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[casi] Strategy at CASI



Short  response (I hope) to Peter Brooke's message, and particularly
what seems to be is major point:

"It is the pragmatic CASI, not the discussion list, that has gained the
reputation for caution and objectivity, reliability, lack of hysterical
rhetoric, which has enabled it to touch parts of the British political
scene other campaigning groups cannot reach."

I admit I never made any distinction between the 2 and always thought
that most posters on the list were actually involved in campaigning in
the UK. At the time (99-00), whenever I would post soemething general, I
would be asked by Colin Rowat? not to do so (duplicates of iac list)
because the members of CASI were  concentrating the list's effort on UK
anti-sanctions topics (or hard to find more objective things like UN,
UNICEF, NGOs, delegations reports). So to me the list and CASI were one,
even though I was aware not everybody on the list campaigned in the UK.

In Canada, with a very different political status, it was the population
on the streets that manage to influence the government. I do not
(although I had naively thought so in the past) believe in "lobbying".
Been there, done that. Other people far more influencial (or should have
been) have done so in Canada. Through anti-sanctions groups, we managed
to have D. Halliday, Hans von Sponeck, Scott Ritter present their case
to a Foreign Affairs committe panel. A report was issued in 2000 and has
been gathering dust ever since on a shelf somewhere with no follow-up.

When war came up, it was the 250 000 people in Montreal that were out in
minus 20 C temperature, the 80 000 people out in Vancouver's streets,
the 60 000 in Toronto, etc. that made the impact. Canada minimally sent
a frigate to the Gulf (set for Afghanistan we were told).

The fact that 150 000 and later even more people got out in London (400
000?) and your government told you to get lost should actually be a
clear sign to you that (even though you admit not believing in lobbying)
"touching parts of the British political scene other campaigning groups
cannot reach" is not part of the anti-democratic British political
agenda and never will be under Bliars.

Btw, were CASI's discussion list a "hysterical rhetoric" forum, I don't
believe most would have stuck to it for so long. I admit I really do not
understand that statement from Peter.

As for "caution", I always dislike the de-linking argument having
campaigned for removal of all sanctions from the start. Still I can live
with caution as we had to compromise on just such an issue in our own
Candian network CANESI. But that has never been the point of my previous
posts about Anthony Cordesman. Can't say that "Cordesman", "objectivity"
(don't believe in that one) and "reliability" go much hand in hand either.

Marc Azar






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