Austrian diplomat recalled from Israel for wearing 'Nazi' shirt

By ethan / March 22, 2018

Austria’s Foreign Ministry has recalled an employee from its embassy in Israel after he posted a photo of himself on Facebook wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of a Nazi tank division.

Weekly news magazine Falter published screengrabs of Jürgen-Michael Kleppich wearing a green shirt bearing the words “Stand your ground” and “Frundsberg”. Frundsberg is a reference to the 10th SS Panzer Division during World War II. The division was named after the 16th century German commander Georg von Frundsberg. Kleppich’s Facebook account has since been deleted.

The controversial shirt is sold by Phalanx Europa, a clothing brand that specializes in “patriotic” apparel and markets itself as an online store for the identitarian, white nationalist, movement. Falter also reported that Kleppich previously posted a photo of his grandfather in a Nazi uniform.

Kleppich has been summoned to Vienna to “clarify all circumstances” surrounding his wearing of the shirt, Austria’s foreign minister, Karin Kneissl, told the ORF radio station. “If there is a disciplinary cause, a disciplinary procedure will be initiated,” she said.

The attaché is also reportedly a member of the right wing Freedom Party which is a junior partner in Austria’s coalition government. The party has been at the center of several Nazi-related allegations in recent years. Earlier this year a party official was forced to resign after it emerged that his fraternity published a songbook praising the Holocaust.

The state of Israel has said it will not have any direct contact with politicians from the party, which controls Austria’s foreign, interior and defense ministries as part of its government formation pact with the larger People’s Party.

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More than 5,000 civilians leave Eastern Ghouta as militants begin withdrawal

By ethan / March 22, 2018

Over 5,000 civilians have left Eastern Ghouta through humanitarian corridors on Thursday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said. The militants also reportedly began withdrawing from the area, as part of a deal with the Syrian government.

“Starting from the early hours of March 22, more than 5000 civilians have come out through the checkpoints in Eastern Ghouta,” Russia’s Reconciliation Center in Syria said, adding that the evacuation of the population from the terrorist-held areas continues. Those fleeing the Damascus suburb, which recently became the new hotspot of the Syrian conflict, were provided with hot food, water and sleeping accessories by the Russian troops, it added. 

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Earlier, the Reconciliation Center head, Major-General Yuri Yevtushenko, said that a total of 86,000 people have used the Russia-brokered humanitarian corridors to leave the besieged Eastern Ghouta since late February. 

A withdrawal deal has been reached between the Syrian government and the Ahrar al-Sham group on Wednsday, SANA news agency reported. The militants agreed to abandon the town of Harasta in Eastern Ghouta in exchange for unhindered passage to the northern province of Idlib.

The deal also included Ahrar al-Sham sharing the map of their underground tunnels, and the burial sites of Syrian troops, with the government. It’s planned that a total of 1,500 fighters and 6,000 civilians will be evacuated as part of the accord.

SANA also said that 13 people, who were held captive by the militants, have been freed early on Thursday. Reports in other media claimed that those released were Syrian troops that were swapped for five Ahrar al-Sham fighters. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) says some 1,300 people, among them militants, have already left the city.

READ MORE: ‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’: West’s war propaganda on Ghouta crescendos

Ahrar al-Sham remains one of the largest armed groups fighting the Syrian government as it controls a vast area in the Idlib Province and has more than 16,000 fighters among its ranks. Despite the capitulation of Ahrar al-Sham in the face of the advancing Syrian forces, the two other major groups in Eastern Ghouta – Jaysh al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman – have turned down the withdrawal deals and vowed to continue fighting till the end.

However, Faylaq al-Rahman said late on Thursday that the UN has mediated a ceasefire for the area under the group’s control, starting from midnight (2200 GMT).

READ MORE: 37 killed, dozens injured in militant shelling of Eastern Ghouta market (VIDEO)

The militants shelled Damascus again on Thursday, firing 16 rockets at residential areas of the Syrian capital, killing four people and injuring 13 others.

On Tuesday, at least 37 people were killed and dozens wounded after terrorists carried out a missile strike on Jaramana town in Eastern Ghouta, in violation of the humanitarian pause, and hit a crowded market.

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Israeli teen arrested & fined for urinating on Auschwitz memorial

By ethan / March 22, 2018

An Israeli teenager was reportedly arrested at the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum for urinating on a victims’ memorial in the former Nazi concentration camp. The unidentified 19-year-old was taken into custody on Wednesday.

At around 1pm local time the student, who was part of a visiting tour, was spotted by a guide at the former death camp urinating on the steps of a monument. He was subsequently detained and questioned by police before paying a fine of more than €1,100 for the act, according to TVP Polonia.

READ MORE: 96yo ‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’ dies before prison sentence begins

Auschwitz was the largest concentration camp built by Germany’s Nazi Party as part of their effort to exterminate prisoners following the outbreak of World War II. The network of camps was a major cog in the Holocaust and Hitler’s plan to murder Jews.

It’s estimated that more than 1.1 million men, women and children were gassed and killed at the camp. Under Polish law anyone who “insults a monument or public place decorated to commemorate a historical event… shall be subject to a fine or imprisonment.

READ MORE: Nude protest & sheep slaughter at Auschwitz death camp ends in prison sentence for artists

According to local media, the teenager was released after being questioned by investigators. The site in Oswiecim has previously been subject to bizarre and disrespectful behavior; in March 2017 a group of so-called artists slaughtered a sheep at the camp.

The offence occurred at the entrance to the infamous Nazi concentration camp, when a dozen young people in their 20s undressed and chained themselves to the gates. They killed the sheep by stabbing it over a dozen times in the heart. The incident resulted in fines and prison terms for those found to have staged the performance.

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“The officer took a bite and drank some blood.. God bless him!” – Russia coach on doping & Brazil

By ethan / March 22, 2018

Russian national team manager Stanislav Cherchesov has opened up about early morning doping tests and team tactics, ahead of the country’s friendly match against Brazil in Moscow on Friday.

This summer’s World Cup hosts Russia will take on five-time world champions Brazil at Moscow’s impressive and newly-renovated Luzhniki Stadium, which will also host the Russia 2018 opening game on June 14, as well as the final on July 15.

Russia coach Cherchesov is no stranger to facing South America’s ‘Samba Boys’; he amassed 39 caps over a decade-long international career and the former goalkeeper played in Russia’s game versus Brazil in 1996 at Dynamo Stadium, which ended 2-2.

“It was at Dynamo [Stadium]? Two-two. It was a good game, a long time ago, sometimes I think it wasn’t real,” Cherchesov hazily recalled, during the press conference following Russia’s short training session at Luzhniki on Thursday.

The game was real, and many observers felt Russia outplayed their Ronaldo-led Brazilian counterparts on that day. Twenty-two years later and many rate Russia’s chances as slim against a Brazil side boasting Philippe Coutinho, Willian and Marcelo, even without the injured Neymar.

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© Anton Vaganov

The Russia squad members have no apparent new injuries, and the Russia boss has Villarreal’s Denis Cheryshev to count on. The former Real Madrid man is reviving his international career after just a handful of starts in nearly six years as an international.

“Cheryshev came back in a good mood, he’s healthy, ready to train, we saw what he can do, he’s definitely part of the team,” Cherchesov said. “He hasn’t played for the team for a long time, there’s a new system, so we will have to speak to him about it at the right time.”

“Kambolov is suffering with aches but he and Ignatiev are improving, almost ready now – but no risks for tomorrow, although some questions [linger] about Dzagoev, Zhirkov,” Cherchesov cautioned.

Spirits are relatively high in the Russia camp. In a week where Russian national team doctor Eduard Bezuglov claimed Russian footballers are “the cleanest in the world,” Cherchesov ensured regular doping tests had not disrupted the camp.

“We don’t have any complaints about that, no formal complaints,” Cherchesov, who was flanked by defender Dmitry Kudryashov in the presser, said. “It’s not a good or bad thing, it’s a fact, we did our job, the doping inspectors did their job.

“The players didn’t like waking up at 6am, they wake at 9am usually, but the testing concerns all the teams. I don’t want to emphasize it because it can be shown in a bad light. The officer took a bite, drank the blood, took the urine – good health to him,” the manager joked.

READ MORE: Russian footballers are the cleanest in the world – team doctor Bezuglov

Russia will play not Brazil but Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the World Cup, also at the 80,000-seater Luzhniki Stadium. The new epicenter of Russian sport has made a good impression on visitors, including the world’s press and former international players.

The new stadium is a far cry from Samara’s Cosmos Arena, where Russia will play their final Group A game, versus Uruguay on June 25. The progress of construction at that stadium has fallen well below expectations of world football governing body FIFA, including having no pitch laid yet.

Speaking about the effect of the new renovations, Cherchesov said Luzhniki has “the same atmosphere, just some new details and updates. Everything is good. It’s the best pitch we can have at this time of year.”

Regarding Neymar’s absence, Cherchesov admitted that what is maybe a disadvantage to Brazil is not necessarily Russia’s advantage. “It’s obvious one of best players isn’t here but it doesn’t mean anything, they have lots of strong players.

“We’re playing at home, we’ll take into account lessons from the last two games, but we’ll really go forward, look for some solutions, we’ll decide tomorrow, Brazil are five-times champions, so a strong team.”

Despite two players in World Cup reckoning – goalkeeper Guilherme and right back Mario Fernandes – having picked up Russian passports despite being born in Brazil, and questions hanging over whether forward Ari will receive citizenship, Cherchesov explained that he would not influence any player’s decision on his nationality.

“We aren’t supposed to give anything to anyone, it’s up to the players themselves, we’re not discussing any other possibilities,” he said.

By Danny Armstrong and Liam Tyler at Luzhniki Stadium for RT Sport

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“Sickening attack”: City gang kicks and stomps on unconscious man more than 100 times (VIDEO)

By ethan / March 22, 2018

Horrifying footage of a brutal attack on a man lying on a UK tram platform has emerged. A police hunt for the victim’s attackers is underway.

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© Michelle Feather / Family handout

CCTV footage shows the teenagers stamping on the man more than 100 times before leaving him for dead. The 49-year-old man was brutally assaulted at the Metrolink station in Chadderton, Greater Manchester.

His ordeal continued even after he was knocked unconscious by the boys, described as Asian males aged between 15 and 18. A tram arrived during the attack, and the gang still did not stop. Instead detectives said the gang “played to the audience.”

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© Dominic Ebenbichler

Greater Manchester Police are treating the attack as attempted murder and said it’s “incredible” the victim survived and is now recovering in hospital. The man’s ordeal began when he stepped off a train at the Freehold stop at about 9.35pm on Thursday, March 8.

It ended when a tram travelling in the opposite direction stopped and the driver, along with passengers, ran to help him. Manchester Police said: “Not only did these men target an innocent man for no apparent reason, they subjected him to a sustained and brutal attack and the footage is absolutely shocking. How anyone could kick a defenceless man in the head as he lay unconscious is almost unbelievable, but for them to return on three separate occasions to continue their assault and then leave him bleeding on the platform is beyond comprehension.

“The fact the victim not only survived but is now on the road to recovery is pretty incredible. We know a tram stopped on the opposite side of the tracks at the time of the attack and I would urge anyone who has any video footage to please send it in to us as a matter of urgency. It could be vital to finding the people responsible. Alternatively, anyone who thinks they know who did this, or has any information, please get in touch. This could have been your father, son or brother and we need to find these men immediately.”

Transport for Greater Manchester’s head of Metrolink, Danny Vaughan, said: “This was a sickening and sustained attack that has left a man seriously injured.

“We know there’s been a spike in the number of incidents of crime and antisocial behavior in the Oldham area recently. It is something we are working with partners to try and tackle but the extent of this assault and level of force used was indiscriminate and wanton.”

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Massive DDoS attack on Russia’s Defense Ministry website during vote on new arms names

By ethan / March 22, 2018

Russia’s Defense Ministry website suffered a massive DDoS attack during an online vote to select the names of new Russian military hardware, with all hacking attempts repelled by cyber security services, the ministry said.

“Attempts to attack the website were performed from the territory of Western Europe – the country is established, the North American continent and Ukraine,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

There was a total of seven attacks during the final day of voting on Thursday, with two of the most intensive of them coming in the closing hours. “The DDoS attacks were neutralized by the cyber security services of the Defense Ministry,” the statement read.


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MPs compete to condemn Kremlin in ever more undiplomatic and insulting ways

By ethan / March 22, 2018

Theresa May arrived in Brussels with more doomsday warnings: Russia is not only a threat to the UK, but the whole of Europe. Her comments join a string of escalating accusations thrown at the Kremlin. Here are some of the others.

Theresa May

The UK PM arrived in Brussels, where it is understood she will try to convince fellow European Union leaders that Russia poses a threat to not just the UK, but the entire bloc.

“Russia staged a brazen and reckless attack against the United Kingdom,” May told reporters upon her arrival at the EU summit. “It’s clear that the Russian threat does not respect borders and indeed the incident in Salisbury was a pattern of Russian aggression against Europe and its near neighbors.”

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Gavin Williamson © Rob Pinney

Gavin Williamson

The Defense Secretary loves a crack at Russia. He recently said Russia was planning to kill Britons by the “thousands and thousands and thousands” – and that was before Skripal even entered the picture.

Last week, he said Russia “should go away and shut up.” He was responding to a question about Moscow’s announcement that it would expel British diplomats. A very mature response.

Boris Johnson 

Remember that infamous day in history when Adolf Hitler refused to award a gold medal to track athlete Jesse Owens because of the color of his skin? Well, BoJo recently raised the bar for the UK government’s bizarre accusations against Moscow to a new level by comparing Russia’s hosting of this year’s World Cup to the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany.

“I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right. It is an emetic prospect to think of Putin glorifying in this sporting event,” he told a receptive Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. The Kremlin was outraged by Johnson’s comments. “This statement is totally disgusting, it is not appropriate for any foreign minister,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “Undoubtedly, [this remark] is offensive and unacceptable.”

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© Andrew Parsons

Tom Tugendhat 

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat practically exploded over claims that Moscow attempted to murder ex-Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. The Tonbridge and Malling MP described the poisoning as “a war-like act by the Russian Federation.”

“This is not the first we’ve seen and, while some in this house have stayed silent and decided to join the information warfare that that state is conducting against us and our allies, we have seen them invade countries in the east, attack allies, attempt to kill prime minister and even now they are backing the murderous Assad regime which has no problem gassing its own people,” Tugendhat raged.

Ian Blackford

The SNP MP committed his party to working with the Tories against Russia, calling the Skripal attack an “abuse of state power” by Moscow. “There has to be a robust response to the use of terror on our streets,” Blackford said. “We must act in a measured way to show that we will simply not tolerate this behavior.”

You read that right – terror on our streets. Extreme words when no second party has confirmed that it was actually Russia behind the attack. So far, the allegations are based on unverified evidence from samples held by the UK government… the same government that has ignored requests from Russia to test the nerve agent A-234 (dubbed ‘Novichok’), so the source can be proven once and for all.

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China helps Pakistani missile program by providing advanced tracking system – report

By ethan / March 22, 2018

China has reportedly provided Pakistan with a highly advanced optical tracking system, which will be a boon to its missile program. The move is an apparent poke in the eye of India, which is becoming China’s main regional rival.

The delivery of the system was reported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in a statement, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Thursday. It was a rare occasion for Beijing to publicly confirm the export of sensitive military equipment that may stir controversy in other nations. The deal, the statement said, was the first of its kind supplied by China to a foreign buyer.

The system, which was installed by Chinese specialists at an unnamed Pakistani military testing range, is a valuable tool for testing missile technology. It has four high-resolution high-speed cameras equipped with powerful optics, a laser ranger, and an automatic control system allowing it to track a target of interest. The cameras were installed in different locations and are synchronized with atomic clocks so that footage captured by them could be timed precisely against each other.

The device can be used to study in detail crucial moments of a missile deployment like the launch process, stage separation, or a warhead engaging its target. According to the statement, the Chinese tracking system is far superior to those Pakistan has managed to develop domestically, and its performance “surpassed the user’s expectations.”

“We simply gave them a pair of eyes. They can use them to look at whatever they want to see, even the Moon,” told SCMP Zheng Mengwei, a researcher with the CAS Institute of Optics and Electronics in Chengdu, Sichuan province, which was involved in the development of the system.

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Workers ride on an motor rickshaw through an aluminium ingots depot in Wuxi, Jiangsu province.

The delivery’s public disclosure may be Beijing’s way to send a message to Pakistan’s main enemy, India. Islamabad and New Delhi have been at each other’s throats for decades and have had four major wars and numerous skirmishes since the partitioning of British India in 1947. Both countries have developed nuclear weapons and are working hard on improving the delivery systems for their warheads.

For China, Pakistan is a key component in the planned massive trade infrastructure development dubbed One Belt One Road. Beijing has invested over $ 60 billion into Pakistani roads and port facilities under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. The corridor gives access to Chinese goods to Bay of Bengal and shorter maritime routes to Africa and West Asia.

India, a rising power in Asia, has a long history of competition with China that occasionally flares up. One such incident happened last year over a small, disputed piece of land in an area where both nations border Bhutan. Another happened just last month as the two nations fought for influence over Maldives in the Indian Ocean, though the fight only took place on the diplomatic field.

Some observers say India may be targeted by the US in an attempt to undermine China’s growing power, especially as the risk of an open trade war between Washington and Beijing grows stronger under the Trump administration.

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Skating on thin ice: Romantic triangles of figure skating

By ethan / March 22, 2018

The beautiful and graceful sport of figure skating is often fraught with intrigue and affairs that extend beyond the ice, making athletes not only change their training partners, but sometimes their whole families.

RT Sport takes a look at famous figure-skating duos, whose twists and turns resulted in them being entangled in love triangles.


The world’s most-decorated figure skater Irina Rodnina still remains the only athlete to win three Olympic titles with two different partners.

Rodnina’s victorious ascension to the top of figure skating began in 1966, when she teamed up with Alexei Ulanov. Back then, the dominant positions in pairs skating were occupied by legendary Soviet couple Ludmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov, who were victorious at a number of World and Olympic championships.

Three years later, Rodnina and Ulanov rose to prominence at the 1969 European Championship, where they managed to overtake the seemingly unbeatable Belousova and Protopopov. After that, the couple won all the major figure-skating events, including the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.

Despite their impressive string of victories, relations between the pair became very strained, with scandals and quarrels constantly arising at their training sessions. The reason for their conflict was another Soviet athlete, Ludmila Smirnova, with whom Ulanov desperately wanted to skate.

READ MORE: ‘IOC decision is against Russia, not just athletes’ – 3-time Olympic champion Irina Rodnina

The couple broke up in 1972, following the World Championship at which Rodnina and Ulanov grabbed yet another gold. Ulanov paired up with Smirnova, while Rodnina – who had thought about retirement – started cooperating with Alexander Zaitsev.

The newly emerged couples faced each other at the 1973 European Championship, where Rodnina outscored her former partner and won gold together with Zaitsev. The couple’s cooperation on the ice evolved into a love affair and, in 1975, the skaters married.

Their triumphant path was extended for a long period during which the skaters claimed victories at two consecutive Olympic tournaments. Rodnina entered the Guinness Book of World Records after not losing any competition from 1969 to 1980.


2014 Olympic bronze medalists Elena Ilyinykh and Nikita Katsalapov were widely considered to be the most promising ice-dancing duo from Russia. After the Sochi Games, the majority of figure-skating pundits were pinning their hopes on the pair, who should have set the pace in ice-dancing after the retirement of two world-leading duets from Canada and the USA.

However, this was not meant to be. After the World Championship in Japan, where the couple unexpectedly missed the podium, Katsalapov announced a breakup with Ilyinykh.
Ilyinykh’s infatuation with the duo’s coach Nikolai Morozov was rumored to be the main reason for the split. Katsalapov, who had a love affair with Ilyinykh, exited the love triangle by splitting with his partner.

Both athletes attempted to skate with new teammates, but their results were a fry cry from the Olympic success in Sochi.


The 2002 Olympic champion Alexei Yagudin was among Russia’s most-eligible bachelors until 2007, when he met pop-singer Alexandra Savelyeva at a Russian figure-skating show.

At first, the member of the well-known Fabrika group ignored Yagudin’s advances, but later surrendered, plunging into a romantic affair with the skater.

However, nine months later, the love story of Yagudin and Savelyeva ended, despite rumors of an upcoming marriage. The couple confirmed the termination of their relationship, citing busy working schedules among the reasons that led to the breakup.

READ MORE: On the brink of history: Zagitova seeks world championship after Olympic triumph

Several months later, the figure-skating star was spotted together with the 2006 Olympic gold medalist Tatiana Totmianina, confirming rumors that another woman had been behind his separation with Savelyeva.

In 2009, the couple welcomed their first child, Elizaveta, and six years later Totmianina gave birth to their second daughter, Michelle. In 2016, after more than nine years together, the skaters married in Russian city of Krasnoyarsk.


Russian figure skater Oksana Domnina and actor Vladimir Yaglych got acquainted at the Ice Age figure-skating show in 2013. Neither were single at that time – Yaglych was married to actress Svetlana Svetlana Khodchenkova, while Domnina lived with figure-skating Olympic champion Roman Kostomarov, with whom she had a daughter.

After skating together in the show, the couple realized that their partnership went beyond the ice and they had developed feelings for each other. Enchanted by passion, they took first place in the TV show and soon announced that they were dating.

Their love affair lasted for several months, but then Domnina and Yaglych decided to separate their ways. Domnina returned to Kostomarov, who proposed to the mother of his child. In 2014, the pair married, and two years later Domnina gave birth to their son, Ilya.

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Mass walkout of Spycops inquiry – RT’s Bill Dod leads debate with activist & retired top cop (VIDEO)

By ethan / March 22, 2018

Over 60 people staged a mass walkout of the “spycops” inquiry, calling for the chairman at the helm of the investigation to step down. RT spoke to two men from opposite sides of the debate to see what they want from the inquiry.

Victims have slammed the inquiry’s move to grant members of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) anonymity. The SDS is the Special Branch unit, which infiltrated political and activist groups between 1968 and 2008. Some undercover cops engaged in sexual relationships with activists, and in at least one case fathered a child under false pretences. Some activists even stole the names of dead children to assume their identities.

Chairman of the inquiry, Sir John Mitting, has faced the ire of victims and campaigners for ruling that the anonymity of some police officers would remain in place. Lawyers have questioned whether this will compromise the investigation and the quality of evidence given by victims.

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Phillippa Kaufmann QC, representing the core participants, told the court on Wednesday that: “it is now abundantly clear that we simply cannot participate in this hearing in a meaningful way. Our clients are not prepared actively to participate in a process where their presence is mere window dressing lacking all substance and meaning which would achieve nothing other than to lend the process a legitimacy it does not have.”

Kaufmann said that Mitting’s reasoning for not releasing the names of certain police officers was “scant and largely uninformative”. She also questioned his suitability to oversee the case.

As a result, attendees abandoned the courtroom, chanting “Mitting out” and unfurling a banner outside of the courthouse that read: “Tear down the #spycops inquiry’s brick wall of silence”.

After the drama at the Royal Courts of Justice had concluded, RT’s Bill Dod sat down with Undercover policing inquiry core participant Merrick Cork and retired MET superintendent Simon Turner to debate the issue, and to get to the bottom of what both parties are looking for in the inquiry.

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