRW did, in fact, publish its 1994 report entitled “Bureaucracy of Repression: The Iraqi Government in Its Own Words,” which delivered documentary proof of the Anfal genocide using Saddam Hussein’s own documents.17 The publication of the report and its recognition of genocide in Kurdistan provided international legitimacy to the victims of Saddam Hussein’s repression.

But the HRW campaign to hold Saddam Hussein accountable for the Anfal genocide ultimately failed. Although by 1994, the organization’s legal team found two western governments—whom I was asked to keep confidential—willing to sponsor a case of genocide against the Iraqi state, but those two governments “refused to file the case unless a European state would join them.”18 When no European countries came forward, HRW abandoned its campaign against Ba‘thist Iraq. Behind this disinterest was the fact that for most of the 1990s Iraq was only an ancillary concern for the United States and its European partners. The international community aimed to thwart Saddam Hussein through diplomatic and economic sanctions along with launching airstrikes to protect Iraqi Kurdistan.

Weaponizing Atrocity

But when the US foreign-policy agenda for Iraq changed from containment to regime change after the ratification of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998,19 the US exploitation of Iraqi state documents became more prominent, and more aggressive.

The Iraq Liberation Act was the first major accomplishment of a small but politically influential sector of the Iraqi opposition exiled in the United States and London. Under the banner of the Iraqi National Congress, Ahmad Chalabi and Kanan Makiya had appointed themselves as the leading figures of a hypothetical new Iraq. By 1997 they had received the endorsement of Dick Cheney, Douglas Feith, Zalmay Kalilzad, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and other figures who came to hold senior posts in the Bush administration.20 With Chalabi as their political leader and Makiya as their intellectual visionary, the exiles—in response to NATO’s 1991 retreat from Iraq—formed political advocacy organizations such as Charter 91, the Iraq Foundation and INDICT to encourage, and at times, demand, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

Kenneth Pollack, the Clinton administration’s Director of Persian Gulf Affairs for the National Security Council, remarked that after 1998, the US government began to take advantage of the resources and expertise of the Iraqi exiles “as a public diplomacy and propaganda tool against Saddam and his regime.”21 In the context of growing support for regime change, the NIDS became important to the US government once more.

Kanan Makiya did not formally have a role in the transfer of the NIDS to the United States, nor was he involved in the arrangement between HRW and the Pentagon. Between 1994 and 1998, however, Makiya’s Iraq Research and Documentation Project (IRDP), housed at Harvard University, received 176 CD-ROMs containing the totality of the NIDS along with the HRW index sheet. Makiya and his team also gained possession of a digital copy of a smaller collection of Iraqi records captured in Kuwait after the 1991 Gulf War.

In August of 1999, Makiya received a recurring $300,000 grant from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) at the State Department to process the NIDS and to set up a human rights database on Iraq linked to the internet. The State Department wanted to create a “public access vehicle” for the NIDS such that scholars could collectively translate, analyze and insert metadata into the NIDS with the objective of providing “valuable research material to the US government, to any future Commission of Inquiry and/or International Criminal Tribunal on Iraq or to possible truth commissions established within Iraq in the post-Saddam era.”22

Notwithstanding Makiya’s assertion that the IRDP would not be influenced by non-academic considerations, Sherri Kraham, the Chief Iraq Desk Officer for the State Department in 1999, explained that “it wasn’t an academic project at all.”23 Rather, Kraham, who had issued the grant to the IRDP, wanted “to get some PR…we wanted a finished product to batter Saddam around the head…to isolate him…to make him look like a pariah.”24

In October of 2000, Kraham wrote a letter to the IRDP asking Makiya and his team to focus their efforts on translating and uploading atrocity documents to the web and tagging those files with metadata for scholars to locate in the future—metadata which organizes the NIDS to this day.25 Kraham also requested that the IRDP alert the press when these buried treasures were uploaded. When asked specifically what kind of documents the State Department had requested from the IRDP to translate and tag with metadata, Kraham replied:

We paid them [the IRDP] hundreds of thousands of dollars to identify smoking guns! “I use chemical weapons against the Kurds,” “I drained the marshes and destroyed their [the marsh people of southern Iraq] way of life,” “I slaughter Shia in my sleep,” “I crush people from the tribes that don’t support my family’s tribe.” Yeah we wanted all of that. We wanted a show.26

Consequently, the State Department’s veneer of using the documents for transitional justice hid a deliberate effort to weaponize evidence of atrocities under the guise of an open access Ba‘th Party archive on the internet. The website, hosted on Harvard University’s servers, no longer functions but it can be accessed through various internet archival repositories.27 Internal IRDP e-mails from October 2000, however, also convey the sense of pressure the team felt with respect to the State Department’s demands. Hassan Mneimneh, the IRDP’s technical director, wrote in an e-mail to Makiya that they needed to put “more resources in producing visible products” and that they needed to demonstrate “that we are able to produce tangible, useful output.”28

Faustian Bargains

The HRW and IRDP collaborations with the US government were transactional: access to highly prized Iraqi state records in exchange for making those documents legible and useful for US foreign policy objectives, including war. Both organizations were well aware of the ethically compromised nature of US interest in the NIDS. In addition, both organizations recognized the moral ambiguity undergirding their participation in its processing and analysis.

Hiltermann, for example, described the Pentagon’s ambitions for the files as “totally cynical” and, because human rights organizations ideally should have autonomy from state actors, noted the “unprecedented” nature of his organization’s partnership with the US government.29 But without the political and financial resources of the US government, HRW would never have been able to arrange the transfer and digitization of the NIDS on its own. In order to gain access to the NIDS, HRW had to train the Pentagon’s document exploitation team. In retrospect, however, the partnership benefited the US government far more than it did HRW. In 2000, Hiltermann wrote that with respect to Ba‘thist Iraq, “evidence of human rights violations has been marshaled solely to score political points or justify military action, and not hold a vicious regime accountable for its crimes.”30

Driven by a paternalistic need to maintain control over everything related to Iraqi state records, Makiya maintained a paradoxical disposition regarding how the NIDS should be used. Though deeply involved in the weaponizing of the records for political purposes, he had also criticized both HRW and the US government for what he argued was their myopic concern for Ba‘thist atrocities.

In February 1992, for example, Makiya rebuked the director of HRW’s Middle East subdivision for promising the international press that the NIDS contained definitive proof of the Anfal genocide. Makiya believed the documents contained a valuable historical record and argued that “no serious research program on these documents can be bound by any time schedule which has to do with taking Saddam Hussein to court or other such matters of a strictly political purpose.”31 Makiya warned HRW that the files that he had seen contained “no smoking guns” and that he had “not seen anything of the explosive nature that [Human Rights Watch] seems so sure about.”32 Makiya even speculated that the most provocative documents, “like medical experiments on prisoners,” were fake and had been inserted into the records by the Kurdish rebels.33

Makiya echoed similar sentiments to the State Department in early 2000. He castigated Sherri Kraham for being interested only in creating a “public relations spectacle” out of Iraqi suffering.34 He further claimed that despite the previous effort to find smoking gun documents, “nothing has been found that is more damning than a ‘Register of Eliminated Villages.’”35

Thus, Makiya was well aware that the collective interest in the NIDS amounted to creating politically operational, but intellectually vacant, hysteria. But his commitment to regime change in Iraq countermanded any possible ethical reservations he might have had about participating in the proliferation of atrocity documents. By Makiya’s rationale, if evidence of Saddam Hussein’s repression of the Iraqi people could be used to topple the Ba‘th Party and create an Iraqi democracy, then extraordinary measures were tolerable. This quasi-utilitarian logic extended to Makiya’s reflections on his high-level advocacy for invading Iraq and his consultation with the highest levels of the Pentagon and White House. In an interview, Makiya said to me: “there was a betting against the odds that this could work out, and if it did work out what a remarkable thing it would be. I do not for one second think that American politicians did this war for that purpose.”36

Just because the United States aimed to make a weapon out of Iraqi archives does not mean it was successful in doing so.

Makiya envisioned the NIDS, and any other Iraqi state paperwork, as a crucial resource for the promotion of democracy in post-Saddam Iraq. Believing that many Iraqis could deny their complicity with or indoctrination by three decades of Ba‘thist rule, Makiya saw the academic writing of Iraqi history as a critical component in the production of a new Iraqi citizen, which he saw as a reflection of himself. He wrote a letter to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 1994 explaining that his life’s mission was “to redirect scholarship such that the abuses of the past become constitutive of modern Arab memory.”37 It is in this blurry space somewhere between the engineering of collective memory and the forging of history where one can locate Makiya’s paternalistic infatuation with Ba‘th Party archives.

The Archive Goes to War

In post-invasion Iraq, the US government sought the same type of generative power from an archive that Makiya was after. As Iraq collapsed into chaos and disorder immediately following the 2003 invasion, officials in the Pentagon and White House met privately to discuss how to exploit captured Ba‘th Party records for the war effort. Douglas Feith, the Bush administration’s undersecretary of defense for policy and one of the principal architects of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led these meetings. A controversial figure, Feith was harshly criticized in 2002 for creating the Office of Strategic Influence—a propaganda instrument directing one-sided and misleading news stories to American and foreign audiences.

In a series of interviews, I asked Feith directly if efforts to bring Iraqi records to the United States were part of a strategic influence campaign. With no hesitation, Feith responded “yes.”38 From his perspective, Ba‘th Party records held all the evidence the United States needed to justify its actions to Americans and Iraqis alike. The files were the “truth” of Saddam Hussein’s atrocities against the Iraqi people. “Atrocities were part of the fight,” Feith said to me.39

To deploy Iraqi atrocities for the fight, the Pentagon uploaded thousands of Ba‘th Party documents to its online Project Harmony database in 2006. Modeled after the online database built by the IRDP in the late 1990s, the Pentagon designed Project Harmony to crowdsource the analysis of enemy documents captured in Afghanistan and Iraq by making them available on the West Point Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center’s website.40 Thousands of documents seized before and after the fall of Saddam Hussein were interspersed with documents captured in Afghanistan. Project Harmony created a reality of a fiction: an epistemological confounding of Islamist and insurgent activities with those of Saddam Hussein in the prior decade.

The project’s longer term strategic importance, Feith remarked, was in creating a historical record which accurately conveyed to the public the brutalities of the Ba‘th Party “so that history would understand why we did this.”41 He then proudly asked me for a list of the recent books on Ba‘thist Iraq that used the NIDS and the BRCC as their empirical bases.

Given the mobilization of the NIDS as a propaganda tool in the 1990s, my interviews with Feith only confirmed what I had suspected: The Ba‘th Party archives in the United States are not merely inert bounties of war, but in their capacity to produce a historical record they are active participants in a long-term policy objective of justifying US military interventions in Iraq.

Yet one should also be skeptical about the actual political impact of the Bush administration’s agenda for the files. More than 15 years later, the Iraq war is routinely described by analysts, the media and even by the US Army’s own historians, as a disaster and a failure.42 There is no reason to believe that recent scholarly works on Ba‘thist Iraq have any tangible effect whatsoever on public perceptions of the war. The creation of historical research does not directly imply the constitution of memory, political influence or some abstract notion of “history.” Further, recent works on Ba‘thist Iraq based on the NIDS and BRCC are careful, erudite studies written for specialists.43 They are not ideological castigations of the Ba‘th Party or in the mold of nostalgic and moralizing histories of World War II one might find at a popular bookstore. Thus, just because the United States aimed to make a weapon out of Iraqi archives does not mean it was successful in doing so.

Even if a scholar was committed to writing a history of Ba‘thist Iraq that focused solely on atrocities, it is not entirely obvious that the Ba‘th Party archives are boiling over with atrocity material. This observation does not excuse Ba‘thist Iraq from the incontrovertible fact of its brutality, but the vast majority of the more than 100 million pages of records captured in Iraq between 1991 and 2003 reflect the routine and quite mundane bureaucratic operations of an authoritarian regime. An archive cannot be whatever one wants it to be.          ■



1 “Iraq Survey Group Position on Allowing Coalition Provisional Authority Access to Captured Iraqi Documents,” undated (FOIA ID: 06-F-0803).

2 Interview with Paul Bremer, March 16, 2018.

3 “Plan for Publicizing Iraqi Atrocities,” dated to early 2004 (Box 104: Kanan Makiya Papers, Hoover Institution).

4 “Disposition of Iraqi Regime Records,” Letter from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, June 28, 2003 (FOIA ID: 06-F-0803).

5 “Data Mining Iraqi Documents,” Memo from Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Lt Gen. Michael D. Maples to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, December 22, 2005 (FOIA ID: 07-F-0258).

6 “Plan for Publicizing Iraqi Atrocities.”

7 Ibid.

8 “Key Tasks—Iraqi Archives Project,” Issued by the Coalition Provisional Authority, June 28, 2003 (FOIA ID: 06-F-0803).

9 Department of Defense Contract W74V8H-04-P-0393, June 14, 2004 (Box 104: Kanan Makiya Papers, Hoover Institution); Department of Defense Contract W74V8H-05-P-0684, September 8, 2005; Department of Defense Contract Extension F00001, August 31, 2006; Department of Defense Contract Extension F00002, August 7, 2006; Series of e-mails between Mary Ann McGrail of Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, and Evans esq., and Scott Castle, legal counsel for the CPA, June 29, 2004 (Box 104: Kanan Makiya Papers. Hoover Institution).

10 “Memorandum of Understanding” Between IMF and the Pentagon, January 6, 2005 (Box 104: Kanan Makiya Papers, Hoover Institution).

11 See: Arbella Bet-Shlimon, “Preservation or Plunder? The ISIS Files and a History of Heritage Removal in Iraq,” Middle East Report Online May 8, 2018; Michelle Caswell, “‘Thank You Very Much, Now Give Them Back’: Cultural Property and the Fight over the Iraqi Baath Party Records,” The American Archivist 74/1 (2011); Douglas Cox, “National Archives and International Conflicts: The Society of American Archivists and War,” The American Archivist 74/2 (2011); Bruce Montgomery, “Immortality in the Secret Police Files: The Iraq Memory Foundation and the Baath Party Archive,” International Journal of Cultural Property 18 (2011).

12 Human Rights Watch, “Genocide in Iraq: The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds” (July 1993).

13 “Document and Media Exploitation Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures,” Issued by the Department of the Army. I thank Douglas Cox for this document.

14 Interview with Joost Hiltermann, June 19, 2018.

15 Ibid.

16 Samantha Power, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (New York: Basic Books, 2013), p. 172.

17 Human Rights Watch, “Bureaucracy of Repression: The Iraqi Government in Its Own Words.” (February 1994).

18 Ibid.

19 House Resolution 4655—Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, October 31, 1998.

20 Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, “Open Letter to the President,” February 19, 1998.

21 Interview with Kenneth Pollack, November 18, 2018.

22 “Statement of Work,” August 5, 1999 (Box 89: Kanan Makiya Papers, Hoover Institution).

23 Interview with Sherri Kraham, August 22, 2018.

24 Ibid.

25 Letter from Department of State “Re: Grant Agreement,” October 18, 2000 (Box 89: Kanan Makiya Papers, Hoover Institution).

26 Interview with Sherri Kraham.

27 The URL was:

28 Series of e-mails between Hassan Mneimneh and Kanan Makiya, October 2000 (Box 81: Kanan Makiya Papers, Hoover Institution).

29 Interview with Joost Hiltermann.

30 Joost Hiltermann, “Elusive Justice: Trying to Try Saddam,” Middle East Report 215 (Summer 2000).

31 Letter to Andrew Whitley “Re: ‘The Archive Project’,” February 25, 1992 (Box 48: Kanan Makiya Papers, Hoover Institution). Letter to Andrew Whitley “Re: ‘The Archive Project’,” February 20, 1992 (Box 48: Kanan Makiya Papers, Hoover Institution).

32 Ibid.

33 Ibid.

34 Kanan Makiya’s Letter to Sherri Kraham, October 26, 2000 (Box 89: Kanan Makiya Papers, Hoover Institution).

35 Ibid.

36 Interview with Kanan Makiya, January 12, 2018.

37 Letter to George Pickart from Kanan Makiya dated July 18, 1994 (Box 81: Kanan Makiya Papers, Hoover Institution).

38 Interview with Douglas Feith, February 23, 2019.

39 Ibid.

40 See: “Harmony Program.” Combating Terrorism Center. See also: Scott Shane, “Iraqi Documents Are Put on Web, and Search Is On,” The New York Times. March 28, 2006.

41 Interview with Douglas Feith.

42 See: The US Army in the Iraq War Volume 1: Invasion, Insurgency, Civil War 2003-2006:

43 See: Joseph Sassoon, Saddam Hussein’s Ba‘th Party: Inside an Authoritarian Regime (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012); Dina Khoury Iraq in Wartime: Soldiering, Martyrdom, and Remembrance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013); Lisa Blaydes, State of Repression: Iraq Under Saddam Hussein (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018); Arbella Bet-Shlimon, City of Black Gold: Oil, Ethnicity, and the Making of Modern Kirkuk (Standford: Stanford University Press, 2019).

How to cite this article:

Wisam H. Alshaibi "Weaponizing Iraq’s Archives," Middle East Report 291 (Summer 2019).

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