We turn now to look at Thomas Mair, the British man who killed British parliamentarian Jo Cox last week. Mair reportedly yelled out “Britain First” during the attack—a reference to the far-right, anti-immigrant political party of the same name which is pushing for Britain to leave the EU in tomorrow’s Brexit referendum. In court on Friday, Mair gave his name as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain.” Cox was a vocal advocate for Britain to remain in the European Union. More information is coming to light about Mair’s ties to neo-Nazi groups in the United States and Britain. Meanwhile, a former paid FBI informant named Todd Blodgett has revealed he met Thomas Mair at a neo-Nazi gathering that the informant set up in London in 2000. Joining us now is Todd Blodgett, who once worked with several leaders of the far right, including Willis Carto, who founded the Liberty Lobby, and William Pierce, leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance.
AMY GOODMAN: We move on to our next segment now, the story of the assassination of a British Labour leader. Juan?
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, we turn now to Britain, which is continuing to mourn last week’s murder of parliamentarian Jo Cox. She was stabbed and shot last week in her district after meeting with constituents. Her murderer, Thomas Mair, reportedly yelled out “Britain First” during the attack—a reference to the far-right, anti-immigrant political party of the same name which is pushing for Britain to leave the EU in tomorrow’s Brexit referendum. Cox was a vocal advocate for Britain to remain in the European Union.
More information is coming to light about Mair’s ties to neo-Nazi groups in the United States and Britain. The Southern Poverty Law Center here in the U.S. has revealed Mair is a longtime supporter of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. Documents released by the center show Mair has spent over $500 buying periodicals and other items from the group, including a manual that contained information on how to build a pistol. In addition, The Daily Telegraph is reporting Mair subscribed to S.A. Patriot, a South African magazine published by White Rhino Club, a pro-apartheid group.
AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, a former paid FBI informant named Todd Blodgett has revealed he met Thomas Mair at a neo-Nazi gathering that the informant set up in London in 2000. Beginning in the mid-'90s, Blodgett worked with several leaders of the far right, including Willis Carto, who founded the Liberty Lobby, and William Pierce, leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. Blodgett was also a co-owner of Resistance Records, the world's largest neo-Nazi music label. Todd Blodgett is joining us now from his home in Iowa.
Todd Blodgett, welcome to Democracy Now! Tell us what you know about this man, Thomas Mair, who killed Jo Cox.
TODD BLODGETT: Yes, thank you. I met Tommy—he was known as Tommy when I met him in about May of 2000. I had just begun working as a paid FBI informant in March of that year. William Pierce, who was the main guy with Resistance Records, but also my co-owner, wanted to convene a meeting in London, because there was a Leeds chapter and another chapter of the National Alliance. And the purpose of the meeting was to promote Resistance Records, let people know that William Pierce was the—was the new owner of it—he bought it from Willis Carto—and also to gain readerdom, gain more customers and get distributors for Resistance Records. And Mair was one of the people invited to the meeting. There were about maybe 17 or 18 people at that meeting. And it took place just off of the Strand in London in the spring of 2000. And as I said, he attended the meeting along with Stevie Cartwright, Richard Barnbrook, Nick Griffin, who was sort of like the David Duke of England at that time, and several other people who were either members of the National Alliance or supporters of the NA.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, why were you at that meeting representing Mr. Pierce?
TODD BLODGETT: Well, of course, Pierce did not know that I had agreed to work for the bureau at that point. And he wanted to go over to England—
AMY GOODMAN: For the FBI.
TODD BLODGETT: For—yeah, for the FBI, that’s correct. He, himself, wanted to go, but he was precluded by law from being able to go there, due to the fact that he couldn’t get in. I mean, his views kept him out of—out of England, so he sent me in his stead, because he and I were the co-owners of Resistance Records at that time. And when I began with the FBI, I told them about what Pierce wanted to do. And right away, they said, “Well, we’re going to accompany you.” So, the day before I arrived in London, two FBI agents, an IRS agent and a JTTF agent—that would be the Joint Terrorism Task Force—flew in ahead of me, and they had me meet with the two people, two guys, from the MI5. They gave me a cellphone to use when I was there and that kind of thing. So, that’s how it all worked out.
AMY GOODMAN: Why did you decide to work for the FBI? I mean, were you a neo-Nazi true believer?
TODD BLODGETT: I was never a true believer. I was never a Holocaust denier. I’m not a bigot or a racist or anything. I was basically—I guess the best way to say it is I was—I was greedy. I was an opportunistic profiteer. I didn’t look at the consequences to myself or to others of what I was doing. And I never wanted to be a Resistance Records shareholder, but Willis Carto of Liberty Lobby owed me money. And when he went bankrupt, he—when Liberty Lobby went bankrupt, they gave me stock in Resistance Records in lieu of that, and that’s how I became a co-owner.
What had happened with regard to Pierce was, is that after the deal was signed with Pierce and he gave me a consulting contract he insisted I take as part of my stock sale—he wouldn’t buy the shares without it—we went to a place called the University Club of D.C. The Washington Post got a hold of the article, and it caused a big uproar there, and I was expelled from the club. I was given the option to resign or be expelled. I was expelled. And basically, that’s when the FBI caught notice of this, and the agents came to my office in downtown D.C., and they said, “Look, we’re not after you, but we know you’ve worked with all these people—Willis Carto, Pierce, David Duke—all the head honchos among the racist right, as a profiteer. Will you help us?” And that’s when I agreed to—I agreed to go on as a paid informant.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, this meeting that occurred in 2000 in—I think it was in Leeds in England, these were some of the top neo-Nazi or white supremacist leaders in England. What kind of interaction did you have with Thomas Mair? And what impression did you take away from him at that meeting?
TODD BLODGETT: Well, first of all, the meeting was actually in downtown London, not Leeds, but there were several people from the Leeds chapter at this meeting. And I—as far as Thomas Mair, I would say that most people describe him—he was kind of like a working-class guy, but very well read. I mean, he was discussing a book or two that he had read by David Irving, the Holocaust-denying pseudohistorian, who I also monitored. He would probably—I guess the best way to describe him is just nondescript, well mannered. When you go to a meeting like this, any kind of gathering, the guys—they’re always all guys—there’s a lot of bravado, a lot of macho, a lot of braggadocio going on. People talk about who they beat up last week and how they took on six guys and kicked their butt. They brag about their womanizing. Mair was none of those. He didn’t do any of that. He got—he came by himself. He actually left by himself. As he got there, he was respected by the people that were there. He knew some. They knew him by name. He was not an outgoing guy. If you were to ask me at the end of that meeting, say, a wall of guys there, who would have been the least likely to even start a fistfight, I would have said Tommy Mair.
AMY GOODMAN: According to British media reports, Thomas Mair, or Tommy Mair, as you call him, was a subscriber to the pro-apartheid magazine, South African Patriot in Exile.
TODD BLODGETT: I read that.
AMY GOODMAN: This week, the Southern Poverty Law Center published two letters that Mair wrote to editors of the magazine. In 1999, Thomas Mair wrote, quote, “I was glad you strongly condemned 'collaborators' in the White South African population. In my opinion the greatest enemy of the old Apartheid system was not the African National Congress and the Black masses but White liberals and traitors.” And then, in a 1991 letter to the publication, Mair wrote, quote, “The nationalist movement in the U.K. also continues to fight on against the odds. … Despite everything I still have faith that the White Race will prevail, both in Britain and in South Africa, but I fear that it’s going to be a very long and very bloody struggle.” Those the words of Thomas Mair. Todd Blodgett, what was your reaction when you heard who was the man who murdered the Labour MP, Jo Cox?
TODD BLODGETT: When I first saw his picture, and I recognized him right off, when I first heard his name, I remembered it, you know, my first reaction was, gosh, I mean, this is—aside from the fact it’s a horrible thing, I thought, you know, this wasn’t the kind of guy I would have picked out to do that. I would have thought someone like Stevie Cartwright or someone would be more likely to do that. They were the more—you know, the more brutal types. But then I realized a lot of people that I monitored, which included a guy named Wade Page, who did a similar thing—he went into a—I think it was a Hindu temple in Wisconsin, and killed a bunch of people about three years ago—sometimes it’s those very kind of guys that are the most lethal, which is why Tommy Mair and people like him represent such a huge challenge to MI5 and the FBI and other law enforcement, because they can be dormant for many years. They can be on the radar, then they go off the radar. They’re the kind that—you know, they’re not the kind that—Tommy Mair was not the kind of guy you’d pick out to start a fight in a bar. He was not like a tough kind of guy. He didn’t pose as a tough guy. He just basically was a nondescript kind of guy. And I thought, you know, obviously he is not—his hatred has not changed. He just found an outlet for it, and he finally decided to try to go out in a blaze of glory. And that’s—that was my reaction.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Todd Blodgett, you did this undercover work for the FBI, but yet you’ve also been public since then about your activities. Are there any concerns on your part of your own personal safety as a result of the work you did to uncover the activities of some of thes white supremacist groups?
TODD BLODGETT: There are—I do have some concerns. I live in Texas, as well as in Iowa. And I’ve had strangers walk up to me in bars in Texas and call me—I won’t say this name, these words, on the air, but, you know, they’ll use the N-word, they’ll use derogatory names for Jewish people, and they’ll say I’m a blankety-blank lover or a race traitor, that kind of thing. So there’s always that concern. But I will say this—I want to get this out: I have a concealed-carry permit that’s good in 37 states, and I can legally—I am legally armed. I’m armed right now. And so, if they want to try to make a fight with me, they might take me out, but I’m going to take them with me.
AMY GOODMAN: The presidential election right now, the support that Donald Trump has gotten from, for example, David Duke—right?—the former Klan leader—
TODD BLODGETT: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: —white supremacist, your thoughts on white supremacists in this country, Klan support of Donald Trump?
TODD BLODGETT: I think it’s very tragic. I mean, anyone has a right to support who they want to. But I worked for Reagan for many years, and when Reagan was endorsed by the KKK in the fall of 1980, his response was a great response. He said, “Look, just because they like my philosophy doesn’t mean I buy theirs.” Trump kind of stumbled over that thing. I don’t think Donald Trump is a white supremacist, but I’m very disturbed by the fact that he’s got support from them, and I’m also disturbed by the comment he made about the judge. I can’t think of—Judge Curiel, I think his name is. But he made a—he made a stupid reference to the fact that he’s of Hispanic descent, which is totally irrelevant to the case. I worked with David Duke. I monitored him for the FBI. I’ve done—you know, I monitored all these people. They’re, without exception, a bunch of sociopaths. They’re just bad people. And most of their supporters tend to be bad people, too. So I don’t want to see that kind of thing being any part of the Republican Party. I’m still a Republican. I was for Jeb Bush for the nomination; before that, for Dr. Carson. But I don’t want to see that part—I want this flushed out of the party.
AMY GOODMAN: What is it about Donald Trump, you think, that attracts white supremacists, neo-Nazis?
TODD BLODGETT: I think it is because they recognize, in their world, to their way of thinking, demographics are destiny. That was one thing that William Pierce always said. Carto said that. Dr. Ed Fields said that. They believe that demographics is destiny. And I think they feel that a Donald Trump presidency would be conducive to not only stemming that, the demographic changes, but to reversing them, if Trump, you know, could actually do what he claims he wants to do. That’s their attraction to him.
AMY GOODMAN: On Tuesday, Jo Cox’s husband Brendan said his late wife worried about the direction of global politics.
BRENDAN COX: I think she worried that we were entering an age that we haven’t seen, maybe since the 1930s, of people—people feeling insecure for lots of different reasons, for economic reasons or security reasons, and then populist politicians, whether that’s Trump in the U.S. or whoever else, exploiting that and driving communities to hate each other, saying that the reason that you don’t have a job or the reason that you’re feeling insecure is because of this powerless person, not because of, you know, choices that we’re making or—and that that was driving people, it was creating an atmosphere of hatred.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Brendan Cox, the husband of Jo Cox, who was murdered by Thomas Mair. Your response, Todd Blodgett?
TODD BLODGETT: I think he makes a very valid point. I feel terrible about what happened to his wife, who, by the way, today was her birthday. Today would have been Jo Cox’s 42nd birthday. I think he makes a very valid point. I know a lot of people in Iowa and Texas, and people I met when I was infiltrating these people. They basically—I’m talking about white people here. They blame almost all their problems on minorities. They blame all their problems on—some of them, the white supremacists, tend to blame their problems on Jewish people. They seem to find a scapegoat for everything. They seem to scapegoat such people for all their problems. They say, “Hey, this is why I can’t get a job and hold it. This is why my girlfriend dropped me. This is why I’m addicted to crystal meth.” Everything that goes wrong, they blame other—these people for. And it’s a very disturbing trend. There’s no question about it.
AMY GOODMAN: Todd Blodgett, we want to thank you for being with us. Todd Blodgett, conservative Republican political writer, former co-owner of Resistance Records, the world’s largest neo-Nazi music label. From 2000 to 2002, he was a paid FBI informant who worked undercover within white supremacist organizations, helped to set up a white supremacist meeting in London that Thomas Mair attended, the man who murdered the Labour member of Parliament in Britain last week, Jo Cox. Today she would have turned 42 years old. She leaves her husband, her constituents and her two little children.
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