Bruce P. Montgomery: Immortality in the Secret Police Files: The Iraq Memory Foundation and the Baath Party Archive

“Abstract: Shortly after the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, Kanan Makiya, a long time Iraqi dissident and professor of Middle East studies at Brandeis University, uncovered a major trove of documents belonging to Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party and his security forces. The documents proved highly important in reflecting the inner workings of the Baath Party system in his final years in power. Soon after the discovery of the documents, the Iraq Memory Foundation (IMF), a private Washington, D.C.–based group founded by Makiya, took custody of the records, later depositing them with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University to provide a safe haven for them. The deal ignited immediate international controversy and charges of pillage from some Iraqi officials, archival organizations, scholars, and others who also demanded their immediate return to the Iraq National Library and Archive in Baghdad. On the surface, these charges of theft and plunder appear plausible enough, but on examination, a different and complicated narrative emerges in light of the conventions of war, U.S. law, and the Iraqi penal code, as well as the chain of events surrounding their taking and removal by nonstate actors in the Iraqi theatre of war and occupation.”
Full Text: International Journal of Cultural Property (2011), p. 309 ff (PDF)


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