Democracy Now!: Was Bay Area Radical, Black Panther Arms Supplier Richard Aoki An Informant for the FBI?
Explosive new allegations have emerged that the man who gave the Black Panther Party some of its first firearms and weapons training was an undercover FBI informant in California. Richard Aoki, who died in 2009, was an early member of the Panthers and the only Asian American to have a formal position in the group. The claim that Aoki informed on his colleagues is based on statements made by a former bureau agent and an FBI report obtained by investigative journalist Seth Rosenfeld, author of the new book, "Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power." But Aoki’s friends and colleagues, as well as scholars, have challenged the book’s findings. We speak to Rosenfeld, an award-winning journalist and author of the article, “Man who armed Black Panthers was FBI informant, records show,” published by the Center for Investigative Reporting; and to Diana Fujino, Aoki’s biographer and a professor and chair of the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.