A video published Monday by the Center for Investigative Reporting reveals that the man responsible for arming and training members of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s did so while acting as a federal informant.
According to reporter Seth Rosenfeld, Richard Aoki was approached by FBI agent Burney Threadgill Jr. in the late 1950s, around the time he was graduating high school, and developed into a source into the activities of various political groups during the following decade.
“I said, ‘Well, why don’t you just go to some of the meetings and tell me who’s there and what they talked about?'” Threadgill is quoted as saying. “Very pleasant little guy. He always wore dark glasses.”
Aoki, who committed suicide in 2009 after working as an educator for 25 years following his involvement with the party, has been remembered for his activism. He was the subject of the biography Samurai Among Panthers: On Race, Resistance And A Pardoxical Life, which traced his ascent within the organization, where he became the highest-ranking non-black member of the party.
Rosenfeld wrote that he discovered Aoki’s double-identity while researching a book of his own, scheduled for release this week. He also noted that Aoki disputed the allegation during a 2007 interview, saying he thought Rosenfeld was mistaken before adding, “People change. It is complex. Layer upon layer.” Aoki did, however, admit to “cutting a deal” with military authorities while serving in the U.S. Army, sealing the criminal record he had amassed in his youth.
Aoki would go on to serve in the Army reserves, during which time, Rosenfeld writes, he filed reports to Threadgill detailing his involvement in groups like the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, the Young Socialist Alliance and the Vietnam Day Committee. By the time Aoki met Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, when Newton and Seale were developing what would become the Black Panther Party’s 10-point program, Aoki had been assigned to another agent.
In his interview with Rosenfeld, Aoki said he provided weapons and training to the Panthers.
“I had a little collection, and Bobby and Huey knew about it, and so when the party was formed, I decided to turn it over to the group,” Aoki said. “And so when you see the guys out there marching and everything, I’m somewhat responsible for the military slant to the organization’s public image.”
Watch Rosenfeld’s report in its entirety below.
[h/t Hyphen Magazine]
WATCH: White House protesters chant ‘impeach Trump’ loud enough for aides to hear
Protesters gathered in front of the White House on Sunday to call on President Donald Trump to be removed from office.
Videos circulated online showed protesters chanting "impeach Trump" close enough to the White House for staff to hear the demonstration.
In other videos, protesters were blowing loud whistles.
Meanwhile, demonstrators also greeted Trump as he visited his New Jersey golf course. Pro-impeachment protesters were also reportedly out on the streets in Boston and New York City.
Watch some of the video clips below.
Outside the White House right now:
White House urged diplomats to stay quiet about withheld aid to Ukraine: ‘Nothing to see here’
As Democrats proceed with impeachment, there are explosive new revelations almost daily related to President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that top diplomats were instructed to keep quiet about the temporary freeze on the $141 million package of aid to Ukraine.
“Keep moving, people, nothing to see here,” Brad Freden, the State Department’s acting deputy assistant secretary of Europe and Eurasia, said in an email.
California Dem cracks up C-SPAN host: Why are angry GOP callers on the East coast ‘not at work?’
A caller from California noted to C-SPAN on Thursday that many Republican callers on the East coast do not seem to have jobs.
At the close of Thursday's Washington Journal program, C-SPAN host Bill Scanlan spoke to a Democratic caller named Ray from Napa Valley, California.
Ray began by defending House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is conducting an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
"It wouldn't matter who they picked," Ray said. "The GOP -- the Grand Old Party, that's what I like to call them because they are the old party. You know, they're the dividers. My friends that are Republicans, they're the one that are being divided."