Friday, June 12, 2009

The Holocaust museum gunman and Nick Griffin, MEP

IT can be hard being a fascist trying to play the respectable public figure. It's not just the opponents ruining your suit with eggs, or even dragging up things you said to besmirch your reputation. You could set the boys loose on 'em if there weren't too many cameras around, or too many opponents, and maybe your new supporters won't bother reading all that stuff, or even see anything wrong in it.

But then some fool who was once photographed leaving one of your party meetings which he had stewarded turns out to be the London nail bomber, and to make things worse says his aim was to start a race war so "all the white people will go out and vote BNP". Or police uncover an explosives cache at the home of that nice professional man who had been one of your candidates. (Still, the media were very understanding and did their best to keep that one quiet).

And then there's that American racist gun nut who decides that one thing he'd like to do before he gets too old is go down the Holocaust museum and do some shooting, gunning down a black security guard..What's that to do with you?

Well, I'll let friend Sunny, who blogs at Pickled Politics, take over the story:

"About ten years ago Nick Griffin gave a prominent speech in the United States at a American Friends of the British National Party event. In fact you can watch the speech online, and he says in his speech:

There’s a difference between selling out your ideas and selling your ideas. And the BNP isn’t about selling out its ideas, but we are determined to sell them. Basically that means to use saleable words such as freedom, security, identity, democracy. Nobody can criticise them. Nobosy can come at you and attack you on those ideas - they are saleable. Perhaps one day, by being rather more subtle, once we’re 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 not going to get anywhere. So instead of talking about racial purity, we talk about identity.

"So we know the BNP hide behind words like ‘identity’ in order to push racial purity - after all their leader admits it. Anyway, it now turns out that the white supremacist and Holocaust Museum terrorist - James von Brunn - attended those meetings too.
The Washington Post reports:

Von Brunn sometimes spoke of having fought for the wrong side in World War II, Blodgett said, and the two men sometimes attended meetings in Arlington County of the American Friends of the British National Party, which raised funds for the British white supremacist group.

Blodgett said that von Brunn never spoke of violent action in their conversations but that “a lot of these people, when they get toward the end of life, they say they’ve wasted all these years hating, and they want to make a statement somehow.”

Still think there’s no link between the BNP and violence?

via Jerome Taylor at the Independent, who has more:

At the time the BNP were forging close links with a variety of US white supremacists and the party’s leader Nick Griffin remains close friends with powerful American neo-Nazis such as David Duke, a former Klu Klux Klan leader and Don Black, another KKK chap who went on to found Stormfront and was placed on the UK’s banned list two months ago.

According to the Post, Von Brunn and Blodgett would regularly attend meetings in Arlington County of the American Friends of the BNP, which raised funds for the British white supremacist group.

The American Friends was wound up by Coterill in 2001 after the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which investigates American white supremacists, started looking into its fundrasing - but the links between the BNP and their sympathisers stateside remain strong.

"Remember, a picture of Nick Griffin speaking alongside former KKK leader David Duke was unearthed recently too. Of course, none of the mainstream broadcasting outlets - who are busy condemning people for throwing eggs at poor Nick Griffin - will raise any of this. Doing research is too much work these days.
If anyone can find a picture of Griffin alongside Von Brunn I’ll treat you to lunch, I promise."

Even the arrest of a known white racist did not stop some right-wing American commentators spinning the story to put the blame for the shooting on liberals and Muslims! But like the neighbourhood dope pusher, the hate media have to give their junkies what they have been conditioned to expect.

Here today's Guardian also took up the BNP connection:

"A white supremacist who killed a security guard at a Holocaust memorial museum in the US has links to the British National party, which gained two MEPs in last week's European elections.

Thousands of visitors fled the museum in Washington on Wednesday after James von Brunn opened fire, killing a security guard. In the gunfight that followed, the 88-year-old was shot, and is now in a critical condition in hospital.

Yesterday it emerged that Von Brunn, a longtime antisemite, had attended meetings of the American Friends of the British National party (AFBNP), which was set up to raise funds from far-right activists in America.

Mark Cotterill, who ran the US-based organisation before it folded in 2001, said: "He did attend meetings. I have just checked my database and he is down as 'meetings only', so he was not a major donor, although he may have put some money on the plate when it was passed round."

The AFBNP treasurer, Todd Blodgett, also told the Washington Post that he and Von Brunn had attended fundraising meetings in Arlington County. The BNP leader, Nick Griffin, spoke to at least two AFBNP meetings and said the money raised by the organisation made a "significant contribution to the BNP's [2001] general election campaign".

Yesterday a spokesman for the party said: "You get a lot of people coming to meetings but I don't think you can blame us for that. Even if he did go to meetings, it was nothing to do with us."

However, anti-racism campaigners said Von Brunn's links to the BNP underlined its extremist agenda. "It is clear that Nick Griffin is at the centre of an international network of white supremacists," said Dan Hodges, of Searchlight. "The BNP must explain the full extent of his organisation's links with this antisemitic gunman."

The far-right party gained its first two MEPs in last week's European elections – Griffin in the north-west and former National Front leader Andrew Brons in Yorkshire and the Humber. During the campaign, photographs emerged of Griffin alongside the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Stephen "Don" Black, who was banned from the UK by the then home secretary, Jacqui Smith. He was also criticised for defending a BNP leaflet that said black and Asian Britons should be referred to as "racial foreigners".

At a press conference in Washington, Cathy Lanier, the Washington police chief, said security guard Stephen Johns was shot when he opened the door of the museum for Von Brunn. Other guards opened fire, and Von Brunn slumped to the ground.

In his car, officers found a notebook with a handwritten note saying, "You want my weapons, this is how you'll get them. The Holocaust is a lie. Obama was created by Jews," according to a court affidavit.

Yesterday Von Brunn was charged with murder and killing in the course of possessing a firearm at a federal facility, both capital offences under US federal law; police said hate crime charges were also possible."

A self-described artist, advertising man and author, Von Brunn had been monitored by anti-racist groups in the United States for many years. He wrote an antisemitic treatise, Kill the Best Gentiles, claiming to expose a Jewish conspiracy "to destroy the White gene-pool". In 1983, he was convicted of attempting to kidnap members of the US federal reserve board. At the time, police said he had wanted to take the members hostage because of high interest rates and the nation's economic difficulties. On the website, Von Brunn blames his six-year imprisonment on "a Jew judge" and "Negro jury".

We might recall that in his efforts to broaden the BNP's appeal - and perhaps sources of support - Griffin was not relying on the Von Brunns, ex-Klansmen and similar "American Friends". This year, in keeping with his decree that the party should put antisemitism on the back burner for now to concentrate on its anti-Muslim line, the BNP's prize Jewish councillor from Essex was sent out to impress some American neo-cons who prefer the more academic brand of racialism, and are probably not short of funds.

No wonder the American Right is anxious to spin the blame away for this shooting.

No wonder Nick Griffin and chums want to say it is nothing to do with them. It never is!

  • But one last point needs to be said. The BNP leader is not the only politician who has been concerned with elections in the past week. It is good that photographs came out of former Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke with Nick Griffin. There are also recordings available of Duke speaking at the Holocaust revisionism conference hosted by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian people are not to blame for all the American fanatics welcomed to their country by a president they may soon be rid of. But it is bizarre that a leader who hosts such racists should then address a UN conference on Racism! And perverse that some presumably sincere anti-racists, who are prepared to throw things at Griffin, are not prepared to listen to Iranian left-wing comrades who campaign to oppose Ahmadinejad. For the sake of joined-up politics let's make all the connections.

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