Something doesn't add up here --
Let's speculate first that Aoki was an informant : there were always some very out of control, unstable characters on the periphery, around the more focused and righteous Panthers -- Seale and Newton's accounts will support that statement, as will George Jackson's. (That was also true of pre Panther movements -- look at the records of spies and double agents that hung around the Nation of Islam in Malcolm X's time. )It is possible that Aoki as a young man, was torn in many directions, and was tempted by the dollar bill. That is possible. And many of us may have done the same in his shoes -- we cannot say for sure we wouldn't. Brought up in the toughest ghettos and brutal streets, interned in a racist concentration camp, marginalised by white racists who contemptuously considered Asians a joke, just 'gooks' and railway track workers, not 'real men' like Anglo Saxons -- who knows how you or I would react to all that hate? Who knows how we would react to survive as very young men and teenagers in those conditions Aoki found himself ? We do not know how we would behave. Are we perfect? I'd say we are not.
But -- if he was an FBI plant, then other parts of the story simply do not add up -- if he was a spy, surely he'd have split from the scene as soon as he could, or as soon as he'd made his money -- surely, it would be dangerous to hang around the scene after having been a plant. But Aoki stayed around the Panthers and their causes for his whole life, long after the state was interested in watching them. Aoki stayed with the Panthers when they were no longer a powerful danger to the state, and were just a group of dignified elders. Now, think about it -- does that sound like the kind of man who was a spy and an informant? Would YOU hang around a bunch of people, for your whole life, who you'd been plotting against? Would you stay around, long after you'd been paid by the state? Would you stick around men you'd betrayed and sold out?
It doesn't add up.
Then there is always the third possibility -- maybe Seth Rosenfeld ( the guy who tells us Aoki was an FBI spy) needs to sell his book. Maybe he needs to make his money, any way he can. Not only that -- there is ample evidence that the state has always done anything it possibly can to paint the Panthers in as bad a light as they can, to destroy their legacy of empowerment.
I urge you to read the statement from one of his contemporaries, the Jamaican-Chinese Black Panther, Lee Lew-Lee, and I quote, "Richard Aoki has always been held in the highest esteem by everyone - and I mean by every last comrade who knew him - and that should be good enough for everyone.
For me, there are two ways to look at this allegation made by Seth Rosenfeld.
Either Richard used his knowledge of the system to game the system and f***d up an old and dead FBI agent who was trying to settle an old final score from back in the day. (Maybe he was the ONE guy who successfully double-crossed the agent?)
Or it was an attempt to smear his name in the `60s that lay dormant as a document time bomb, only to be misunderstood 44 years later...We must remember that people were "bad jacketed" all the time back in the day and these documents may have been from a result to do the same back in say 1968-1969."
(C/f San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper,August 23, 2012).