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DOJ Allows British Neofascist to Get Legal

Briton Mark Cotterill, founder of the American Friends of the British National Party, has been allowed to retroactively legalize his neofascist organization.

An arm of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has allowed a key British neofascist operating in the United States to retroactively legalize his organization here — despite strong evidence that it was in violation of felony statutes for more than two years.

Mark Cotterill, a Briton who started the American Friends of the British National Party (AFBNP) in 1999 to raise funds for the whites-only British National Party (BNP), filed documents with DOJ's Foreign Agents Registration Act office on April 2.

The documents detail what Cotterill says was the AFBNP's income over its 30-month life — $34,184, of which he says just $1,788.82 went to the BNP.

Federal law provides that individuals and organizations must register in advance with the Justice Department if they are raising funds for a foreign political party. Violations are punishable by up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine and deportation.

Cotterill failed to do so until an Intelligence Report exposé last August concluded that the AFBNP had probably raised a minimum of $85,000.

Cotterill folded up his AFBNP immediately afterward.

Evidence suggests that Cotterill's April filing, which apparently makes the AFBNP and Cotterill legal in the view of the Justice Department, understated the amounts raised and sent to Britain. The June 2001 issue of the BNP publication Identity, for instance, speaks of the funds raised when the BNP's leader visited the United States. That amount alone is more than the reported $1,788.82 total.

"Once again," the publication reported, "the American Friends of the British National Party made a significant financial contribution to the BNP's General Election campaign. Several thousand dollars worth of donations helped to upgrade a number of BNP local campaigns, principally as a result of a six-day speaking tour in the USA by party chairman Nick Griffin. ... Many thanks to Mark Cotterill and the other AF-BNP officials who helped to make the trip such a success."

Cotterill wrote in his own Heritage and Destiny of thousands of dollars raised in door fees, auctions and literature sales at a total of 20 AFBNP meetings — cash apparently not reported in his filing. He wrote, for instance, of one AFBNP meeting where "over $500 was raised for BNP's European election campaign."

Marshall Williams, head of the Foreign Agents Registration Act office, declined to explain his office's decision to allow Cotterill to retroactively register the AFBNP, then dissolve it on the same day. He cited privacy considerations.

Cotterill was delighted. And in May, just weeks after apparently getting legal, he visited the hilltop West Virginia compound of America's late leading neo-Nazi, National Alliance boss William Pierce — amid rumors he was now planning another white supremacist organization to fill the AFBNP's shoes.