The late Richard Masato Aoki, famed street fighting ’60s radical who armed San Francisco Bay Area Black Panthers, has been implicated as an FBI informant. Surprise, surprise.
The sight of armed Black Panthers prompted Governor Ronald Reagan to sign gun control in California. Aoki’s role in arming them has always had a special place in the state’s history. Now one wonders about the revelation’s significance in the FBI’s connection to Black Panther run-ins with the police.
The Bureau’s involvement should not surprise anyone familiar with its long record of infiltrating fringe political groups to disrupt them, entrap activists, elicit violence, and generally make trouble.
Then called the Bureau of Investigation, the agency early on became obsessed with powerless political extremists. It rounded up more than 50,000 alleged draft dodgers during World War I and was instrumental in the Palmer raids that detained thousands of radicals in 1919 and 1920 and deported over five hundred to Soviet Russia.
For decades, American presidents used the FBI to spy on political opponents—FDR targeted his critics and LBJ snooped on presidential challenger Barry Goldwater’s staff.
But the most infamous FBI program was COINTELPRO—the Bureau’s Counter Intelligence Program—that engaged in espionage of groups, both peaceful and violent, mostly left-wing but some right-wing, from 1956 to 1971, at the height of J. Edgar Hoover’s directorship. During this period, according to the journalist James Bovard, “Over 2,300 separate operations were carried out to incite street warfare between violent groups, to wreck marriages, to get people fired, to smear innocent people by portraying them as government informants, to sic the IRS on people, and to cripple or destroy left-wing, black, communist, or other organizations.”
I was at Black Panther Headquarters the day after that violent coloring book showed up, several being dropped off by an 'anonymous. Aaron Dixon, Chapter President, called Oakland Central Headquarters and found that the coloring book was likewise a mystery as to where they came from. Distribution was NOT endorsed.
Any government organization maintaining that Lee Harvey Oswald murdered President John Kennedy and maintaining Osama bin Laden directed the attacks on America on 9-11-2001 is a destructive liability to the U.S.A. and some immediate arrests of FBI directors should have priority. I don't run things, so... you do it.