Thursday, August 25, 2011

Common Ground Co-Founder Who Became FBI Informant Rises in Conservative Movement

Mother Jones Magazine published an article today focusing on Brandon Darby, who is known to many New Orleanians for his controversial leadership of the post-Katrina relief organization Common Ground. Many volunteers who came to help rebuild the city were disillusioned by their experience with Common Ground under Darby. "In his short-lived tenure as Common Ground's interim director, Darby drove out 30 volunteer coordinators and replaced them with a small band of loyalists," according to the article.

The article also touches on Darby's connection to Riad Hamad, a Lebanese activist and school teacher who was found tied up with duct tape, at the bottom of the lake, after Darby turned him in to the FBI. The death was classified as a suicide.

The Mother Jones investigation also mentions Darby's close relationship Tulane University graduate Andrew Breitbart, who is best known as the mastermind behind attacks on ACORN and Shirley Sherrod. "Darby now socializes with Breitbart at his Los Angeles home and is among his staunchest defenders," reports Mother Jones.

Although not mentioned in the article, Darby apparently has also worked in support of the notorious Koch Brothers, attending an anti-Koch Brothers protest with Breitbart. As one activist describes the scene:
There was a small group of right-wing instigators trolling the crowd of the Quarantine the Kochs rally. They were carrying a small video camera and trying to incite the crowd, start arguments, and were trying to start misleading chants and confrontations. They were presumably trying to do this to create some deceptive videos that would be heavily edited and taken out of context to dishonestly portray the voices that were in the streets.

Who were these people? Well, one was Andrew Breitbart - a well-known right-wing blogger and media manipulator. He's credited with masterminding the ACORN scandal, is a long-time crony of Glenn Beck, and has shown little respect for objective journalism or truth.

The other was Brandon Darby. He was a long-time social justice activist - who worked with Common Ground in New Orleans that did tremendous work post-Katrina. He also admitted to working for the FBI and spying on activists for years, before recently coming under the wing of Breitbart.

Were these two employed by the Kochs - and paid to instigate the crowd last weekend? Paid to disrupt legitimate social movements, try to incite confrontations and potential violence? Quite possibly - since Breitbart has close ties to Americans for Prosperity (a Koch-funded organization), and is a regular speaker at their events.
The Mother Jones article says that Darby, who once loudly advocated for armed revolution, is "now an enthusiastic small-government conservative. He loves Sarah Palin. He opposes welfare and national health care...Climate change is 'a bandwagon' and the EPA should be 'strongly limited.'"


vicwelle said...

Whatever good Darby once did for NOLA, the fact remains that even when he was on the "left" side of the political spectrum, he was still a sexist authoritarian who wanted things done from the top-down (with him at the top, of course) and was always willing to pick a fight to get his way. It's not surprising that he fits right in with folks like Breitbart.

Changeseeker said...

Good to know.

Anonymous said...

Check who made this video: