The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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The exchanges between Alan Bates, J. Vernon, and F. Sultana have been valuable in demonstrating the diversity of views within CASI regarding civil disobedience.
It seems there are two major issues involved, both of which require careful discussion. One is the moral and legal validity of committing criminal damage of the kind carried out by Gabriel and Andrea - in the circumstances which they faced in December. Another is the effect on public opinion. Different people will make different judgements on both these issues (which are I believe linked - the likely effect of particular acts of civil disobedience on public opinion is a critical element in their moral value, in my opinion).
I won't enter any major argument on either issue here. The only points I would like to make are that circulation of this announcement regarding the trial implies nothing concerning CASI's stance on civil disobedience, or any other campaigning tactics, and did not presume (on our part) a consensus of support by all CASI supporters. We in Voices are perfectly aware that CASI is constitutionally bound to campaign only on the sanctions issue, and that it cannot take any stance on the bombing of Iraq.
We are bound together by our concern for the ordinary people of Iraq, and our determination to force the government to reverse its stance on sanctions. I hope that our disagreements over tactics will not damage that fundamental consensus and our willingness to co-operate for the good of the people of Iraq.