World's leading Nazi advises British fascists

The BNP will have its first election broadcast since 1983, writes Chris Blackhurst
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The ultra-right British National Party will field 50 candidates in the forthcoming general election, enough to qualify for a party political broadcast.

Part of the cash raised for the BNP's election fighting fund came from a recent rally in London where the guest speaker was William Pierce, the US neo-Nazi leader and the man credited with providing the inspiration for the Oklahoma bombing, which killed 168 people and injured 500.

In Mr Pierce's fictional book, The Turner Diaries, white supremacists park a lorry bomb outside a federal building. The description was followed almost to the letter in the 1995 Oklahoma bombing. Mr Pierce's work is expected to feature heavily in the trial of Timothy McVeigh over the attack, which is due to start later this month.

The BNP's intention to go on national television and radio for the first time since 1983 has been confirmed by the party's organiser, Richard Edmonds. The news, and Mr Pierce's support, will fuel fears that the extreme right is planning a show of strength after years of internal feuding and disarray.

Yesterday, it was revealed that Combat 18, the violent neo-fascist group, was targeting celebrities and politicians, including Anna Ford, the broadcaster, and Vanessa Redgrave, the actress.

BNP candidates, many of whom have convictions for racist violence, will stand in areas of high racial tension. As well as qualifying for five minutes of airtime, the party is promising to distribute two million leaflets in the constituencies it is contesting.

These include Bow and Bethnal Green in east London, where the BNP's leader and former National Front chief, John Tyndall, will stand, and Eltham in south-east London, site of Stephen Lawrence's murder, where Ian Dell will represent the BNP. Mr Edmonds himself is standing in Southwark. In east London, the party's election agent is convicted bomber Tony Lecomber.

Mr Pierce distributes extreme racist literature and broadcasts across America from a barbed-wire compound in the Appalachian mountains. In an interview with the Independent on Sunday, he said he found "quite flattering" the description bestowed on him by Tony Robson of Searchlight, the British anti-racist group, of "the world's leading professional Nazi". He added that he had "known John Tyndall for the last 25 years and we are keen friends".

According to Searchlight, Mr Pierce was among those who stumped up around pounds 80,000 to enable the BNP to mount an effective election campaign.

Mr Pierce, thought to be a millionaire because of the popularity of The Turner Diaries and his numerous other books and magazines, said he supported the BNP. He had attended a pre-election rally in London and his works were sold by the British party.

"The BNP has got the best programme in Britain," he said. "Our own published views are a little bit different from theirs but that is because you do not have freedom of speech in Britain. As a consequence, the BNP's platform is a little bit restrained. I would express things differently - if anything, the BNP is a little too conservative."

At the meeting in London, attended by 300 BNP activists, Mr Pierce spoke about his own National Alliance organisation in the US and the need, if electoral success was to come, "to re-educate the mass media".

When it appeared in 1978, The Turner Diaries attracted little attention. Mr Pierce, a softly-spoken former physics professor, was dismissed as another right-wing crank. On the quiet, though, he was building a reputation as a guru for white supremacists and extreme libertarians. The FBI believes he was a mentor for The Order, a heavily armed right-wing terrorist group that attacked synagogues and murdered Alan Berg, a Jewish talk show host.

The FBI has long wondered where Mr Pierce acquired the cash to buy his 400 acres in West Virginia. The agency suspects he was the beneficiary of some of The Order's activities. At his hideaway he has built a two- storey "Cosmotheist church", emblazoned with an inverted CND peace symbol, from where he preaches his racist message.

He describes the 20th century as "a disastrous century for whites. In the 19th century whites were firmly in control". As the millennium approaches, he believes it is time for whites to reassert themselves. Among his bogeymen is Bill Clinton, whose "new security team consists entirely of Jews".

America's troubles, he maintains, are caused by people who no longer feel a sense of kinship with other Americans. "The main reason for this is the increase in what liberals and the media fondly call 'diversity': that is, the great increase in the number of people with different roots, people who look different, think differently, behave differently and have different values."

Mr Pierce is kept under close watch by the US authorities, not least because he owns weapons, including a semi-automatic rifle. That vigilance has increased since Oklahoma.

In his novel, which he wrote under a pseudonym, he tells how a lorry containing fertiliser and a petrol detonator is parked outside a federal building in a state capital. It explodes at 9am - the same time as the real lorry in Oklahoma City, which was also packed with fertiliser and petrol.

The killers in the book, a bible for the far right, regret the deaths - but they are necessary to overcome "the Jewish-liberal-democratic-equalitarian plague which afflicts us".

Mr Pierce said he expected his book "will be waved around a lot at the trial to convince the jury there was a big conspiracy to overthrow the government".

In London, Mr Edmonds refused to specify where the BNP's money came from. "We are educating poor people and we get our money from our supporters, who, broadly speaking, are poor people," he said. He added: "There may be one or two exceptions."

Mr Edmonds said the BNP admired Mr Pierce: "He is educating and liberating people in the US in the same way we want to educate and liberate people in this country."

Mr Edmonds confirmed: "We have the 50 candidates which entitles us to a party political broadcast."