Katrina Charity Common Ground Wants Information on FBI Snitch

By SABRINA CANFIELD, Courthouse News Service

NEW ORLEANS (CN) – The founder of a post-Hurricane Katrina relief organization claims the FBI infiltrated his group after he criticized the Bush administration for its inept response to the disaster. Malik Rahim, founder of Common Ground Relief, says the FBI blew off his FOIA requests by claiming that responding would violate the privacy of its informant, who has spoken publicly about his work as a snitch.
Rahim, a New Orleans community organizer and former Black Panther, says the FBI rejected his FOIA request, and appeal, seeking information about FBI informant Brandon Darby. Rahim says Darby worked with him at Common Ground, bringing supplies and other assistance to residents of the city battered by Hurricane Katrina.
Darby was involved with Common Ground from September 2005 until 2008. Whether Darby was an FBI agent before becoming a prominent member of Common Ground remains unknown, and is part of what Rahim seeks to find out.
Using an anarchist-inspired motto, “Solidarity not Charity,” Common Ground Relief says its mission is to provide short-term relief for victims of hurricane disasters on the Gulf Coast, and long-term support in
rebuilding communities in the New Orleans area. Continue reading

How a Radical Leftist Became the FBI’s BFF


FOR A FEW DAYS IN SEPTEMBER 2008, as the Republican Party kicked off its national convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Twin Cities were a microcosm of a deeply divided nation. The atmosphere around town was tense, with local and federal police facing off against activists who had descended upon the city. Convinced that anarchists were plotting violent acts, they sought to bust the protesters’ hangouts, sometimes bursting into apartments and houses brandishing assault rifles. Inside the cavernous Xcel Energy convention center, meanwhile, an out-of-nowhere vice presidential nominee named Sarah Palin assured tens of thousands of ecstatic Republicans that her running mate, John McCain, was “a leader who’s not looking for a fight, but sure isn’t afraid of one either.”

The same thing might have been said of David McKay and Bradley Crowder, a pair of greenhorn activists from George W. Bush’s Texas hometown who had driven up for the protests. Wide-eyed guys in their early 20s, they’d come of age hanging out in sleepy downtown Midland, commiserating about the Iraq War and the administration’s assault on civil liberties.

Read the rest of this article from Mother Jones Magazine here.

Better This World: New documentary about the Texas 2 premiering at SXSW

Battle of Algiers: White vigilantees and the police in the Katrina aftermath

Common GroundDABC Note: This article has to do with anarchists participating in the armed defense of a neighborhood in New Orleans after Katrina devastated the city. This story has rarely been told, and has not had that much exposure, even within our movement(s). This is a concrete example of armed solidarity, one that shows that it can be important for anarchists and other committed revolutionaries to be knowledgeable of firearms and their use.

Scott’s Note: On the fifth anniversary of Katrina I want to share this narrative, an excerpt of stories about anarchist organizing in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. This excerpted piece is made of stories about the early violence we came across in dealing with the white vigilantes and police in Algiers. It takes place upon my return to the area after a failed mission to find my friend Robert King of the Angola 3 (see ‘It takes a spark’ from INFOSHOP archives) right after the levees failed. It also contains characters who had done something good only to reveal themselves as less than honorable, and somewhat harmful later. These stories take place just prior to organizing the Common Ground Collective. This is a rough draft excerpt from my forthcoming book: “Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy and the Common Ground Collective”

Five years later we have only scratched the surface of the atrocities of the vigilantes and the police. Many of us are still healing from those encounters. This story is just one of them

“…within the war we are all waging with the forces of death, subtle and otherwise, conscious or not – I am not only a casualty, I am also a warrior.” –Audre Lorde
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Sexism, egos, and lies: Sometimes you wake up and it is not different

 Brandon Darby
By Lisa Fithian / The Rag Blog / March 22, 2010

On December 31, 2008, the Austin Informant Working Group released a statement titled: “Sometimes You Wake Up and It’s Different: Statement on Brandon Darby, the ‘Unnamed’ Informant/Provocateur in the ‘Texas 2.’” It’s been over a year since then and here is my long-overdue version of that story.

It was on December 18, 2008, that I learned unquestionably that Brandon Michael Darby, an Austin activist, was an FBI informant leading up to the 2008 Republican National Convention protests in St. Paul, MN. He was the key witness in the case of two young men from Midland, TX, Bradley Crowder (23) and David McKay (22) who, thanks to Brandon’s involvement, have been convicted of manufacturing Molotov cocktails.

They are now serving two and four years, respectively, in federal prison. In 2010, Brandon will be a key witness in another important case to the Government — the case of the RNC 8, Minneapolis organizers who are facing state conspiracy charges.

The case of the “Texas 2” gained national media attention as a result of Brandon’s unique blend of egomania, the media’s attraction to charismatic and controversial men, and the persistence of the U.S. government to criminalize and crush a growing anti-authoritarian movement. I found myself strangely entwined in the story — past, present and future.

Full story

RNC Legal Update: Milwaukee Three Sentencing, charges against Keith Smith dismissed

On November 10th, 2009, Judge Teresa Warner stayed imposition of an unspecified amount of prison time and sentenced Karen Meissner and Christina Vana to 7 years of probation, 8 hours of community service every month for the next 2 years, and a $100 fine plus standard court fees. Among the conditions of probation were that they participate in whatever educational or vocational programming Probation sets for them. As is usual in felony cases, DNA samples were required. The issue of restitution will remain open for 90 days.
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Katyanne Kibby acquitted of charges related to “threatening” snitch Brandon Darby

A former Minneapolis woman was acquitted Tuesday of charges she threatened to kill a government informant, her lawyer said.

Katyanne Marie Kibby, 25, was acquitted by a federal jury in Austin, Texas, said public defender Jose Gonzalez-Failla.

She had been charged with retaliating against Brandon Darby, the community activist-turned-informant who helped federal prosecutors win convictions against two Texas men who planned to firebomb the Republican National Convention in St. Paul last year.

The charge was based on an e-mail sent Jan. 10. That was two days after one of the men, Bradley Crowder, reached a plea bargain with federal prosecutors in Minneapolis for his role in the plot to make Molotov cocktails and attack the GOP convention in September 2008.

Crowder, 24, and David Guy McKay, 23, were part of an Austin-based group of activists who came to the Twin Cities to take part in street demonstrations. The FBI infiltrated the group with Darby, nationally known for his community activism.

Crowder and McKay built eight Molotov cocktails but didn’t use them, a fact law enforcement officials credited to Darby. However, members of the Austin protest community claimed Darby had betrayed longtime friends and colleagues.

The single-count indictment said Kibby, who now lives in Houston, “did knowingly engage in conduct threatening bodily injury” to Darby. It says she sent an e-mail that threatened his life “for giving information to a law enforcement officer,” namely the FBI.

Her lawyer said she was charged because she wrote to Darby that “your life is in danger.”

“She was venting. She was upset,” Gonzalez-Failla said in an interview. “If she had written it better, she wouldn’t have gotten in trouble.”