You are currently browsing the daily archive for January 2, 2009.
The short version: activist Brandon Darby is an FBI informant who has been a progressive activist for years. He maintains that he is progressive and that his actions are consistent with his beliefs. His testimony may convict two individuals accused of planning violence and constructing Molotov cocktails for use at the Republican Convention protests. His informing may have led to the pre-protest roundups and arrests of various activists. This blog has many more details.
I guess I’d like to know if he received any money. I don’t have any reason to believe he isn’t sincere as if he was simply a paid informant he probably wouldn’t bother making the statement. I believe I probably would have handled it differently, that is to say I would have approached the idiots and threatened to go to the police, or made a public scene of it. But to earn the trust of people whom you consider friends while working for an agency with a history of confusing its political agenda with legitimate law enforcement? Let’s just say that I have many questions. Maybe I can get him on my radio show.
In the 1960s many people who had been legit activists were recruited by Cointelpro in deals made following serious drug convictions which should have resulted in long sentences. Some activists suggested such a deal was made with Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver according to his biography Soul on Ice was in jail on cocaine charges and was released early. By some accounts he took the Black Panthers in a very self-destructive direction. My parents have some more concrete anecdotes which I can relate another time.
Here is is statement:
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.
Brandon Michael Darby
December 29, 2008
Source / Independent Media Center
Addendum: Here’s a clip of Darby for an ad about the Katrina Hurricane.
Here’s an article with a few more details and the mugshots of the two men Darby informed on, and some interesting comments from readers. And this blog post has a thread with comments from people claiming to know him personally. The question is whether any of these people voiced these opinions about him prior to the recent developments.
The decision doesn’t overturn the law, but it opens a door. It simply rules that the 8th Amendment prohibits 28 years to life as a sentence for a technical violation of a registration requirement pursuant to a sex crime conviction.
Gonzalez’s harsh sentence was grossly disproportionate to his “entirely passive, harmless and technical violation of the registration law,” the appeals court said.
The California Penal Code requires a sex offender to register whereabouts annually within five working days of an ex-convict’s birthday. Gonzalez had registered in Los Angeles County in May 2000 and confirmed his address a year later, meeting the yearly requirement but violating the deadline of his Feb. 24 birthday.
“This is not a case where my client failed to register. He failed to update his address information that was still good,” said Gia Kim, the federal public defender who argued Gonzalez’s case to the appeals court.
Registration infractions carry a maximum three-year sentence in California, and Gonzalez’s oversight wouldn’t even qualify as a crime in at least 11 states, wrote Circuit Judge Jay S. Bybee, one of the court’s more conservative judges.
Calitics has some details about Judge Bybee which should dispel any notion that he is in any way a liberal actist judge.
This is the first time the 8th Amendment has been held to limit anything about the three strikes law.