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Re: Put the Foreign Office on trial !

> I was not aware that CASI supported the causing of criminal damage
> to Her Majesty's buildings.

As I understand it postings to this List do not indicate approval by 
CASI. Most postings involve information.

> I am sure that there are many people who do not feel that sanctions
> against Iraq are the most effective way of undermining Saddam Hussein's
> attacks on his own people

Sanctions are not there to protect Iraqis from SH. Our arms and 
sanctions have killed many more Iraqis than SH is claimed to have 
done during his whole time as leader.

> As a citizen, I object to people causing disgraceful acts of vandalism to
> buildings which are at the heart of the democracy in which we live.  As a
> law student, I object to people deciding that they can break the law
> whenever they choose.

A cheap point: when I was at your college 21 years ago I remember a 
librarian at the UL telling me that they suffered the most theft and 
tearing out of pages in the Law section. Is that still the case?

Whilst not condoning the paint incident I would question the 
effectiveness of our democracy and point out the increasing feeling 
of desperation and disillusionment felt by many UK 'subjects' as 
evidenced by various illegal protests. There is also the issue of 
Governments being seen to operate outside International Law - or at 
least not ensuring that they clearly work within it. When the Gulf 
War was looming I could very strongly feel that our Government wanted 
a military outcome to this (heavy destruction of Iraq) and that any 
attempts at a peaceful solution by eg the Russians were doomed. 
Remember how at the time the UK Government suppressed the release of 
the Heath papers relating to a previous claim on Kuwait by Iraq, 
summarily rounded up some resident Arabs, the BBC dropped its big 
documentary on Assad of Syria (only SH was to be the super-baddy) 
etc. We were not told by our Government of their estimates of Iraqi 
military and civilian casualties or indeed the extent of damage 
inflicted on the infrastructure of Iraq during the Gulf War. This 
suppression of information has continued with Desert Fox and the 
current campaign.

> but should it really stop us participating in the democratic
> process through lawful means?

I lived and worked for two years under a military dictatorship. In 
many ways people there understood better what was happening in 
their country than people here do about the UK. When I returned I 
found myself very disappointed with our 'democracy' and the way so 
many evils are hidden and excused by the use of the word.

Having a family and a job I would not risk breaking the law but I 
have a lot less respect for it now. Using comprehensive sanctions 
against the people of Iraq in order to force certain actions by the 
Government are equivalent to telling an individual that you will 
shoot their children unless they do what you say.

> to uphold the rule of law on which our democracy depends?

This is perhaps too simplistic a view eg votes for women, 
whistleblowing, Nazi Germany, etc
> snip... They have not been tortured...

Perhaps the absence of torture has more to do with the wealth of a 
nation and how much in control the 'establishment' is and to what 
extent that control has become stabilised over time. We certainly had 
sophisticated torture in NI to maintain our control of the province 
as well as a sectarian police force, the military, shoot to kill 

Mark Parkinson
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