- Category: Race & Liberation
- Created on Monday, 27 August 2012 13:54
- Written by kasama
Here is how people have remembered Richard Aoki. Does such a man deserve investigation of charges, and a standard of evidence before being smeared and rejected on the left?
"Layer upon layer..."
Watch the Aoki charges closely, and how they rippled through the culture (and through the left!) Some people read the claims (in the mainstream articles) that Richard Aoki admitted being an agent to author Seth Rosenfeld.
"In 2007, two years before he committed suicide, Aoki was asked in a tape-recorded interview for the book if he had been an FBI informant. Aoki's first response was a long silence. He then replied, " 'Oh,' is all I can say."
"Later during the same interview, Aoki contended the information wasn't true.
"Asked if this reporter was mistaken that Aoki had been an informant, Aoki said, "I think you are," but added: 'People change. It is complex. Layer upon layer.'"
This was presented as an admission from Aoki and a coup for Seth Rosenfeld (his accuser). And some people believed what they read, and assumed it was true, and have been repeating it.
If you heard anyone say:
"The evidence seems convincing to me, including after Aoki's comments to Rosenfeld"...
Well, just listen to this recording a few times, and drop them a note.
If we draw any lesson from this (and there are several!), it should be careful and deliberate suspicion about claims in the press. They lie. And they particularly lie about revolutionaries. And disinformation about revolutionaries is not just accidental, and not merely for selfish, mercenary (book-promoting) reasons, but it has been (in the U.S.) an organized covert activity of powerful government forces.
Shawnt wrote about this recording:
"Aoki clearly denied that he was an informant. He never said "its complex layer upon layer" in the same sentence. It was Rosenfeld's article that misrepresented what was said.
"Aoki was responding to Rosenfeld's accusations. Also, the Center for Investigative Reporting added something Aoki did not say. Aoki did not say "people change" anywhere on the recording that was played in the video."
Here's the recording:
Here is the highly revealing transcript:
(It has Aoki's little laughs and Rosenfeld's sighs added)
Rosenfeld: Yeah. (pause) So, would you say it’s untrue that you ever worked with the FBI or got paid by the FBI?
Aoki: I would say it.
Rosenfeld: (huge sigh) (pause) And I’m trying to understand the complexities about it and I and I think…
Aoki: It IS complex. (very slight laugh)
Rosenfeld: I believe it is and…
Aoki: Layer upon layer.
Deconstructing the lie
Aoki thinks Rosenfeld is an idiot for believing that line of bullshit. "it IS complex" can be more accurately interpreted as sarcasm and "layer upon layer" can be interpreted as "layers of bullshit stacked upon another". Pay attention to Aoki's little laughs when you listen to the recording. It's not even close to being an admission of guilt.
And Seth Rosenfeld's own article claims that Aoki said
"people change, its complex layer upon layer": http://cironline.org/reports/man-who-armed-black-panthers-was-fbi-informant-records-show-3753
2 things wrong with that. Aoki never said "people change" It's not on the tape anywhere. The other problem is a lack of context when Rosenfeld leaves out what he said. All this comes from an award winning reporter who worked for the SF Examiner and SF Chronicle. Rosenfeld knows how to write and he knows what he is doing. The only evidence that's apparent is Rosenfeld's embellishment and twisting the facts to suit his faulty thesis. Combine that with Swearingen's dubious past and the only reasonable conclusion is that Aoki is being snitchjacketed as part of a latter day COINTELPRO operation.