January 07, 2009

Whatsup with Brandon Darby?

Feb 2007 Cathy Palmer with Brandon Darby in New Orleans 9th Ward (more)

I first heard Brandon Darby on Greg Szymanski's show and contacted him as I wanted to volunteer to help in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Brandon helped me connect with Common Ground where I volunteered for a few weeks in Feb 2007. We emailed a few times after that but lost touch.

Anyway, last night I found this which says he's been working undercover for the FBI??

"Prominent Austin Activist Admits He Infiltrated RNC Protest Groups as FBI Informant. An Austin-based activist named Brandon Darby has revealed he worked as an FBI informant in the eighteen months leading up to the Republican National Convention. Darby has admitted to wearing recording devices at planning meetings and wearing a transmitter embedded in his belt during the convention. He is expected to testify on behalf of the government later this month in the trial of two Texas activists who were arrested at the RNC on charges of making and possessing Molotov cocktails."

Below he admits this is true. I wonder why he would disclose his identity? In the video below also is a woman I worked with in New Orleans names Lisa. The whole thing is surreal to me and the Democracy Now program in the video is like theater... staged. Personally, I don't trust any on them. It would not surprise if ALL were informants or whatever. Hmmmm... Brandon always seemed depressed tom and I would always share the Lord with him. Wonder what the real agenda is here. And why is this getting so much press??

Open Letter from Brandon Darby
Anonymous 30 Dec 2008 17:16 GMT

Brandon Darby's response to recent allegations in media

December 29, 2008

To All Concerned,

The struggles for peace and justice have accomplished significant change throughout history. I've had the honor to work with many varying groups and individuals on behalf of marginalized communities and in various struggles. There are currently allegations in the media that I have worked undercover for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This allegation no doubt confuses many activists who know me and probably leaves many wondering why I would seemingly choose to engage in such an endeavor. The simple truth is that I have chosen to work with the Federal Bureau of investigation.

As compelling as the natural human desire to reason and express oneself can be, regardless, I must hold my comments at this time on certain aspects of the situation. That said, there are a few statements and generalizations I will make relating to my recent choices.

Though I've made and will no doubt continue to make many mistakes in efforts to better our world, I am satisfied with the efforts in which I have participated. Like many of you, I do my best to act in good conscience and to do what I believe to be most helpful to the world. Though my views on how to give of myself have changed substantially over the years, ultimately the motivations behind my choices remain the same. I strongly stand behind my choices in this matter.

I strongly believe that people innocent of an act should stand up for themselves and that those who choose to engage in an act should accept responsibility and explain the reasoning for their choices.

It is very dangerous when a few individuals engage in or act on a belief system in which they feel they know the real truth and that all others are ignorant and therefore have no right to meet and express their political views.

Additionally, when people act out of anger and hatred, and then claim that their actions were part of a movement or somehow tied into the struggle for social justice only after being caught, it's damaging to the efforts of those who do give of themselves to better this world. Many people become activists as a result of discovering that others have distorted history and made heroes and assigned intentions to people who really didn't act to better the world. The practice of placing noble intentions after the fact on actions which did not have noble motivations has no place in a movement for social justice.

The majority of the activists who went to St. Paul did so with pure intentions and simply wanted to express their disagreements with the Republican Party. It's unfortunate that some used the group as cover for intentions that the rest of the group did not agree with or knew nothing about and are now, consequently, having parts of their lives and their peace of mind uprooted over.

There is no doubt in my mind that many of you reading this letter will say and feel all possible bad things about my choices and for me. I made the choice to have my identity revealed and was well aware of the consequences for doing so. I know that the temptation to silence or ignore the voice of someone who you strongly disagree with can be overwhelming in matters such as this one; and no doubt many people will try to do just that to me. I have confidence that there will be a few people interested in discussion and in better understanding views different from their own, especially from one of their own. My sincere hope is that the entire matter results in better understanding for everyone.

Many of you went against my wishes and spoke publicly in defense of me. Those involved were correct when they wrote that I wasn't making my choices for financial reasons or to avoid some sort of prosecution. They were incorrect that my ideology didn't support such choices. One individual who publically defended me stated that they didn't believe I was working undercover because the government would have used my access to take down a more prominent activist if the allegations were true. If indeed the government or I was interested in doing so, it could have happened in such a manner. However, the incorrect notion that the government was out to silence dissent was the cause for the mistake made by that person. In defense of the individuals who openly did their best to do what they thought was defending me, they did not know the truth and they had no way of knowing the truth due to their ideological and personal attachments to me. It's unfortunate that the truth couldn't have come out sooner and that the needed preparations for such a disclosure take time. I really did mean it when I said that I didn't want to discuss it and that I didn't want folks addressing the allegations.

Again, I strongly stand behind my choices in this matter. I'm looking forward to open dialogue and debate regarding the motivations and experiences I've had and the ethical questions they pose.

In Solidarity,

Brandon Michael Darby

All are welcome to contact me via email. Please understand if it takes me awhile to respond.
brandonmichaeldarby@gmail.com

--- end ---

Jan 2, 2009 Article
Informant in RNC arrests says he stopped violence

ST. PAUL, Minn. — To some of the people who know him back home in Texas, Brandon Darby is a traitor.

In his own mind, he's proud of what he did — feeding the FBI information that led to the arrests of two men accused of trying to disrupt the Republican National Convention.

"I feel like, as an activist, I played a direct role in stopping violence," Darby, 32, said in an interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Darby's role as a confidential informant in the case leaked out in a pretrial hearing. It was a remarkable transformation for a man known to many back in Austin as a fiery, grass-roots activist with a mistrust of government.

Darby was key to the investigation of David Guy McKay and Bradley Neal Crowder, both of Austin. The two men are scheduled for federal trial on Jan. 26 for allegedly building Molotov cocktails during the convention. They have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors claim the two men built the firebombs because they were angry that police had seized a trailer filled with riot shields they'd built and hauled to Minnesota. In a conversation recorded by the FBI, McKay allegedly told Darby he planned to use the explosives on law-enforcement cars parked in a lot near the Xcel Energy Center.

In an e-mail to friends this week, Darby said he was comfortable with what he had done, the Pioneer Press reported.

"Like many of you, I do my best to act in good conscience and to do what I believe to be most helpful to the world," he wrote. "Though my views on how to give of myself have changed substantially over the years, ultimately the motivations behind my choices remain the same."

His admission surprised Austin's activist community.

"Everyone that knew Brandon has gone through a whole range of emotions. Clearly, he's betrayed the trust of the community, and all the communities he's worked with," said Lisa Fithian, a social-justice activist who worked with Darby in Austin.

Darby grew up in Houston and became an emergency medical technician. He had plans to work abroad helping civilian victims in war-torn areas. But it was in New Orleans after Katrina that he made a name for himself as an activist by helping to start the Common Ground Collective, a network of nonprofits that delivered food, water and other aid.

"When I showed up in New Orleans, I was very angry at my government," Darby said. "I felt that rather than just protest what happened in New Orleans in your own city, it was important to protest by going to New Orleans and doing something about it."

But Darby said that while working on the Gulf Coast, he concluded that some activist organizations were more intent on radical agendas than actually helping people.

"Common Ground had over 22,000 volunteers, and the vast majority of those were average working-class Americans who just wanted to help," he said. "But what happens is, different political groups or people with ideologies show up and their focus is on their agenda. ... There was a lot of that going on."

After working in New Orleans, Darby returned to Texas. Court documents reveal he began working as an informant for a San Antonio FBI agent in November 2007, the Pioneer Press reported.

Darby said he did it because he discovered that people he knew were planning violence. "Some of them had really bad intentions," he said.

By February 2008, Darby was involved with a group of activists in Austin, some of whom were making plans to travel to St. Paul to demonstrate during the Republican National Convention.

According to FBI affidavits, Darby provided agents with information about meetings the group had as well as meetings with activists in other parts of the country, including a planning meeting in Minneapolis in May. He also purportedly provided information about riot shields McKay and Crowder had made from highway safety barrels. A rented U-Haul trailer held 35 of the shields as well as helmets and batons.

Affidavits and testimony in pretrial hearings show that Darby was providing FBI agents with updates on the location of the trailer. St. Paul police eventually found the trailer, broke the lock and seized its contents. A federal magistrate has recommended that the shields and other items be excluded from evidence at the upcoming trial because police never sought a warrant to search the trailer.

Darby told agents that McKay and Crowder decided to retaliate by building Molotov cocktails. They bought the materials at Wal-Mart on University Avenue in St. Paul, then built the devices and stored them at the Dayton Avenue apartment building where they were staying. Police later raided the building and seized eight firebombs in the basement.

After Darby's name leaked out, some colleagues were quick to dismiss the possibility he had been an informant. Scott Crow, a friend who worked with Darby to start Common Ground Collective, said it was "an absolute ... lie."

After getting Darby's e-mail this week, Crow said he was shocked. "I can only say it's heartbreaking and it's shocking. This is somebody who has been known to me for six years, and it's shaken me to my core that somebody this close to me had been informing on me and others," he said.

Darby said he's proud of the role he played, and he believes it helped make life more "stable."

"I decided that the way I was going about things was not the right way to do it," he said. "While it may have satisfied part of me, it really wasn't changing anything."

___

Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com/

--- end ---

Democracy Now Part 1

source

Part 2

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Transcript

Brandon Darby Quotes

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