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05BAGHDAD4890 2005-12-08 07:57:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
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1. (U) Summary. The recent discussion over the role of the
National De-Ba'athification Commission (NDC) in the candidate
vetting process has underscored the need for greater clarity
as to the mechanics of how the NDC operates. This message is
based on poloff's December 6 discussion with NDC General
Secretary Tahlib al-Muhanna as well as similar exchanges with

UK Embassy contacts. End Summary.

Commission Structure


2. (C/REL UK) Since the NDC's inception in 2003, the
Chairman continues to be Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi.
The NDC Board of Directors consists of eight representatives
from various political parties. The Board is responsible for
the political leadership of the commission and provides
guidance on policy and procedure. In a December 6 meeting
with poloff, NDC General Secretary Al-Muhanna commented that
with the exception of DAWA's Jawad al-Maliki and SCIRI's
Jalal al-Din al-Sagheer, the NDC board members have not
played an active or influential role. The NDC Board is
comprised of 8 members from the following political parties:

Kurdistan Democratic Party - vacant
DAWA - TNA Jawad al-Maliki
SCIRI- TNA Shaikh Jalal al-Din al-Sagheer
Iraqi National Congress - DPM Ahmed Chalabi
Iraqi Communist Party - TNA Hamid Moussa
Assyrian Democratic Movement - TNA Yonadam Kanna
United Islamist Alliance - TNA Dr. Sallama al-Khafaji
Iraqi National Accord - TNA Dr. Raja Habeeb al-Khuzai

3. (U) NDC consists of 7 directorates. The Oversight
Directorate reports directly to the Board of Directors and
oversees the activities of the six other directorates which
- General Secretariat
- Information Gathering & Investigations
- Legal Affairs
- Culture & Education Affairs
- Economic Affairs
- General Follow-up and Implementation

Information Gathering and Investigative Directorate



4. (U) The Information Gathering and Investigative
Directorate is responsible for tracking high-ranking former
Ba'athists and their assets. This directorate also receives
information from its branch offices located in each of the 15
governorates, determines what information is actionable, and
maintains the hard copy archives before forwarding the
information to the Legal Directorate. (NOTE: there are no
NDC branches in the KRG. END NOTE) The Information Gathering
& Investigative Directorate liaises with the
de-Ba'athification section of each of the 25 federal
ministries, as well as the ministries' de-Ba'athification in
each of the 15 governorates. (read this Directorate deals
with as many as 375 ministerial de-Ba'athification offices)

Identification of a Ba'athist


5. (U) Identification of former Ba'athists requires a
10-step process.
a. An NDC governorate branch office receives information
about an individual from various sources.
b. The NDC branch office conducts a local investigation in
conjunction with the relevant Ministry's local
de-Ba'athification section.
c. The NDC branch office submits the information to the
Baghdad Information Gathering & Investigations Directorate.
d. The Baghdad Directorate conducts its own investigation.
e. Once the information is verified, the Directorate
forwards the case to the relevant Ministry.
f. The Ministry re-verifies the evidence with its local
de-Ba'athification section.
g. Once the information is re-verified, the Ministry
returns the case back to the Baghdad Directorate with its
h. The Baghdad Directorate forwards the case to the Legal
Directorate, which examines the evidence once more.
i. If everything is in order, a NDC judge signs the formal
de-Ba'athification notification order.
j. The order is forwarded to the Ministry, which notifies
the individual by letter.

Vetting of Political Candidae List


6. (SBU) Contrary to the above Ba'athist identification
process, the NDC Information Gathering & Investigative
Directorate vets political candidate lists by comparing the
names with its existing database. The database includes names
of all individuals in the NDC investigation pipeline.

Appeals vice Exceptions


7. (C/REL UK) The NDC receives thousands of applications for
Appeals and Exceptions annually. To qualify for an appeal an
individual must be able to provide documentary evidence that
discounts case evidence. Al-Muhanna stated that it is a rare
occasion when an appeal succeeds. He claimed that only 4-5
appeals have succeeded this year. (Note. In a similar
effort to gain insight on the de-Ba'athification process, the
UK Embassy learned of additional and noteworthy aspects of
this process, including that: (1) individuals in the top
levels of membership have no ability to appeal; (2) those who
apply for appeals lose their pensions, while those that
accept dismissal keep their pensions. If true, these rules
substantially limit the number of appeals as well as create a
disincentive not to challenge a NDC decision. End note.)

8. (SBU) To qualify for an Exception, an individual must
have been a Level 4 Ba'ath Party Group member or below, admit
to Ba'ath party membership, and be innocent of criminal
activities. To file for an Exception an individual must
submit to its local NDC branch office an application that

- a complete curriculum vitae
- denunciation of the Ba'ath Party
- testimony from the workplace
- testimony from friends, neighbors, relatives
- surrender any and all weapons

(Note. Again, when the UK Embassy learned of this process,
the NDC listed some requirements that differed from the above
list; for instance, an individual should include information
on any "practices" that served Ba'athist goals as well as his
illegal activities. End note.)

9. (U) The NDC branch office reviews the above information
and submits it to the NDC Legal Directorate in Baghdad. If
the information is in order, the Legal Directorate grants an
Exception. An Exception allows a Level 4 Group Party Member
to return to his/her place of work demoted to a lower
position and to receive a pension. An Exception has a
one-year probationary period during which the individual's
activities are monitored. According to al-Muhanna, Exceptions
are rarely denied. To the best of his knowledge, 17,500
Exceptions have been granted this year. The Exception
process is reported to take 4-5 months.

10. (C/REL UK) Comment. Although the NDC General Secretary
has provided relatively clear general guidelines for the
de-Baathification process orally, there is evidence that
Exceptions have not been executed within the customary
timeframe and Appeals are nearly impossible to win. In
addition, the differences between what Poloff and the UK
Embassy learned on separate visits to the NDC suggests that
some requirements and rules may be inconsistently applied,
thereby damaging the transparency of the process. Finally,
numerous complaints from various political contacts may
indicate that de-Baathification procedures have not been
executed properly and/or have been politically motivated.
End Comment.