portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts oregon & cascadia

government | imperialism & war

NEW EXPLOSIONS IN ISTANBUL

Explosions rock Istanbul

At least five killed in suicide attacks
'Up to 169' injured
British consulate damaged
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Agencies
Thursday November 20, 2003

At least five people were feared dead and more than 100 injured after bombs ripped through two British targets in Istanbul today.
One explosion inflicted serious damage on the British consulate and another destroyed part of the London-based HSBC Bank headquarters. The attacks come just five days after suicide bombers targeted a synagogue in the Turkish city.

Initial reports suggested up to four explosions, but Turkish government spokesman Cemil Cicek confirmed that two explosions had struck the city, killing a total of five people. Three of the dead, including a security guard, were killed at the consulate and the others at the HSBC building.

Hospital sources were quoted on Turkish television as saying that more than 100 people were injured. One report put the number of casualties at 169.

The Turkish TV channel NTV said the explosion at the British consulate, in the Beyoglu district, appeared to have been caused by a suicide truck-bomb. Its footage showed a number of mutilated bodies lying in front of a badly damaged modern office block, thought to be the HSBC building in the Levent district.

Chris Kitrinos, an English teacher who works in a school next door to the consulate, told CNN: "It's total chaos, ambulances can't get to the scene."

In London the Foreign Office had no immediate comment, but the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, condemned the attacks as an "appalling act of terrorism".

Speaking at an impromptu press conference outside 10 Downing Street, Mr Straw said "three of four" employees at the embassy had not reported to the roll call after the blast, which bore "all the hallmarks" of an al-Qaida strike.

He said: "We are obviously making every effort to identify what has happened to those individuals."

HSBC's press office in London had no immediate comment on the blasts. The company has been operating in Turkey for more than 10 years and has 157 branches across the country. The bank declined to say how many staff worked in its Istanbul office.

Turkish officials are linking today's attacks to those that took place on Saturday, when two trucks packed with home-made explosives detonated outside the Beit Israel and Neve Shalom synagogues in Istanbul, killing 25 people and wounding hundreds more.

An al-Qaida unit claimed responsibility for the attacks at the weekend and warned that the Islamist network was planning more attacks against the United States and its allies.

Yesterday, the city's governor identified two Turkish men he said were the synagogue suicide bombers and said their attacks resembled those of the al-Qaida network.

Eight people, already in custody for questioning in connection with Saturday's bombings, have been sent to a state security court, the state-run Anatolian news agency said. They include the owners of the vehicles used in the attacks.

The Foreign Office has set up an emergency contact number for anyone concerned about relatives who may have been caught up in the bombings in Istanbul. The number is 020 7008 0000.
hmm... 20.Nov.2003 10:04

this thing here

i thought the invasion and occupation of afghanistan, and then iraq, just to be sure, would put an end to terrorism. at least that's what my president said, and he's supposed to be smarter than everyone, right? now the terrorism has spread to turkey...

oh well, what can you do. and didn't my president say in his noble christian speech to parliament that violence is o.k. so more more violence is even better? so maybe massive instability and a good ol' war spread accross the entire middle east is just what the world needs. good thinking george...

hmmmm 20.Nov.2003 16:20

Multnomah

I wonder if the terrorist group Al-Cia had anything to do with this. <:-#

HSBC Bank was undergoing renovations; most staff absent 21.Nov.2003 10:46

sceptical of governments that lie to their people

Canada's CBC News television reported Thursday night that the bank was being renovated, and as a result casualties were fewer than would otherwise have been. UK news reports have also confirmed this. Looks like the neocons are running with the same script: a double bombing of a major financial institution (World Trade Center) and a government building (Pentagon, also being renovated at the time of the attacks). This time lapdog Tony hits the "trifecta." Right on cue for the stage-managed state visit.

So who delivered this gift? The Mossad has been crawling around Turkey after the synagogue bombings. Who benefits most? Who's agenda does this serve? Who was really behind 9-11? Both the Mossad and the CIA have been linked to al Qaeda cells. Bush and Blair pressured and threatened Turkey numerous times to provide military support, and allow coalition butchers access to Turkish soil. Who has a motive to punish (mostly Muslim) Turkey?

Correction: UK Consolate was being renovated 21.Nov.2003 11:51

.

Istanbul explosions kill 27 and target British Consulate and HSBC Bank
Turkey, Local, 11/21/2003

Two booby trapped trucks yesterday targeted the British Consulate and offices of the HSBC bank in Istanbul, which led to the killing of 27 persons, including the British consul and many persons were reported wounded.

These are the worst two attacks of their kind in the history of Turkey. They created a state of fear in the city which was bewildered by the size of the two explosions, without knowing the motives behind the explosions and their executors. These two attacks come five days after two similar attacks against two Jewish synagogues in the same city.

The two new attacks which took place 10 minutes apart, coincided with the visit of the US President George W. Bush to Britain. The reports indicated that the attack at the consulate was a suicide operation while that on the bank is not known whether it is a suicide attack or not.

Istanbul witnessed a shock similar to that of new York following September 11 attacks, while the wounded were coming out of the ruins, running in the streets and the bodies were thrown in the streets, torn and burnt.

Very quickly accusations were made against al-Qaida organization. An accusation perpetuated after the Turkish news agency Anadul said that an unidentified person telephoned it and claimed responsibility for the attack in the name of "al-Qaida organization and the Islamic front for the greater Orient Knights ( al-Jabha al-Islameyah Le Fursan al-Mashreq al-Akbar)" which targeted British interests in Istanbul. The unidentified caller said "the two attacks are a joint work for the Islamic front for the great Orient Knights and al-Qaida.. we will continue our attacks against the Mason's objectives. Muslims are not alone."

The speaker also repeated his message once again before he hung up the line, according to the Turkish news agency. A spokesman for the same front, which calls for the foundation of a Federal Islamic state in Turkey, claimed the front's responsibility for the two attacks which targeted last Saturday the two Jewish synagogues in Istanbul. The Turkish security forces doubted the ability of the front to carry out such attacks.

One of the two explosions destroyed part of the British consulate in the historical Biooglo quarters while the second explosion targeted the headquarters of the British bank which is composed of 19 floors in Lefinet quarters for business. Both are in the western part of the city. The Turkish minister of the interior said that the two explosions are most expectedly carried out by "two suiciders who were driving two booby trapped trucks." He added the two explosions might be a "second wave" of aggressions linked to the two blowing up operations against the two synagogues.

The British foreign office secretary Jack Straw said that the two attacks bear "the prints of international terrorism" carried out by al-Qaida organization and partner organizations.

Rev. Eyan Sheerwood, the attache in the British consulate, said that the general British consul Roger Short was killed in the Consulate operation as well as the British diplomat Liza Helloworth. A British diplomat said that Short had his office at a building close to the main gate of the consulate because of the construction and maintenance work at the main building.

A spokesman for the British foreign office said that ( 14 employees) of the British and Turkish nationality working the British consulate might be among the 27 killed persons. An employee in the Consulate said "I thought it is an earthquake." Khakan Kozan said he saw a white truck running speedily towards the explosion site near the consulate just 10 seconds before the explosions and then the "huge explosion took place."

While the HSBC bank closed all branches in Turkey, the US closed before the public its consulate in Istanbul and called on its citizens to avoid the building. The American consulate called on its citizens in turkey to avoid western trade centers, clubs and worshipping sites until more information are learnt about the two attacks. Football competition were cancelled, including one for one Israeli team that was due to be organized shortly. Warnings were issued against travel to Turkey from several European countries.


Flashback: "MOSSAD Can Target U.S. Forces, Framing Arabs" 21.Nov.2003 12:24

Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times

U.S. troops would enforce peace under Army study

September 10, 2001

An elite U.S. Army study center has devised a plan for enforcing a major Israeli-Palestinian peace accord that would require about 20,000 well-armed troops stationed throughout Israel and a newly created Palestinian state.

There are no plans by the Bush administration to put American soldiers into the Middle East to police an agreement forged by the longtime warring parties. In fact, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is searching for ways to reduce U.S. peacekeeping efforts abroad, rather than increasing such missions.

But a 68-page paper by the Army School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) does provide a look at the daunting task any international peacekeeping force would face if the United Nations authorized it, and Israel and the Palestinians ever reached a peace agreement. Located at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the School for Advanced Military Studies is both a training ground and a think tank for some of the Army's brightest officers. Officials say the Army chief of staff, and sometimes the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ask SAMS to develop contingency plans for future military operations. During the 1991 Persian Gulf war, SAMS personnel helped plan the coalition ground attack that avoided a strike up the middle of Iraqi positions and instead executed a "left hook" that routed the enemy in 100 hours.

The cover page for the recent SAMS project said it was done for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But Maj. Chris Garver, a Fort Leavenworth spokesman, said the study was not requested by Washington.

"This was just an academic exercise," said Maj. Garver. "They were trying to take a current situation and get some training out of it."

The exercise was done by 60 officers dubbed "Jedi Knights," as all second-year SAMS students are nicknamed.

The SAMS paper attempts to predict events in the first year of a peace-enforcement operation, and sees possible dangers for U.S. troops from both sides.

It calls Israel's armed forces a "500-pound gorilla in Israel. Well armed and trained. Operates in both Gaza and the West Bank. Known to disregard international law to accomplish mission. Very unlikely to fire on American forces. Fratricide a concern especially in air space management."

Of the MOSSAD, the Israeli intelligence service, the SAMS officers say: "Wildcard. Ruthless and cunning. Has capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act."

On the Palestinian side, the paper describes their youth as "loose cannons; under no control, sometimes violent." The study lists five Arab terrorist groups that could target American troops for assassination and hostage-taking.

The study recommends "neutrality in word and deed" as one way to protect U.S. soldiers from any attack. It also says Syria, Egypt and Jordan must be warned "we will act decisively in response to external attack."

It is unlikely either of the three would mount an attack. Of Syria's military, the report says: "Syrian army quantitatively larger than Israeli Defense Forces, but largely seen as qualitatively inferior. More likely, however, Syrians would provide financial and political support to the Palestinians, as well as increase covert support to terrorism acts through Lebanon."

Of Egypt's military, the paper says, "Egyptians also maintain a large army but have little to gain by attacking Israel."

The plan does not specify a full order of battle. An Army source who reviewed the SAMS work said each of a possible three brigades would require about 100 Bradley fighting vehicles, 25 tanks, 12 self-propelled howitzers, Apache attack helicopters, Kiowa Warrior reconnaissance helicopters and Predator spy drones.

The report predicts that non-lethal weapons would be used to quell unrest.

U.S. European Command, which is headed by NATO's supreme allied commander, would oversee the peacekeeping operation. Commanders would maintain areas of operation, or AOs, around Nablus, Jerusalem, Hebron and the Gaza strip.

The study sets out a list of goals for U.S. troops to accomplish in the first 30 days. They include: "create conditions for development of Palestinian State and security of Israel "; ensure "equal distribution of contract value or equivalent aid" . . . that would help legitimize the peacekeeping force and stimulate economic growth; "promote U.S. investment in Palestine"; "encourage reconciliation between entities based on acceptance of new national identities"; and "build lasting relationship based on new legal borders and not religious-territorial claims."

Maj. Garver said the officers who completed the exercise will hold major planning jobs once they graduate. "There is an application process" for students, he said. "They screen their records, and there are several tests they go through before they are accepted by the program. The bright planners of the future come out of this program."

James Phillips, a Middle East analyst at the Heritage Foundation, said it would be a mistake to put peacekeepers in Israel, given the "poor record of previous monitors."

"In general, the Bush administration policy is to discourage a large American presence," he said. "But it has been rumored that one of the possibilities might be an expanded CIA role."

"It would be a very different environment than Bosnia," said Mr. Phillips, referring to America's six-year peacekeeping role in Bosnia-Herzegovina. "The Palestinian Authority is pushing for this as part of its strategy to internationalize the conflict. Bring in the Europeans and Russia and China. But such monitors or peacekeeping forces are not going to be able to bring peace. Only a decision by the Palestinians to stop the violence and restart talks could possibly do that."