The Times by Kaya Burgess | Thursday, 11 June 2009 | Click here for original article
The white supremacist gunman who shot dead a guard at the Holocaust museum in Washington D.C. had attended meetings of the American Friends of the British National Party, it emerged today.
James W. von Brunn, an avowed anti-Semite, burst into the museum in the American capital and fired a rifle, killing Stephen Tyrone Johns, a security guard.
Tim Blodgett, a former White House aide who worked as an informant within white supremacist groups, said today that Mr von Brunn and his friend John de Nugent had attended meetings in Arlington County, Virginia, of the American Friends of the BNP. The organisation was set up to raise funds for the BNP but has since been disbanded.
Mr de Nugent wrote on his blog: “I have twice met Nick Griffin, the dynamic chairman of the British National Party.”
He added that he had “the gravest misgivings” about Mr Griffin allowing Jewish people to join the BNP, but said: “My hat is off to this fighting white man, Nick Griffin, for the incredible victories for White Britain which his hard work, rhino-thick skin against Jewsmedia criticism, and inspired leadership have made possible. It is not easy to be a leader; it is lonely, as they say, at the top. Hail the white leader, Nick Griffin!”
Mr Griffin and Richard Barnbrook, a member of the London Assembly, have visited America on fundraising tours to address the American Friends of the BNP, although it is not known whether Mr von Brunn heard them speak or met them.
At one of these meetings, held in Texas in April 2000, Mr Griffin is pictured alongside David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan. At the meeting Mr Griffin said: “The BNP isn't about selling out its ideas, which are your ideas too, but we are determined to sell them. And that means basically to use saleable words — freedom, security, identity, democracy.
“Perhaps one day, by being rather more subtle, [where] we’ve got ourselves in a position where we control the British broadcasting media, then perhaps one day the British people might change their mind and say ‘yes, every last one must go’. Perhaps they will one day. But if you hold that out as your sole aim to start with, you’re going to get absolutely nowhere. So instead of talking about racial purity, we talk about identity.”
A spokesman for the anti-fascist watchdog Searchlight said: “The BNP must come clean and reveal the true facts surrounding their links with this anti-Semitic gunman.”
The association with a white supremacist gunman comes as Mr Griffin is trying to bring his party into the mainstream of British politics and build upon the election of two BNP candidates to the European Parliament last week.
A spokesman for the BNP said: “We’ve never heard of [von Brunn], to be honest. Lots of people have met Nick when he’s been abroad in different places. You can never account for people’s mental state in these things — it’s awful what happened over there. We do abhor things like that.”
The spokesman said that Mr Griffin had retracted his claims that the Holocaust did not happen, and criticised the extremist groups in America. “People keep going on about the Holocaust all the time. It’s no wonder they don’t win any elections over there, because it’s not relevant to modern politics in 2009,” he said.
The American Friends of the BNP was founded in 1998 by BNP member Mark Cotterill to foster links between far-Right movements in Britain and America. The group was wound up by Mr Cotterill in 2001 after the Southern Poverty Law Centre threatened to investigate its fundraising. Mr Cotterill is now a member of the England First Party.