Brandon Darby learned something from Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. Once a hard-core radical who sided with progressive revolutionaries, Darby prevented a left-wing terrorist attack on the 2008 GOP convention. Now, this America-loving patriot is the target of the domestic extremists he once called “friends.”
Did you know that a courageous former radical helped to avert a planned left-wing terrorist attack at the 2008 Republican National Convention that might have killed who knows how many Americans?
Neither did I until recently.
That’s because if you disrupt a terrorist attack on Americans by Islamic fundamentalists as Northwest Flight 253 passenger Jasper Schuringa did on Christmas Day, you’re a hero; however, if you take the initiative to undermine a terrorist attack on Americans by supposedly well intentioned left-wing fundamentalists, you might as well be a terrorist yourself.
Brandon Darby, who in recent years also refused leftists’ invitations to get involved in Venezuelan communist subversion here in America and in anti-Israeli terrorism in Palestine, learned this unpalatable truth the hard way.
The Left-Wing Plot to Kill Republicans
After years of in-your-face protests, confrontational tactics and working with America-haters, Darby eventually experienced a political epiphany. He rejected the radical Left and its culture of political violence. He came to realize that America, for all its faults, wasn’t such a bad place after all.
“I felt I had a duty to atone after badmouthing my country for so many years,” Darby told me in an interview. “I love my country.”
But Darby didn’t always love his country.
Darby previously considered himself a revolutionary. His charisma and militant anti-Americanism made the intense Texan a larger-than-life figure among leftist activists in the South.
He openly called for the overthrow of the U.S. government, which he considered too corrupt and oppressive to be reformed. He expressed his hatred of police as guardians of the status quo. He consorted with eco-terrorist tree-spikers, radical feminists and black nationalists.
He was approached to rob an armored car and asked to commit arson to fight gentrification. He mouthed politically correct slogans and platitudes about the Bush administration. Government didn’t care about people, and in his eyes, the much-maligned response to Hurricane Katrina proved it.
But around the same time, the former radical community organizer was turning away from radicalism, and at tremendous personal risk, he undermined a leftwing terrorist plot to attack the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. If he hadn’t taken action, Americans exercising their free speech rights and police officers might have been killed.
Without informing his fellow anarchists, Darby offered his assistance to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and, at the FBI’s request, infiltrated a leftwing group known as the Austin Affinity Group. The outfit had joined with a larger coalition of progressive organizations that facetiously called itself the “RNC Welcoming Committee.” The committee hoped to lay siege to the GOP convention that nominated the presidential ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin.
The FBI sent Darby to meet with anarchists who were developing their plan at a bookstore in Austin.
“It was a group of people whose explicit purpose was to organize a group of ‘black bloc’ anarchists to shut the Republican convention down by any means necessary,” he explained. “They showed videos of people throwing Molotov cocktails, and they were giving people ideas.”
The two 20-something plotters on whom Darby informed, David Guy McKay and Bradley Neil Crowder, had made homemade riot shields and were ready to use them in St. Paul to help demonstrators block streets near the Xcel Energy Center in order to prevent GOP delegates from participating in the convention. The shields were discovered and confiscated.
But McKay and Crowder were undeterred by this setback. Together they manufactured instruments of death calculated to inflict maximum pain and bodily harm on people whose political views they disagreed with.
During a search of a residence, police found gas masks, slingshots, helmets, knee pads and eight Molotov cocktails consisting of bottles filled with gasoline with attached wicks made from tampons.
“They mixed gasoline with oil so it would stick to clothing and skin and burn longer,” Darby told me.
Thanks to Darby’s cooperation with the FBI, the two anarchist would-be bomb throwers are now languishing in prison. McKay entered a “guilty” plea and was sentenced in May 2009 to 48 months in prison plus three years of supervised release for possession of an unregistered “firearm,” illegal manufacture of a firearm and possession of a firearm with no serial number. A week before, Crowder cut a deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to 24 months in prison for possession of an unregistered firearm.
McKay received the stiffer sentence in part because he fabricated a tall tale about Darby’s involvement in the plot.
During sentencing, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis went out of his way to make a specific legal findingthat McKay obstructed justice by falsely accusing Darby of inducing him to manufacture the incendiary devices.
Davis told McKay he crossed the line between peaceful dissent and violent protest. “You were leading the charge. You and Crowder were coming up here [to Minnesota] to do anarchy against the system.”
But now the story takes a strange turn.