Open Letter from Brandon Darby

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.


add a comment on this article

in solidarity?

id 01.Jan.2009 09:06

There is always solidarity for those who choose to follow their hearts. There is never solidarity for those who justify ruining people's lives in the name of their hearts.
It's true that often people don't take responsibility for how their actions destroy friends and movements. FBI informants are most guilty of this.

statement fromtexas anarchists

carly lnu 01.Jan.2009 09:30

Dear friends and allies,

Below is a statement by a group of Austin-based community organizers that documents
that a local activist, Brandon Michael Darby of Austin, is a government

Brandon now publicaly acknowledgies hat he is working with the FBI and has been for
some time.

Sometimes You Wake Up and It's Different: Statement on Brandon Darby, the 'Unnamed'
Informant/Provocateur in the "Texas 2" Case from Austin, Texas

As part of the wave of government repression against activists protesting at the
Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota in September, 2008, the FBI
arrested two men from Texas, Bradley Crowder (22) and David McKay (23), and
indicted them for allegedly possessing molotov cocktails. Crowder and McKay have
been in jail since the RNC. They have not been granted bail and their trial has
been postponed indefinitely. They are facing 7 to 10 years in federal prison.

As outlined in the affidavit against Crowder and McKay (found here:, the
case was built almost entirely on the statements of two informants covertly working
with the FBI, identified in the affidavit as "Confidential Human Sources" or just

One of these informants was working in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area ("CHS 2" in the
affidavit) and has been previously identified as Andy/Panda by people familiar with
the situation and the informant. This statement ends speculation and anticipation
concern about the identity of the other informant who was operating in Texas and

Using FBI documents previously unknown to us, but recently provided by one of the
defendant's defense teams, we have positively confirmed the identity of the unnamed
informant ("CHS 1" in the affidavit) as Brandon Michael Darby of Austin, Texas,
based on the following evidence:

1) The FBI documents detail private conversations between Darby and several
individuals named in the documents, including scott crow and Lisa Fithian, who have
closely reviewed the documents and confirmed that they had the conversations in
question with only Darby. In addition they can confirm his participation in events
reported in the documents.

2) In verbatim reports from the informant to the FBI, the language, personality,
skills, and interests of Darby are readily apparent to those who know him.

3) Cross-referencing the time line provided by the FBI in the documents with people
familiar with the situation and course of events shows that Darby was in a position
to have the incriminating conversations with McKay referenced in the affidavit.

4) In all of the documents Brandon Darby's name is conspicuously absent from any and
all meetings and events which he attended and was involved in. In fact Darby's name
only appears at the end of all the documents in a confession made by David McKay
upon his arrest in Minnesota.

Numerous people familiar with both Brandon Darby and the legal situation of Crowder
and McKay have verified this information.

Over the years Brandon Darby has established strong ties with individuals in many
different radical communities across the United States. While it is not yet clear
how long or to what extent Darby has been acting as an informant, the emerging truth
about Darby's malicious involvement in our communities is heart-breaking and utterly
ground-shattering to those of us who were closest to him.

Darby operated in and around the Austin community for about 6 years, and this is the
same Brandon Darby who participated in the Common Ground Collective in New Orleans
during 2005-2006. Based on the evidence we have, Brandon has been giving the state
information since at least November 2007, but there is also information that
suggests his informant activities may go back further, at least to 2006 or earlier.
In the documents, Darby makes numerous remarks that are inflammatory and often
untrue or grossly taken out of context. There is also compelling evidence to suggest
that Darby, more than just reporting on Crowder and McKay's activities, was actively
encouraging, enabling, and provoking the two men to take illegal action.

We recognize that suspicions and accusations of Darby have been circulating for some
time now, including one corporate media article by David Hanners in the St. Paul
Pioneer Press on October 29, 2008. Our aim in releasing this information is to clear
the confusion that has circulated in the last few months.

We want to point out that while the conclusions of these suspicions and accusations
turned out to be correct, these conclusions were not based on any verifiable facts,
and thus, their public airing was inappropriate and irresponsible. When these
accusations surfaced, we did what we could to quash them, trusting what we believed
to be true about people in the absence of any compelling evidence to the contrary.
Having been presented with new evidence, we are acting on it promptly and

Through the history of our struggles for a better world, infiltrators and informants
have acted as tools for the forces of misery in disrupting and derailing our
movements. However, even more dangerous to our communities than setting people up,
turning them in, or gathering information, informants sow seeds of fear, paranoia,
and distrust that fester and grow in paralyzing and destructive ways. We must be
forever vigilante against deceptive, malicious and manipulative actors, while we
defend the trust and openness that give our communities cohesion and power.

Now we must get on with the work of supporting the “Texas 2”. In light of these
revelations and what we know about Brandon Darby, we believe they were set up and
that the charges should be dropped. We urge you to join us in a campaign to “Free
the Texas 2”

In solidarity,
The Austin Informant Working Group


hanna 01.Jan.2009 14:29

this rat shut down open dialogue and debate when he put people in prison. the level of arrogance and cowardice he has is absolutely astounding. snitches are the lowest of the low and deserve to be treated as such.

go to hell, brandon. you are not a part of any real movement towards social justice and never will be again.

for the rest of us, let's clean up this mess and move on while brandon leads a pathetic life without real solidarity ever again. some mistakes you can't take back.


anonymous or made up 01.Jan.2009 15:40

in addition to being sickening and pathetic, this letter doesn't even make any sense. he professes strong views about personal responsibility and social justice and then says he worked with the FBI, without even attempting to explain why, as though that's a logical step to take from a position of caring about the world. the idea that he wants to open dialogue is laughable.


Hollow 01.Jan.2009 19:43

This is possibly the most surreal thing I have ever read. I am so sickened by this self important piece of crap. That he would have the gall to write an open letter like this defending what he did shocks and disgusts me. Brandon Darby you are a disgusting coward. You worked with the fucking FBI to put two kids in jail, what more needs to be said! Who knows what else you have done!
This is so disgusting.

Don't Take The Bait!

Rabble Rouser 01.Jan.2009 21:51


I sincerely hope that no one takes the bait and emails this fucking pig. I wich Brandon the best that a piece of shit deserves, to be floated in the river of shit he crawls from. A PID is A PID is A PIG, be it called by Anna or Brandon, or any other name.


anonymous 01.Jan.2009 23:00

hey affinity group, i don't agree with you so instead of talking with you about it, i'll save the 'movement' by seeking out the fbi, wearing a wire, and testifying against you so the government can put you in jail.

makes sense doesn't it?


anonymous 01.Jan.2009 23:18

what the fuck makes you think you're the one who should be deciding which tactics are okay and which aren't? If you're not about it then you're not about it and stay out of it - think you're the man and you know what's best? sounds like you're working just as unilaterally as those you condemn. Don't get it twisted in you head, YOU DON"T WORK FOR THE PEOPLE, YOU"RE NOT AN ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL work for the fbi - the most undemocratic agency in our government. You're a sellout.

And don't ever disgrace the word 'solidarity' by putting it that close to your name again.

Solidarity means attack! not snitch.

not a fed. 02.Jan.2009 06:37

If you're foreseeing yourself having any open discussion with the radical community... or fuck... any community any where at any place in peace you've thought wrong you cock mother fucker. If you weren't paranoid before, you should be now.


nieman 02.Jan.2009 07:14

"I'm looking forward to open dialogue and debate regarding the motivations and experiences I've had and the ethical questions they pose."

What ethical questions? The only question is whether you ever had any ethics, and I'm going to go with no. You yourself admit this went against your ideology. The only dialogue you deserve is fists and clubs. Here's hoping you get hit by a bus before you can hurt any more people.

misguided tattler

``` 02.Jan.2009 14:44

This is a pathetic attempt to justify really disturbed behavior. If one is against some tactics one shouldn't be seeking out groups who believe in those actions. The FBI has assasinated peoples, bombed cars and people, created fake terrorist organizations. The got caught rigging evidence at their famous lab. They impeded Martin Luther King. They ignored widespread lynching for decades. They were founded to stamp out misegination. A small racist group of treasury agents became big media sensations under the wing J. Edgar "there's no such thing as the mafia" Hoover. The FBI history is documented nicely in the book "Crossing Over the Line" by David Langun (U of Chicago Press).

With the help of the FBI the mafia took over all of the ports and some leading unions not to mention their CIA linked drug operations.
Any group of peace activists today is shadowed, spied upon illegally and can attract the likes of this informant.
Shame on you, you weasel.

f uck you brandon

w 02.Jan.2009 16:07

having known and worked with brandon i am sickened by this.
brandon, you are a coward and a traitor, let you rot in hell. your ignorance is astonishing! you will never have a community again, you do not deserve it.


.... 02.Jan.2009 17:47

1. He was not nearly as smart as he thought he was. People, stop and think about what your "hero" is saying to you. Is he HONESTLY familiar with anarchist theory? Does he TRULY have an understanding of racism and how to combat it? Or is he just spitting empty rhetoric that sounds exciting but has no substance?

2. Stop fetishizing militancy and guns. Please. They are tools, and not the only tools at our disposal. Please stop looking up to people just because they are macho popular dudes with famous friends. Don't follow someone blindly just because they are looking to cultivate a little cadre.

3. Think things through and be smart. Even if you had not suspected him (as many of us had, for years), at the very least it was obvious that this guy was an idiot. Who starts talking about guns and plans for clandestine activity with someone only five minutes after being introduced?? If he wasn't a fed, he sure as hell should have been avoided for being a dangerous liability.

4. Snitches get stitches. Period.


cg 02.Jan.2009 18:24

i remember working at common ground while darby was 'in charge', and i remember the rampant sexism & misogyny, unaddressed sexual violence, non-transparent hierarchies, and random decision-making processes of the group under darby's leadership. i say this not to defame any of the good people who put their lives into cg, but to say -- it was always clear that this guy knew nothing about transformative, radical social change.

What "cg" said

former cg-er 02.Jan.2009 22:15

cg said everything I was thinking. Darby was a violent sexist as#hole when he was put in charge at Common Ground, tried to run out anyone who didn't agree with him, it was a total mess. He was really mixed up then, and I'm not surprised that this happened now.

Hello from New Orleans

504 anarchist 02.Jan.2009 23:51

Yeah Brandon come back down to New Orleans and engage in some "dialogue" with your many many many many friends in the radical community here. There are a lot of us who'd really like to get ahold of you. I'm sure it would be edifying all around!

And by the way, anger and hatred are legitimate and valuable responses to oppression. But again, some things just come across much clearer in person.

Hope to see you soon!!!!

piss off

s 03.Jan.2009 02:45

the FBI is not a friend to the movement for social justice. better change your name, asshole.

solidarity my ass

random anarchist 04.Jan.2009 21:03

sol-i-dar-i-ty [sol-i-dar-i-tee] noun
1. union or fellowship arising from common responsibilities and interests, as between members of a group, or between classes, peoples, etc. Ex. to promote solidarity among union members
2. community of feelings, purposes, etc.
3. community of responsibilities and interests

that he had the audacity, dare i say balls, to sign his letter "in solidarity, brandon" after ratting his affinity group out to the cops is beyond me. seriously?!? i share none of his common responsibilities, interests or purposes. he has tarnished the movement with his snitching.....he ought to be ashamed of himself!

now i get the point of this letter!

former austin activist 05.Jan.2009 18:23

The point of this letter is to make himself look like he's not a provocateur, since that's probably going to come up in the defense. Really, he was just a gentle, peaceful guy who wanted to stop some nasty people with plans for violence, and this letter proves it! It's not like every other word out of his mouth was a suggestion of some violent act or the need for us to arm ourselves. (I mean, unless you ever met the guy.)

In all seriousness, he was the second most vocal advocate of violence I met in my years of working in Austin. I only hope that the first most vocal advocate has a chance to have a rational discussion with Brandon about why he should never work with the feds.

Brandon Darby Chicken before the egg

Bilbo Baggins 05.Jan.2009 19:24

Brandon began working for uncle sam months before he even met the Texas 2, he is clearly making up a whole lot of stuff in this article. To get the whole story check out


in Oakland 05.Jan.2009 22:26

I might have been willing to entertain the possibility that Darby was coming from a place of honesty, except that his targets were two green-behind-the-ears 22 year olds. Am I suppose to believe that a known and popular activist such as Darby was working to prevent the shenanigans of two kids? I honestly don't see it going down like that.

It is much more likely that he was giving the directions and the inspiration, that he was, in fact, a provocateur. His justification for his actions is completely without substance.

In fact, I can remember a detailed account by Darby of his involvement with a particular protest. He claimed that police were trying to start a riot, and that he himself confronted them. To my knowledge, this story was never confirmed by another person. Can I believe anything he has ever said? Probably not.

The only other explanation is that he is a psychopath, whose primary source of entertainment is in creating drama.


4chan 05.Jan.2009 22:33

"Those involved were correct when they wrote that I wasn't making my choices for financial reasons or to avoid some sort of prosecution."

"...I did it for the lulz."


The internet is amazing

Teh internet 05.Jan.2009 23:32

Actions Have Consequences...

Workers' Revenge Party 06.Jan.2009 04:18

I like the musings of our comrade from New Orleans. Historically, generations of revolutionaries have learned the hard way that there is only one thing to do with a snitch. It is up to the comrades geographically closest to him to "re-educate" his ass. I am normally nonviolent but informers are viruses...

There is a simple explanation

sd 06.Jan.2009 06:10

This letter only seems surreal if you forget that snitches are sociopaths. This Brandon can glibly write about how he's destroyed the lives of other because he just doesn't care. If it were not for the FBI, sociopaths would have to destroy people the old-fashioned way. They be serial killers instead.


gusgus 06.Jan.2009 14:52

I knew Brandon, or at least I thought I did. His letter is total bullshit trying to sway opinion. He is a provocateur. I've heard him personally advocate violence against the pigs, so his claim on finding his conscience or whatever is total bullshit. Thinking back on this I feel he has been a provocateur since at least 2003 when I first got to know him. He told a story of following undercover cops at the anti-war demos and getting roughed up and arrested for taking pictures of them. Based on the events of that day it wasn't hard to believe him. But thinking back on it, it didn't really add up and leads me to strongly believe he is a total fraud and has been a snitch for a long time. People beware, this shit is going way back.

History Lesson

James Tracy 06.Jan.2009 20:13

In his letter, Darby cites his objections to RNC protester tactics as a rationale for his actions. In mass movements, disagreements around disruption are natural, and principled people can land on either side of the debate. However, Darby's action of becoming an informant goes beyond principle, and recent history shows that he had alternatives.

The principled thing to do for a non-violent activist is to attempt to win a debate, and show that their strategies and tactics are in fact more effective. This is exactly what the Berrigan Brothers attempted to do in relation to the Weather Underground. (See Outlaws of America, by Berger).

Collaborating with the FBI is an embrace of the slaughter and life-ruining tactics perpetuated by that agency. I wonder if Darby knew of the effect these actions must have had on COINTELPRO survivors such as Malik Rahim and others. Probably not, because even if he is sincere, he doesn't give a flying shit about anyone else but his own righteous anger. Let's get this straight--hate violence, but align with the FBI? Doesn't make a whit of sense. Thanks Darby for giving a whole new generation of informants a new language to sugarcoat their actions.

And just for the record, I tend to agree that Organizing trumps property destruction any day of the week--but I ain't gonna snitch either.

Consider how this developed

anon 06.Jan.2009 20:31

folks, perhaps we should consider how Brandon Darby came to work for the FBI; it's likely they picked him, told him he was great, and/or threatened him personally. He's obviously both wildly egocentric and self-righteous, and unstable enough to believe more in other people's notions of individual power than in a bigger picture of social progress. What did they or have they promised him as an out? He was their pawn, and they are probably done with him. Otherwise we likely wouldn't know the score. Once we're past this chain of events, how can we structure our dialogs as social change activists, to better recognize infiltration and resulting subversion of honest goals and lives?

The value of Assessment

Anarchangel 07.Jan.2009 04:43

Without respect to previous comments, I think it would be valuable to assess the circumstances prior to Brandon becoming an informant. While Brandon is Brandon, and any choices he made are ultimately of his personality and morals, he didn't just suddenly decide to do this in a vacuum. Did he contact the FBI or vice versa, for example, and when. If 'when' is known, it can be shown that disruptions involving him were because of his FBI association, or alternatively, events that to him were reasons to choose this path.
I feel that there are other such facts to be determined here.


a real informant 07.Jan.2009 06:52

YO don't send brandon an email unless you want the FBI to have your name.

seriously. don't send an email.

My clearest memory of you

A Common Ground Volunteer 07.Jan.2009 11:05

I was working the night security shift on the second floor of St. Mary's. A local threatened one of the outside security volunteers. I wasn't there, but the story you told involved chasing after him, slamming him up against the wall or ground (I don't remember, this was years ago), and explaining to him quite seriously that if he ever did something like that again that you were going to kill him. At the time, I didn't agree with those tactics, but I respected that it got results. I'd even go so far as to say I learned something from you that day.

Don't claim to be supporting the FBI in the name of pacifism though. You are not a pacifist, and if you were, you wouldn't work for one of the greatest perpetrators of institutional AND personal violence in the world. You, like everyone who works for the FBI are a state supremacist. Beyond believing in the state, you believe in it so strongly that you consider the preservation of state more valuable than human life. In short, you have, in writing this, proven yourself to be an enemy of the people.

OMG, what an asshole!

unbelievable asshole 07.Jan.2009 12:22

This guy is either a TOTAL asshole, or he was a paid informant from the get-go, or he's mentally ill (psychotic).

unbelievable, the damage a bottomfeeding asswipe like this can inflict.

I am amazed...

renee 08.Jan.2009 21:13 read these responses of people who say that they espouse non-violence activism.
Perhaps everyone showed sit tight and wait for more information to be revealed. The facts are that Brandon Darby has stood up against injustices in New Orleans, against Haliburton, the Austin police and many more. For some of you to spout such vitriol is quite astonishing.

this is why "activists" need to read something, anything

bob 09.Jan.2009 07:15

such crap would not be possible if "activists" would read a fucking book and not just walk around thinking whatever stupid thought/ whim they have is relevant or worth while. read some fucking marx you dumb shit. violence is bad? what the fuck do you think the state/law is? i have rarely before seen such idiotic bullshit. maybe before you go out and feel good about yourself for rebuilding a house or being a fbi informant you should spend some time in the philosophy section of a bookstore. maybe then you could get off of your i am saving human kind/all oppressed others high horse bullshit. maybe the activist community in this dumb-ass country of ours needs to take a hint from activists all over the rest of the world and actually spend some time in the "thinking" not "acting" department. then we wouldn't end up as obama supporters and brandon darbys. we all are so fucking eager to save the god damn world. if you want to save the world without needing to think, go dig a well. shit.

trees not wells

bob 09.Jan.2009 07:29

um, stay away from wells too, go plant (a) tree(s) on a landfill

Solidarity from an FBI Snitch

J. Edgar Hoover's Conscience 09.Jan.2009 14:13

How moving. A letter of solidarity from an FBI snitch, who has developed a guilty conscience. It's better than nothing I guess.

Long-term snitch

BDarby fbi all the way 30.Jan.2009 18:23

Darby was involved with law enforcement one way or another for a very very long time - much longer than court documents would ever reveal. The only other explanation is that he is a sociopath (addressed many times here) which may be true but doesn't fully explain the situation.

"Anarchists & Eco-warriors" are about the only thing the FBI has to survail in this country as there is no true threat to the great 'Merica. But just because there is no threat doesn't mean the FBI just cuts staff and hopes no resistence builds. So this is what they resort to. Pre-emptive strikes on "possible" anarchist and thought crimes and so forth.

I didn't know Darby personally but did know some who dealt with the shit that went down at Common Ground. One would have to believe that this was another tactic with FBI backing. The Panthers have never STOPPED being targeted by the Feds so Darby's interaction with former Panthers easily could've been conducted by the FBI.

Also, in this country, it is very rare (even in anarchist circles) to openly discuss violence - even amongst friends unless you are very serious and unheard of to discuss it with strangers or people you just met. People coming forward with Darby doing just this along with his stories of "confronting" police or citizens in N.O. is even more reason to believe he was always backed by the FBI. The only other way to explain all of this is that he wasn't hired by the FBI but had some contact with some law enforcement (distant family member or an old friend, etc.) for a long, long time.

The best citizens can do now is cut all contact and move on. Don't waste time addressing Darby or his ridiculous logic (more bait by FBI). Support peaceful and non peaceful alike in our movement and everything will be fine. Stop the divide and conquer of direct action vs. civil disobedience vs. armchair activists, etc...