Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 3rd 2014 Contents A35
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President Barack Obama has defended CIA
director John Brennan and acknowledged the US
tortured prisoners after 9/11.
His comments come as the Senate prepares to
release a report on the CIA's interrogation
"We tortured some folks," Obama said. "We did
some things that were contrary to our values."
He said Brennan had his "full confidence" despite
admitting the agency had searched Senate
computers during the investigation.
Obama has previously said the methods used by
the CIA on al-Qaeda prisoners at secret "black sites"
outside the US amounted to torture.
In April 2009, he said he "believed that
waterboarding was torture and, whatever legal
rationales were used, it was a mistake."
On Friday, the US President said officials at the
time had used harsh methods because of the
"enormous pressure" to prevent another attack on
the US in the wake of 9/11. (BBC)
Obama defends CIA director
Demonstrators wave flags during a solidarity march for Gaza in Brussels, on July 27.
Israel is unlikely to send a delegation
to truce talks in Cairo as it presses on
with its offensive in Gaza, reports
quoting senior officials say. The offi-
cials say Israel will finish destroying
tunnels used by Palestinian militants.
The Israeli military said Israel was
already close to its objective.
Egypt was set to host talks, with
President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi saying
its plan was a chance to end blood-
Exchanges are continuing in Gaza,
as Israel continues to hunt for a soldier,
Hadar Goldin, who went missing on
Hamas military wing, the Qassam
Brigades, said it had no information
about the fate of Second Lt Goldin, but
that he may have been killed along with
his captors in an Israeli bombardment.
Some 1,655 Palestinians, mostly civil-
ians, and 65 Israelis, all but two soldiers,
have died in the conflict.
A Thai worker was also killed in
Israel. Some 8,900 Palestinians have
also been injured, the health ministry
in Gaza says.
Senior Israeli officials said no dele-
gation would travel to Cairo for ceasefire
talks until further notice. In the mean-
time, Israel would continue its oper-
ations until Hamas was unable to pose
a threat. (BBC)
TEL AVIV---The savage fighting
between Israel and Hamas is escalat-
ing in Gaza, cease-fire efforts take on
elements of a farce, and bravado rules
the public discourse. But even through
the fog of war, a few endgame sce-
narios can nonetheless be glimpsed.
For the moment, the deadlock is
well-entrenched: As long as the crip-
pling blockade of Gaza remains in place,
Hamas says it will continue firing rock-
ets at Israel---terrifying but mostly inef-
fectual, thanks to the "Iron Dome"
defence system. Israel says the blockade
must stay to stop a terrorist government
from importing yet more weapons.
There is not much pressure yet on
either side to stop---even in Gaza, where
so many have been killed, amid wide-
spread devastation. An Egyptian-led
cease-fire plan more than two weeks
ago, which Israel accepted and was a
straight return to the status quo before
this current round---was rejected by
Hamas, and there was little criticism
of that decision in Gaza. Such is the
hatred of the air, land and sea blockade
in the strip in addition, perhaps, to the
fear of Hamas.
Last week s mediation effort led by
John Kerry fizzled amid a most undiplo-
matic frenzy of criticism in Israel of
the US Secretary of State. He had dared
suggest Hamas blockade-ending
demands be on the table. He also had
ignored Israel s new demands---probably
long-term at best---that the militant
group be disarmed.
While it is too early to say how all
this will end, quiet diplomacy continues.
Here are some ways it could play out:
Israel declares victory and leaves
The Israeli military says it has found
and is destroying more than 20 tunnels
and believes there are a few more. Once
that job is done, Israel could well pull
out and try to declare victory or even
a unilateral cease-fire.
The hope would be that the respite
from the devastation visited on Gaza
would compel Hamas to think again
and quietly accept a return to the way
it was: no rocket fire on Israel; no
airstrikes and shelling of Gaza. This
probably wouldn t work.
Hamas has put Gazans through so
much that they certainly feel they must
have something to show for their efforts
in the form of an easing of the blockade.
Rocket fire would continue and the
hostilities would swiftly resume.
Despite huge reservations, Israel may
just end up reoccupying the strip, even
at the cost of hundreds of soldiers and
then being saddled with nearly two
million Gazans to rule. If the situation
becomes bad enough, more fantastical
scenarios suggest themselves: perhaps
even a Nato force to pacify and rebuild
the traumatised strip. It probably won t
be necessary. Hamas will run out of
rockets eventually. But for now, it s
believed to have thousands more, Israel
Amid war, endgames emerge
MARCH FOR GAZA
Continues on Page A36
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