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The Warsaw Summit: NATO’s Blueprint for Aggression

At its summit in Warsaw the NATO alliance reaffirmed its course of aggression and expansion against Russia and the world.

Vladimir Kozin

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The Summit Meeting of the NATO Alliance held in the Polish capital on 8th and 9th July 2016  unfortunately justified the pessimistic forecasts of many analysts.

An analysis of the final documents shows they have been prepared based on an assessment of the current state of the military-political situation in the world, which has been qualified as “more dangerous”.  This has been backed by provocative language and policies and gross distortions of  Russian policy in the international arena.

These actions were founded on the claim of “projecting stability” and “of responding to crises” outside the borders of the states that are members of the Alliance. The areas of “strategic importance” NATO has highlighted are the North Atlantic, the Baltic, the Mediterranean and the Black Seas.

In order to realise these objectives the Alliance confirmed its previous decisions to establish a division sized rapid reaction force (the “NATO Joint Response Force”) and the so-called “Very High Readiness Joint Task Force”, which will be capable of deployment within two to three days.  These forces are to be set up with the participation of seven Member States of the Alliance (the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, Turkey and France). Permanent operational liaison connections between these forces and NATO’s Naval Forces (the “NATO Standing Naval Forces”) in these Seas are to be created, tasked with coordinating naval support for these Joint Rapid Reaction Forces in these areas.

In terms of its military capabilities NATO declared its readiness to strengthen its military power in general and its nuclear power in particular.  The documents repeat the wording of declarations made by previous summits that NATO will remain a nuclear alliance as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world. For the first time the final documents however say that the policy of nuclear deterrence of the Alliance will be based, amongst other things, on US nuclear facilities “forward deployed” in Europe – in other words on US strategic and tactical nuclear weapons based in Europe.

NATO’s nuclear powers (the UK, US and France) are to strengthen their offensive nuclear doctrine by lowering the threshold for using nuclear weapons. They expressed the hope that other states of the Alliance will be involved “in the division of nuclear burden through appropriate arrangements,” which can be interpreted as Washington’s call to expand the range of non-nuclear states who might sign an agreement with the US “on the division of nuclear liability” (nuclear sharing agreements; also known agreements on “joint nuclear missions”). Although NATO recognised that the circumstances that might cause the Alliance to use nuclear weapons remain “very remote” the Alliance still reserves the right to use nuclear weapons at any time.

The final communique repeated the fairly imprecise formula carried over from previous summits that the Alliance is ready to “contribute to creating the conditions” for further reductions of nuclear weapons in the future on a reciprocal basis.  However no guidance is provided as to the sort of nuclear weapons – strategic or tactical – this might involve. Note that the language in the communique only speaks of a willingness “to contribute to creating the conditions” for nuclear disarmament.  No answer is given to the question implicit in this phrase: what is lacking in “the conditions” today that prevents reaching agreements on nuclear disarmament now? This wording in fact confirms that there is no desire to commit “transatlantic solidarity” to the goal of creating a world free of nuclear weapons.

In the final documents NATO has also confirmed the existence of the “Chicago triad” – created at the NATO summit in Chicago in May 2012.  As previously discussed, US nuclear-missile forces of a strategic and tactical nature, as well as anti-missile systems conventional forms of US weapons are being pushed closer to Russia’s territory, posing a direct military threat to Russia, compromising its national security and those of its allies, as well as thoroughly destabilising the global military-political situation.

Missile issues were in fact given an inordinate amount of attention at the Warsaw Summit. The final communiqué devotes fully eight paragraphs to them.

The Summit committed the Alliance to continuing with the deployment of the US and European segment of the global missile defence infrastructure.  The Alliance announced the creation of “initial operational capability” of NATO ’s missile defence system, which means (according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg) that four US Navy warships providing Aegis “combat information control systems” (CICS) are now permanently based at the Roth naval base in Spain, as well as a US missile early warning radar located at Kyurechikom in Turkey (delivered there in May) to provide operational depth to the US land based missile defence system located in Romania which has been “transferred to the command and control of NATO.”

By way of comparison, the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012 merely announced that the level of “pre-missile defence capacity” had been reached as of March 2011 following the permanent deployment of US naval forces equipped with CICS “Aegis” around the European continent.

At the Warsaw Summit it was announced that a number of NATO allies had declared their willingness to participate in the creation of a multinational missile defence system under the leadership of the USA (NATO members Denmark, Spain, Norway and Germany, as well as the non-NATO states Australia Israel, South Korea and Japan). There is to be enhanced coordination and operational cooperation in the management of the US global missile defence system and NATO.  NATO allies are expected to participate in the development of combat missile equipment and intelligence information and early warning systems, to make their territory available for the construction of US missile bases, and to participate in the subsequent deployment of a global “missile shield”.

The stock justification for strengthening this anti-missile capacity used previously – defence against Iranian and North Korean missile threats – has now been dropped and no longer appears in the documents.  Instead development of anti-missile defences is now justified by the need to confront unspecified “missile threats” emanating from zones “outside the Euro-Atlantic space.”

The Warsaw Summit reiterated that the NATO anti-missile system is defensive in nature.  However, as discussed previously, there is no fundamental obstacle to using the missile defence infrastructure being created in Romania and Poland to install offensive cruise missiles designed to carry out disabling strikes on Russian territory and on the territory of other countries.

The Warsaw Summit did issue some tepid declarations concerning NATO’s supposed willingness to discuss missile problems with Russia.  These announcements were however extremely vague, providing no details of any real offer or mandate to engage Russia in serious negotiations.

As part of the strategy for strengthening the means of “forward deployment” in the eastern part of Europe it was decided to send to the Eastern European countries of Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Estonia four battalions from the four countries of the transatlantic alliance (the UK, Canada, USA and Germany).   

Early deployment of naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea under the code-named “Sea Guardian” was also announced.  These will interact with the naval forces of the EU operating under the code-name “Sofia” in the same area.

The Summit also announced a new operational military sphere in cyberspace.

The Summit highlighted the need “to strengthen the nuclear deterrence and defence capability” of the Alliance, including by reversing the tendency for budget spending for military purposes to fall. The meeting recalled that only five of the 28 states that make up the Alliance had reached the 2% of GDP level of military expenditure Alliance membership commits them to.  However it announced that what is already the world’s largest military alliance accounting for more spending on defence than the rest of the world combined was increasing defence spending by 3% (in absolute terms $8 billion). 

In relation to Russia the Warsaw Summit fell back on the stock clichés of the Cold War. The Russian Federation, as stated in the final communiqué, performs “aggressive actions, including provocative activity along the periphery of the territory of NATO member countries” and “manifests a desire to achieve political goals by means of threats and use of force.”

Russia is groundlessly accused of all mortal sins: of increasing the level of instability,  of violating the Russia-NATO Founding Act of 1997, of the “illegal annexation of Crimea” etc.

In relation to Crimea, the Summit reaffirmed that NATO does not recognise this step.  Thus the situation in Crimea is blithely described in the Summit documents from the perspective of people who have never been there, either before Crimea’s reunification in March 2014 with Russia – Crimea’s historical and spiritual home – or after the event.

Moscow is again charged with unproven involvement in the “destabilisation” of the situation in eastern Ukraine, although the situation there has long been destabilised by the Kiev regime’s armed force and by the economic blockade imposed on the area by the Kiev regime acting with the moral and material support of many countries of the NATO Alliance. The Summit documents refer to Russian “aggression against Ukraine”, but again without indicating the place and time when this aggression is supposed to have taken place.

The final communique refers to the importance of implementing the Minsk agreement on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, but does not recognise that it is the Kiev regime, not the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, who are not implementing it. Without any logic or evidence it states that only Russia is responsible for carrying out the terms of the Minsk agreement, but for some reason says nothing about the responsibilities of the current regime in Kiev and of Germany and France as guarantor States of the Minsk agreements.  Nor does it say anything concerning the need to implement fully all of the Minsk agreements’ 13 points.

The Summit rightly identified the need to reduce the number of civilian casualties in Ukraine.   (According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at the beginning of July this year the total number of those killed in the east of Ukraine amounted to 9,470 persons, and the number of those wounded was 21,880).  However nowhere in any of the documents is it anywhere said that these are overwhelmingly the victims of the illegal actions of the armed forces and ultra-right wing militias doing the Kiev regime’s bidding, who have used and are still using heavy weapons against residents of the Donbass in violation of the agreements reached in Minsk last year. According to the UN, as a result of shelling by of the armed forces of Ukraine, in just the month of June this year, 12 civilians were killed and 57 people were injured in the Donbass.

The Warsaw Summit heard a great deal about the large-scale exercises of the Russian Armed Forces on Russia’s own territory.  However NATO has openly admitted that in 2015 it conducted a total of 300 military exercises and manoeuvres, half with a pronounced anti-Russian flavour, which were carried out in close proximity to Russia’s borders.

The documents also condemn Russia’s “aggressive nuclear rhetoric” even though the US has been engaged in such rhetoric for years and also in the sort of practices that go hand in hand with it.  By way of example, the US has never given up its policy of a first use of nuclear weapons and has not removed its tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.  By contrast Russia for a long time did have a no policy of no first use of nuclear weapons and withdrew all its tactical nuclear weapons from the territories of the three European states of the former Soviet Union way back in 1994.

The documents call on Russia to respect the provisions of the inoperative Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, implying a wish to revive it.  However there is no hint anywhere that none of the NATO countries ever ratified this Treaty or showed any interest in doing so whilst Russia was observing it.

In order to lull Russia and cause it to lower its guard, the Warsaw summit declared its readiness to seek a “constructive” political dialogue with Russia.  This was backed by a statement that the Alliance “does not seek confrontation and does not pose a threat to Russia.”  What I would say about that is that I remember all too well the talk at previous Summits of the Alliance seeking “partnership” between Russia and NATO and what all those fine words in the end came to.

In the event at the same time the Summit was making these seemingly positive pronouncements about seeking dialogue with Russia it left unchanged its April 2014 decision to suspend all forms of military and civilian cooperation with Russia. It announced that the next meeting of the Russia-NATO Council would be held at the ambassadorial level in Brussels on July 13 this year. I wonder how the NATO leadership intends to conduct “constructive” dialogue with Russia when it has already pronounced against Russia the guilty verdict I set out above?

The Summit once again reaffirmed the policy of expanding NATO by confirming its previously announced policy of an “open door” to the accession of other states.   To that end the Warsaw Summit invited Sweden and Finland to participate in the discussion of “security challenges” and to participate in joint military exercises.  It also reaffirmed its course of expanding its operational cooperation with the armed forces of Ukraine and Georgia.

NATO’s next summit will take place not in two years, as was the case previously, but next year in 2017 in its new building in Brussels.

What is the sum total of the Warsaw Summit?  It can be summarised as follows:

(1) From the point of view of political, the Alliance has preserved and even enhanced its aggressive military posture which it seeks to project on a global scale over the long term;

(2) In terms of the military, the Alliance has committed itself to building up its military power far beyond the territories of its member states;

(3) From the standpoint of arms control, it offered nothing concrete or constructive;

(4) In terms of unfreezing the NATO-Russia relationship, the Summit resulted in no new initiatives such as could elicit a positive response from Moscow.   The next meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, to be held on 13th July 2016 at ambassadors’ level, will most likely witness another accusatory tirade from the NATO delegation directed at Russia, with shrill condemnations of Russia’s foreign and defence policy;

(5) From the perspective of the global military-political situation, the Summit cemented the dangerous trend towards a qualitatively new phase of the Cold War (“Cold War 2.0”), which was initiated by the US – the Alliance’s leader – in April 2014, and for the outbreak of which the Russian Federation bears no responsibility.

In the prevailing circumstances Russia can do no other than decide the future course of its foreign and defence policy based on these findings, guided at all times by its sacred duty to ensure, consistently and effectively the protection of its own independence and sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Russian state as well as that of its allies and friends; doing so on the basis of the principles of reasonable sufficiency of military means and making best use of asymmetric technical responses to the growing challenges posed by NATO.

The Warsaw Summit showed once again that the aggressive and militaristic North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the major destabilising factor in the world today, as well as the key player in dissipating a huge part of humanity’s material and intellectual resources on a renewed arms race.

One thing the Warsaw Summit has once again made clear.  Current and future generations must be freed once and for all from the block system, which emerged after the Second World War.  Until and unless that happens – with coercive military blocks like NATO being once and for all consigned to past – there can be no secure peace in the world.

The author is Chief Adviser, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, a Professor, of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, a Member of the Scientific Board of the National Institute of Global Security Research, a Member of the Gorchakov’s Foundation Club and a Global Senior Fellow National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Global Think Tank Network (GTTN)  in Islamabad Pakistan.  He is also a Ph.D., Senior Researcher (Academic Rank)

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It’s Back to the Iran-Contra Days Under Trump

Abrams and his cronies will not stop with Venezuela.

Strategic Culture Foundation

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Authored by Wayne Madsen, via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Showing that he is adopting the neoconservative playbook every day he remains in office, Donald Trump handed the neocons a major win when he appointed Iran-contra scandal felon Elliott Abrams as his special envoy on Venezuela. Abrams pleaded guilty in 1991 to two counts of withholding information on the secret sale of US weapons for cash to help illegally supply weapons to the Nicaraguan right-wing contras, who were battling against the government of President Daniel Ortega. Abrams would have headed to a federal prison, but President George H. W. Bush, an unindicted co-conspirator in the scandal, issued pardons to Abrams and his five fellow conspirators – former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, and former Central Intelligence Agency officials Alan Fiers, Duane “Dewey” Clarridge, and Clair George – on Christmas Eve 1991, during the final weeks of Bush’s lame duck administration.

Abrams escaped being charged with more serious crimes by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh because he cut a last-minute deal with federal prosecutors. Trump, who has made no secret of his disdain for cooperating federal witnesses, would have normally called Abrams a “rat,” a gangster term meaning informant. The man who helped engineer the pardons for Abrams and his five convicted friends was none other than Bush’s Attorney General, William Barr, who has just been sworn in as Trump’s Attorney General. Trump, who is always decrying the presence of the “deep state” that thwarts his very move, has become the chief guardian of that entity.

During a recent hearing of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, newly-minted congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, reminded her colleagues and the world about the sordid background of Abrams.

Omar zeroed in on Abrams’s criminal history:

“Mr. Abrams, in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony you give today to be truthful.”

Abrams, as is the nature of neocons, refused to respond to Omar and cited her comments as “personal attacks.”

Abrams’s and his fellow criminals’ use of mercenaries and “death squads” to conduct secret wars in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala during the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s has made a re-entrance under Trump. Abrams was brought on board by neocons like National Security Adviser John Bolton, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to oversee a US military build-up in Colombia, said to be 5000 US troops, to support Venezuelan paramilitary and military efforts to topple President Nicolas Maduro. Abrams and Bolton are also believed to have retained the services of another unindicted conspirator in the Iran-contra affair, Michael Ledeen, a colleague of the disgraced and convicted former Trump National Security Adviser, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. Ledeen and Flynn co-authored a book titled, “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and its Allies.” The book contains nothing more than the standard neocon tripe one might expect from the likes of Ledeen.

An official investigation of the Iran-contra scandal by the late Republican Senator John Tower of Texas concluded that Abrams’s and Ledeen’s friend, Iranian-Jewish middleman Manucher Ghorbanifar, a long-time Mossad asset and well-known prevaricator, was extremely instrumental in establishing the back-channel arms deals with Iran. Ghorbanifar has long been on the CIA “burn list” as an untrustworthy charlatan, along with others in the Middle East of similar sketchy credentials, including the Iraq’s Ahmad Chalabi, Syria’s Farid “Frank” Ghadry, and Lebanon’s Samir “Sami” Geagea. These individuals, however, were warmly embraced by neocons like Abrams and his associates.

Abrams, whose links with Israeli intelligence has always been a point of consternation with US counter-intelligence officials, is part of an old cabal of right-wing anti-Soviet Democrats who coalesced around Senator Henry Jackson in the 1970s. Along with Abrams, this group of war hawks included Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, William Kristol, Douglas Feith, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Abram Shulsky, and Paul Wolfowitz. Later, this group would have its fingerprints on major US foreign policy debacles, ranging from Nicaragua and Grenada to Lebanon, Iraq, and Libya. Later, in December 2000, these neocons managed to convince president-elect George W. Bush of the need to “democratize” the Middle East. That policy would later bring not democracy but disaster to the Arab Middle East and North Africa.

Abrams and his cronies will not stop with Venezuela. They have old scores to settle with Nicaraguan President Ortega. The initiation of “regime change” operations in Nicaragua, supported by the CIA and the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in Miami, have been ongoing for more than a year.

The Trump administration has already achieved a regime change victory of sorts in El Salvador. Nayib Bukele, the former mayor of San Salvador, who was expelled from the formerly-ruling left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation (FMLN) party and joined the right-wing GANA party, was recently elected president of El Salvador. Bukele has quickly re-aligned his country’s policies with those of the Trump administration. Bukele has referred to President Maduro of Venezuela as a “dictator.” He has also criticized the former FMLN government’s recognition of China and severance of diplomatic ties with Taiwan. It will be interesting to see how a sycophant like Bukele will politically survive as Trump continues to call hapless asylum-seeking migrants from his country, who seek residency in the United States, “rapists, gang monsters, murderers, and drug smugglers.”

Another country heading for a US-installed “banana republic” dictator is Haiti. President Jovenal Moise has seen rioting in the streets of Port-au-Prince as the US State Department removed all “non-essential” personnel from the country. Moise, whose country has received $2 billion in oil relief from Venezuela, to help offset rising fuel prices, has continued to support the Maduro government. However, at the US-run and neo-colonial artifice, the Organization of American States (OAS), Moise’s envoys have been under tremendous pressure to cut ties with Venezuela and recognize the US puppet Juan Guaido as Venezuelan president. Moise’s refusal to do so resulted in armed gangs hitting the streets of Port-au-Prince demanding Moise’s resignation. It is the same neocon “regime change” playbook being used in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

There will be similar attempts to replace pro-Maduro governments in his remaining allies in the region. These include Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Abrams was also brought in as an adviser on Middle East policy in the George W. Bush administration. The carnage of Iraq is a stark testament to his record. In 2005, it was reported that two key Bush White House officials – Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliot Abrams – gave a “wink and a nod” for the assassinations by Israeli-paid operatives of three key Lebanese political figures seeking a rapprochement with Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah – Member of Parliament Elie Hobeika, former Lebanese Communist Party chief George Hawi, and former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

In 2008, a United Nations panel headed by former Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare later concluded Hariri was assassinated by a “criminal network” and not by either Syrian and Lebanese intelligence or Lebanese Hezbollah as proffered by Abrams and his friends in Washington.

Representative Omar was spot on in questioning why Abrams, whose name is as disgraced as his two fellow conspirators – Oliver North and John Poindexter – whose criminal convictions were overturned on appeal, is working for the Trump administration on Venezuela. The answer is that the neocons, who can sense, like raptors, Trump’s political weakness, have filled the vacuum left by top-level vacancies in the administration.

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Putin: If mid-range missiles deployed in Europe, Russia will station arms to strike decision centers

Putin: If US deploys mid-range missiles in Europe, Russia will be forced to respond.

RT

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Via RT…


If the US deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Moscow will respond by stationing weapons aimed not only against missiles themselves, but also at command and control centers, from which a launch order would come.

The warning came from President Vladimir Putin, who announced Russia’s planned actions after the US withdraws from the INF Treaty – a Cold War-era agreement between Washington and Moscow which banned both sides form having ground-based cruise and ballistic missiles and developing relevant technology.

The US is set to unilaterally withdraw from the treaty in six months, which opens the possibility of once again deploying these missiles in Europe. Russia would see that as a major threat and respond with its own deployments, Putin said.

Intermediate-range missiles were banned and removed from Europe because they would leave a very short window of opportunity for the other side to decide whether to fire in retaliation after detecting a launch – mere minutes. This poses the threat of an accidental nuclear exchange triggered by a false launch warning, with the officer in charge having no time to double check.

“Russia will be forced to create and deploy weapon systems, which can be used not only against the territories from which this direct threat would be projected, but also against those territories where decision centers are located, from which an order to use those weapons against us may come.” The Russian president, who was delivering a keynote address to the Russian parliament on Wednesday, did not elaborate on whether any counter-deployment would only target US command-and-control sites in Europe or would also include targets on American soil.

He did say the Russian weapon system in terms of flight times and other specifications would “correspond” to those targeting Russia.

“We know how to do it and we will implement those plans without a delay once the relevant threats against us materialize,”he said.

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Labour MP split is a cheap and final ploy to derail BREXIT (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 179.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss a small group of UK Labour MPs decision to quit the party and sit as Independent MPs in the house of commons.

Their excuse for leaving Labour was directed at leader Jeremy Corbyn for presiding over an “institutionally anti-Semitic” party. The real reason they are leaving Labour is because they are staunch remain MPs and are hoping to derail Brexit.

The seven Labour MPs quitting the party to become ‘The Independent Group’, are Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey.

RT reports that Luciana Berger, the MP for Liverpool Wavertree took to the stage first, to claim that she could not stay in the party any more because it had become “institutionally anti-Semitic.”

Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham, a prominent ‘People’s Vote’ advocate appealed to all MPs, not just Labour, to join their group, as the current parties are part of the problem, not the solution.

He argued that “It is time we dumped this country’s old fashioned politics.” Umunna claimed the UK needed a political party “fit for the hear and now” and the “first step in leaving the tribal politics behind.”

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Via RT

Twitter has been rocked by the sudden departure of seven Labour MPs to form their own Independent Group, with party supporters feverishly debating whether the move is better for the party, or a wake-up call to Jeremy Corbyn.

Former shadow cabinet minister Chuka Umunna along with MPs Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey have all jumped ship in the biggest Labour Party split since 1981, when the so-called “gang of four” left to form the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

In a press conference, Umunna stated that the established parties “cannot be the change because they have become the problem” arguing that it is “time we dumped this country’s old-fashioned politics.”

Jewish MP Luciana Berger said she was “embarrassed and ashamed” at what the Labour Party had become and criticized her former party for becoming “sickeningly institutionally racist.”

“I am leaving behind a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation. I look forward to a future serving with colleagues who respect each other,” she added.

Reaction to the news online has been a mixture of shock and dismay, to outright derision. Some Labour supporters were quick to delight in the departures, suggesting the party will be stronger without detractors undermining it from within.

Others though said it was time for Jeremy Corbyn to take the criticism seriously.

Meanwhile, some Twitter users commented on Young Labour’s somewhat barbed response to the situation.

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