[Ppnews] FBI informant who stung RNC 2008 anarchists connected to other plans

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Dec 8 10:38:07 EST 2009

FBI informant who stung RNC 2008 anarchists 
connected to ‘firebomb plot’ on Brave New Books 
and “suicided” Palestinian activist Riad Hamad

Posted By admin On December 8, 2009 @ 5:03 am In Prison Planet

Is Austin-area FBI Informant Brandon Darby, who 
allegedly provoked anarchists into plotting with 
‘molotov cocktails’ at the RNC 2008 connected to 
plans to “firebomb” patriot bookstore Brave New 
Books and a sting on “suicided” Palestinian activist Riad Hamad?

Aaron Dykes
December 8, 2009

AUSTIN, TEXAS ­ Remember Riad Hamad, the 
Palestinian man who’s “suicide” left him at the 
bottom of Lady Bird Lake in Austin with his mouth 
gagged and arms duct-taped behind his back? (Kurt 
Palestinian Activist Riad Hamad Commit Suicide? [1] )

According to reports, he was observed at meetings 
with now-outed FBI informant/provocateur Brandon 
Darby, who admittedly set up two 
anarchist/leftists from Austin with “molotov 
cocktails” who were subsequently arrested for 
alleged plans to attack police cars outside the 
RNC 2008 in Minnesota in connection with the “RNC Welcoming Committee.”

Since Darby’s exposure as an admitted FBI 
informant, flyers have been seen in coffeehouses 
across Austin reading “Wanted: Brandon Darby An Informant Rat Loose in Austin.”

WHAT’S MORE– Scott Crow, anarchist/leftist who 
formed the Hurricane Katrina relief group “Common 
Ground Collective” has made a number of 
interesting connections with fellow member 
Brandon Darby, whose role in Common Ground may 
have coincided with his FBI/Police Informant 
role, which may have begun in 2004, 2005 or 2006.

Scott Crow claims that in 2006, after Brandon 
Darby was admittedly an FBI informant, Darby 
attempted to recruit Crow on a plot to “firebomb” 
Brave New Books of Austin, Texas. Crow 
<http://www.pmpress.org/content/article.php/20090524183202965>writes [2]:

In Darby’s ‘revolutionary rhetoric’ over the 
years he tried to get numerous people, including 
myself, to do the things the two men were 
eventually taken down for. I believe now he tried 
to set me up in 2006 (after he, according to FBI 
documents began informing and provoking) to 
firebomb a bookstore called Brave New Books in 
Austin. I was NOT interested at all and thought 
it was stupid. I tried to talk him out of it. The 
event never happened. He was allowed to change 
his mind and move on. What if the Feds had raided him at the time?

This astonishing information was brought to my 
attention by Harlan of 
New Books [3], but the connection to Riad Hamad I 
found only afterwards in Crow’s posts. Harlan writes:

The vitriol that seems to chase Darby to this day 
is due to the fact that two young activists David 
McKay and Bradley Crowder have been sentenced to 
a combined six years in prison for possessing 
several Molotov cocktails that were to be used 
during demonstrations at the 2008 Republican 
National Convention and were convicted in large 
part through the testimony of Brandon Darby. The 
possession of the cocktails is not in question, 
but what seems peculiar is why Darby an older, 
seasoned activist would agree to take part in a 
plan to firebomb a flock of police cars at the 
RNC, according to the FBI, and not just persuade 
the younger protégés to avoid instigating violent 
action? According to the defendants, Darby had 
encouraged the violence and had provoked the 
younger activists to take this direction, an 
allegation Darby denies. Darby admits that he was 
asked by the bureau to be the “eyes and ears” to 
monitor the small, loose-knit group of activists that included McKay.

initially defended Darby against allegations that 
he was reporting to the FBI [4], warning against 
‘divisive rumors’ and COINTELPRO, even after 
claims had spread that he was an FBI informant. 
After Darby publicly admitted his role as an 
informant, Crow expressed regret for his support 
in a post titled 
Crow” [5], and then later expressed several 
suggestive claims about the extent of Brandon 
Darby’s political provocateuring in the Austin 
political scene, as posted on the 
<http://www.pmpress.org/content/article.php/20090524183202965>PM Press [2].

Darby has appeared on 
American Life’/ NPR [6]and in papers like the 
Chronicle [7] to talk about his background as an 
activist and his account of how he became an FBI 
informant through a New Orleans cop– once opposed 
to his groups’ actions until he was swayed by 
community relief efforts he witnessed in the wake 
of Hurricane Katrina. Or so the story goes

Crow claims that Darby began contacting the FBI 
earlier, however, when he traveled to New Orleans 
in 2004 (prior to Hurricane Katrina) to “see what 
[the FBI] had on him” in their files. Clearly, in 
light of certain revelations, this may 
demonstrate a much longer-lasting relationship inside the FBI.

Brandon Darby has some wild claims, as stated in 
‘This American Life,’ that he traveled to 
Venezuela to convince Chavez to fund their 
Hurricane Katrina relief effort. While there, he 
says he was referred to a meeting with the FARC 
rebels who tried to recruit him to start a 
revolutionary group ‘in the swamps of Louisiana.’ 
Darby says he turned them down.

Shortly afterwards, while back in Austin, he 
admits to having reported to the FBI what he 
claims was a Palestinian man trying to recruit 
him for a bombing. This may have been connected 
to Riad Hamad. Crow mentions the NPR story’s 
account of the interaction with Riad Hamad:

In the ['This American Life']/NPR story, they 
mention Darby going undercover to stop a 
Palestinian peace activist named Riad Hammad 
[sic] from recruiting people for potentially 
‘terroristic’ like activities. They don’t mention 
that Riad was found dead at the bottom of a river 
here in Austin under very unusual circumstances 
which the Feds ruled a suicide, but looked like 
was done to him. And that there is NO public 
evidence that anything that Darby is saying is 
true. I don’t know myself, but Riad cannot defend 
himself against the accusations.

Scott Crow claims that Brandon Darby introduced 
him to Riad Hamad and other Palestinians at Green 
Muse Cafe coffee shop in Austin, telling him that 
“these were real revolutionaries” and not just “anarchists.”

This inciting rhetoric, which Crow believes was 
another attempt to provocateur him into 
revolutionary action/violence was very similar to 
supposed accounts of Darby’s goading the “Texas 2 
prior to the RNC 2008 that they were ‘weakling 
vegetarians’ and ‘couldn’t handle potentially 
violent revolutionary acts at the RNC.’ McKay 
claims Darby further goaded them to find out if 
they would take ‘revolutionary’ action or not 
once the RNC was underway. When he apparently 
agreed, and stated an apparently unplanned 
assault on a line of police cars, it led to the bust. Crow writes:

They also don’t mention that when I went to meet 
Darby at the Green Mews [sic] coffee shop in 
Austin during this time he was often with Riad 
and some men he described in excited tones as 
‘real revolutionaries’ not activists. He could 
not wait to tell me, as if I would be impressed. 
I told him, as always that he needed to watch out 
for people he didn’t know, but what I didn’t know 
was working for the Feds. Silly me. So he is 
bragging about this in a public place, did he 
entrap Riad for the Feds like Brad and David? I 
have know idea, but I know that Riad is dead 
either because he took his own life because he 
thought someone was after him, or someone else 
took his life, because they figured there was an 
informer in their midst. Either of those 
scenarios are completely sad and scary, and not 
the world I want to create or be a part of.  [8]

Crow points out that Darby’s accounts of when he 
first contacted the FBI do not add up:

On at least THREE different and unrelated times 
Darby has stated that it was the FIRST time or 
reason he contact the FBI. The first was in 2004 
when he, according to what he told me and my 
partner, went to visit the New Orleans office of 
the FBI to see what they had on him. It sounded 
SOOOO paranoid. He explained the story in great 
detail about his visit. The second time was in 
recent interviews where he has stated he saw that 
Brad and David were going to do something 
‘harmful’ at the RNC in Minneapolis and he had to 
intervene. And now he is saying that he had to 
visit the Feds when he saw that Riad Hammad 
[sic], his friend, was not in fact a school 
teacher in Austin, but was involved in some other 
‘nefarious’ activities. So which is the truth? I 
know he met commander Bryson of NOPD in Oct/ or 
Nov. of 2005. He has stated in interviews that 
Bryson is the one who introduced him to the Feds. 
Did he begin his work to spy on Common Ground and 
all of us then? Where is the real Darby?

Crow says that while he knew Brandon Darby for 
more than six years inside the Austin activist 
community, his actions were consistently 
violence-oriented, and with grandstanding, in 
opposition to the views held by most of the other anarchist members.

For years he advocated ‘blowing things up’ and 
later using arson. I don’t know if he did, but he 
sure did try to get other to do it. So was it 
revolutionary zeal or agent provocateur sh*t straight out of the manual?

Crow states that Darby seemed to merely adopt the 
rhetoric of various activist groups while 
differing from their common behaviors (most of 
the activists were vegan, yet he ate meat; was in 
favor of dictation over consensus, and ’slept 
with a lot of women’ and acted in a macho or chauvinistic manner). Crow wrote:

Darby was NOT an anarchist. He actually never 
claimed to be for the longest time. He disagreed 
with horizontal organizing and many of the 
underpinnings of anarchism. He DID however absorb 
the language, when necessary for interviews or 
speaking in public. He NEVER absorbed the 
practice during the 6 years I have known him. He 
actually was more of a quasi ‘central-democratic’ 
Marxist. He thought anarchist wasted time, energy 
and resources. Myself and few excluded of course 
. He would blurt in the same breath. He aligned 
himself with what he thought the Black Panther 
Party central committee would do–whether it was 
true or not. He didn’t have a liberation or even 
an anti-oppression analysis, but enough information to get by
within radical circles.

He was the only ”’anarchist”’ I have ever known 
that wanted to ‘overthrow the government’. I 
debated and argued with him about the 
impossibilities and reasons why that was a bad 
idea on so many levels, but he took that message 
many places to the chagrin and dismay of many radical circles.

Further information is found on the 
Blog [9] 

Harlan at Brave New Books writes:

Why was Darby choosing a bookstore as a target 
for a direct action? Was his plan a way to 
ensnare fellow activists in a plot that would 
eventually be foiled by the heroic FBI? Or was 
this plan another classic government provocateur 
attempting to firebomb an actual threat to the 
FBI and the state, wielding his useful idiots as 
his accomplices all the while knowing he would be 
provided the full protection of the FBI? The 
latter seems justifiably more accurate given the 
history of the FBI and its long train of abuses 
using agent provocateurs to carry out its dirty 
work. One need not look any further than the 
FBI’s clear infiltration of Elohim City using 
Timothy McVeigh as their asset. One could also 
look at the semi-retarded young religious men in 
Florida that were drafted by the U.S. government 
through the work of a joint terrorism task force 
agent who had infiltrated their group and 
persuaded them to express that they would be 
willing to help the terrorism task force blow up 
the Sears Tower in Chicago. Also, one should 
never forget that the FBI helped train an 
informant and provided materials to the informant 
that were used in the 1993 bombing of the World 
Trade Center. The bombing was allowed to occur 
with full knowledge of its planning by the FBI. 
There are loads of other examples that support 
the notion that the FBI routinely uses agent 
provocateurs in an effort to undermine its 
political enemies and swell its rank and budget.

In regard to Brandon Darby, it is interesting to 
note that he was committed to seeing the Molotov 
cocktail bombing through at the RNC. According to 
the radio show This American Life, that featured 
Darby and people who knew him, Darby was willing 
to go ahead with the plan to bomb the police cars 
with David McKay in the early morning hours but 
the younger McKay never materialized and the plot 
was called off. This doesn’t describe the 
behavior of an innocent observer and sounds more 
like the actions of an active participant willing 
to commit an act of terrorism and then scapegoat 
a pair of useful idiots. So would Darby’s same 
zeal for terrorism had occurred if there would 
have been someone that would have been willing to 
help in Darby’s plan to attack the bookstore? 
Luckily, we will never know because he was never able to execute his plans

Article printed from Prison Planet.com: http://www.prisonplanet.com

URL to article: 

URLs in this post:

[1] Did Palestinian Activist Riad Hamad Commit 

[2] writes: http://www.pmpress.org/content/article.php/20090524183202965

[3] Brave New Books: 

[4] Crow initially defended Darby against 
allegations that he was reporting to the FBI : 

[5] “Eating Crow”: http://www.freethetexas2.com/node/28

[6] ‘This American Life’/ NPR : 

[7] Austin Chronicle: 

[8] Image: http://www.efoodsdirect.com/holidaySpecial.html?aid=13&adid=14

[9] Rag Blog: 

[10] more: 

to print.

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