What was that – a Katrina recovery activist or FBI mole?

road-runner-2Both – according to yesterday’s story in the NYT that revealed the road-running activist traveled from New Orleans to Austin and, eventually, St. Paul where two men have been jailed since the Republican National Convention.

When the scheduled federal trial begins this month for two Texas men who were arrested during the Republican National Convention on charges of making and possessing Molotov cocktails, one of the major witnesses against them will be a community activist who acted as a government informant.

Brandon Darby, an organizer from Austin, Tex., made the news public himself, announcing in an open letter posted on Dec. 30 on Indymedia.org that he had worked as an informant, most recently at last year’s Republican convention in St. Paul.

“The simple truth is that I have chosen to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” wrote Mr. Darby, who gained prominence as a member of Common Ground Relief, a group that helped victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans…

A similar story appeared a few days earlier in the Texas Monthly, Life’s a Snitch: Austin activist admits he infiltrated RNC protest group.

A well-known Austin activist fingered as an FBI informant has acknowledged that he provided information leading to the arrest and felony indictment of two Austin men who participated in protests last September at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN…

Darby’s activist network stretches from Austin to New Orleans, where he co-founded Common Ground Relief, a grassroots reconstruction effort that drew thousands of volunteers from around the country. In 2004, he helped organize and was arrested during anti-Halliburton protests in Houston. His letter suggests that he disagreed with tactics some members of the Austin Area Affinity Group planned to use to disrupt the Republican Convention. Darby was a member of the group…(emphasis added)

Darby’s fellow activists say they identified him as “CHS 1” – confidential human source 1 – after reviewing an affidavit (PDF) by FBI agent Christopher Langert that was released in discovery in the case against David Guy McKay, 22, and Bradley Neal Crowder, 23. They say information described in the affidavit came from conversations between McKay and Darby…the informant wore a wire to record McKay talking about how he and Crowder had made Molotov cocktails, using tampons soaked in lighter fluid for wicks.

The Molotov cocktails were among the items seized in a raid that led to felony indictments of McCay and Crowder, now known as the “Texas Two.” They were charged with possession of unregistered firearms (the cocktails)…

Activists in St. Paul with the RNC Welcoming Committee posted a video in October 2007 that showed a tongue-in-cheek use of a Molotov cocktail to light a barbeque…

Today, Huff-Po reported the story – an unusual footnote to Katrina recovery efforts IMO.

Note to those trying to rebuild the City of New Orleans, if one of your volunteers turns off the radio every time the Dixie Chicks come on, wears a three piece suit to human rights rallies, storms out of the confession part of the Frost Versus Nixon, or puts invisible quote marks around the word “war crimes,” you might be infiltrated by some one more interested in busting protesters than helping rebuild a city brought to its knees by massive federal levee failures.

That trouble was expected at the Convention is no surprise to anyone who recalls the arrest of Democracy Now host Amy Goodman.

Hours after the main march ended, spurts of protest were still popping up throughout the city of St. Paul. Groups of dissenters made their way around downtown, often followed by cops . . . as well as by the media.

One crew in the midst of it was the group from the show Democracy Now! Details are still sketchy, but it’s been confirmed that the crew, along with the show’s politically outspoken host, Amy Goodman, have been detained. The stated reason seems to be the recent police favorite “probable cause for riot.”

St. Paul was prepared.  According to the Insurance Journal, GOP Convention Officials Bought Liability Coverage in First Time Deal.

Taxpayers should be off the hook for any damages stemming from claims of police misconduct related to the Republican National Convention under a first-of-its-kind agreement.

The deal required the Republican Party’s host committee to buy insurance covering up to $10 million in damages and unlimited legal costs for law enforcement officials accused of brutality, violating civil rights and other misconduct..

The policy, with Boston-based Lexington Insurance Co., cost the committee $1.1 million or about half as much as originally anticipated. It will cover claims against more than 100 city, county and state law enforcement agencies who are helping police the area for the convention…

The city will not have to pay a deductible or any of the costs of hiring outside law firms to investigate and defend claims, which will not be counted toward the $10 million damage limit…

While AIG’s Lexington collected over a million dollars for the policy, Allstate, State Farm, Travelers, and others were contributors.

File under you can’t make this stuff up.

3 thoughts on “What was that – a Katrina recovery activist or FBI mole?”

  1. I love other people’s puppies, Editilla. Haven’t had a dog myself since the one that went outside to play and came inside to pee. Naturally, all three kids got a puppy as soon as they had a place of their own.

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