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Cover Story: Man Who Armed Black Panthers Was FBI informant (Video)

Richard Masato Aoki, the man journalist Seth Rosenfeld reports gave the Black Panther Party some of its first firearms and weapons training, was an undercover FBI informer, according to a former bureau agent and an FBI report. One of the Bay Area’s most prominent radical activists of the era, Aoki was known as a fierce militant who touted his street-fighting abilities; even before aligning himself with the Black Panther Party. Now, whether the evidence is shared in this video is borne of the misinformation campaign carried out as part of J. Edgar Hoover’s CoIntelPro (e.g. the Counter-Intelligence Program carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigations) or not is left for you to decide. But this is definitely an interesting watch.

Producer/director/actor/activist Mario van Peebles rendered a version of the Black Panther Party story, “Panther,” based on his father Melvin’s book, in 1995. The movie definitely took some literary license; but the majority of it stayed true to the essence of what is known. Great movie and soundtrack. Most relevant to discussion in this post, check out the scene playing around the 00:26:50 mark. Could this be Mario’s spin on the arming of the Black Panther Party? Judge (played by Kadeem Hardison), the Asian revolutionary who sold the Panthers its first guns (Aoki perhaps)? Hmm…

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