I am posting below several defense contracts for the Iraq Memory Foundation (IMF) that cover the period from 2004 to 2008. These are important because of their possible relevance to the debate over the Ba'ath party records the IMF collected in Baghdad that are now on deposit at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. As one example of their potential relevance, in addressing allegations - such as in this 2008 open letter from Iraq National Library and Archives Director Saad Eskander to the Hoover Institution - that the IMF violated Iraqi law by removing Ba'ath party records from Iraq, Bruce P. Montgomery's recent piece argues that the IMF's status as a U.S. defense contractor might have insulated it from liability under Iraqi law.
I had requested copies of the IMF contracts via FOIA in 2010 to see whether they expressly related to the IMF's collection and removal of the Ba'ath party documents. Do they?
The first contract - W74V8H-04-P-0393 for $2.1 million for one year - was signed on June 18, 2004, so less than two weeks before legal sovereignty was transferred to the new Iraqi government. The meat of the contract begins at page 7. The subject matter appears to be primarily the creation of video documentaries, including "victim/witness testimonies" about the Ba'ath regime that would be "broadcast to the people of Iraq" and, with U.S. government assistance, "to other global audiences to counter pro-Sadaam [sic], pro- Ba'thist propaganda."
An early provision, however, also notes that the "operational intent is to be apolitical; recording accounts of witnesses, collecting documents and relics" (emphasis mine). In addition, the stated "Scope" of the contract (provision 4.0) is also quite broad and provides the following (emphasis mine):
The government requires the contractor to collect documentary evidence of atrocities and crimes committed by the former Ba'athist regime of Iraq. The [sic] requires research involving first-hand testimonials, creation of video archives, editing of video footage for documentaries and collecting other documentary evidence of atrocities and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the former Ba'athist regime in Iraq against the people of Iraq.Also note provision 6.0 which states:
The contractor will assume sole legal and contractual responsibility for acquisition of "other documentary evidence of atrocities and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the former Ba'athist regime in Iraq against the people of Iraq" as part of the contract, with the stipulation that it will only be required to purchase documentary evidence from legitimate copyright holders.The other contracts consist of a one-year contract from 2005-2006 - W74V8H-05-P-0684 (for $1.1 million) - and two additional one year extensions of the contract from 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 (each of which adds approximately $1 million). The primary contract here is expressly called "Iraq Oral History" and, again, it seems primarily focused on creating video testimonials, but it also includes a broad "Scope" stating "The government requires the contractor to collect documentary evidence of atrocities and crimes committed by the former Ba'athist regime of Iraq."
In the end, while all of the contracts seem primarily focused on video testimony and none expressly discuss the Ba'ath party documents collected by the Iraq Memory Foundation (that were transferred to the U.S. and, perhaps, copied by the U.S. government), one could fairly argue that those documents could fit within the scope of the contract. But you can decide for yourself.