In The Week So Far (TWSF) Yvonne Ridley kicks off with Turkey’s ground offensive against Kurds in Syria and what really lead up to the military attack and airstrikes; she also checks out the US President’s biggest lies to date but says Donald Trump is not the first purveyor of untruths in The White House. Meanwhile misogynists in the UK’s Muslim community are put on notice while backstabbers in the Labour Party are worried their treachery will come back to haunt them. There’s also some insight in to how an SAS hero shone a spotlight on Britain’s homeless and Hollywood superstar Helen Mirren talks about how sex pests in the world of showbiz targeted her, while the hunt is on for the £90m thieves behind Britain’s biggest burglary.
Erdogan gives Trump a masterclass in foreign policy as Turkish troops attack Kurds, according to Yvonne Ridley
I can’t imagine any Western country being happy with the long-term occupation of land on its borders by 30,000 foreign forces and yet the West expected Turkey to sit back and do nothing about the growing Kurdish enclave in Syria known as Afrin.
So it was inevitable, really, that Turkish ground troops charged in 24 hours after an intense aerial bombardment that signalled a new salvo of hostilities from Ankara called Operation Olive Branch.
The name might be slightly unexpected as I’m not sure how you can deliver an olive branch with air strikes, bombs and bullets but the operation targeted 150 sites in the Kurdish-held land on Saturday afternoon.
The US-backed Kurdish militias replied by shelling the Turkish province of Kilis across the border and so it seems all out war has begun between between Turkey and forces from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its political arm, the Democratic Union party (PYD).
Lies, lies, lies and Trump statistics
Well we’ve hurtled past another milestone in the life of the United States of America. One year on from the Donald Trump inauguration and despite the predictions we’ve survived!
North Koreans will be particularly happy having been threatened with complete annihilation in an explosive war of words between their despotic leader Kim Jong-Un and the President of the US who’ve traded unprecedented public insults in a world where we rely heavily on intellectual discussion and diplomacy behind closed doors.
Happily Muslims living in America have not been thrown in to concentration camps as wildly predicted by some although, sadly, millions of other Muslims have been stopped from entering the US for nothing more than their country of birth!
There has been an industrial-sized slaughter of truth and facts all of which have been sacrificed on the altar of the new religion that is Trumpism. It’s a faith which despises fact-checkers, experts and media organisations and despite their collective protests the largely barmy army which backs Trump couldn’t care less.
This is a pity. For if they subscribed to either the Washington Post or the New York Times they would recognise they’ve been lied to. I’m not holding up these newspapers as bastions of undiluted truth – in fact NYT and WP apologised to readers some years ago after being too gullible and not rigorously checking statements released by the White House about Weapons of Mass Destruction in the run up to the Iraq war in 2003.
And to a certain extent, here’s the real problem – a legacy of whopping lies which have tumbled forth from various US Administrations, run with by an unsuspecting media – the public at large has switched off from the mainstream media and is fed up of listening to experts whose views, on occasions, appear to change depending on the paymaster.
Some political analysts blame the Richard Nixon years for making lies and deceit acceptable and then there was randy POTUS Bill Clinton who told porkies to the nation about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky … but more recently we can also look at the George W. Bush Administration which promised to bring honour and integrity back to the White House. Instead, it could be argued, he dispensed with accountability.
Read The full article here today Lies, lies, lies and Trump statistics
UK mosques are more than a prayer space
Glad to see the Muslim Council of Britain attracting a large, mixed audience for its ground-breaking conference to explore the evolving role of mosques in 21st century Britain. I once accused the MCB, the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body, of being a gaggle of largely self-important, self-appointed, self-deluded patriarchal blokes.
Yes, it was harsh! But it was also true and while women are making in roads into the committees and the National Council it’s time for a woman to take the helm.
Just recently I’ve been promoting the idea of encouraging mosque committees to incorporate a 50-50 gender split in to their formation because there are huge problems in the Muslim communities in Europe today and, until everyone acknowledges that half of the community are women we will continue to be airbrushed from the landscape.
The MCB’s conference has now kick-started a community consultation process which says it is aimed at developing an institutionalised approach to excellence amongst Britain’s mosques. The ‘Our Mosques, Our Future’ conference saw over 450 mosque leaders and activists come together to debate the challenges and opportunities facing mosques in Britain today under the theme #morethanaprayerspace.
This is a great step in the right direction and while I’ve ruffled a few patriarchal hairs – and heirs – in my time I also believe in giving credit where it’s due. The MCB has recognised that many mosques have become empty spaces apart from prayer time and this is sad because the very first mosques in Islam were very much community hubs and hothouses of debate and discussion, a place for families and friends.
There are over 1,750 mosques in the UK serving Britain’s three million Muslims and yet some are still no-go areas for women. I’ve watched local politicians dance around this thorny issue scared that they’ll lose the ‘Muslim vote’ if they raise the inequalities they see. Guess what? Women represent half of that vote and as the first point of education for the next generation, a very influential half of that vote!
It’s time men got with the project in all aspects of the 21st century. We women are half the Ummah, we gave birth to the other half and it is time we were fully represented in all aspects of the Muslim community by members of our own gender. If the War on Terror has revealed anything, it’s that men can’t be trusted to handle our affairs or sort out the problems we have.
Muslim women are breaking the stereotypes of femininity at all levels and who is better equipped to deal with elements of extremism within our midst than women? It’s time for an end to men-only mosques and men-only committees and men-only politics – this sort of misogyny and patriarchy was anathema to the beloved founder of Islam and it should be to everyone today.
Is Labour’s hit list just beer talk?
Why should MPs of any party think that once elected they have a job for life? I only ask the question because there’s been much huffing and puffing over a so-called deselection list of Labour MPs drawn up to have them removed in favour of more left-wing candidates.
Apparently one in five Labour MPs is on the “hit list” drawn up by Momentum activists from South Tyneside according to Times newspaper journalists. There are several ways of looking at this list which appeared on the social networks first. One could be that a group of Geordie left wingers with too much booze and time on their hands drew up a wish list on the back of some beermats before finding itself on to a Facebook account.
I joined Labour as a teen and it’s the sort of thing we did, back in the day before Tony Blair was even made an MP. There’s always speculation among the grassroots. So that’s what it could be, just some harmless speculation and fantasy from Labour activists or, more seriously, it could be a revenge list of those treacherous, back-stabbing MPs who put their own political careers ahead of the party when Jeremy Corbyn was swept into power as their leader.
I’ll never forget how an SNP MP described the incendiary cauldron-like atmosphere that greeted Corbyn every time he ventured in to the House of Commons chamber and that the hate didn’t come from the Tory benches but from within the ranks of his own party. No one likes a backstabber and these blighters were queuing up to stick in the knife.
Or, more realistically the list could be a bit of mischief created on the same day a YouGov poll for the newspaper put Labour eight points ahead of the Conservatives in its first opinion poll since the General Election. Labour found itself with a healthy 46 per cent, Conservatives managed only 38 per cent while Lib Dems achieved six per cent with Ukip on four per cent.
Still the writing could be on the wall for some of the backstabbers – maybe it’s time for them to grovel for forgiveness. I know Jeremy Corbyn personally and he’s a nice guy with a very forgiving nature. I still won’t vote for him or the rabble that is Scottish Labour but I wish him the best in England, at least.
SAS hero exposes reality of homeless in Britain
Many WTX readers will be too young to remember the pure drama of the Iranian Embassy Siege back in April 1980 when six Iranian terrorists from the Democratic Revolutionary Front for Arabistan, who opposed the Iranian regime led by Ayatollah Khomeini, stormed the building in Princes Gate, London.
They took a total of 26 people hostage including a team of BBC journalists and crew who were applying for visas although let a few go later. The world’s media watched anxiously for six days and nights and then, without warning the then largely unknown elite fighting force the Special Air Service (SAS) launched an audacious rescue saving all 19 hostages.
Operation Nimrod, as it was called, involved the building being stormed from all sides including the roof by the masked super heroes. The first to climb inside the embassy was a guy called Bob Curry who served with the SAS for 26 years. We met in Hereford many years ago and I can only describe him as a quiet gentle soul.The reason for sharing this with you today is to expose the hypocrisy of this Tory Government because Bob who will be 65 years old soon, is now facing bankruptcy after the Ministry of Defence pulled the funding on his business training ex-servicemen as locksmiths.
Not only that, after the breakdown of his relationship, he is now homeless, living in a B&B thanks to his mates from the regiment after Hereford council failed to house him. He was offered a tiny room in a hostel with a 10pm curfew and a locked toilet which meant he had to ask the warden’s permission to use it.
His story has outraged 250,000 of us who signed a petition to express our anger that he be treated like this. Whatever you think of the British Army and its overseas deployment, those who sign up should be treated with more respect than successive governments which have treated them like canon fodder.
I am not only angry on Bob Curry’s behalf, though. I am absolutely furious that any adult is treated with such contempt by one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Next time a politician comes knocking on your door ask him or her what they are doing for the homeless. This is a serious problem and while the UK should be looking after its heroes like Bob it should be looking after everyone with the same due courtesy and respect.
Nothing like a Dame
Proving the adage that there’s no business like show business, the brilliant actor Helen Mirren, now aged 72, has revealed that men flashed at her as many times as once a week during her early career. In an interview with NBC the Oscar-winning star revealed she endured unwanted advances frequently while still living in England.
Thankfully, by the time she reached Hollywood, which has been embroiled in a series of lurid sex scandals of late, she said she was in her 30s and was too old to be targeted by sexual predators. “It doesn’t happen to you unless you’re really young,” she explained.
Britain’s biggest burglary
I don’t envy the insurance broker who will receive James Stunt’s claim after thieves targeted his home in Britain’s biggest burglary. Cash, gold and gems worth an eye-watering £90 million was grabbed.
Petra Ecclestone’s billionaire playboy ex-husband, aged 35, is said to have woken to find the safe at his Georgian home in London’s swanky Belgravia district completely bare.
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