Brandon Darby, once known by friends as a "fiery grassroots activist," a co-founder of the relief group Common Ground, and an active participant in actions surrounding the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN, has publicly been outed as an FBI informant. Darby was known has Confidential Human Source #1 (CHS1) by the FBI, and is responsible for the imprisonment and potential sentencing of up to ten years for David McKay and Bradley Crowder. The two have been in jail since September 2008 for charges related to the potentially illegal police seizure of a trailer full of riot shields, helmets, and batons (presumably for the use of radical activists during street battles pitched during the RNC) and for possession of molotov cocktails allegedly assembled to "seek revenge" for the unwarranted seizure of the trailer. An affidavit detailing the case at length can be read here.
'CHS 2', another "extremely reliable" informant working with Darby for five months was later exposed as an individual named Andy (AKA: Panda, Warchyld), who surfaced within the movement at 2006's Crimethinc convergence in Winona, MN. Three other names have surfaced as infiltrators: "Norma Jean", described as an older woman (police officer), "Amanda" (police officer) and "Matt." Some of these individuals were suspected before confirmations were made. Reports and comments following the events indicate that the snitches were very blatant and most of them were either uneducated about radical politics and/or visibly unenthusiastic. These rats were able to infiltrate simply by using the openness and trust of the anarchist/anti-authoritarian community, which typically tries not to discriminate against anyone for any reason.
Just a few months ago, friends and fellow activists were coming to Darby's defense. Scott Crow, longtime Common Ground activist, claimed the accusations of Brandon Darby were "an absolute COINTELPRO lie." Darby now seems to think he has "done the right thing" and "stopped violence." In interviews to corporate media outlets, he states he is proud of his actions. As he masquerades himself as a "true activist" fighting against the evil in the world, queer_intifada at infoshop had a delectable quote:
"so basically it could have been summed up to a sentence or two:
'Like many liberals before me, I snitched on anarchists who have the nerve do more than 'express their disagreements with the Republican Party.' Therefore, I'm not a villain, I'm in fact a martyr for the Justice (TM) of liberalism of the elite.'"
Not many are coming to Darby's, or any other of the RNC informants' defense these days. Because informant activities are extremely damaging to radical communities, as they provide ample opportunity for infighting, suspicions, and the perhaps unfounded pointing of fingers, Darby is now widely regarded as a rat that isn't to be trusted in any capacity. The cross-pollination existing between radical Earth and animal rights groups and anarchists leads SnitchWire to believe that strong security culture and careful, underground organizing in the face of government repression and infiltration aren't new concepts for anarchists. Where these snitches succeeded was the easy task of taking advantage of the open, inclusive nature that comes with organizing for a mass action or a convergence. Anarchists around the world, for decades, have used the "affinity group" method for years; a system of horizontal organizing that allows small groups typically composed of trusted comrades to work in clusters with other affinity groups. Perhaps by relying more heavily on longstanding affinity groups, anarchists can prevail in weeding out police infiltrators and provide a sense of loyalty no Fed could turn a member away from.
Through his interviews, it could be determined that Darby still has an interest in activist causes, and anyone looking to organize anything less-than-complacent should be on the look-out. Posted below is a two year old video of Brandon speaking about Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the government. Darby worked with anarchists during relief efforts in New Orleans.
What Brandon Darby effectively did with his informant activities is completely criminalize speech. David McKay and Bradley Crowder never actually committed any crimes, they prepared for the inevitable brutality and violation of rights committed by police proactively and they spoke about direct actions against the RNC to the wrong person(s). Facing up to 10 years on trumped-up terrorism charges is inhumane, unjust, and the doing of paid rat scum. Independent journalism outfit Glass Bead Collective released a terrific documentary called Terrorizing Dissent. It is a disturbing portrayal of how the United States government criminalizes anyone choosing to speak out, and the to what lengths they went during the Republican National Convention. Brandon Darby, once a trusted comrade to many, was a crucial cog perpetuating a machine of fear and repression through his actions as a government informant.
EDIT: Another video featuring footage of Darby has surfaced. Judging by comments read all over the internet, Brandon Darby would be smart to just never walk around in public again. Not only has he been publicly shamed, knocked down, and accused of a variety of things from the past, but he is being violently threatened by thousands of people from all over the world. Better change your name and grow a beard, Darby.