Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leaked Stratfor Emails on Seized Bin Laden Documents

The Stratfor emails leaked by Wikileaks include new information about the seized Bin Laden documents. It begins with a May 12, 2011 email on the "OBL take":
I can get access to the materials seized from the OBL safe house.  What are the top (not 45) questions we want addressed?
The email chain that follows includes a few requests:
1 specific operational plans
2 communications with franchise groups (like AQAP)
3 connections to anyone associated with the Pakistani state
The reply, which has received more significant news coverage (see here and here), was:
More on #3 --
Several w/in ISI and Pak Mil, less than 12
More on this later.
The later follow up was:
Same response as before:
Mid to senior level ISI and Pak Mil with one retired Pak Mil General that had knowledge of the OBL arrangements and safe house.
Names unk to me and not provided.
Specific ranks unk to me and not provided.
But, I get a very clear sense we (US intel) know names and ranks.
I also do not know if we have passed this info to the GOP.
If I was in command, I would not pass the info to the GOP, because we can't trust them. I would piece meal the names off and bury in a list of other non-related names for internal ISI traces in a non-alerting fashion, to see what the Pakis tell us.
I may also trade one or two names for the captured tail rudder.
The Pakistani army has called the allegation "rubbish and tantamount to kite flying; much farther from the truth." More leaked emails will be released soon.

Earlier posts on documents from the bin Laden compound (in either Pakistani and U.S. custody) are here and here.

Archives, Hearsay, & Wartime Evidence


AP had an interesting piece over the weekend called "Researchers push to open UN archive" about the archives of the United Nations War Crimes Commission. The article summarizes:
Leading British and American researchers are campaigning to make the files — hundreds of thousands of pages in 400 boxes — public for the first time in 60 years, arguing that they are not only historically valuable but also might unearth legal precedents that could help bring some of today's war criminals to justice.
*  *  *  *
The archive belonged to the United Nations War Crimes Commission, a body established in October 1943 by 17 allied nations to issue lists of alleged war criminals — ultimately involving approximately 37,000 individuals — examine the charges against them and try to assure their arrest and trial.
*  *  *  *
Concerns about putting every name in the archive into public view could remain an obstacle to opening it. Plesch said some countries could also be sensitive about documents that could indicate their reluctance to pursue war crimes trials.
The UN has a finding aid for the collection, which includes the current policy on access.  The general rule is that the archives are accessible for persons "engaged in serious research" about the Commission or "related problems in international law." Carved out of that access, however, are those portions of the collection "that refer to specified individuals charged or suspected of war crimes" and "lists of war criminals, suspects and witnesses, and related indexes, and the formal charges and related papers." Access to those portions is limited to either official government research or to individual researchers approved by the government in which he or she is a "national or permanent resident." 

What I find most interesting is that the stated justification for the carve-out of records specifying "individuals charged or suspected of war crimes" is that such records "include unsubstantiated information and hearsay evidence which may not have been submitted to judicial process."  The issue, it would appear, is whether making the names and accusations public would unfairly stigmatize the accused (or perhaps their descendants) when the evidence underlying those accusations may be wanting.  In the AP piece, for example, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo is asked "whether names should still be blacked out after 60 years" and responds that "It has to be clear these are people who are under investigation as suspects. They are not guilty. It has to be properly managed."

While the passage of more than 60 years might ameliorate the effect, it also could make it worse if only the questionable evidence has survived while contemporaneous information and evidence that might have contradicted the accusations or tended to prove the innocence of the accused has been lost to history. A 2002 article by Boris V. Ananich called "The Historian and the Source: Problems of Reliability and Ethics" describes this problem in some depth.  Ananich discusses the difficulty of dealing with records of political trials in the U.S.S.R. from the 1920s and 30s in which individuals were "accused of belonging to a conspiracy against the Soviet regime, attempting to organize a coup d'etat, and working with foreign powers." The trials, however, "were fabricated by the secret police," included coerced confessions, and "as a rule, the accusations of the arrested had no real foundation."  Ananich describes the issues he and his colleagues went through in publishing these records, which were of "great scholarly importance," in a responsible manner that would highlight to an unwary researcher the palpable possibility of fabrications.

Finally, it is interesting that while archivists and historians are carefully trying to manage the risk of wartime accusations based on hearsay evidence creating historical misperceptions and unjustified stigma, the reliance on hearsay evidence in current cases in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals involving living individuals currently in stigmatizing wartime detention is heavier and broader than it has ever been. A cert petition filed just last week with the U.S. Supreme Court, for example, argues:
The habeas procedures now mandated by the court of appeals all but guarantee the government's success. And the fulcrum on which the playing field is tilted in the government's favor is the court's complete rejection of any restriction on the admissibility of the government's hearsay evidence. . . . the court of appeals requires the district court to disregard the Federal Rules of Evidence, and to consider all hearsay, including hearsay that otherwise would clearly be inadmissible, such as raw intelligence reports of interrogations by unknown interrogators of unknown subjects under circumstances that the government refuses to disclose.

AFGP-2002-905854

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Captured German Documents & Russian Psychological "weaknesses"


I recently came across this November 1946 Central Intelligence Group (CIG, a CIA precusor) document,  CIG Directive No. 21 on "Exploitation of Enemy Document Repositories."  The purpose was to "arrange for the coordinated exploitation of the enemy document repositories for the purpose of extracting, cataloging and abstracting all documents relating to Political-Social-Psychological Warfare."  The Directive identifies several captured document repositories likely to contain both German documents and German-captured Russian records with potentially relevant information and notes:
The Germans were the leading exponents of psychological warfare, and as such they undoubtedly conducted extensive research for the purpose of conducting such warfare against the Russians.  Any German research in this connection would undoubtedly contain evaluations of Russian weaknesses. Also, since the Germans actually conducted psychological warfare against the Russians, it is reasonable to expect that in addition to such research there might be found in the above repositories descriptions of methods actually used as well as successes and failures. Any Russian documents dealing with German operations in this field would be particularly valuable, and since the Germans occupied a large portion of Russia and captured innumerable Russian documents, it is probable that some of those documents might also be found in the above repositories. A search of all likely repositories for the purpose of extracting, cataloging and abstracting all documents relating to political-social-psychological warfare would be of tremendous value in future study and planning in this field.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Captured Iraqi Document Exploitation SOP

At some point recently the DIA, which the FOIA requester community has often viewed as rather tight-fisted, added to its FOIA Reading Room an extremely valuable resource in the form of the Standing Operating Procedures for the Combined Media Processing Center-Qatar, the primary facility for document exploitation operations for documents seized in Iraq.


The DIA's link to the document is here, but I have also reposted that document here (and due to some odd formatting issues in the DIA's original I have also posted a printed, rescanned and searchable OCR'd version here (warning, both versions are large files)).

The significance of the document comes from its exceedingly detailed (and completely unredacted) coverage of the processing of captured documents, including the use of the DOCEX Suite, the assignment and meaning of HARMONY numbers, and the triage and translation process. As far as I am aware this level of detail has never been released publicly anywhere before.

On a first reading, the single most significant part in my view is Appendix D, which provides detailed and substantive Triage Guidelines. These are prioritized subject categories that reviewers were supposed to be on the look out for when reviewing the documents (for more on Triage, called "the most critical step in the exploitation process," see Section 2.3).  Appendix D notes that its guidelines are current as of March 10, 2004.

Unsurprisingly, the first Triage Guideline category is WMD.  Others include "Regime Strategic Intent," "War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity," "Counterintelligence Information" (including "Information on Australian, British, Canadian, and U.S. Nationals"), "Terrorist Organizations and Operatives" (in which is included "MOIS/IRGC/SCIRI/BADR Corps").

Another rather interesting category is "Procurement" which focuses on "Business deals with domestic and foreign companies," "Australian and British persons, entities, and corporations," "Financial records from Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria," "U.S. persons, entities, and corporations," and "Contracts, offers, or tenders from North Korea, Pakistan, India, Libya, South Africa, Yemen, Turkey, European countries, and former Soviet states."


An interesting omission from the triage categories is information about Kuwait's missing national archives, which is noteworthy because, according to a 2003 report by the U.N. Secretary General, the United States informed the Security Council that it had established a "special group" that was "entrusted with searching for the stolen Kuwaiti archives." The same "special group" was also tasked with searching for "Kuwaiti and third-country nationals missing since the Gulf War" which is explicitly covered in the triage guidelines under "Prisoners of War from the Gulf War."

There is also a sub-category for "Scott Speicher" and the DIA has also recently uploaded to its FOIA page an extensive report on the Iraq Survey Group's support to the CAPT Speicher investigation.

Other aspects of the CMPC's SOP will be highlighted in future posts, but one final aspect worth mentioning is that at the very end of the electronic file is some bonus coverage in the form of powerpoint slides from 2008 regarding "Integrated Linguist Activity - Doha" or "ILiAD" including the role of the DIA, the CMPC, the Open Source Center, and the National Virtual Translation Center.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sinan Antoon on the IMF/Hoover Ba'ath Party Documents

Sinan Antoon has a piece on Jadaliyya this morning called "Plundering the Past: Scholarly Treasures" (thanks to Aseel Dyck on Iraq Crisis List). Antoon devotes a fair bit of time to the issue of the Ba'ath records obtained by the Iraq Memory Foundation that are at the Hoover Institution:
It is not only precious artifacts and relics from Iraq’s ancient history that were smuggled to the United States. The United States pillaged millions of documents belonging to the Iraqi state. Another important collection of official records was seized by an Iraqi-American. The itinerary of this archive and the rhetoric legitimizing its “acquisition” is quite telling. In April 2003, Kanan Makiya, one of the cheerleaders of the war (during its first few weeks he wrote that the bombing was music to his ears) made his way to the basement under the Ba'ath Party’s headquarters in Baghdad. Makiya removed the records he found there to his family home in what became later the Green Zone. The house supposedly became the Baghdad office of the Iraq Memory Foundation, a Washington, DC-based institution he established. The entire staff of the Iraq Memory Foundation is comprised of five persons, two of whom are not Iraqi. It has no advisory board of any sort, nor does it have any links to any Iraqi historians. It has no presence on the ground in Iraq outside the Green Zone. In 2005, the foundation reached an agreement with the US army to ship the documents to the United States.
Considering the rampant corruption of both the US occupation and the Iraqi puppet regime it installed in Iraq none of this is surprising. Nevertheless, it does not change the fact that these documents are not anyone’s private property. They belong to the Iraqi people and their seizure and transfer to the United States. was a violation of international law. Despite calls from Saad Eskander, the Director General of Iraq’s National Library and Archive, to return these documents to Iraq, the Iraq Memory Foundation decided otherwise. In January of 2008, the foundation signed an agreement with the Hoover Institution to transfer the documents there. Opposition did not only come from inside Iraq. In April of 2008, the Society of American Archivist (SAA) and the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA), the world’s largest organization of archivists with 5100 members, expressed its “deep concern about [these] records and others obtained by the United States. . . in actions [that] may be considered an act of pillage, which is specifically forbidden by the 1907 Hague Convention.” The letter stressed that these records must be returned to Iraq “to be maintained as part of the official records in the National Library and Archives.”
These plundered documents are a treasure for scholars. They illuminate the inner dynamics of the Ba'ath regime and trace its growth and detail its various visceral effects on Iraqi society. But, alas, neither Iraqi scholars, nor Iraqi citizens, the victims of the Ba'ath regime, have access to these important documents from their visceral past. One of the “happy” stories about the benefits of this plunder to “our knowledge” speaks about the intensity with which some scholars are working on these “recovered” documents. “Recovered” is the key word here. The plunder is conveniently erased. But not for Iraqis. They have to live with the loss and fight to retrieve their plundered memory. And not a year has passed without plunder in Iraq.
As for the concerned scholars who mine this archive to “understand” the barbarism of the Ba'ath regime, I wonder if they will find time to contemplate the "barbarism [that] taints the manner in which it was transmitted from one owner to another," to borrow Benjamin's words. 

"Archives in Wartime" Wilson Center Event will be Webcast

Just a quick note for anyone who is interested in this Friday's event at the Wilson Center "Archives in Wartime: From WWII to the Invasion of Iraq," but is unable to attend, there will now be a live webcast of the event.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Return of Korean Royal Archives Seized by French Forces in 1866

Apologies for the self-promotion, but I have new piece entitled "'Inalienable' Archives: Korean Royal Archives as French Property under International Law" that was just published in the International Journal of Cultural Property.  The official link to the article from the publisher is here. I have, however, also posted the full-text here.

The piece is a case note discussing the colorful history of these archives and analyzing a 2009 decision of a French administrative tribunal that rejected an attempt by a Korean cultural organization to compel the return of the Korean royal archives from France. The archives are known as Uigwe (see earlier discussion here) and they were captured by French naval forces in an 1866 invasion. As bonus coverage, I have uploaded the full-text of the French decision here (thanks to Stephane Cottin) and an English translation here (thanks to Nicole Efros).  The case is a rare occurrence of judicial treatment of the issue of ownership of archives seized during military operations.

An unfortunate update on the story is that Park Byeong-seon, the Korean bibliographer and historian who discovered the Korean Uigwe in the collections of the Bibliotheque nationale de France in 1975 (they had been mis-categorized as Chinese manuscripts), passed away late last year.  She lived, however, to see the return of the Uigwe to South Korea last June pursuant to a renewable loan agreement between France and South Korea. At the celebration of their return she challenged Korea with the "enormous" task of making sure "that the royal books never go back to France and remain here forever."

Kuwait's Missing National Archives: Iraqi PM Maliki to Visit Kuwait

Just a short note that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will reportedly visit Kuwait prior to a late-March Arab summit in order to begin a "new era of 'trust and mutual respect' in relations between the two countries" that are "still strained by Iraq's 1990 invasion of the emirate."  Among the issues that remain to be resolved, AFP via NOW Lebanon notes, is that "most of the Kuwaiti national archives . . . remain missing." It is not clear to what extent the meeting will focus on that issue, but presumably Iraq seeks to illustrate the "intensification" of its efforts "to clarify the whereabouts of the archives" that the U.N. Security Council demanded last December.

For more substantive coverage of the issue of Kuwait's missing national archives see earlier posts here and here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Alsabri v. Obama: Captured Documents in Court

A Guantanamo case currently awaiting an appellate decision from the D.C. Circuit, Alsabri v. Obama, illustrates the difficulty of using captured documents as evidence. Thus far public analysis of the captured documents angle in the case, however, has been lacking for a very good reason: heavy redactions.

The 92-page collection of captured documents referenced both in Judge Urbina's redacted February 2011 District Court opinion (denying Alsabri’s habeas petition) and in the parties’ redacted appellate briefs - appellant brief, appellee brief, appellant reply (thanks Lawfare) - is completely redacted in the government factual return publicly filed in 2009 (save for page numbers). However, in another striking example of inconsistent redactions in GTMO filings, an almost completely unredacted version of the full 92-page collection - AFGP-2002-800321 - was filed in a different case (compare the 92-page redacted and unredacted filings for yourself). This allows one to fill in many redacted holes in the opinion and briefs.




While there are many other issues and other evidence in the case that may determine the ultimate result (and giving the D.C. Circuit the benefit of the doubt that results in detainee habeas cases are not always inflexibly predetermined - see, e.g., Silberman's concurrence), the captured documents are a uniquely central issue in the litigation.

Judge Urbina on Context, Authenticity, and Reliability of Captured Documents

During the habeas hearing before Judge Urbina, Alsabri’s attorneys argued that the government had never provided any source or contextual information for the 92-pages of documents that became “Government Exhibit 29” or - in Judge Urbina’s opinion - the “AFGP Documents.” At the hearing, however, the government suddenly provided for the first time a DIA record (the admissibility of which is an issue on appeal) that stated that “the AFGP Documents consist of English-language translations of Arabic-language documents captured by coalition forces during Operation Enduring Freedom” and that the record “seem[ed] to reflect” they were recovered from the “Director of Al-Qa’ida Security Training Office” and that the DIA, “which prepared the translation,” indicated that they “contain[] [t]he names of the students admitted to the training in the tactics of [a]rtillery, communication, infantry and their distribution.”

Based, in part, on the “DIA record indicating that the exhibit represents a DIA translation of training records,” Judge Urbina rejected Alsabri’s argument that the government had “not established the reliability of the AFGP Documents.” Further, while Judge Urbina noted that the failure of the DIA record to specify “when and where the AFGP Documents were recovered” was “significant,” he nevertheless found that the absence of such information did “not necessarily undermine the reliability of the AFGP Documents.”

In the end, Judge Urbina held that there was “substantial evidence” of the “authenticity and reliability” of the AFGP Documents and that “[t]hese internal al-Qaida records indicate that after applying to attend an al-Qaida training camp, [Alsabri] did, in fact, receive such training.” Based, in part, on this evidence, Judge Urbina denied Alsabri’s habeas petition. Al-Sabri appealed.

Three Entries in the 92-Pages of Captured Documents

An evaluation of Judge Urbina’s treatment of the captured documents becomes more interesting when the details on which the government relies are fleshed out in the appellate filings and in the unredacted version of the documents. Three pages are at issue.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New DOMEX/DOCEX Openings


A reader recently asked about my posting of DOMEX/DOCEX positions. I post them both (1) for any readers that might be interested in the positions and (2) because sometimes the information in the job openings is useful in tracking trends and gleaning other information about DOMEX programs.  Job descriptions from defense contractors in particular are often extremely detailed.

Here are some recent openings:

Six3 Intelligence Solutions, Inc. is looking for a DOMEX (Document and Media Exploitation) Training Integrator whose duties would be at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center (USAIC) at Fort Huachuca, AZ in the "office of the TRADOC Capability Manager for Biometrics and Forensics" to work with the National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) to begin incorporating "portions of the NGIC DOMEX Training into USAIC core courses and training scenarios."  They are looking for someone with "8 years experience in the field of DOMEX, site exploitation, Weapons Technical Intelligence, Technical Intelligence or Forensics collection."

DynCorp International is looking for a Staff Officer for Media Management for the
Document and Media Exploitation (DOMEX) Operations Division in the National Media Exploitation Center (NMEC). Responsible for researching, reviewing, compiling, and crafting acquisition details surrounding batches of acquired media for intelligence, Defense, Law Enforcement, and Homeland Security Communities to include the Combatant Commands.
Responsibilities also include "preparing, reviewing and submitting official message traffic to advise above-named communities on the transfer of electronic or digital media to the NMEC for exploitation; researches various networks to obtain operational information required to properly identify and prioritize exploitation requirements."

CACI is looking for a DOMEX Instructor/Developer who would provide "DOMEX specific training to members of various services and agencies" and "teach tactics, techniques and procedures for acquisition, exploitation, analysis, integration, and report production specific to DOMEX."

CACI also has openings for a Media Exploitation (MEDEX) Technician/Engineer to "support the Army Document and Media Exploitation (DOMEX) program" in conducting "forensic digital exploitation of various types of electronic media" and examining and correlating "Captured Enemy Document (CED) related information in support of current operations."

Finally, CACI has an interesting job for Software Engineer - Cloud Computing to develop "analytics, services, widgets on the DCGS SIPR Cloud (DSC) for DOMEX." Responsibilities include analyzing "end-user requirements to bring DOMEX information into existing cloud capabilities as well as architect and design new features to bring DOMEX information to the DSC" and "Data modeling to include DOMEX information for ingestion into Cloudbase and advanced indexing schemes and integration into existing and future map-reduce analytics."

ICA Human Rights Working Group Newsletters


I wanted to highlight briefly a valuable resource for information and recent news related to archives and human rights, the Newsletters of the Human Rights Working Group of the International Council on Archives.  Each newsletter begins with a brief essay on a different article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and how it relates to archives.  There are then brief summaries of international and national news related to archives from the previous month.  The newsletter is compiled by the great Trudy Huskamp Peterson, a former acting Archivist of the United States who is also the author of "Archives in Service to the State" which is required reading on the issue of captured documents in war.

You can also subscribe to the Newsletter here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Authenticity of Documents in Guatemalan Genocide Case

Emily Willard has a recent post on Unredacted (the blog of the great National Security Archive) called "Genocide Trial against Rios Montt: Declassified Documents Provide Key Evidence" which discusses documentary evidence used by a Guatemalan court to determine that there was sufficient evidence to "charge former dictator Efrain Rios Montt with genocide and crimes against humanity." The post notes that a
key piece of evidence to prove chain of command that was presented at the trial is the collection of secret Guatemalan military documents, Plan Sofia. The official Guatemalan government records of this counterinsurgency operation prove the criminal responsibility of senior government and military officials in the country's genocide by detailing how the chain of command functioned during the war, says National Security Archive senior analyst Kate Doyle. [See Doyle's first-hand account of her testimony, here.] The 365-page document was smuggled out of a secret military archive, given to Doyle and made public by the National Security Archive in December of 2009 after a lengthy authentication process.
The whole story is interesting, but the authentication issues are particularly relevant for the topic of captured documents where there are frequently questions of authenticity (see, for example, discussion here).  As the National Security Archive described earlier, Kate Doyle testified in the Guatemalan case about "the authenticity of the documents" based on "months of analysis, which included evaluations of letterheads and signatures on the documents and comparisons to other available military records."  Ultimately, the analysis concluded that "these records were created by military officials during the regime of Efrain Rios Montt to plan and implement a 'scorched earth' policy on Mayan communities in El Quiche."

Monday, February 6, 2012

"Archives in Wartime" Upcoming Wilson Center Event

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has an upcoming event entitled "Archives in Wartime: WWII to the Invasion of Iraq" on February 24, 2012 from 3:00-5:00pm.  Full details and RSVP information are available here.  The description states:
From the first days of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, United States forces seized official government records created by Saddam Hussein’s regime and exploited them for valuable military intelligence. Millions of pages of these Iraqi state records were then transferred to the United States for further research. Digital copies were even made available to scholars, providing a wealth of new insights into the recent history of Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Yet their continued storage and use in the United States remains controversial. The Iraq National Library and Archive has repeatedly demanded the immediate return of all archival material captured during the war, arguing that these records are an inalienable part of Iraq’s national heritage. Negotiations have dragged on as it remains unclear if Iraq is truly ready for these records, which document decades of suppression and abuse, and contain the names of both informants and targets, perpetrators and victims alike.
The seizure of these Iraqi records is not without precedent, as archives are routinely captured by enemy forces during wartime. “Archives in Wartime” will feature a panel of expert archivists and historians who will discuss the current dispute over the Iraqi records within this larger historical context, examining the complex political questions at stake, as well as the tangled legal, historical, and archival issues which arise when state records are captured by invading forces.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Redacting Captured Documents in the Guantanamo Litigation

The usage of captured or seized documents in the ongoing Guantanamo Bay detention cases raises a number of meaty issues.  For this post I want to briefly highlight issues of classification and redaction.

Current U.S. doctrine provides that as"a general rule, captured and acquired documents and media are considered unclassified" and that while "[c]apturing units may classify document and media to protect sources and methods or on-going operations, . . . such classification should be kept to the lowest level possible and with minimal use of caveats." Given this, in reviewing recent public filings by the government in Guantanamo habeas cases that include captured or seized documents, it is striking how the same document can be treated in often very different ways from one case to the next.

As one example, compare two versions of AFGP-2002-600875 (here and here) filed in two cases one month apart.  In one, the document was classified SECRET//NOFORN (crossed out at the top) and in the other it was FOUO//LES.  More conspicuous of course is that what is completely blacked out in one version is completely unredacted in the other:

Contextual information about the captured documents can sometimes be found in Intelligence Information Reports (IIRs) in the same filings.  So, for example, in IIR 7 739 7062 03 you learn that the government interprets the document above as "lists of over 150 Al-Qaeda members scheduled for tactics, artillery, security, snipers, and anti-aircraft training dated March 2001 by the Office of Mujahideen Affairs" and that the document was "recovered by U.S. Coalition forces from an Al-Qaeda house in Kandahar//GeoCoords:3135/06545E//, Afghanistan (NFI)." The IIRs also illustrate similar redaction inconsistencies: in the case of this IIR, for example, a later filed version of the same IIR actually contains, in at least one place, more redactions:




Sometimes an IIR will provide information from the captured document that is redacted in the captured document itself. A good example is captured document AFGP-2002-900092 which is completely redacted despite the fact that detailed information derived from it is contained in two different intelligence reports IIR 7 739 0382 02 and IIR 7 739 0391 02 filed in the same case on the same day.

There are plausible explanations for some of these situations, including, for example, the possibility that a document's classification status could have changed between filings. Nevertheless, such examples raise legitimate questions about the procedures being used to classify and redact these captured records. The lack of consistency seems particularly odd for documents that are presumably contained within, and obtained from, the same centralized Harmony captured document repository.

For another issue related to captured documents in the Guantanamo cases (in particular the reliability of government records documenting what property and documents were in the possession of individuals upon their capture) see Emptywheel's recent post on the Latif case.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Document Evacuation Order from Saddam's Iraq


Following up on Saddam's thoughts on document preservation in wartime, I just came across captured Iraqi document file IZSP-2003-00300934 (warning: large file), which includes an interesting December 2001 order which was translated as the following: